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Award-winning sportswriter Frank Deford has been contributing to Sports Illustrated since 1962, and has also done his share of TV and radio work, including weekly commentaries for NPR. In The Old Ball Game: How John McGraw, Christy Mathewson, and the New York Giants Created Modern Baseball, Deford trips down memory lane to the first decade of the 20th century, when the game gained serious commercial strength and distinctively captured the imagination of the American public. His primary focus is New York Giants great Christy Mathewson, a handsome, strapping, Bucknell-educated pitcher who embodied the virtues of integrity, good sportsmanship and hard work. Mathewson came to his well-earned matinee-idol persona under the tutelage of rough-and-tumble manager John McGraw. Deford adroitly describes their lives, careers, and surprisingly devoted friendship, offering along the way a vivid slice of social history.