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Sunday, May 27, 2018

Book Cover


Robert Ripley wanted to play baseball nearly as much as he desired to be a successful artist. He played on sandlot teams and semi-pro teams in Santa Rosa, Calif., from 1905-1909 as a second baseman and pitcher.

He left baseball in 1909 to begin his full time artistic career as a sports illustrator in San Francisco, but he continued to dream of playing professional baseball.

In late winter 1913, he made the cross-country journey to seek fame and fortune in New York City as an illustrator. While working for the New York Globe, he tried out for the New York Giants in spring 1914 and made the team! The baseball card we created for our hero on the back cover of this book shows him taking a swing during spring training that year in Texas.

He broke his pitching arm during his debut game with the Giants, crushing his major league baseball dreams. It was back to the drawing boards and to the Globe as a full time sports illustrator, where, in 1918, he created his first Believe It or Not! cartoon based on sports, a topic he featured often through the years. Thousands of times, to be more exact.

In addition to the bevy of new facts uncovered while researching this book, I culled through more than 2,000 baseball Believe It or Not! entries currently in the Ripley archives. Many of Ripley’s original baseball drawings, which I have labeled as a “Ripley Classic,” are scattered throughout this book, interspersed with new illustrations by Ripley’s official cartoonist of today, John Graziano.

You hold in your hands a book dedicated strictly to all things baseball. It’s a journey through the weird, wacky and absolutely true world of baseball oddities and trivia. What I have always appreciated about Ripley’s Believe It or Not! is that everything presented is true and genuine! Ripley took great pride in presenting things so preposterous that their accuracy was immediately questioned. He was proven wrong only a handful of times through the years.

In keeping with the Ripley tradition, the information in this book, the first Ripley’s Believe It or Not! volume dedicated specifically to baseball, is true and genuine to the best of our knowledge. Many of the sport’s greatest journalists and statisticians have confirmed and reconfirmed the odd and unusual material presented here.

From a man who was stabbed to death by a baseball and a listing of some of baseball’s strangest superstitions to the 2007 season when no major league team won 100 games and none lost 100 games, you’ll love discovering the quirky side of baseball.

This book will reveal directly in front of you that truth is definitely more bizarre and stranger than fiction. Sit back and read it, enjoy it, but most importantly, believe it!

Tim O’Brien, Author
VP Communications,
Ripley Entertainment Inc.
December, 2007

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