Public Bonehead, Private Hero is a great American story of baseball’s Fred Merkle, who was at the confluence of Progressive Era history and baseball legend. The book sets the stage historically and then recounts the most famous play in baseball history. A young New York Giant, Fred Merkle, walks off the base path after the apparent end of a hotly contested game only to be ruled out later on a rarely enforced technicality. The Giants cried foul. The press focused all of its muckraking venom on the unfortunate Fred Merkle and christened him bonehead for the remainder of his life; insuring his fame as baseball’s number one scapegoat.
Public Bonehead, Private Hero reveals how baseball fans and the press never tired of recounting the bonehead episode and seeing Merkle relive the ignominy. The book discloses that the cartoon character that was Fred Merkle in the public eye was the opposite of the sensitive, intelligent man who went on with his life and career with courage and determination. Who was Fred Merkle and how his story resonates with our own struggles is the heart and soul of this work by journalist and Merkle fan Mike Cameron.