David Pietrusza

Last updated
David Pietrusza
Pietrusza - American Rackets-crop-a.jpg
Born (1949-11-22) November 22, 1949 (age 70)
NationalityAmerican
EducationB. A., M. A. History
Alma mater University at Albany
Occupationauthor, editor, lecturer, political commentator
Website davidpietrusza.com

David Pietrusza (born November 22, 1949 in Amsterdam, New York) is an American author and historian.

Contents

Career

David Pietrusza at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library & Museum, Hyde Park, NY David Pietrusza-FDR.jpg
David Pietrusza at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library & Museum, Hyde Park, NY

David Pietrusza has produced a number of critically acclaimed works concerning 20th century American history, including four volumes ("1920," "1960," "1948," and "1932") on presidential electoral history. He is also an expert on the 1920s and on the presidency of Calvin Coolidge and the career of Charles Evans Hughes. He has also served as a ghostwriter or "book doctor" for several successful books, including various New York Times and Amazon bestsellers.

As a noted presidential scholar, Pietrusza has been selected to serve on the Siena College Research Institute (SRI) Survey of United States Presidents and on the C-SPAN/Siena College Study of The First Ladies of The United States. He serves on the National Advisory Board of the Calvin Coolidge Presidential Foundation and previously on the Foundation's Board of Trustees.

Pietrusza holds both bachelor's and master's degrees in history from the University at Albany. He has assisted in teaching seminars at the University of Chicago Institute of Politics (David Axelrod, director) and at the William F. Buckley, Jr. Program at Yale and has served as a guest lecturer at Fordham University, The King's College (New York City) and Southeast Missouri State University.

He has spoken at the John F. Kennedy, Harry S. Truman, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Calvin Coolidge presidential libraries and museums, as well as at various universities, libraries, museums (including the Chicago History Museum, Dallas' Sixth Floor Museum, Palm Beach's Flagler Museum, and Reno's National Automobile Museum), and festivals. He has keynoted the annual birthday ceremonies at the graves of presidents Calvin Coolidge and Chester Alan Arthur and spoken at Wilton, New York's Grant Cottage, scene of the death of President Ulysses S. Grant.

Pietrusza's book "Rothstein" has been optioned on several occasions for film, television, or stage adaptation. In July 2018, Charles Matthau of the Matthau Organization optioned Pietrusza's "1920: The Year of the Six Presidents" for adaptation into a six-part television series. The project remains in development.

He has served on the City Council in Amsterdam, New York, as Vice-President of the Fulton-Montgomery Community College Foundation, and as Public Information Officer for the New York State Governor's Office of Regulatory Reform and the New York State Office of the Medicaid Inspector General. He chaired the Montgomery County (NY) Charter Revision Commission and served on the City of Amsterdam (NY) Charter Revision Commission and the Schenectady County (NY) Charter Review Committee.

Sports publishing

Prior to publishing the wide range of historical and political studies he is best noted for, Pietrusza (a varsity letterman [non-playing] in baseball at Amsterdam. NY's Wilbur H. Lynch High School) distinguished himself in the field of sports (primarily baseball) publishing. He collaborated with baseball legend Ted Williams on an autobiography called Ted Williams: My Life in Pictures. This book contained pictures of Williams throughout his life (many from his personal collection) and commentary on what each one depicted. Williams died shortly after the book was published. His Judge and Jury: The Life and Times of Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis won the CASEY Award as best baseball book of the year.

Pietrusza served as editor-in-chief of the publishing company Total Sports. He was co-editor of Total Baseball: The Official Encyclopedia of Major League Baseball and managing editor of Total Football: The Official Encyclopedia of the National Football League.

Pietrusza's original research has redefined standard opinion on both the role of Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis regarding the game's integration and the role of gambler Arnold Rothstein in the 1919 Black Sox Scandal ("On examination, much of Eight Men Out’s scenario doesn’t make sense. But it is such a well-written book you gloss over the inconsistencies. On even closer examination, many dates, many sequences of events, make even less sense. In fact, they’re impossible.")

His research and his lobbying with Veterans Committee member Ted Williams has been credited for the 1998 induction of nineteenth century infielder and manager George Davis into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

He is an Elector of the National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame. Until its purchase by the New York Mets, Pietrusza was a major shareholder in the International League's Syracuse Chiefs. He served as a commissioner of the Mountain Collegiate League, an independent collegiate league, that included teams in New York and Vermont.

Early baseball re-creations

In the 1990s, Pietrusza participated in recreations of nineteenth-century early baseball contests, including umpiring a game at Ithaca College, commemorating that institution's centennial. On June 6, 1992, along with future Official Major Baseball Historian John Thorn, he participated in a contest in Troy, New York recreating a contest between the old Troy and Worcester National League teams. Thorn and Pietrusza also participated, along with National Baseball Hall of Fame Librarian Tom Heitz and for former Dodgers and Mets first baseman Tim Harkness in a game in Lake Placid, New York recreating the mid-nineteen century phenomenon of "baseball on ice," in which players bat and field on ice. That game was later featured on ESPN.

Society for American Baseball Research

From 1993 to 1997, Pietrusza served as president of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR). During his tenure he instituted the society's donor and merchandising programs, reformed its convention site selection process, and substantially reduced budgeting for board meetings. He held the society's first international board meeting, at Monterrey, Mexico in conjunction with the Mexican Baseball Hall of Fame. His tenure saw the organization publish "The Negro Leagues Book." Aptly described as "a monumental work from the Negro Leagues Committee of the Society for American Baseball Research," it contained extensive research on Negro league rosters, standings, and biographies. He worked to ensure publication (with Turner Publishing) of a ground-breaking history of SABR. His tenure also included the institution of the "Dr. Harold and Dorothy Seymour Medal" for the best baseball history book or biography of the year and presentation of the "SABR Hero of Baseball Award" to Ted Williams and Pee Wee Reese. Following his two terms as SABR president, he served a single term as the organization's secretary.

Broadcast media

Pietrusza has been interviewed on NPR, MSNBC's "Morning Joe," SIRIUS-XM, The History Channel ("The Ultimate Guide to the Presidents"), the American Heroes Channel ("Mafia's Greatest Hits"), the Voice of America, Newsmax TV, Bloomberg Radio, the Fox News Channel, the John Batchelor Show, the Hugh Hewitt Show, AMC (The Making of the Mob: New York), GBTV, ESPN, the Fox Sports Channel, the MLB Network, The First, and Compound Media. He wrote and produced the PBS-affiliate documentary, "Local Heroes."

He has been interviewed by a range of hosts that includes Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski, Ann Compton, Glenn Beck, Neal Conan, Tim McCarver, Pat Buchanan, Ray Suarez, Susan Swain, Joe Piscopo, Barry Farber, Joe Franklin, Donna Hanover, Bill Littlefield, and Michael Malice

Pietrusza has served as a regular panelist of FoxNews.com Live, appearing with such hosts as Kimberly Guilfoyle, Jonathan Hunt, Harris Faulkner, Julie Banderas, Jamie Colby, and Patti Ann Browne. He has been a frequent guest on C-SPAN and on ESPN documentary series such as SportsCentury , You Can't Blame, and Who's Number 1?.

He has appeared on over a hundred local radio stations including such markets as New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington DC, San Francisco, Detroit, San Diego, St. Louis, Seattle, Dallas, Orlando, Cincinnati, Minneapolis, Las Vegas, and Toronto.

Podcasts

Pietrusza has appeared on numerous podcasts, including the "Matt Lewis Show Podcast," the United States World War I Centennial Commission weekly podcast, "The History Author Show," "Coffee & Markets," Jonah Goldberg's "The Remnant" podcast; Roifield Brown's London-based "10 American Presidents" (the Franklin Roosevelt and Theodore Roosevelt episodes), "10 American Elections" (the 1964 and 1948 episodes), and "Friday 15" series; Salena Zito's presidential series discussing Calvin Coolidge, Harry S Truman, and Lyndon B. Johnson; the New York State Writer's Institute video podcast, Bill Scher's "New Books in Politics" podcast for the New Books Network; the Halli Casser-Jayne Show, the Gotham Variety Podcast, and Max Sklar's "The Local Maximum," as well as discussing Arnold Rothstein on Erik Rivenes' "More Notorious: A True Crime History Podcast," Noah Brace's "Mobcast," and Harry Sultan's "The Wheels Keep Spinning."

Awards

Pietrusza's TR's Last War: Theodore Roosevelt, the Great War, and a Journey of Triumph and Tragedy won the 2019 Independent Publisher Book Awards Silver Medal for US History, was Amazon's #1 New Release in World War I Biographies, and was rated the "#1 Top Read of 2018" by the POTUS History Geeks Blog. TR's Last War achieved Finalist status for the Theodore Roosevelt Association Book Prize.

Pietrusza's 1932: The Rise of Hitler and FDR: Two Tales of Politics, Betrayal, and Unlikely Destiny won the 2017 Independent Publisher Book Awards Silver Medal for World History and was nominated for the Kirkus Book Award and the American Library Association (ALA)'s "Notable Books List" and received a Kirkus starred review.

Pietrusza's 1948: Harry Truman's Improbable Victory and the Year that Transformed America was named by the Wall Street Journal as among the Five Best Books on "Campaigns and Candidates."

His book 1960: LBJ vs JFK vs Nixon: The Epic Campaign that Forged Three Presidencies was named by ForeWord Magazine as among the best political biographies and received a Library Journal starred review.

Pietrusza's 1920: The Year of the Six Presidents received a Kirkus starred review, was honored as a Kirkus Reviews "Best Books of 2007" title, and was named an alternate selection of the History Book Club. Historian Richard Norton Smith has listed it as being among the best studies of presidential campaigns. The Wall Street Journal ("broad, fluid brush strokes . . . a brisk narrative") rated 1920 as among the Five Best Books on Political Campaigns. Cheatsheet.com ranks 1920 as among the top five "Best Books about Elections."

Pietrusza's biography of Arnold Rothstein entitled Rothstein: The Life, Times & Murder of the Criminal Genius Who Fixed the 1919 World Series was a finalist for the 2003 Edgar Award. Rothstein's audio version won an Audiofile Earphones Award.

Pietrusza's Judge and Jury, his biography of baseball's first commissioner, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, received the 1998 CASEY Award and was also a rinalist for the 1998 Seymour Medal and nominated for the NASSH Book Award.

His Lights On!: The Wild Century-Long Saga of Night Baseball was a 1997 CASEY Award finalist.

Pietrusza is the Recipient of the 2011 Excellence in Arts & Letters Award of the Alumni Association of the University at Albany and a member of the initial induction class (2015) of the Greater Amsterdam (NY) School District Hall of Fame. At the NYS Governor's Office of Regulatory Reform, he won the "Director's Award for Exceptional Achievement."

Author Michael Cinquanti's book Fifty Amsterdam NY's Top Ten Lists (2017) lists Pietrusza as among "Amsterdam's All-Time Top Ten Most Famous Residents."

Books

Written or edited by Pietrusza

Co-edited by Pietrusza

Books for younger readers

Related Research Articles

Calvin Coolidge 30th president of the United States

Calvin Coolidge was an American politician and lawyer who served as the 30th president of the United States from 1923 to 1929. A Republican lawyer from New England, born in Vermont, Coolidge worked his way up the ladder of Massachusetts state politics, eventually becoming governor of Massachusetts. His response to the Boston Police Strike of 1919 thrust him into the national spotlight and gave him a reputation as a man of decisive action. The next year, he was elected the 29th vice president of the United States, and he succeeded to the presidency upon the sudden death of Warren G. Harding in 1923. Elected in his own right in 1924, he gained a reputation as a small-government conservative and also as a man who said very little and had a rather dry sense of humor.

Kenesaw Mountain Landis American judge

Kenesaw Mountain Landis was an American jurist who served as a United States federal judge from 1905 to 1922 and the first Commissioner of Baseball from 1920 until his death. He is remembered for his handling of the Black Sox scandal, in which he expelled eight members of the Chicago White Sox from organized baseball for conspiring to lose the 1919 World Series and repeatedly refused their reinstatement requests. His firm actions and iron rule over baseball in the near quarter-century of his commissionership are generally credited with restoring public confidence in the game.

1920 United States presidential election American election

The 1920 United States presidential election was the 34th quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 2, 1920. In the first election held after the end of World War I and the first election after the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, Republican Senator Warren G. Harding of Ohio defeated Democratic Governor James M. Cox of Ohio.

Black Sox Scandal 1919 Baseball World Series scandal

The Black Sox Scandal was a Major League Baseball game-fixing scandal in which eight members of the Chicago White Sox were accused of throwing the 1919 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for money from a gambling syndicate led by Arnold Rothstein, Aiden Clayton and Aaron Nelson. Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis was appointed the first Commissioner of Baseball, with absolute control over the sport to restore its integrity.

The Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) is a membership organization dedicated to fostering the research and dissemination of the history and record of baseball primarily through the use of statistics. Established in Cooperstown, New York, on August 10, 1971 by sportswriter Bob Davids, it is based in Phoenix, Arizona. Its membership as of June 1, 2019, is 5,367.

Arnold Rothstein American crime boss who operated primarily in NYC

Arnold Rothstein, nicknamed "the Brain", was an American racketeer, businessman and gambler who became a kingpin of the Jewish mob in New York City. Rothstein was widely reputed to have organized corruption in professional athletics, including conspiring to fix the 1919 World Series. He was also a mentor of future crime bosses Lucky Luciano, Meyer Lansky, Frank Costello and numerous others.

Hal Chase American baseball player and manager

Harold Homer Chase, nicknamed "Prince Hal", was an American professional baseball first baseman and manager in Major League Baseball, widely viewed as the best fielder at his position. During his career, he played for the New York Highlanders (1905–1913), Chicago White Sox (1913–1914), Buffalo Blues (1914–1915), Cincinnati Reds (1916–1918), and New York Giants (1919).

1919 World Series

The 1919 World Series matched the American League champion Chicago White Sox against the National League champion Cincinnati Reds. Although most World Series have been of the best-of-seven format, the 1919 World Series was a best-of-nine series. Baseball decided to try the best-of-nine format partly to increase popularity of the sport and partly to generate more revenue.

George Burns (outfielder) American baseball player

George Joseph Burns was an American left fielder in Major League Baseball who spent most of his career as the leadoff hitter for the New York Giants. A soft-spoken person, he was nicknamed "Silent George" by his teammates, and he was said to be one of the best pool players ever to play major league baseball. An effective leadoff man who was revered for his plate discipline, Burns is one of only four players in major league history to lead the league in runs and walks five times each; the others are Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, and Mickey Mantle. A two-time stolen base champion, he holds the Giants franchise record for stolen bases in a single season, and held the club's career record from 1919 to 1972. At the end of his career, his 1262 games in left field ranked eighth in major league history, and his total of 1844 games in the outfield ranked sixth in NL history.

John Heydler

John Arnold Heydler was an American executive in Major League Baseball. After working as a National League (NL) umpire, he was the secretary to the NL president and then became the secretary-treasurer of the NL before assuming the NL presidency himself. Heydler made early contributions to baseball recordkeeping and statistics.

Total Sports Publishing refers to a book publishing company based in Kingston, New York, that operated from 1998 to 2002. Prominent author John Thorn served as the division's publisher throughout its existence.

Robert Hugh Ferrell was an American historian and a prolific author or editor of more than 60 books on a wide range of topics, including the U.S. presidency, World War I, and U.S. foreign policy and diplomacy. One of the country's leading historians, Ferrell was widely considered the preeminent authority on the administration of Harry S. Truman, and also wrote books about half a dozen other 20th-century presidents. He was thought by many in the field to be the "dean of American diplomatic historians," a title he disavowed.

The 1920 Major League Baseball season was contested from April 14 to October 12, 1920. The Brooklyn Robins and Cleveland Indians were the regular season champions of the National League and American League, respectively. The Indians then defeated the Robins in the World Series, five games to two.

The Casey Award has been given to the best baseball book of the year since 1983. The award was begun by Mike Shannon and W.J. Harrison, editors and co-founders of “Spitball: The Literary Baseball Magazine.”

Joseph J. Sullivan American gambler

Joseph J. "Sport" Sullivan was an American bookmaker and gambler from Boston, Massachusetts who helped to initiate the 1919 Black Sox Scandal.


Gary Gillette is a baseball writer, author, and editor. He is co-editor of both the ESPN Baseball Encyclopedia and the ESPN Football Encyclopedia. For both series of books, he partnered with noted statistician Pete Palmer, as well as writers Sean Lahman and Matt Silverman.

1920 United States elections

The 1920 United States elections was held on November 2. In the aftermath of World War I, the Republican Party re-established the dominant position it lost in the 1910 and 1912 elections. This was the first election after the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the constitutional right to vote.

William Clarence Matthews

William Clarence Matthews was an early 20th-century African-American pioneer in athletics, politics and law. Born in Selma, Alabama, Matthews was enrolled at the Tuskegee Institute and, with the help of Booker T. Washington, enrolled at the Phillips Academy in 1900 and Harvard University in 1901. At Harvard, he became one of the standout baseball players, leading the team in batting average for the 1903, 1904, and 1905 seasons.

The following events occurred in October 1924:

Presidency of Calvin Coolidge

The presidency of Calvin Coolidge began on August 2, 1923, when Warren G. Harding suddenly died, and ended on March 4, 1929. A Republican from Massachusetts, Coolidge had been Vice President of the United States for 2 years, 151 days when he became the 30th President of the United States. Elected to a full four–year term in 1924, Coolidge gained a reputation as a small-government conservative. Coolidge was succeeded by Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover after the 1928 presidential election.