If you love and respect the game of baseball and all its intricacies and nuances, you will thoroughly enjoy CARL HUBBELL: A BIOGRAPHY OF THE SCREWBALL KING, by Lowell Blaisdell. Reading Blaisdell’s self-deprecatory prologue could make a reader concerned that there really wasn’t enough information about Hubbell to write a biography, but, all fears are allayed once the book begins. Rather, it seems that Blaisdell’s training as a university history professor led him to be extremely circumspect and realistic about the amount of research he was able to do, especially considering that the media and the press weren’t as visible and as intrusive in Hubbell’s time as they are in the present. The achievements of Carl Hubbell, modest southpaw from Oklahoma, resonate today, even with the changes in the game, which Blaisdell has rigorously documented. To strike out five Hall of Famers in a row in an All-Star game and to have an ERA of 0.0 in a World Series game boggle the mind. Imagine striking out Babe Ruth on a called strike![return]Blaisdell does a thoroughly-documented and insightful job of describing the way the game was played in the 1930’s and 1940’s, such as how the MLB owners worked on making the baseball heavier with thicker cowhide and raised seams, resulting in fewer home runs and improvements in ERA’s, as well as making it easier for a screwball picture like Hubbell to have greater leverage. Additionally, Blaisdell sketches out how the Depression era changed baseball, as well, resulting in cutting down squads and giving little relief for pitchers. To save money on travel and to try and increase attendance, the emergence of double-headers and the “canceled wet-field games” extended winning streaks for teams, since they could play at home for longer times.[return]The backstory of the wins and losses that Hubbell was involved in is fascinating for its insights into the characters and their motivations and what factors were operating at the time to influence their decisions. Blaisdell supports his contention that Hubbell was a great pitcher by careful analysis and documentation. Blaisdell’s ability to look behind the statistics and re-create the game situations and the methodology that ran them is complemented by his lively writing style. Words and phrases such as “nemesis,” “heartbreaker,” “fierce struggle” add to the feeling of actually watching the game in person for the reader.[return]Carl Hubbell’s achievements are memorable, and Lowell Blaisdell does an excellent job of bolstering his thesis and making the story of this incredible pitching phenomenon memorable as well.