Baseball is all about families. It brings them together as fans of a team, it can also tear them apart as fans of opposite teams. Regardless of those facts it is still about family. Baseball is also known for the families within the game. The Boone’s, the Bragan’s, the DiMaggio’s and the Griffey’s are just a few of the families that have played the game. One of the games more prominent families has been the Boyer’s. Most people think of just three brothers that were a part of the game. But in reality that is just scratching the surface and today’s book takes a look at the entire talented family.
If I have said it once, I have said it a thousand times. I am a sucker for a good Lew Freedman book. I enjoy his writing style and think he has a knack for writing about under-appreciated subjects. The Boyer’s are no different. For the amount of skill that came out of one family they are not covered as much as one might think. Most coverage is of the most successful player of the bunch Ken, but their family story has a lot to offer.
In reality the Boyer’s offered the world seven baseball players. Each one possessed skill sets to varying degrees but due to injuries, some careers may have been cut short. How many of us even knew about Lynn or Ron Boyer being related to the famous Boyer brothers. I know I sure didn’t so this book was a real eye opener for me.
Lew Freedman walks the reader through the Boyer’s western Missouri upbringing and how they functioned as a family unit. You see each of the brothers nurture their craft and become successful in their chosen game. While some baseball careers may not have worked out as expected, you still get to see how they helped each other grow and in their own ways pushed each other to be better. Its interesting to see how the brothers enriched each others lives and inadvertently made each other better players.
Freedman has another winner in a sometimes overlooked subject. The Boyer story is an interesting and important part of what makes the game of baseball so great. All fans should check this out, it is a really nice story that shows how intertwined both baseball and the family unit actually are.
You can get this book from the nice folks at McFarland
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
As you go through life, even if you don’t want to admit it, luck plays a big part. As the old saying goes I would rather be lucky than good any day of the week. For some people timing and opportunity is everything. It allows them to reach beyond their God-given talents and cross paths with the people who possess incredible talent and skills. Such is the case with today’s book, proving that timing is everything.
Ask any baseball fan who their personal Hall of Fame members are and I bet you would be hard pressed to find Charlie O’Brien’s name on any of those rosters. A journeyman catcher that spent 15 years in the Major Leagues that included eight various stops around the league. Charlie was a part-time player at best appearing in 800 games over those 15 years, that averages out to about 53 games played per year, and a career .221 batting average. Now these stats are nothing to be ashamed of because Charlie got to play the game we all love for a decade and a half at the highest level. What makes his story most interesting is the pitchers Charlie was able to work with during his 15 years on the field. Charlie O’Brien was able to say that he was the catcher to no less than 13 Cy Young Award winners during his career, which is the premise for his new book.
Charlie along with co-author Doug Wedge walk the reader through the his experiences working with these pitchers. Showing how each pitcher liked to work on the mound and how Charlie would adapt to each of their styles and how he helped to motivate each one in troubled times on the field. From his start in 1985, to the end of his career, he was able to work with essentially four decades worth of various Cy Young Award winners. It is a great story of perseverance and even though it may not be a Hall of Fame career, you still can have a pretty cool experience.
Unfortunately there were some down sides to this story. You get a lot of on field stories but not too much about Charlie himself. I always like to get the personal side of a player in an autobiography. Secondly, the entire book is based around the Cy Young premise. Which is all well and good, but Charlie never played with any of these pitchers when the were winning the award, it was always before or after the fact. So basically, it is a star crossing with a Cy Young winner, but never at the right time. That being the fact, it makes the premise of the book a little bit of a stretch, but honestly it is a good tie in to grab readers.
This is in no way a bad book. It is well written and tells a very entertaining story about what it was like to work with some players that we don’t often find much written about. Charlie O’Brien should be very proud of his work on the field with these Cy Young pitchers and even though his personal statistics may not reflect the great standards of the game, his own career as well. Baseball fans should pick this up, if you can get past the lack of continuity with the Cy Young premise, you should really enjoy it.
You can get this book from the nice folks at Texas A&M University Press
I can not even the imagine the pain involved with being a fan of a team, and then one day they are gone. They cease to exist for whatever reason. Perhaps they just moved to another city or became a new franchise altogether in a new location. Being a Phillies fan my entire life I have been lucky enough, or cursed depending on how you look at it, to have them in the same place for my 40-plus years. Fans in Montreal, St.Louis and of course Washington understand the pain I am talking about, but what about Milwaukee. They had the Braves for over a decade and had sustained success in that town, then one day they were gone. Today’s book take a look at their short stay in Milwaukee and the glory that accompanied it
William Povletich has created a really entertaining and informative book. He takes an in-depth look at the Braves 13 year stay in Wisconsin, where they never had a losing season. If that wasn’t a match made in heaven for the Braves fans, what is? The author has a special passion for the Milwaukee Braves that comes through in his writing which is an enjoyable aspect of this book.
Weaving through their short stay in Milwaukee starting with their arrival from Boston, you see the move to their new home and their ascension to the World Series. You see the how the Braves were able to maintain winning seasons in their new town and able to garner some fan support of the quality players they provided for fan enjoyment. Alas, it was not to be and you see how the Braves were drawn in by Atlanta and eventually left for greener pastures.
The pictures included in this book are really great. I have read a few Braves books like this in the past and don’t ever remember seeing photos like these. One other aspect of the book that is enjoyable is the player interviews. The guys who actually played in Milwaukee during those glory years give you their take on events and how they unfolded.
Even if you have read other books about the Milwaukee Braves, you should still check this one out. This books writing style and photos give it an entirely different feel than some of the others. Each book offers different things about the same subject, and this one has earned its rightful place among them. Braves fans will not be disappointed.
You can get this book from the nice folks at the Wisconsin Historical Society Press
Nostalgia can be a wonderful thing. It can take you back to a cherished memory, or a wretched heartbreak. The beautiful thing about nostalgia is it becomes whatever you want it to be. Sometimes it becomes greater than it really was. Today’s book does just that for me.
The 1991 World Series, more accurately Game 7 of the 1991 World Series is considered by many to be an all time classic. What Game 7 means to each fan is a totally different and personal thing. To me it takes me back to my college days sitting around watching the game with all my friends. I didn’t have a dog in that World Series fight but it created a cherished memory for me that night none the less. Tonight’s choice I think is now obvious…….
Down To The Last Pitch
By:Tim Wendel – 2014
I was very surprised by this book. What I expected and what I got were two totally different things. What I expected was a book that detailed every move made in every game which I got. I also expected analyzation of all the moves that were made and ones not made, which I got as well. And also I expected the awnswers to the questions of who, what, when, where, how and why two teams that were in last place the year before wound up in the World Series. Which of course I got as well.
But what I didn’t expect was showing the reader how this World Series and those specific seven games fit into the entire realm of baseball lore in 1991. You have to remember this was fresh off the Pete Rose Scandal (Yes I think he should be in the Hall of Fame), on the doorstep of skyrocketing player salaries and not so far down the road a MLBPA strike that would cancel the 1994 World Series. The author takes you through each of these things and shows you what other events transpired during that year (1991). Then he shows you if and why it had any effect on the game of baseball itself, the World Series and any ramifications that came from those said events.
Now keep in mind this book does get written Twenty plus years after the events happened. So it makes it easier to see how each event of that season may have intertwined and created the end results. At the given time I don’t think there were very many of us thinking…”Hey we are watching something really important here”. Unless you had a time machine and could see the significance this game would have, it was just another Game 7. While they don’t come along as often as we would like we still knew, in the end, someone was going to lose and someone crowned a champion.
Whether you are a fan of the Minnesota Twins, Atlanta Braves or just enjoy the World Series as an event, you will enjoy this book. The only problems with this book for me was the talk about the passing of Kirby Puckett. The game lost a great one with that guy. That seemed a little out-of-place because you find yourself enthralled in the story and almost upbeat comparing your memories of the game to the authors writings. The only other issue I had with it was it tended to bounce around to another subject at odd times. Midway through the chapter about Game 1, it bounced to a story about the author working at USA Today three years prior. It really had no link to that part of, or even the overall story. It just seemed there was a better way to make those transitions if that was something they wanted to keep in the storyline.
Overall Tim Wendel did a good job with this book. It brought back a lot of good memories for me of that Sunday night, many moons ago when I had less grey hair. It definitely takes you back to a day long gone by and almost makes you wish you were still there when they were …….down to the last pitch.
You can get this book from the nice folks at DaCapo Press http://www.dacapopress.com