Alum Goes to Bat for Baseball Legend

Tim Manners brings three-time World Series champion Waite Hoyt to life in “Schoolboy: The Untold Journey of a Yankees Hero”

Bringing the stories of Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Waite Hoyt to life was a task almost as large as his life itself, but when Tim Manners, A79, opened his front door to find eight boxes full of mementos from Hoyt’s life, sent by the player’s son, he knew he had to step up to the plate.

“I dragged these eight boxes upstairs and started opening them one by one, going through and finding neatly organized files of information—a mix of things like newspaper clippings, photographs, letters, and drafts of previous memoir attempts,” Manners said.

Using those materials, Manners co-authored Hoyt’s just published posthumous autobiography, Schoolboy: The Untold Journey of a Yankees Hero, which chronicles Hoyt’s journey from playing in the major leagues to becoming the voice of the Cincinnati Reds for 24 years. 

At just 15 years old, Hoyt was the then-youngest ever to sign a Major League Baseball contract—that’s how he got his nickname, the Schoolboy Wonder—but it took him a few years to debut with the New York Giants at 18. 

From there, he built a career as a pitcher for the three-time 1920s World Series champion New York Yankees, became a good friend and teammate to Babe Ruth, and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. He was the Bronx Bombers’ ace on the mound in 1927—with 256 innings clocked and a 2.63 ERA—on a team considered by some to be the best assembled in baseball history, with its 110-44 record. 

When he wasn’t recording milestone performances, he worked a side career in vaudeville to make extra money—something not unfamiliar to other major leaguers like the Great Bambino himself. 

Author Tim Manners is photographed seated next to a copy of the book.

Tim Manners, co-author of "Schoolboy," with a copy of the book. Photo: Courtesy of Tim Manners

Hoyt’s stories themselves are extraordinary, but for Manners, it was the way in which Hoyt remembered them that really stood out.

“Before he died in 1984, Hoyt had worked with some ghostwriters who really didn’t capture his voice, which is a shame because that’s what makes him so interesting,” Manners said. “He not only had these incredible experiences, but was able to retain and relay them in such vivid detail.” Manners took the same material, and has pulled off what other writers didn’t: letting Hoyt’s voice come through clearly.

Manners wanted to get the details right. He learned much about Hoyt through a decades-long business relationship and friendship with Hoyt’s son, Chris. 

“I was really worried about letting him down, because I knew how much this project meant to him,” Manners recalled. “He is a dear friend, and he had brought up the fact that his father had never finished his memoir multiple times over the 40 years that I’ve known him.”

That pressure helped motivate Manners, who began researching and writing the book during the height of the pandemic. A baseball fan with decades of experience in the writing and publishing industries, he pieced together Hoyt’s complicated life story—a tale of talent and many personal challenges, including bouts with alcoholism. 

“The moment I realized that I had something was when I found this three-ring binder full of these transcripts of interviews that he had done—and it didn’t take me long going through that,” Manners said. “I thought, ‘OK, this is going to be the backbone. This is the narrative arc of the book.’ I didn't know at that point whether everything I would need was all there or not. But I thought, well, at least this is a start.”

That start went on to become the 260-page book that hits shelves the same week as Major League Baseball’s 2024 Opening Day, more than 100 years after Hoyt won his first World Series. 

Listen to Waite Hoyt, Mel Allen, and Bob Wolff call some of 1961 World Series Game 3 between the host Cincinnati Reds and New York Yankees.

“There are a lot of people who still remember him as an announcer for the Reds,” Manners said. “If you think about it, there’s nobody alive today who could claim to remember seeing Waite pitch,” which is part of what made writing this book so special.

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