The bad boys in Scott Longert’s “Bad Boys, Bad Times: The Cleveland Indians and Baseball in the Prewar Years, 1937-1941” don’t really sound as bad as the bad boys of today do. True, Bob Feller did get a speeding ticket back home in Iowa before the 1939 season, but the problems with Feller originated with the team.

Feller was only 17 years old and in high school when he signed with the Indians, and that was against the rules. In ordinary circumstances a team would have funneled the player through a minor league club first, to divert attention from the acquisition, but this time they didn’t take that precaution and paid a fine.

Trouble plagued the team, though. Bad-tempered pitcher Johnny Allen got in fights with umpires, left fielder Jeff Heath punched out a fan who heckled him, pitcher Johnny Broaca smacked around his pregnant wife. Possibly worst for the team, catcher Rollie Hemsley was an alcoholic who could be hostile. Until an intervention was staged, Hemsley was notorious in every city on the Indians' schedule.

In addition to their personnel, the Indians had other things to deal with in those years. The advent of night games required a sizable investment in stadium lighting against an uncertain return; fortunately, the night games proved popular, as people could go to games after work and enjoy the cool of the evening. Also, the rumblings of war meant that players were susceptible to the draft; Feller famously enlisted two days after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

“Bad Boys, Bad Times” (256 pages, softcover) costs $24.95 from Ohio University Press. Scott Longert also is the author of “No Money, No Beer, No Pennants: The Cleveland Indians and Baseball in the Great Depression. He will sign “Bad Boys, Bad Times” from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at Barnes & Noble, 7900 Mentor Ave., Mentor.

'Predator Island'

The 1924 short story “The Most Dangerous Game” has been used many times as inspiration for film and television plots. It’s used in “Predator Island,” a novel by Copley resident Douglas Ewan Cameron.

The premise here is that a group of seven billionaires have been recruited for a mysterious business opportunity. They’ll be taken to a volcanic island, where a collection of deadly animal predators will be loosed and allowed to fight each other to the death. A lion, a coyote from Copley, a leopard, a cheetah, a tiger and a couple of bears are among the contestants, along with a special surprise entry.

The billionaires include a real estate mogul, a rock star, a social media entrepreneur and a drug cartel kingpin. After the investors agree to the terms, it takes a while to set up the island with roads, water and electric systems, but with all the preparation, nobody is ready for a gang of invaders who come to hijack the game.

“Predator Island” (491 pages, softcover) costs $17.99 from online retailers. Douglas Ewan Cameron also is the author of the “Up North” mystery series, set on fictional Hibbard Pond in northern Michigan.

Events

Loganberry Books (13015 Larchmere Blvd., Shaker Heights): Joe Steele and Lisa Jones Gentry discuss “Forbidden Love: The True Love Story of a Black Priest and a White Nun,” Jones Gentry’s book about Steele’s parents’ secret relationship, 1 p.m. Sunday.

Barnes & Noble (198 Crocker Park Blvd., Westlake): John Vanek signs his Oberlin-set mystery “Miracles,” 2 p.m. Sunday.

Barberton Public Library (602 West Park Ave.): Elizabeth Mowers talks about “A Promise Remembered,” 6 to 7:30 p.m. Monday.

Hudson Library & Historical Society (96 Library St.): Therese Anne Fowler discusses “A Well-Behaved Woman: A Novel of the Vanderbilts,” 7 p.m. Monday. Register at 330-653-6658.

Cuyahoga County Public Library (Brook Park branch, 6155 Engle Road): Lindsay Bonilla reads from her storybook “Polar Bear Island,” featured in the March 24 column, 7 to 8 p.m. Monday. Register at 216-267-5250.

Akron-Summit County Public Library (Firestone Park branch, 1486 Aster Ave.): Tom Batiuk joins the Off the Page Author Series, presenting “Creating Funky Winkerbean,” 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday. Register at 330-724-2126.

Akron-Summit County Public Library (Richfield branch, 3761 Grant St.): Tim Carroll discusses “World War II Akron,” 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Wayne County Public Library (220 W. Liberty St., Wooster): Helga Long, author of “Helene: True Story of a German Girl’s Resilience Growing Up During World War II,” appears from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Kent State University Bookstore (1075 Risman Drive): A Poetry Celebration from 5 to 6 p.m. Wednesday is followed by open mic until 6:30 p.m.

Kent State University Library (1125 Risman Drive): Kent State University Press and Wick Poetry Center launches “Speak a Powerful Magic: Ten Years of the Traveling Stanzas Poetry Project,” with readings from the book’s contributors, 6:30 to 9 p.m. Wednesday. Register at kentstateuniversitypress.com.

Visible Voice Books (2258 Professor Ave., Cleveland): Cleveland native Danny Caine, joined by Ohio Poet Laureate Dave Lucas, launches his poetry collection “Continental Breakfast,” 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Akron Woman’s City Club (732 W. Exchange St.): Tim Carroll, author of “World War II Akron,” speaks at a luncheon at 12 p.m. Friday. The cost is $20; reserve at 330-762-6261. Those who wish to attend the talk only should also reserve.

Cleveland Public Library (South branch, 3096 Scranton Road): Amy Stewart, author of the Kopp Sisters mysteries, based on the true-life New Jersey sheriff Constance Kopp, signs “Miss Kopp Just Won’t Quit” and her other books, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday.

Mac’s Backs (1820 Coventry Road, Cleveland Heights): Poets David Adams, Grace Butcher and Larry Smith read from their works, 7 p.m. Wednesday; poets Cathy Barber, Martha Collins and Holly Jensen read at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Stark County District Library (Perry Sippo branch, 5710 12th St. NW, Canton): “Blood in the Water; Ink on the Page” is a one-day special event for mystery writers and readers, co-presented by Northeast Ohio Sisters in Crime. Guests include an FBI agent, cadaver and search and rescue dog demonstrations, and panels with authors Casey Daniels, who also writes as Kylie Logan, Amanda Flower, Mary Ellis, Annie Hogsett, Julie Ann Lindsey, Shelley Costa, Kathryn Long, D.M. Pulley and Jane Ann Turzillo, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday. Register at starklibrary.org.

Massillon Public Library (208 Lincoln Way East): A Local Author Fair features Kathryn Hardgrove Popio (“Cross Keys, Carpet Bag and Pen”), Don Ake (“Will There Be Free Appetizers? Musings of a Brilliant Idiot”), Lindsay Bonilla, Liza Brown, Marcus Calvert, David Craddock, Faryl, Roger Gordon, Thomas Hardesty, S.T. Hoover, Amy and Hannah Kunkle, Cat Russell, and Harper Leigh Zipay, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

Cuyahoga County Public Library (South Euclid-Lyndhurst branch, 1876 S. Green Road, South Euclid): A Publishing Poetry in Northeast Ohio event features a round table with representatives from Bottom Dog Press, Cleveland State University Press, Crisis Chronicles, Night Ballet Press, Poet’s Haven and University of Akron Press, author readings and a book fair, 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday. Register at 216-382-4880.

Learned Owl Book Shop (204 N. Main St., Hudson): Emily A. Duncan signs her fantasy “Wicked Saints,” 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday.

Streetsboro Library (18990 Kirby Lane): Tim Carroll signs “World War II Akron,” 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Advance registration: Stephanie Evanovich, whose new novel “Under the Table” is an update on “My Fair Lady,” on April 22 at Mustard Seed Market and Café in Solon, and April 23 at the North Royalton branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library. Register at 440-237-3800.

More advance notice: Also visiting April 23, at Cuyahoga County Public Library’s Parma-Snow branch, is Martha Hall Kelly, whose novel “Lilac Girls” is based on the story of 72 Polish women who were used as lab subjects at Ravensbruck Concentration Camp. On April 26, the guest will be Austin Kleon, author of “Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad,” and seats still may be available to see “MythBuster” Adam Savage, author of “Every Tool’s a Hammer: Life is What You Make It,” with a fee of $25. Register at 216-661-4240.

 

Send information about books of local interest to Lynne Sherwin, Features Department, Akron Beacon Journal, P.O. Box 640, Akron, OH 44309 or lsherwin@thebeaconjournal.com. Event notices should be sent at least two weeks in advance.