Tagged: Arte Publico Press

The Tall Mexican – The Life of Hank Aguirre


Sometimes even the best of us get fooled.  While we try our hardest to know what we are getting ourselves into, sometimes the old bait and switch applies.  I try to have a general idea as to what I am going to read before I start a new book, but it once in a great while will be the exact opposite.  You can usually tell from the cover notes what a book is about, but then other times you are really not sure.  Today’s book is one that I feel was not quite what it was supposed to be.

By: Robert Coplay -1998

By: Robert Coplay -2000

This book was about the life of the Major League Pitcher Hank Aguirre.  A durable pitcher for his time, he put up some respectable numbers but nothing Hall of Fame worthy.  He also spent a great portion of his life after baseball dedicated to making the community around him a better place.  These are all very nice sentiments for a local hero but unfortunately for someone looking for a baseball book this one would be considered a swing and a miss.

The book does briefly touch on Hank’s baseball career in the majors as well as his upbringing in the Hispanic community.  It focuses largely on Hank’s post baseball career as a businessman and humanitarian.  It shows how he was instrumental in bringing decent jobs to the Hispanic community in Detroit during a period of economic death.  The details are great from a business standpoint and show the human side of this former baseball player.  You get a sense of great compassion for his employees and great civic pride Hank was known for.

If you’re looking for a good Baseball book this may not be the one for you.  It is light on the details of Hank’s career and very heavy on his involvement in the business and Hispanic community.  Over all it is a good book, it just misses the mark on being an actual baseball book.

You can get this book from the nice folks at Arte Publico Press

https://artepublicopress.com/product/the-tall-mexican-the-life-of-hank-aguirre-all-star-pitcher-businessman-humanitarian/

Happy Reading

Gregg

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The Orlando Cepeda Story


When one thinks of under rated players lots of guys come to mind.  When that happens, which it seems to a lot, perhaps they get overlooked for earned accolades such as the Hall of Fame.  Luckily for some of those players they get the credit they deserved, while others just get forgotten.  Orlando Cepeda was always a player I thought was overlooked.  For what ever the reasons may be he always seemed to be forgotten in the conversations about the greats of the game.  It seems since his induction to the Hall of Fame that he has finally gotten the accolades he deserves.  Today’s book takes a look at that overlooked Hall of Fame career.

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By:Bruce Markusen-2001

By far this is not a new release, but Cepeda seems to be a neglected subject in the book market.  There are only a handful of Orlando Cepeda books out there but this one stands tall among the others.  As always, Bruce Markusen does not disappoint.

Markusen’s book takes a very in-depth look at both Cepeda’s childhood and career development along with his MLB career.  From his upbringing in Puerto Rico and growing up in the shadow of his father who was a former semi-pro player to becoming a star in his own right in his homeland, you see the environment that helped shape the man.  You also get to see the immense pride that Cepeda has within himself and his country.

You next see the struggles Orlando overcomes in reaching the major leagues.  At the time he came up, there were still residual effects of segregation effecting the Latino players, so you see how Cepeda was able to overcome these obstacles as well.  From the start with the Giants in 1958, through the end with the Royals in 1974, Markusen takes us on Orlando’s journey through playing time, injuries, trades, the post season and winter ball.  It shows a very complete picture of Orlando’s career.  It also shows the reader some of the labels he was saddled with throughout the league that were not always positive.  Injuries proved troublesome for him that got him the label of lazy and others along that line.  These types of things helped keep Orlando Cepeda under rated as well.

Finally the author looks at Cepeda’s life after baseball.  It briefly talks about his time in prison and how it effected his life. The one positive that has come out of his prison time is that it seems to have changed Orlando for the positive and he has in the end turned his life around for the better.  It was also this jail time that probably led to him not getting in the Hall of Fame for as long as he did.

Markusen’s book tells a very good story about Cepeda and his life.  The only problem I have with it is that it is only 126 pages.  I would have liked to see it talk a little more about life after baseball with some more pages.  Even though it is short, it is still a very good book that paints a good picture for the readers.

You can get this book from the nice folks at Arte Publico Press

http://www.artepublicopress.com

Happy Reading

Gregg