Tagged: closer

Who Deserves a Book?


It is a simple yet valid question, that I see pop up from time to time.  Which players really deserve a book?  What criteria have we set forth as a baseball community to answer this question?  To date, I don’t think we have answered that question, and in my honest opinion it is one that probably should will be answered.  Every player, coach, executive, umpire or whomever has a unique story to tell.  It is up to you as the discernible reader to decide which stories have merit and which ones were better lost to the passage of time.  With the help of a few unbiased reviews you can usually get a feel of what to pick up and which ones to leave alone, but there are still a ton of baseball books out there to choose from.  For my money, I like the somewhat obscure players telling me about their experiences and sharing stories that may have never been told before.  Today’s book is one of those types of books that takes a look at a life and career dedicated to baseball from someone who wasn’t a household name.

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If you asked 100 baseball fans who Skip Lockwood was my guess is a majority of those asked would not be able to answer right away.  That is okay though because baseball history is filled with those types of guys.  It is no knock on them as individuals, it is just sometimes how baseball history goes.   Lockwood will best be remembered as a serviceable journeyman closer that could eat innings and mop up when needed.  He played on some horrible teams and unfortunately what positive things came from his own career got overshadowed by the bad teams he played on.

Skip walks the reader through his life in and out of baseball.  You go through his childhood and see how he knew early own that baseball was his calling.  You see all the preparation he did to achieve this dream and the countless hours spent perfecting the trade.  Once the dream became reality and he was signed by a professional team, you see the struggles of honing his skills at the next level which led to an eventual position change and the making of a Pitcher.  It is an honest look at the game at a minor league level during that era and shows the struggles a lot of guys faced.

Next up you see the game through Lockwood’s eyes at the Major League Level.  Stops in Milwaukee, California, New York, Oakland and Boston paint a picture of the consummate professional always willing to work on the trade.  While results may not always have been what was wanted or expected, it wasn’t from lack of trying.

One aspect of this book that I found very interesting was Lockwood’s recollection of every thought and action during certain times on the field.  He gives such detail of exactly what was going through his head at that very moment.  How the ball felt, how the sweat felt, what exactly his mind was thinking and more.  Now I can’t remember what I had for breakfast yesterday, so I always find it fascinating when players have such vivid recollections as this.  It really gives an interesting look at what it is like to be out there on the mound in given situations.

If you are looking for a book that gives the reader some new stories and an honest and detailed look at what goes through your mind when you are a Major League player when they are out on the field, then you should check this book out.  It’s a nice easy read that sheds a different light on a player than what many of us are used to.  It engages the reader on a different level and provides a great insight to the game in many different ways.  So I ask again……….Who deserves a book?  Many more people than you would originally think.

You can get this book from the nice folks at Sports Publishing

Insight Pitch

Happy Reading Gregg

 

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Closer – The Inside Pitch on Saving the Game


The game of baseball is forever changing.  One could almost consider it some form of living organism.  The product is always changing and evolving into something much different from what you may have seen years before.  It could be the actual play of the game, rules or even subtle changes to position players that have become unique.  The role of the closer has been one such animal over the last 60 years or so, that has morphed itself to the forefront of the game.  If a team doesn’t have a great stopper in their bullpen, they are going nowhere quick.  Todays book takes a look at that changing role straight from the horse’s mouth.

 

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By Kevin Neary and Leigh Tobin 2013-Runing Press

This book takes a rather unique, but definitely effective approach to the role of the closer.  You get the information direct from some of the names that have defined the role throughout the years.  Starting in the 1950’s with the person whom many consider the original closer Elroy Face, to current day closing specialists like John Smoltz, you get the story of why these roles have become so important.  The book breaks down the closer role into three eras.  The beginning, the transition years and the modern era.  Each section has interviews with several of the pitchers that became closers in their careers during those periods, and how the changing role of the closer within the game affected them.

The authors have done a nice job of showing the reader how the player viewed themselves within the game.  It shows how the pitcher really fit in the game both before and after they became a closer, and how it changed their careers.  There are several Hall of Fame careers that were actually saved by becoming a closer.  Some guys had fairly succesful careers before the switch, but everyone interviewed seemed to view the switch as a positive thing for their careers.

If you want to see how the game has evolved and read some really good interviews at the same time you should check out this book.  The authors did a nice job with it and should be proud of their work.

You can get this book from the nice folks at Running Press

http://www.runningpress.com

Happy Reading

Gregg