When people think of the early years of baseball in the modern era, they think of players such as Hornsby, Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Cy Young, and Walter Johnson, to name a few. Sisler, inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in the Class of 1939, is not a player that immediately comes to mind even though he was involved in baseball for nearly 60 years.
Originally published in 2004 and printed in paperback for the first time in 2013, The Sizzler: George Sisler, Baseball’s Forgotten Great is written by Rick Huhn, who had access to the unpublished memoirs of the left-handed hitter.
Had it not been for sinus issues in the early 1920s that caused Sisler to miss a season, maybe he joins the 3,000 hit club instead of finishing within 200 hits of becoming a member. What makes Sisler stand out from the other greats of his era in that he’s not remembered at the same level? After all, as a hitting coach with the then-Brooklyn Dodgers and later an instructor with the Pittsburgh Pirates, he tutured many players that would end up enshrined in the halls of Cooperstown when all was said and done.
Huhn, in this definitive biography of Sisler, examines just why the first baseman is one of the least appreciated greats of the game. Is it because he’s a family man and didn’t lead a scandalous life? Is it because he was shy and didn’t really talk to the press?
In any event, Huhn gives Sisler the treatment that he deserves over the course of nearly 300 pages. I highly recommend Huhn’s bio for baseball fans, especially those with an interest in the early years of the modern era.