300 Pages, 5 1/2” x 8 1/2”
$22.95 USD
$26.95 CAD

Biography & Autobiography / Sports

Biography & Autobiography / People with Disabilities

History / United States / 20th Century


Marketing & Publicity Contact: Sarah Miniaci

  • PR campaign emphasizing book reviews, interviews, features/profiles, and excerpt placements with Philadelphia, PA and national U.S. print, online, and broadcast media (baseball/sports, history, books/culture, human interest)
  • Media appearances in Canada and the US
  • Sports magazine magazine coverage
  • Review Copies to Trade & Major Media
  • Advance Galleys with color covers
  • Also available as an eGalley
  • Facebook Advertising Campaign

To be the luckiest kid in America,

he first had to be the unluckiest



A True Story of Baseball, Magic and Murder


It was a time of Prohibition, jazz, and gangland murder, and it was baseball’s age of magic, when even Hall of Fame superstars believed that rubbing the hump of a hunchback guaranteed a hit.


Deformed for life a childhood fall from a seesaw, Hughie McLoon never grew taller than fifty inches, but destiny and snappy wit made him the most envied boy in Philadelphia — the batboy and mascot of Connie Mack’s Philadelphia Athletics. Although the A’s finished last in each of the three seasons that they rubbed Hughie’s hump and he tended their bats, McLoon became a local celebrity. He loved the crowds and they loved him back.


Graduating from disabled mascot to professional boxing manager, and running his own speakeasy while serving as a secret agent for the city’s crime-busting director of Public Safety, Hughie was the toast of Philly until one August night in 1928 when he was caught in a midnight crossfire outside his tavern. Only twenty-six years old, McLoon bled to death on Cuthbert Street. The next day, 15,000 citizens lined up to see his four-foot corpse. The age of magic was over.


A century ago an American boy in a broken body lived a leprechaun’s life and died a gangster’s death. The Short Life of Hughie McLoon is Allen Abel’s haunting and stylish biography of the most remarkable and beloved of the baseball mascots — the history of an era that will never come again.



ALLEN ABEL is the White House correspondent for Maclean’s, the former Beijing bureau chief of The Globe and Mail, the writer and on-air host of hundreds of CBC, HBO, and Discovery documentaries, and the winner of six National Magazine Awards for foreign reporting and sports writing. The Washington Post called his book Flatbush Odyssey: A Journey Through the Heart of Brooklyn “one of the best travelogues about anywhere, ever”

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