Lawrence S. Ritter
was an American
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...
A writer is a person who produces literature, such as novels, short stories, plays, screenplays, poetry, or other literary art. Skilled writers are able to use language to portray ideas and images....
whose specialties were economics and baseball.
Ritter was a professor of economics and finance, and chairman of the Department of Finance at the Graduate School of Business Administration of New York University
New York University is a private, nonsectarian research university based in New York City. NYU's main campus is situated in the Greenwich Village section of Manhattan...
. He also edited the academic periodical Journal of Finance
The Journal of Finance is a peer-reviewed academic journal published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the American Finance Association. It was established in 1946. Its current editors are Campbell R. Harvey and John R. Graham...
from 1964 to 1966. He died at age 81 in New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...
. His book, Principles of Money, Banking, and Financial Markets,
coauthored with William L. Silber and Gregory F. Udell, has gone through twelve editions and has been a standard college text since it was first published in 1974.
But Ritter is arguably best known for writing one of the most famous sports books of all time, The Glory of Their Times
The Glory of Their Times: The Story Of The Early Days Of Baseball Told By The Men Who Played It is a book, edited by Lawrence Ritter, telling the stories of early 20th century baseball...
(1966, updated 1984). He collaborated with another baseball historian, Donald Honig
Donald Martin Honig is a novelist, historian and editor who mostly writes about baseball.While a member of the Bobo Newsom Memorial Society, an informal group of writers, Honig attempted to get Lawrence Ritter to write a sequel to The Glory of their Times. Ritter declined but gave Honig his blessing...
, on The Image of Their Greatness
(1979) and The 100 Greatest Baseball Players of All Time
(1981, featuring several players who would later be dropped in favor of new players on several later all-time greats lists).
In researching The Glory of Their Times
, Ritter travelled 75,000 miles to interview his subjects, sitting for hours listening to them tell their tales into his tape recorder. Ritter's "Existential" style of interviewing was to allow his subjects to reminisce freely, rarely prodding or probing them on anything. No questions about specific games. No questions about what it was like to face certain players. Ritter's technique was to get his interviewee comfortable around him, to turn the tape-recorder on, and shut up while his subjects spoke. Ritter's style elicited responses that other reporters never reach with questions. His most difficult "find" was Sam Crawford
Samuel Earl Crawford , nicknamed "Wahoo Sam", was a Major League Baseball player who played outfield for the Cincinnati Reds and Detroit Tigers. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1957....
, who shared the outfield with Ty Cobb
Tyrus Raymond "Ty" Cobb , nicknamed "The Georgia Peach," was an American Major League Baseball outfielder. He was born in Narrows, Georgia...
in Detroit. After being given only cryptic hints about where he might find Crawford, i.e., "drive between 175 and 225 miles north of Los Angeles", Crawford's wife told Ritter, "and you'll be warm" - Ritter ended up in Baywood Park
Baywood-Los Osos is an unincorporated area located in western San Luis Obispo County, California, U.S., near the city of San Luis Obispo. The population was 14,351 at the 2000 census...
, California where his inquiries yielded nothing. After several days, he sat in a laundromat watching his clothes spin beside an old man. Ritter asked him if he knew anything about Sam Crawford, the old ball player. The man replied, "Well I should hope so. Bein' as I'm him."
- The Glory of Their Times: The Story of the Early Days of Baseball Told by the Men who Played it, Published by Harpercollins 1992, ISBN 0688112730 9780688112738, 384 pages
- The 100 Greatest Baseball Players of All Time, Published by Crown Publishers 1981, ISBN 0517543001 9780517543009, 273 pages
- Lost Ballparks: A Celebration of Baseball's Legendary Fields, Published by Penguin Group 1992, ISBN 0-670-83811-X 9780670838110, 210 pages
- The image of their greatness: an illustrated history of baseball from 1900 to the present, Published by Crown Trade Paperbacks 1992, ISBN 0517587289 9780517587287, 438 pages
- Principles of Money, Banking, and Financial Markets, Published by Basic Books, 1974–1989; Harper Collins, 1991–1997; Addison Wesley 2000-2009 ISBN 0-321-33919-3 978-0-321-33919-5, 617 pages
- Money and economic activity: readings in money and banking, Published by Houghton Mifflin 1961, 457 pages
- Leagues Apart: The Men and Times of the Negro Baseball Leagues by Lawrence S. Ritter, January 1999 HarperCollins Publishers ISBN 0688166938