He was often nonchalant and unfocused, showing up minutes before a game. He was rumored to get himself ejected so he could get to the racetrack. He was feisty, and abusive towards umpires even by today's standards. And he's among the best shortstops ever to play the game. "Bad Bill" Dahlen retired having played in more games than anyone in major league history; he was in the top ten for walks, extra base hits, RBI's and stolen bases; and he led all shortstops in games, assists, putouts and double plays. He starred in both the 19th century and the deadball era, and managed as well. He's a shoo-in for the Hall of Fame, right? Wrong. Player after player with lower career ratings has been admitted, yet Dahlen has been ignored. Maybe time has clouded memories of the brilliance of this offensive dynamo and master of his position - but how much longer can it be before Bad Bill Dahlen takes his rightful place in Cooperstown?
This examination of Bill Dahlen's career as a player and manager highlights his strengths and weaknesses, personal and professional. Chronicling his achievements and placing him in context with the greats of all time, it makes a strong case that Bill Dahlen is a Hall of Fame shortstop, head and shoulders above many inductees. Seventeen chapters and 49 photographs trace his career; appendices compare his numbers to his Hall of Fame contemporaries, Hall of Fame shortstops, and list his lifetime batting and fielding statistics. Notes, a bibliography and an index are included.