On Sunday, April 12, author and die-hard Red Sox fan Dan Gordon spoke to a crowd of almost two-dozen people at the Central Library about his books.
Gordon has been a writer for 27 years, and for much of that time, he has been following tales and myths of haunted ballparks and strange happenings with players.
“There is nothing closer to heaven than going to ballparks night after night,” he said.
He has traveled to Japan, Cuba and Nicaragua and other countries that are “baseball crazy.”
“Japanese fans are known to bring photographs of deceased relatives to the ballparks, so their spirits can partake in the game,” he said.
Gordon recalled attending a symposium at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., when the topic turned to ghost stories in baseball.
“These two areas seem to go together naturally. Baseball honors its past more than almost any other sport. There is a generational connection that cannot be broken,” he said.
Gordon himself had never heard of any actual baseball ghost stories. Between the two books he has written, he has interviewed over 1,000 players, people in the front offices, field workers and scouts.
He started with spring training in Florida, where there are current players on the field alongside Hall of Famers.
“I met an umpire who suggested I start at Tiger Stadium for some ideas,” he said.
He confirmed that many people believe the ghost or spirit of Ty Cobb runs the bases at night, and have heard the roar of the crowd when the park is empty.
“One of the night guards claimed to feel a tap on his shoulder,” he said.
Gordon clarified that he is not a ghost hunter, but someone who seeks out the folklore and gathers stories to tell a history.
One of Gordon’s favorite stories is centered on the famous “Curse of the Bambino,” which is thought by many to have begun when the Boston Red Sox sold Babe Ruth’s contract to New York Yankees.
“In 2004, the [American League Championship Series] was between Boston and New York. The game had gone into extra innings and Big Papi [David Ortiz] was at bat. Rumor has it, Linda Ruth Tosetti [Ruth’s granddaughter] said, ‘Please, Babe, get in the bat,’ and Ortiz hit a home run,” Gordon said.
To learn more about haunted baseball, check out fieldofscreamsonline.com. For more about the programming at Cranston’s libraries, visit cranstonlibrary.org.