Managers are an interesting breed. Their job security is virtually non-existent from the day they are hired, and they are second guessed on a regular basis. No matter what moves they make on the field, someone in the stands, on the team or in the front office will disagree with them. Like with most things in life, the cream of the crop usually rises to the top and Buck Showalter is no exception. Everywhere he has managed he has had some sort of measured success, but has never been able to make it all the way to the World Series. His most recent stop with the Baltimore Orioles to date has been without a doubt successful and will more than likely get him his ring. Today’s book takes a look at the methods, both on and off the field, that have brought the Orioles out of the basement of the A.L. East.
Skipper Supreme takes the reader through a journey that Orioles fans are ecstatic that they have been able to be a part of. It shows how Buck Showalter’s people skills and feel for the game have rebuilt a franchise that was bottom feeding for a long time. Much like fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates, the people in Baltimore were desperate for some light at the end of Camden Yards and with Buck at the helm the finally got one.
This book shows reader step by step how methodically Baltimore has re-built themselves into a serious contender. How through strong historical values, smart personnel moves and a little luck, this group of players have breathed life back into the city of Baltimore. The Orioles are the poster children for a good mix between old school baseball thinking and new school metrics.
If you are a fan of the Orioles, this book is right up your alley. 99% of the book is about the O’s march back to respectability. If you are looking for a full-on autobiography on Buck Showalter you will be disappointed. They don’t in any detail touch on his time with the New York Yankees, Arizona Diamondbacks or Texas Rangers. They are mentioned in passing but nothing of great substance. This book is all Baltimore …..all the time.
Considering the authors are both Baltimore writers I get the reasoning as to why the book is this way. It is their hometown civic pride shining through. The Orioles finally have a team worth talking about and they don’t want them getting lost in the story lines of the larger market teams. Buck Showalter should be highly commended for his turnaround of that franchise and the authors do a very nice job of giving him and his players the credit they deserve. Orioles fans will enjoy their time spent reading this book, without question. Now next, I would like to see someone write a true Buck Showalter biography and give us some more details about the Skipper Supreme.
You can get this book from the nice folks at Sports Publishing
Baseball lifers are a tough breed. When you find one in this day and age, look at what they have witnessed. They have seen the game go from small wages and managements sole control to a strong players union and skyrocketing salaries. They have seen stadiums come and go, the passing of legends and friends as well as their game becoming a big business. On the flip side of all this, baseball lifers have the opportunity to share some great stories. Today’s book is no exception to the fact that there are lots of stories just waiting to be told.
This book is a re-issue of the book that first came out from another publisher in 2011. Eddie Robinson walks you through his baseball career, first as a player and then as a general manager in the major leagues. He has been witness to some great moments in baseball history from both sides of the fence. He also states that he has never worked a day in his life, because he has been lucky enough to be involved in the game he dearly loves.
Robinson takes you through his playing career, overcoming challenges to make his dreams come true and become a big league player. He was blessed enough played in an era with some of the games all-time greats and was able to have his career coincide with great moments in history. He had a respectable career that would make any mother proud, it was by far not Hall of Fame worthy, but he still achieved his dreams.
After his playing career ended, Robinson entered the business side of baseball. Most notably becoming general Manager for both the Texas Rangers and Atlanta Braves. He tells some great stories of happenings at each stop and again he got to witness some great things such as Hank Aaron’s 715th Home Run. If you could have a charmed life as a General Manager, this may just be it.
One thing I could not shake with this book the entire time I was reading it was Robinson’s attitude. While telling stories about his playing career, I almost got the feeling that Eddie thought he was much better than the world ever gave him credit for. Essentially he felt that he was slighted because of the era he played in because it contained so many great players. This vibe carried over into his General Managers days and for me it just put a negative feel to some parts of the book. By far this is not a bad book, I just felt uncomfortable as the stories progressed, mainly because Robinson always seemed to feel slighted in some way.
Fans regardless of the team allegiance will enjoy this book. It is a lot of stories from baseball’s golden age as well as stories from the years baseball underwent great changes. There are no earth shattering stories, just a basic autobiography from someone who has really enjoyed his multi-faceted life within the game of baseball.
You can get this book from the nice folks at the University of Nebraska Press
Before I read this book I had what I thought was a pretty accurate opinion of Al Oliver. As a player, I felt he was often overlooked in terms of the quality of his play and his final career numbers. As a person I felt he came off as a grumpy guy. The personality take was based on the very limited media exposure I saw of him when he played for the Phillies briefly near the end of his career in 1984. He just came off as a guy who wasn’t very friendly when interviewed. After reading todays book it looks like I was wrong about Ol’ Scoop.
This book pleasantly surprised me. Al Oliver really delivered with a pleasant account of his life, career and faith. He goes into great detail giving you the inside “scoop” on his childhood, friends and family life. You get an honest glimpse of the man himself outside of baseball. He is like any other human being on this earth with family issues. He does not hide from any of the issues (good or bad) and shows how his faith has made him a better person and guided him through these issues. As far as the man himself goes, this book has improved my personal perception of Al Oliver. He really wasn’t the grump that came across on the TV screen. He was just very intense and a somewhat private person.
On the career side of things I always knew Al Oliver was a good player. I just never realized how good. The book has several detailed pages of his hitting and fielding stats. Which leads me to my next question, why has he been overlooked so long for the Hall of Fame? With the types of numbers Oliver put up during his career, which are better than some of the others that have already made the Hall during his era, it makes me wonder why. Al Oliver also I think has the same questions in the book, but it is not a bitter former player asking why. He has said several times in the book if it is God’s will then it will be. Which is a great attitude and belief to have if you are in his position. It again shows his strength in his own faith.
Getting back to the question of why hasn’t Al Oliver made the Hall of Fame. I have no idea personally as to why. The man’s numbers speak for themself. With career numbers like this, he belongs in the Hall. Which now leads to another sticky topic of the Hall of Fame being a popularity contest with the writers. Perhaps several of the writers that would have voted for Al, got the same impression of him that I had previously. Perhaps some of those writers should read this book and get perspective on who the man actually is. Perhaps it would put some long-held grudges to rest.
Overall I enjoyed this book. It was a very quick read that I finished in an afternoon. The book is very heavy on pictures but gives you a comprehensive look in to his personal and professional life. Baseball fans that were around when Al played should really enjoy it. The book is being release on 9/30/14 and is available from two sources that I know of:
From the publisher at http://www.vippublishing,com
or direct from Al oliver at http://www.al-oliver.com where I think you can get a signed copy.