We all have that one. The one that fills our summer airwaves with Baseball memories, and the one who we relate to an almost personal basis. The one I am talking about is of course your local baseball announcer. The one you spend summer after summer hearing in the background of your life. The person who is the conduit to your childhood dreams and your adult celebrations, all through the game of baseball. Each team controls their own brand of baseball. They are the ones responsible for their pre and post game shows and local telecasts. Through the years the local television teams have created some great and not so great ideas for shows, and honestly you can’t win them all anyway. In the days before 24-7 media coverage of the sport, these local shows may have been a big part of your personal contact with the team. One show seems to have stood the test of time and even the changes in the game to maintain it’s spot in the hearts of it’s many fans.
For fans of the New York Mets, Ralph Kiner and Kiner’s Korner was almost a religion. A post game show that while not big on set production value, always gave the viewers something to remember. Through the use of “Kinerism’s” Ralph endeared himself to the fans and through the use of his knowledge of the game he educated them in ways few announcers have been able to. Kiner always attempted to have the star of the game on there and friend or foe, it always made for some good interviews of which none have really survived the passage of time.
Rosenman and Karpin have taken their readers on a stroll down memory lane. Through interviews with those that worked on the show as well as those whom were interviewed at one time or another, they have been able to piece back together some of the shows history. Many of the player have fond memories of their time hanging on Kiner’s Korner and felt it was an honor to have been selected to sit and talk with Ralph. Throughout it’s history the Korner had superstars, future Hall of Famers, rookies and everyone in between take a seat on the set and it made for some very interesting television.
It is a shame there is no real video history of Kiner’s Korner available. It would show how greatly the game has changed through the decades and how the media attention and formats they use has evolved as well. Also fans of the New York Mets would clamor to get their hands on these as well. The fans in the early years of the Mets existence did not have much to look forward to, but Kiner’s Korner was always one of the lights at the end of the tunnel. It also was another showcase besides the game telecast itself where Kiner’s knowledge could shine through and enlighten the fans.
New York Mets fans will obviously want to check this out, but if you are a Ralph Kiner fan you will as well. You get a feel of what his broadcasts were truly about and a sense of what baseball telecasts were like back in the day, before we became 24/7 baseball fans.
You can get this book from the nice folks at Carrel Books
Baseball has been full of colorful characters during its existence. Players, managers, coaches owners and many other bigger than life personalities have fallen into this category. For some its an act that becomes pretty transparent, but for others it is a genuine trait. People have called these people flakes, or feeble or just plain crazy, but in the end they are probably some of the smartest people involved in the game. Using the above adjectives brings to mind Casey Stengel. The Old Professor could dazzle listeners, fans and writers alike with tall tales mixed in with his own brand of Stengelese, that in the end would make their heads spin and make them forget what the question was. Todays book is a collection of some of those masterful thoughts that help create his legacy on and off the field.
Casey Stengel was nobody’s fool in any sense of the word. He was in fact quite the genius both on and off the field. There is no reason to re-hash his baseball record because it speaks for itself, but most people dismissed him at time because of his double talking ways. This is not a new book, but has been released by Summer Game Books in 2015. What is important about this book is if you read between the lines, in Casey’s quotes you will find life lessons that almost anyone could live by. Now some of Casey’s quotes were obviously tongue in cheek comments but he had a lot of wisdom gained on the baseball trail that he shared with anyone who would listen.
This re-issue is important because these quotes still apply in today’s game. The way he treated his players and handled his team is something that carries from generation to generation and has proved effective more than once. The book also contains some interviews with some of his former players, and it shows he really cared about them becoming successful. That success was more of a personal thing, not monetary driven and he is portrayed as a caring manager and friend of the players.
Casey Stengel is a piece of American history beyond the New York Yankees and baseball itself. He has been gone for 35 years now but this book gives us the opportunity to relive his humor and showcase his personality to future generations. He should be remembered for what he accomplished on the field, his contributions to the game as well as the larger than life personality he was off the field.
Baseball fans will enjoy this. There are some funny quotes and interviews that will give the reader a chuckle. It also transports you back to a simpler time in the American Pastime.
You can get this book from the nice folks at Summer Game Books
If you are the fan of any baseball team, then at least once you have had a horrid season. The type of season that no matter what you do you can just not shake the memory. For fans of the 29 other teams in the league, they can take some pride in the fact that they are not the all-time worst…….hey that honor has to go to someone, right? Well, congratulations New York Mets fans, the honor is all yours. The proud owners of 120 losses in their inaugural season in 1962, the New York Mets set a new record for futility that has yet to be broken over 50 years later. Now there is a book that allows you to relieve the highlights, or low-lights, depending on how you look at it, of that first season.
There is a whole series of the “Tales From the Dugout of….” books available for various teams out there right now. They all follow the same basic premise of highlighting a certain team or season to the delight of that team’s fans. They are targeted to a very specific market and may not appeal to all baseball fans.
This specific book from Janet Paskin allows readers to look at the Mets 1962 season. Each chapter highlights specific moments in the season that were of historical significance. It also takes a look at player performances and antics during the season, on and off the field. The final piece of the book takes a where are they now approach and tells the reader what happened to the individual players after 1962.
Unfortunately, these are the same old stories you would hear as fans about the 1962 New York Mets. I am sure its very hard to come up with new material about a single season more than a half century later. While historical for it being the Mets first season and the record-setting loss total, nothing really historical happened within baseball. There was nothing groundbreaking that would make it a season to be remembered for all time.
If you are a Mets fan, the stories in this book you have probably heard 100 times before. That being said you will probably enjoy reading them for the 101st time. If you are not a Mets fan, this will have a hard time holding your interest, unless you really enjoy stories of ineptitude on the baseball diamond.
You can pick up this book from the nice folks at Sports Publishing
Genuine humility is a hard quality to find in baseball today. With mega money contracts and endorsement deals, being humble will cost a player some dough. In some cases overwhelming humility will lead to injustice. Sometimes that person that shows humility will just blend into the crowd, become overshadowed by the not so humble and almost be forgotten. Such is the case of our book subject we are looking at today. His own humility has led to the world sometimes overlooking the greatness he showed both on and off the field.
I am going to say I walked into this book biased. I think Gil Hodges belongs in the Hall of Fame, and it is just another in a string of dumb moves the hall has made in recent years to exclude him. This book verified many of the things that I felt in regards to Hodges as both a player and a man. He did more in his 48 years on Earth than most people who are here twice as long as Gil was.
Mort Zachter takes a look at the man behind the legend. What Gil Hodges accomplished as a player and manager is readily available out there in all the media outlets for us to research and review. The thing that makes this better than all the other Gil Hodges biographies is the stories you get about the man himself. From humble upbringings as the son of a coal miner, you see the formative years that shaped Gil Hodges personality and made him the humble man of baseball. You see how World War II shaped Gil’s life and the sacrifices he made for his country, and of course you get his baseball career in Brooklyn. Managerial stints in both Washington and New York show how Gil affected others in the way he became a teacher and helped others succeed on the field.
What I find fascinating is that Gil never really left Brooklyn. From his stint with the Dodgers until his death in 1972, Gil was just an average guy living among the people of Brooklyn. He played stick ball with the kids in the neighborhood and never felt that he should be considered a star. While this form of humility is very admirable and hard to find, it is probably what has kept him from reaching the Hall of Fame. The voters have forgotten his quiet consistency on the field and the leader he became in leading the 1969 Mets to the World Series. It is hopefully an injustice that will be corrected in the near future.
If you have read other Gil Hodges biographies that are out in the marketplace, you are still going to want to pick this one up. From the others I have read in the past, this new one by Zachter is the most comprehensive and gives some new insights into Gil as both a person and a manager. I did find it odd, the one book that I feel is the most comprehensive, is the one that I read Gil’s widow Joan Hodges did not make herself available to the author for interviews. All baseball fans will enjoy the book, especially if you have an appreciation for the pre-expansion era.
You can get this book from the nice folks at University of Nebraska Press