The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU students gather around a bucket of markers to write an encouraging note to put in “Welcome to the Shelter” kits at event in mid-April on SMU’s campus.
Dallas homeless recovery center, The Bridge, is a home
Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024
Instagram

Historian talks baseball at lecture

Thursday night, amid the historic volumes of the DeGolyer library, Charles C. Alexander spoke about his book chronicling the life of baseball legend Tris Speaker, titled “Spoke: A Biography of Tris Speaker.”

The evening started at 6 p.m. with a half-hour reception where guests could meet the author. Appropriate to the baseball theme, hot dogs, cracker jacks and peanuts were served, along with soda and lemonade to drink. After the reception, the attendees went to a reading room on the other side of the library to listen to Alexander’s lecture.

Charles C. Alexander is a well-known baseball historian who has written biographies about baseball legends Ty Cobb, Rogers Hornsby, and John McGraw, as well as books about the general history of baseball and the sport during the Great Depression. A native Texan, Alexander is a professor emeritus of history at Ohio University.

In his speech, Alexander claimed that Tris Speaker, although largely forgotten by modern baseball fans, “was a titan in his time” and should be remembered. Speaker, who first played for the Boston Red Sox and then with the Cleveland Indians, was one of the original inductees into the Baseball Hall of Fame. As a player, he achieved a .345 average with 3,514 base hits and 1,881 runs. Despite his outstanding record, according to Alexander, “Speaker had plenty of run-ins with umpires,” and even managed to be the center of a scandal that broke out in December of 1926.

The scandal, which also involved Ty Cobb and other members of Major League Baseball, was based on fixing games for money. After a drawn-out process where letters were published and fingers were pointed, Speaker eventually was exonerated in January that next year. At the end of his career as a player, Speaker continued his work in baseball as a manager, radio announcer and public relations specialist for the Indians. He died during a fishing trip in 1958.

After the lecture on his biography, Alexander answered questions from the audience. One man in attendance commented on Alexander’s other novel “Breaking the Slump: Baseball in the Depression Era,” proclaiming that it really helped him understand the Depression and its affect on American life. When asked why he chose Speaker as the subject of his book, Alexander replied, “I’ve always been interested in [him].” He also added that we must “sustain, even awaken an awareness of why we should hope to remember him.”

More to Discover