PRLog - July 26, 2011 - WILKES-BARRE, Pa. -- Pittston Sunday Dispatch Associate Editor Jack Smiles didn’t set out to write a trilogy of breaker boy-to-Baseball Hall of Fame books, but with the release last week of his biography of Hughestown’s Bucky Harris, he has accomplished just that.
Bucky Harris Senators Team
The book chronicles Bucky’s transformation from an obscure breaker boy with dirt under his nails to the toast of our nation’s capital where the president of the United States was a guest at his wedding and includes his stint as a professional basketball player, his early days as a baseball player, his 1947 world championship as manager of the Yankees, and his role in the racial integration of both the Senators and the Boston Red Sox.
The book “Bucky Harris, a Biography of Baseball’s Boy Wonder” is published by McFarland & Company. Smiles took more than two years writing and researching the book, which is 320 pages and contains 33 photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, and index.
On Wednesday, July 27, beginning at 6:30 p.m. the Hughestown Hose Company and Smiles are hosting a book release party, discussion and signing in the Hose Company banquet room.
The Hose Company agreed to host the event as Bucky was a member and played for the company’s basketball team. The book contains a photo of Bucky with the 1910 Hose Company basketball team.
While Harris is not technically a local native he was born in Port Jervis, New Jersey, in 1896 – his father moved the family here when Bucky was three and Bucky’s early life was all about the Center Street-Rock Street area of Hughestown. He grew up on Rock Street, hung out at Pete Smaltz’s Cigar Store on Center Street, worked at the no. 9 shaft, and played baseball for the St. Peter’s Lutheran Church Sunday School team.
He played with Hamtown and the Pittston Brothers on a field near the site of the Yaple Park field which is outside of the hose company’s backdoor. He also played near the site of the Pittston Area High School field which is named for him. And in the end he came back to Hughestown. He is buried in St. Peter’s Cemetery.
In the 1920 census Bucky was counted in Hughestown on Rock Street and listed as a weighmaster in a colliery.
Just four years later, at the age of 27, Bucky – aka “The Boy Wonder” – as the manager and second baseman of the Washington Senators led the team to its only World Series championship in an upset so stunning it was the inspiration for the Broadway play Damn Yankees.
McFarland – one of the leading publishers of serious works in pop culture (especially film), sports (especially baseball) and automotive history – also published Smiles’ previous biographies of Hall of Famers Pittston native Hughie Jennings and Plains native Ed Walsh.
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