Just received this great review of Wee Willie from author Jimmy Keenan "All baseball fans can appreciate a story about a young man from small town America who goes on to become the winningest left-handed pitcher in St. Louis Cardinals history. Author John Coulson meticulously chronicles such a saga in his 388-page masterpiece Wee Willie Sherdel. Insightful historical references along with in-depth baseball research are highlighted in this superb literary endeavor. Coulson’s t...alent for clear concise prose along with his phenomenal knowledge of the subject matter comes forth on every page. Detailed information on Sherdel’s teammates, managers and club executives provide the reader with a unique perspective of the mechanisms of baseball during the early decades of the 20th century. Sherdel family history and stories that occurred off the diamond add even more insight into the life of this early baseball star. Thanks to the brilliant work of author John Coulson new generations of baseball enthusiasts are able to read about Wee Willie Sherdel, a good family man who was successful in both baseball and life. I highly recommend this book; it is informative, interesting and extremely well-written."
Keenan is the author of The Lystons: A Story of One Baltimore Family and Our National Pastime. The Life, Times and Tragic Death of Pitcher Win Mercer and The Lyston Brothers: A Journey Through 19th Century Baseball.
Nice review from Foreword Clarion Reviews
"A meticulously researched labor of love, [Wee Willie] is packed with generous helpings of era-specific details."
I am excited to report what the prestigious Kirkus Reviews wrote about my book "Wee Willie Sherdel."
"In his ambitious work, Coulson combines journalistic thoroughness with an infectious enthusiasm for the subject. He captures not only Sherdel's athletic success, but also the history of the sport's development and the nation's embrace of it... well-crafted... meticulously researched account of baseball history... a treat for bookish, die-hard Cardinals fans."
I bet you didn't know that the character of Wee Willie Sherdel was portrayed by former major leaguer and television actor Johnny Beradino in a 1952 movie about the life of Hall of Fame pitcher Grover Cleveland Alexander. The film was called The Winning Team starring future president Ronald Reagan as Alexander and Doris Day as his wife. Beradino is seen talking with Reagan in the bullpen before Alexander is called in to pitch in the 7th game of the 1926 World Series. Beradino went on to play Dr. Steve Hardy in the long-running soap opera General Hospital.
In 1926, the Cardinals defeated the Yankees in the World Series. Willie Sherdel along with Hall of Famers Jess Haines and Grover Cleveland Alexander were the pitching staff aces. The following May, Charles Lindbergh presented a World Series ring to Sherdel and the other Redbirds. Lindbergh was an American hero. He had just completed his record-breaking trans-Atlantic flight within the previous month. His flight was financed by several St. Louis businessmen and he named his plane "The Spirit of St. Louis."
The first thing to share about Wee Willie is his amazing career with the St. Louis Cardinals. Most people do not realize he still holds the record for most career wins by a left-handed pitcher - that's after retiring in 1932 over 85 years ago. Besides most lefty wins, he ranks fourth all-time in wins behind Bob Gibson, Bill Doak and Bob Forsch. Also, Sherdel ranks third in most games pitched and fourth in most innings pitched. As a hitter Wee Willie has the fourth most career home runs by a pitcher. His .337 batting average in 1923 ranks fifth. Sherdel's humility prevented him from bragging about his accomplishments.
Hello Everyone! This is my first blog post. I think it is appropriate to start my blogs by answering the question of why write a book about Wee Willie Sherdel. The obvious answer is that very few people know of his amazing baseball career.
Willie Sherdel lived most of his life in the Hanover, Pennsylvania, vicinity. He was born in Midway, grew up in Hanover and lived most of his adult life in McSherrystown. While I was growing up, I knew of Sherdel but not much was ever discussed. During my senior year in high school, he died. When I decided to write my first book on the Hanover Raiders, I dedicated a chapter to Sherdel and realized his life was a wonderful secret that needed to be shared. During his lifetime, Willie was so quiet and unassuming that most people did not know his incredible story.
As I thought about writing another book, I could not escape the need to tell Sherdel's story. It helped that I had developed a friendship with Willie's grandson, John. My research included many old newspapers from the St. Louis and Hanover area. Sherdel's story became even more interesting. The book almost wrote itself. I only hope that this story reaches a wide audience and that Sherdel's incredible life and accomplishments can live on through future generations.
In the next few blogs, I will share a few of the things that people do not know about Wee Willie Sherdel and hopefully encourage you to buy my book. Thanks!