Cardboard Gods: An All-American Tale Told Through Baseball by Josh Wilker

By Josh Wilker

Cardboard Gods is the memoir of Josh Wilker, a super author who has marked the levels of his existence during the baseball playing cards he accumulated as a toddler. It additionally captures the adventure of transforming into up keen about baseball playing cards and explores what it skill to be keen on the sport. alongside the way in which, as we get to grasp Josh, his relatives, and his associates, we additionally get Josh’s vintage observations concerning the crucial artifacts from his existence: the baseball playing cards themselves. Josh writes approximately an imagined correspondence together with his favourite participant, Carl Yastrzemski; he makes use of the paranormal bubble-blowing powers of journeyman Kurt Bevacqua to make clear the weakening of the strong adolescence bond along with his older brother; he considers the doomed utopian back-to-the-land desires of his hippie mom and dad opposed to the backdrop of inimitable Seventies baseball figures comparable to “Designated Pinch Runner” Herb Washington and Mark “The Bird” Fidrych. Cardboard Gods is greater than simply the tale of a guy who can’t allow move of his previous, it’s evidence that — to paraphrase Jim Bouton — as youngsters we develop up maintaining baseball playing cards yet in any case we discover that it’s quite the wrong way round.

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The more championships the Yankees won, the more major league baseball seemed a game divided not so much into leagues as into the Yankees and mere alsorans. Unless. The largest single supply of unsigned baseball talent resided in the Negro Leagues. A major league owner in Brooklyn, St. Louis, or Chicago might not be able to outscout and outspend the Yankees. But he could find and sign gifted ballplayers in places the Yankees ignored. The major league owner with the nerve to try to tap into the vein of talent in the Negro Leagues might strike gold.

Just below that grudge was another: the shortstop Brooklyn had signed was a colored guy. Reese had played enough exhibition baseball against black teams to have shucked himself of the kind of illusions that comforted racists—that blacks did not know what base to throw to, or were almost comically frightened by beanballs. Reese worried about how three years of naval duty might have battered his baseball skills. He worried that a polished college athlete, a black ballplayer who had spent the war refining his game (for Reese did not know then that Jackie Robinson had refused to play sports for a segregated army), might win the job at shortstop that had belonged to Pee Wee Reese.

Even before he left for the war, several newspapers and civic committees had called for New York’s three major league clubs to sign black ballplayers. You could not demand that blacks risk their lives for the United States, they said, without affording them the same right to earn a living as white citizens once they returned home. Jesse Owens’s gold medal strides in the 1936 Olympics, and Joe Louis standing over the felled form of Max Schmeling, had been sports victories that were taken to signify Germany’s obsession with racial purity.

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