Babe’s Place-The Lives of Yankee Stadium


I am not a Yankee fan in any sense of the word, but I will acknowledge their achievements throughout history and the contributions they have made to both the game and its storied history.  The original Yankee Stadium was witness to many of the games greatest players and scores of historical moments.  With its closing a few years back, baseball lost one of its historical palaces, but I have found a book that chronicles its entire history and gives the stadium the true respect that it was due.

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By:Michael Wagner-2015

There have been a few books in the past that have made me go wow, but this one beats them all.  Author Michael Wagner starts from the stadium’s original construction and provides all sorts of details about building a stadium in the 20’s.  It covers stories about building delays, internal political struggles, how many bricks that were used and monetary costs to build the palace.  I am using that brick number to dazzle my friends when we start asking each other obscure baseball trivia.  It obviously does cover the great moments that happened there during its original incarnation and gives the reader a good feel of what the stadium was like during that early era of baseball.

Next the book takes another in-depth look at the remodeling of the stadium in the mid 1970’s.  The deconstruction and remodeling details are plentiful in this book and gives an inside look at what really went on behind the scenes during this remodeling phase.  Many of these things you will find hard to believe when you hear the  lengths they went to preserving its original heritage.  This portion of the book also covers the great moments that happened at Yankee Stadium during this second phase of its life.  This is the phase many of us are most familiar with so it was nice to relive some of those memories.

This book provides an enormous array of pictures.  From the original building of the stadium to its remodeling.  Many are from the authors private collection, and they are a unique insight to the process and how large of an undertaking it was to remodel this stadium.

Finally, one aspect I found interesting was the personal correspondence of the author attempting to get memories from those who played there.  He had success to varying degrees, but it was a fun way to see what players thought about the old girl during her prime.

It doesn’t matter if you are a New York Yankee fan or not this is a book worth checking out.  The original Yankee Stadium has given way to progress, but I personally think it should have remained and been revered in such ways that Wrigley Field and Fenway Park are today.  Old Yankee Stadium had a large historical value and this book has done a wonderful job on preserving some of the details and memories for generations to come.

You can contact Author Michael Wagner directly via email for information on how to order this great book for all baseball fans.

yankeeswinws@yahoo.com

Happy Reading

Gregg

The Game – Inside the Secret World of Major League Baseball’s Power Brokers


Baseball is in the midst of a Golden Age.  It is hard to deny they are raking on unprecedented money, getting tremendous amounts of exposure and attracting new fans from all around the world.  Now …

Source: The Game – Inside the Secret World of Major League Baseball’s Power Brokers

Two Very Similar Books That Leave Two Very Different Impressions


Most things in life are at the perspective of the person doing it.  Baseball offers many things that could be relative to the person witnessing the action, and you could have 100 people and get 100 different perspectives.  Today’s books offer essentially the same type of biography but the readers give two totally different outcomes from their authors.

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By:Richard Elliott-2016

Richard Elliott offers his biography of Clem Labine from a personal perspective.  Theirs was essentially a life long friendship that grew from hero worship as a child when Clem was still an active player, to a relationship as a trusted colleague when Clem was an instrumental member of the author’s family business.  It is an interesting transition between player and fan and adds a unique twist to the story.  It is not often you come across a story like this where the former player becomes almost a member of the family.

This book is very sentimental and has every right to be.  It is stories about the many interactions between player and young fan and how they formed an unlikely friendship. The book also allows the reader to see the fondness Elliott has for Labine still to this day, and the emotion of the author comes through strongly.  If you are looking for an in-depth bio on Labine’s career, then this one comes in a little light, but in all truth it is an enjoyable story on a personal level that really carries its own weight and worth the read.

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By:Tom Molito-2016

The next book also attempts to do the same.  Tom Molito was a die hard Mickey Mantle fan growing up and as he aged his business dealings allowed him to get close to Mantle on a personal level.  This one has the same hero adulation that the Clem Labine book does, but it also is from the perspective of a businessman.  It shows the struggle between childhood memories and hero worship, and the dark realities of an alcoholic and former hero you are trying to work with.

It gives a very interesting look into the life of Mickey Mantle during his final years and the daily struggles Mickey had with his own demons and those that his handlers had in up keeping his public persona.  The author has done a great job of being honest with the struggles he had dealing with the childhood memories and the stark truth that stared him in the face.  Fortunately for the author, there was some good memories that came from his dealings with The Mick, so all was not lost.

Both of these books offer good things for the reader.  Labine’s book I believe was intended to be just what it was, a tribute to a dear friend and since Labine’s death  it may have been a way to write the final chapter on their friendship.  The Mickey Mantle book on the other hand offers a direct look at the bleak reality of what Mickey Mantle really was near the end of his life.  I don’t think it was in any way intended to be a smear book and the authors tone throughout the book solidifies my opinion on that.   It is just one book had an easier subject to work with than the other.

Check out both books, because they are both short easy reads and give unique perspectives on both subjects.  Labine is a hard subject to find books on and this is one of the few I have found available.  Also, when was the last time you read a new and different story about Mickey Mantle, for most of us I bet it has been awhile.

Happy Reading

Gregg

 

 

The Eighth Wonder of the World-The Life of Houston’s Iconic Astrodome


Like it or not, wherever your favorite team plays is an integral part of the game experience. From unique dimensions, playing surfaces and the elements, these things can all add or detract from the overall experience.  With the birth of so many new venues over the last 25 years, the fan experience has been dramatically improved.  For the most part the previous generation of stadiums lacked ingenuity or any sort of bling and at the bare minimum left something to be desired for the fans.  The only fun part of them was the nicknames that were bestowed to several of them such as concrete doughnut and my personal favorite…..the Toilet. There was one stadium that stood out among all of these circular disappointments and stood above all the rest, The Houston Astrodome.  Its amenities were well ahead of the times and served the fans of Houston well for several decades.  Now there is a book that celebrates the creation of the iconic stadium and shows all the work that went into building the eighth wonder of the world.

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By:Robert Trumpbour & Kenneth Womack-2016

I have always looked at the Astrodome as a baseball stadium.  Never giving much thought to the other uses for this multi-purpose marvel.  First, this book takes a look at the political wrangling that it took for the city of Houston to procure a Major League team as well as some of  the promises it was required to make as part of that deal.  It shows the tireless efforts of several key figures in Houston and the many failed previous efforts of the town.  It paints a vivid picture of how much time and effort goes in to just getting a promise of a team.

The book also goes into great detail about the political obstacles the new stadium faced in Houston as well as all the engineering hurdles that had to be cleared to create something of this magnitude.  It goes into great depth to explain how the stadium was physically built to withstand the elements and how it has been able to withstand the test of time.  The authors also show the readers all of the unique attributes that were built into the stadium and you can see how forward thinking those involved with its construction truly were.

The book also addresses the many uses the Astrodome had.  From concerts, rodeos, football and countless other uses, it really lent itself to being a jack of all trades.  Like all stadiums of this era, it was a living, breathing and evolving building and changed with the needs of the times.  Finally, it does take a harsh look at the aging of the dome and how it fell victim of the current times.  In the end, the once grand palace of baseball became just another decrepit old stadium.  A stadium that no one is sure what to do with and probably at some point, like all the one time greats, will meet its demise.

The book is very comprehensive and shows those not living in Texas what the Astrodome was truly about.  It also gives a nice glimpse at Texas politics and how that works as well as the way the people of Houston have helped change their self image with the help of the dome.

While this is not a baseball only book, it still has a large chunk of Colt 45’s/Astros information.  If you have interest in old stadiums this book covers it from its beginnings to its possible near end.  It has lots of information readers will find informative and entertaining,  If like me, you were never lucky enough to visit the Astrodome, this book will surely make you wish you had.

You can get this book from the nice folks at the University of Nebraska Press

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Happy Reading

Gregg