At times, when there is greatness among us it goes unnoticed. Other times, it stirs a debate that long out lives the subject matter. Brooks Robinson certainly falls into that latter category. He is the standard of which all third baseman will be measured against. His field prowess has been known worldwide but todays book also gives a better look at the man behind the glove.
Brooks-The Biography of Brooks Robinson
By Doug Wilson – 2014 Thomas Dunne Books
The story of Brooks Robinson’s spectacular career is nothing new to seasoned baseball fans. There was nothing that would ever get by him on the field, spending his days playing the hot corner in Baltimore. From his start in 1955 to the very end in 1977, Brooks established himself as an institution in Baltimore. A career highlighted by enshrinement in Cooperstown, the true Biography of this hero among us shows he was a Hall of Famer in more way than one.
This book was way overdue as far as I am concerned. The last Brooks biography I can find was published in 1974. The author does a great job of chronicling the life of Brooks and covers the standard “back home when he was growing up” tales that you get with most books of this type. The one thing that sets this book apart from the others is you learn a great deal about the man’s personality. All I can say after reading this book is if all the stories are true, which I believe they are, than Brooks Robinson is a really really nice guy.
Right from the gate you get the sense that Brooks is genuinely a people person. From his interactions with people back home before ever reaching stardom, to his team mates, and his interaction with the fans after becoming a sure thing Hall of Fame player. He just never changed. It is almost refreshing to read the story of what a genuinely nice guy he was both on and off the field. No scandals, no affairs, no media disasters……..Just Brooks being Brooks. After reading this book I am not sure if Baltimore fans realize how lucky they were to have him for all those years. From reading this book I almost wish he was one of my friends, he seems that nice.
Doug Wilson does a great job of giving you the complete picture of the man both on an off the people. It does not feel in any way feel like an author who is just writing a hero-worship piece. The author is an Optometrist by day and a writer after hours, so going into this I was thinking it may have had a slanted view. I was wrong, it was an open and honest piece on the man. It is an in-depth, honest analysis of his playing career and from the included interviews you get the same strong results off the field. By doing some other investigating before writing this pos, just about everyone has the same feelings toward Brooks. Everybody loves him!
Being a Phillies fan I have always been subject to the who is the better third baseman question. Brooks or Mike Schmidt. They were comparable on the defensive side of the ball, but their numbers were a little different on the offensive side. I always gave the nod to Mike Schmidt just because I was a homer. After reading this I realize that they could not have more different personalities, which really should be part of that equation. Brooks really comes across as the whole package both on and off the field. My vote now goes for Brooks because you see in today’s sporting world, how important the complete package is.
Orioles fans should love this book and even fans, whose loyalties lie in other cities, will really enjoy it. The greatness of the man really shines through. Author Doug Wilson hit a home run with this one.
You can get this book from the friendly folks at Thomas Dunne Books