I have reviewed several books from Clerisy Press here on the Bookcase in the past. Every book we looked at was tied to the Cincinnati Reds, and there long and glorious history. They have done a great job with the Reds series and always allow fans to get detailed and complete stories. Now I have some other offerings from the same publisher that helps fans make sure they can enjoy the baseball season every single day of the year.
John Snyder and Clerisy Press have created this oddball series of books that are a lot of fun for fans of each individual baseball team. Birthdays, stadium milestones, historical team events, team personnel as well as any other thing to mark a historical occasion or event in your teams history are captured here.
Each book has been broken down to into date format so you can see what happened on any particular date. So readers can read it in various ways. You can sit down and read the book at one shot or you can read a page a day and spread the fun out through the entire year. Readers can even pick certain days they want to check out, like your birthday, wife’s birthday, anniversary, dog’s birthday, tax day, the possibilities are endless to make the book fun for the readers. It allows the fan to make sure every day even during the off-season, has a little baseball in it.
I also think books like this are a great learning tools for new fans. They allow you to get team history in a fun and interesting way. They are a basic history lesson of the team in small bites, so you are actually learning something without realizing it. When did the Cardinals set a major league record for using the most pitchers in a shutout? How are the Dodgers involved in the only foul ball fatality? How many managers did the Red Sox have in 1907? When was the longest game at Wrigley Field…..and no it was not 1979? These are the fun things you will get in each of these books, and John Snyder has hit a home run with research and attention to detail which allows him to bring forth to the fans informative, enjoyable and fun books.
You can get all of these books from the nice folks at Clerisy Press
I was well aware of George Altman’s Major League Baseball career before I read this book. I have seen the stats from when he played in Chicago, St Louis and New York. To say they were average at best is fair. He never played for a pennant winner and was hard pressed to even play for a team that was in the first division. Again, he was a serviceable player whom had an average career. All of that being said this book opened my eyes to what a remarkable career he really did have after all.
George Altman-My Journey from the Negro Leagues to the Majors and Beyond
By:George Altman and Lew Freedman- 2013 McFarland Publishing
I was genuinely surprised by the journey George had throughout his career. This book starts like an other baseball autobiography we come across. You get the family background and the stories from childhood. After a few stories about college George moves on to the Negro Leagues under the tutelage of Buck O’Neil. After one season with the Monarchs which it seems he really enjoyed, you move along with George to the MLB and his stops in the minors. The book gives great insight of what it was like to be a player in minor league baseball during the era. It shows you the steps that needed to be taken in that era to make it to the big time. It also shows the bigotry that still existed during that era in our society which found George as well.
Finally George makes it to the majors and you see how his journey evolves. The reader learns how he adapted to the big time and how he worked on his game and battled through injury to become a better player. Sometimes it worked and other times it didn’t, yet you get the complete picture of the whole process that George went through in his own words. Eventually, you see the decline and eventual end of George’s American baseball career and the closing of one door and the opening of another……on another continent.
This is the point of the book that I found most interesting. Most of the time when a player leaves the American baseball scene for the Japanese league you know about it. I may be the only one that didn’t know about George’s incredible career in Japan but I was amazed at his career over there. He worked very hard to adapt to the culture and be an accepted guest in the country while honing his craft. He truly had a remarkable career over in Japan and it seems that this may be some of the most enjoyable time George spent playing baseball.
After some injuries and health problems, you see how George prepared for, and adapted to life after baseball. He had a remarkable journey through three leagues and seems very thankful for his experiences and the people he has met along the way. From what I have seen it takes a special person to play and adapt to the two premiere baseball leagues in the world. Actually George played in three leagues of that caliber, if you include the Negro League, and looks to have enjoyed every minute through his incredible journey.
I think all fans that know of George and his career will enjoy this book. It gives an honest glimpse in to the man himself as well as the career he had. It is well written and is a quick read, I just wish it had a few more pictures.
You can get this book from the nice folks at
McFarland Publishing 800-253-2187
I have grown up and spent my entire life as a born and bred Phillies fan. I think my Father tried lots of times to make my first words Richie Ashburn needs to be in the Hall of Fame. But that is my team good or bad, rich or poor, pretty or ugly……That’s the girl I went to the prom with and that’s who I’m leaving with………even though they are really really really bad this year……but thats another topic.
I thought it would be a good idea since you know just a little background on me as a fan to start with a team that is close to my heart and I chose this one because the subject has always been a lightning rod to comments and controversy no matter what town he played in……. so without further ado……today’s book is……..
CRASH: The Life and Times of Dick Allen
By Dick Allen and Tim Whitaker (1989)
If I hadn’t mentioned before I grew up in the Philadelphia suburbs and being a Phillies fan you always heard the Dick-Don’t call me Richie-Allen stories. Now his first tour of duty with the Phils was a little before my time but I do remember the second tour in 75 & 76. As with most things in life as time goes by the stories grow grander and the acts more outlandish. But the overall impression I got with this book is Dick Allen just wanted to be left alone to play Baseball.
The story seems to be told to Tim Whitaker in sort of a third person format with visits with Dick and family members and friends. As the book progresses you feel the stories from Dick coming forth a little easier and him being more open about what he wanted when he played from management and the owners to the people around him in his everyday life. This format seems to work good for this book because its flows better than I think Dick trying to explain this in a first person account.
The book is only 189 pages and moves very quickly from chapter to chapter in nice tidy little nuggets. It starts with The Frank Thomas Incident (fight) with the Phillies, to his time in the minors dealing with racial issues, back to the Phillies and dealing with the press and the team, to being traded several times to back to the Phillies for Round 2 to his life after Baseball. Like I said it moves very quickly and has very tidy chapters leaving no loose ends.
As far as a biography goes its a very easy read I did it in two nights on the couch. The end result of this book for me was that I came away feeling that Dick Allen is not the A$$-h*le that the media had portrayed him as while I was growing up. He came across as thoughtful and insightful and just an everyday person who was thrust in to the spotlight that really didn’t want to be. By the end of the book you see Dick as a guy who is just living an average everyday life working on his horse farm and enjoying what he is doing. He seems to have no career regrets except maybe he just wishes he was left alone to play the game he loved.
In the end this book changed my perception of Dick Allen for the positive. He wasn’t out to change the world or fight the system or raise awareness to his cause…..He just wanted to be left alone to play. So if you have any interest in Dick Allen this may be a worthwhile read for you. I have met many former Phillies players through the years but have not met him but even though its contradictory to the whole premise of the book and his aversion to stardom I would now like to meet him and shake his hand,
And just a little note if you are as big Phillies fans as me and my wife are……….of course we have a cat name Phillie !!!!
Hopefully these posts will be a little better as I go along but hopefully its not to bad for the first review and it makes some sense