Boston Blow-Up (With Apologies to Serge Chaloff**)

I’ve done a lot of general reading about my two main interests, jazz and baseball. Histories, biographies, collections of reviews, stories and reportage, you name it. It's odd, but every once in a while in a lifetime of random reading, two unrelated subjects can intersect and lead to the very same little dot in time, like two different GPS locators of history. Over the course of thirty-five years of this indiscriminate rambling around in the past, I chanced to run across two passing references to a major event which I'd never heard of before. It had nothing to do with jazz or baseball, but came up anyway: the 1938 New England Hurricane. The first of these came in a baseball book, but didn't mention the storm by name or date. The other was in a book on jazz by Richard M. Sudhalter called "Lost Chords", from a chapter dealing with the great trumpeter Bunny Berigan. I'm woolly-headed at the best of times and not a weather buff, and because I read these two books about twenty-eight years apart, I didn't realize until recently that each story referred to the same storm, or how bad it really was. The baseball book mentioned earlier is "Baseball When the Grass Was Real" by Donald Honig. It's an oral history in which Honig looked up ballplayers who were active between 1925-45 and had them tell the stories of their careers informally. The result is a vivid portrait of baseball in that time, a wonderful, lively and informative read packed with stories of legendary characters and more [...]