I easily admit that my favorite genre of baseball books are the biographies. They help show the real person behind the player’s public image and sometimes allows fans to get an inside scoop on some events. On the other hand some of the biographies are ghost-written, self-serving and are just a ploy to both increase popularity and pocket a few extra bucks. Thankfully for readers, those books are usually evident before you ever make the mistake of buying them. Readers should also be grateful to find books like today’s autobiography, because it shows the human side of a player, flaws and all, and does not sugar coat anything.
Now we all know Eli Grba did not have a Hall of Fame baseball career by any measure but he this book shows that he is a Hall of Fame caliber person. He had a well known problem with alcohol during his playing days and subsequent years and that honestly is just the tip of the iceberg in this compelling life story.
Eli Grba walks the readers through his entire life story in this book. From his upbringing and his time labeled as a troubled youth and the multiple problems associated with that tag to the his showing promise as a stud pitcher. You see the highs and lows of his life through all of its stages and it shows his true human side. It also shows the love he had for his family, especially his mother, and how he has realized later in life the trouble and pain he has caused for those who loved him.
Grba also walks the readers through his rise through the baseball ranks and his eventual arrival to the majors. He shows us the troubles he had along the way and how alcohol was the usually the underlying theme to these issues. He also shows us how in the end, alcohol derailed his promising career and how except for a few highlights it was talent wasted.
This book is a great look at a player who has come to terms with his demons and admirably overcome them and made his life better for both himself and those around him. He talks extensively about his mother and the closeness they had and now realizes the pain he caused her over the years. Throughout the book Eli is very honest with the readers and pulls no punches about his faults and failures along the way. It is refreshing in this day and age to say anyone take responsibility for their actions, but it is even more eye opening to see a former professional athlete do it .
This is a great book for baseball fans to read. It sheds a bright light on both Eli Grba’s life and career and shows how he was able to beat those demons. Both Eli and co-author Doug Williams have made this a great story to read and a book that many people will not be able to put down. It is one of those books that people dealing with the same types of problems will be able to relate to and in the end be able to take something from it that will help them with their own struggles.
Take a look around on social media sites because you can get autographed copies direct from Eli Grba as well as getting it from the standard on-line retailers.
Check it out I don’t think you will be disappointed, because the first angel has written a first rate book.
No matter the subject of a baseball biography, there is some sort of story to be told. Some of these stories are better than others and coincide with the skill level of that particular player. Then there are stories like today’s book that come from an average player that did not put up Hall of Fame numbers, but has a Hall of Fame caliber story to tell baseball fans. A journey that took him all over North America John D’Acquisto’s new book takes a hard and honest look at his life and career and the paths it has led him down. This honest look at his own life opens up a whole new side of John that fans can appreciate.
Fastball John starts the readers on the journey of his life and shows his family roots in San Diego and his journey to become a big league pitcher. Next you learn first hand what it is like to be a first round draft pick with high expectations in a major league setting. Stops with major league teams and a few more stints in the minors are covered as well.
John D’Acquisto shows the readers the ins and outs of what being a baseball player is really like. You see the friendships, the expectations of management, contract disputes and health scares that make up a players life. What I found really interesting is how personal relationships are intertwined within this story. It gives a very intimate touch to a career that is usually unable to sustain those types of relationships. One other factor the the authors were able to incorporate into the story was how the music of the time was able to become part of the moment and permanently ingrained in the memories.
For my money the most interesting part of this story is also one of the saddest. John D’Acquisto’s life after baseball was one of accusations, falsehoods and betrayal that in the end led to some serious jail time. John eloquently tells his side of the story of the events that led up to his incarceration and his time behind bars. The sequence of events that led up to this are almost unbelievable and in the end, when you hear all the details wonder how someone could survive something of this magnitude. For what it’s worth, I believe D’Acquisto’s side of the story, it unfortunately seems to be him trusting the wrong people at the time and the justice system wanting to make an example of someone with a famous name.
Honestly, we have all read the books written by the Superstars and sometimes pass on the stories of a lower tier player. This is one of those times you need to make the effort to read the story of that player. It is a gripping story that shows the genuine side of a Major League Baseball player. He has had good times and some really bad times, but in the end Johnny D. comes across as a pretty cool guy. Loved by the fans of the San Francisco and San Diego, he has paid his dues on both sides of the fence and moved on to well earned greener pastures in his life. Take the time to read this book and you will be able to see their is still some good left in people and read a very enjoyable baseball book at the same time.
With the Hall of Fame voting coming up in a few weeks, everyone is wondering who will be next. Will it be a superstar who played on the biggest of stages every night? Or will it be someone from a small stage that had an incredible career. Only time will tell, but todays book takes a look at a player that worked day in and day out to perfect his craft on a smaller stage.
By: Rod Carew & Ira Berkow – 2010 University of Minnesota Press
Rod Carew was a sure-fire Hall of Famer, no one denies that. The only problem was, I don’t think he ever got the true recognition he deserved. Mainly due to the fact that he played some of his most productive years as a member of the Minnesota Twins. He never hit for massive power, but he still put up some incredible career numbers that punched his ticket for the Hall of Fame.
This book was first published in 1979 and was an incredible story. It was re-issued in 2010 to add the years covering the end of his career, life after baseball and his HOF induction. Carew is honest and forthright in this book, discussing his upbringing in Panama, his move to the United States, his baseball career and his marriage to white Jewish woman in the U.S.. Remember, this was during the time when interracial marriages were not accepted in our society, so you see the difficulties he had to overcome in regard to that issue. You get some insight into his career and life after baseball, but nothing earth shattering.
For the heights that tell-all player biographies have reached in the last few decades, this one is very tame. You get thorough information and what seems like honesty out of Carew but really nothing that makes you go wow I can’t believe that happened. That is always the feeling I have had about Rod Carew. A great and dedicated player that went about his business and was not interested in making waves or being a showman. Perhaps part of the book comes off this way because it was first published back in 1979. In all honesty I just think it is how Carew operates and Ira Berkow portrays the man and the player accurately. I still think as far as Hall of Famers go Carew is underrated but I don’t think anything will ever change that.
If you have any interest in Rod Carew or his baseball career this will be a very good read for you. For someone who does not seem to crave the limelight of his stardom you get a good look at the true man. Minnesota Twins and California Angels fans will also really enjoy the look at their hometown hero.
You can get this book from the nice folks at The University of Minnesota Press
Happy Reading and a safe and Merry Christmas to all my friends that hang out in the bookcase with me