Review Fix chats with “Comiskey Park’s Last World Series” author Charles N. Billington, who lets us know why the 1959 White Sox were a special team worth revisiting.
About Comiskey Park’s Last World Series:
Charter members of the American League and the country’s last “neighborhood” pro baseball franchise, the White Sox are one of the few teams of the power hitting–focused modern era to win a pennant with speed, pitching and defense. Covering the 1959 White Sox from a range of perspectives, the author examines the club’s historical importance to Chicago and the significance of the ’59 “South Side Series”—the first in 40 years. Many behind-the-scenes details are discussed, from the refined media markets of Golden Age baseball to the team’s ancillary sources of revenue to the bitter legal feud between Charles Comiskey and Bill Veeck.
About the Author:
A rehabilitation administrator by profession, author and baseball historian Charles N. Billington has had a long fascination with baseball’s Golden Age. Living in the Chicago area has given him the good fortune to follow and observe the developments of both the American and the National Leagues.
Review Fix: What inspired this book?
Charles N. Billington: The inspiration for the book was the desire to fully research one of the most beloved baseball teams in Chicago history.
Review Fix: What was the writing and editing experience like for you?
Billington: The writing and editing was not very different than creating my other published pieces. The research was easier because so much of the material from that era is now readily available online.
Review Fix: What makes it different from other baseball books?
Billington: It is different from other baseball books in that I look at the legal, economic, financial, and cultural aspects of the team’s success, how it affect the city, the team’s neighborhood, and etc.
Review Fix: What else makes the 59 White Sox featured here so special?
Billington: This was the last team to steal more bases than hit home runs and win a pennant. It was also one of the few teams in history to win a pennant with speed, pitching, and defense.
Review Fix: How do you think they’d fare in today’s MLB?
Billington: I don’t know how they would fare today, since the game is so radically different, and batting power and pitching speed (instead of pitching skill) are emphasized so much today.
Review Fix: What are your goals for this book?
Billington: My goal is to provide those that remember and have an interest in this team with the kind of information and detail that was never provided back in the sixteen team era. To cover an historic mid-century team with the precision that today’s media (electronic, print, social, etc) would do so.
Review Fix: What’s next for you?
Billington: I have some other ideas about historic teams from the 20th century which McFarland has encouraged me to undertake.
Review Fix: Anything else you’d like to add?
Billington: There is a great deal of media attention on this work. I have been on national radio outlets twice, cable television once, and will soon be on PBS with it.