Summer of ’49
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$32.95 Paper, 418 pp.
Finalist for the
Debate still rages on about who invented baseball. But one thing is certain...it was alive and fractious in southwestern Ontario in the summer of 1949.
It was a remarkable summer. For Charlie Hodge, just finishing his last year of high school, the summer of 1949 begins with great fanfare and excitement. He has made the Galt Terriers’ roster and will be riding the bench with a star-studded team, many of whom had played with the major leagues. When those seasoned pros arrive in town, big things are expected, and they don’t disappoint. There is the towering home run that Goody Rosen hits into the Grand River; the frozen baseball scheme that backfires; and the busload of promotional cooking oil hijacked just before game time. It all comes down to Game 7 in the Terriers’ semi-final series with the Brantford Red Sox, when a convicted gambler, playing centre field that night, makes one of the most controversial plays ever seen at Dickson Park.
Based on exhaustive research and extensive interviews, David Menary recreates that post-war season in Terrier Town through the eyes of Charlie Hodge. While Charlie is a fictional character, the other players are not. This is a story that will resonate with young and old alike, baseball fans or not. This is a team that became a vital part of the town, and the town an elemental part of the team. This is a time rapidly fading from memory — a summer of myths and legends. This is a story of how life could be in the small southwestern town of Galt. And all this is our heritage.
Journalist David Menary, a former newspaper sports editor and teacher, has a passion for uncovering a good Canadian story. His enthusiasm is evident on every page.
“The historical facts and rich heritage captured in Terrier Town are remarkable, but what really makes it a worthwhile read is the genuine passion for baseball that jumps out of every page. It makes you want to take today’s baseball cards out of your safe deposit box, clip them onto the spokes of your bicycle, and ride down to the nearest sandlot.”
— Tom Valcke, President & CEO Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum
“Terrier Town: Summer of ’49 is a story that does not end when the leaves turn. David Menary has diligently traced back over fifty years to tell the story of Charlie Hodge, the fictional narrator, and his year with the real-life Galt Terriers. The tale centres on historic Dickson Park, where Charlie met both the characters and legendary players involved with the Terriers. Nostalgic and entertaining, Menary has touched all the bases in this inside-the-province home run.”
— Bob Elliott, The Toronto Sun
“This book is a must-read for all baseball fans, whether your interest lies in the major leagues or at the Intercounty and minor-league levels. The author has successfully captured what grass-roots baseball is all about and what a high-calibre league the Intercounty Major was and still is today. Baseball has been a large part of our family for many years, as each of my children played the game during their youth. In fact, few people know that Wayne’s favourite sport was actually baseball, not hockey. I spent several enjoyable years as a part-owner of the Brantford Red Sox and came to realize just how good the league was.”
Author David Menary has done an outstanding job in his research of the league during this era.”
— Walter Gretzky
“This is about much more than Galt in the summer of ’49. It’s about baseball both as played and as a long tale within the history of southcentral Ontario, the game’s Canadian heartland. It’s also about a family after World War II, and about able players, proud towns, and the idling excitement of a summer game, recalled by an evocative author whose prose reminded me of Roger Kahn’s famous The Boys of Summer.”
— Douglas M. Fisher, freelance journalist