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
In each generation there is at least one player that transcends team allegiances. No matter where you are from or who you root for, there is a guy who everyone takes an interest in their career. Roberto Clemente, Bob Feller and several others come to mind, but the one that really stands out to me is Stan Musial. You would be hard pressed to find anyone who had a bad word to say about Stan the Man. He was a great ambassador to both the game of baseball and the St. Louis Cardinals. His legacy and outgoing personality carried him through life for the six decades after he retired. That is why going into todays book I had such high hopes for it.
High hopes sometimes in the baseball literature world can sometimes lead to disappointment. In no way was it disappointment in the subject matter, but more the writing style. I enjoy baseball biographies more than any other genre of baseball books. With that in mind I have obviously read hundreds of baseball bio’s, sometimes three, four or even seven on the same person, so I usually know what to expect in these types of books.
Stan Musial is an incredible subject for a biography. He had a great personality and always had a smile face. His career and retirement were not once touched by scandal, so Stan by that measure, is an author’s dream as far as research and a fan’s dream to read about. Wayne Stewart has made a valiant attempt to chronicle the life and career of Stan the Man. He did a very complete and accurate job on the research details on the story itself, but I think he crossed a line that is hard to walk in baseball biographies. The final story came off as more of a fan worship to his favorite player as opposed to a baseball biography.
The book for my money beleaguered many points and makes drawn out attempts in explaining the details of the story. Sometimes in a biography less can be more. Obviously when it is not a first hand story you need a ton of detail to paint a complete picture for the reader. This book unfortunately does to much of that to make sure it doesn’t miss any part of the story. When the author does that, it slows down the flow of the story and the reader feels that they are stuck in that part of the story much longer than they actually are.
Wayne Stewart on the plus side, did nice research on Stan and conducted some informative interviews, but the presentation of the story was lacking for my taste. There are a few other Stan Musial biographies out there that I feel flow better than this one. If you are a big Stan Musial fan, you more than likely will be able to overlook the slow pace of this book. I think the fan that has admired Stan the Man from afar is going to have more trouble embracing this book, like I did.
You can get this book from the nice folks at Triumph Books at the link below