Tagged: Hot Stove

Baseball’s Fallen Angel


I easily admit that my favorite genre of baseball books are the biographies.  They help show the real person behind the player’s public image and sometimes allows fans to get an inside scoop on some events.  On the other hand some of the biographies are ghost-written, self-serving and are just a ploy to both increase popularity and pocket a few extra bucks.  Thankfully for readers, those books are usually evident before you ever make the mistake of buying them.  Readers should also be grateful to find books like today’s autobiography, because it shows the human side of a player, flaws and all, and does not sugar coat anything.

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By:Eli Grba & Doug Williams-2016

Now we all know Eli Grba did not have a Hall of Fame baseball career by any measure but he this book shows that he is a Hall of Fame caliber person.  He had a well known problem with alcohol during his playing days and subsequent years and that honestly is just the tip of the iceberg in this compelling life story.

Eli Grba walks the readers through his entire life story in this book.  From his upbringing and his time labeled as a troubled youth and the multiple problems associated with that tag to the his showing promise as a stud pitcher.  You see the highs and lows of his life through all of its stages and it shows his true human side.  It also shows the love he had for his family, especially his mother, and how he has realized later in life the trouble and pain he has caused for those who loved him.

Grba also walks the readers through his rise through the baseball ranks and his eventual arrival to the majors.  He shows us the troubles he had along the way and how alcohol was the usually the underlying theme to these issues. He also shows us how in the end, alcohol derailed his promising career and how except for a few highlights it was talent wasted.

This book is a great look at a player who has come to terms with his demons and admirably overcome them and made his life better for both himself and those around him.  He talks extensively about his mother and the closeness they had and now realizes the pain he caused her over the years.  Throughout the book Eli is very honest with the readers and pulls no punches about his faults and failures along the way.  It is refreshing in this day and age to say anyone take responsibility for their actions, but it is even more eye opening to see a former professional athlete do it .

This is a great book for baseball fans to read.  It sheds a bright light on both Eli Grba’s life and career and shows how he was able to beat those demons.  Both Eli and co-author Doug Williams have made this a great story to read and a book that many people will not be able to put down.  It is one of those books that people dealing with the same types of problems will be able to relate to and in the end be able to take something from it that will help them with their own struggles.

Take a look around on social media sites because you can get autographed copies direct from Eli Grba as well as getting it from the standard on-line retailers.

Check it out I don’t think you will be disappointed, because the first angel has written a first rate book.

Happy Reading

Gregg

Babe’s Place-The Lives of Yankee Stadium


I am not a Yankee fan in any sense of the word, but I will acknowledge their achievements throughout history and the contributions they have made to both the game and its storied history.  The original Yankee Stadium was witness to many of the games greatest players and scores of historical moments.  With its closing a few years back, baseball lost one of its historical palaces, but I have found a book that chronicles its entire history and gives the stadium the true respect that it was due.

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By:Michael Wagner-2015

There have been a few books in the past that have made me go wow, but this one beats them all.  Author Michael Wagner starts from the stadium’s original construction and provides all sorts of details about building a stadium in the 20’s.  It covers stories about building delays, internal political struggles, how many bricks that were used and monetary costs to build the palace.  I am using that brick number to dazzle my friends when we start asking each other obscure baseball trivia.  It obviously does cover the great moments that happened there during its original incarnation and gives the reader a good feel of what the stadium was like during that early era of baseball.

Next the book takes another in-depth look at the remodeling of the stadium in the mid 1970’s.  The deconstruction and remodeling details are plentiful in this book and gives an inside look at what really went on behind the scenes during this remodeling phase.  Many of these things you will find hard to believe when you hear the  lengths they went to preserving its original heritage.  This portion of the book also covers the great moments that happened at Yankee Stadium during this second phase of its life.  This is the phase many of us are most familiar with so it was nice to relive some of those memories.

This book provides an enormous array of pictures.  From the original building of the stadium to its remodeling.  Many are from the authors private collection, and they are a unique insight to the process and how large of an undertaking it was to remodel this stadium.

Finally, one aspect I found interesting was the personal correspondence of the author attempting to get memories from those who played there.  He had success to varying degrees, but it was a fun way to see what players thought about the old girl during her prime.

It doesn’t matter if you are a New York Yankee fan or not this is a book worth checking out.  The original Yankee Stadium has given way to progress, but I personally think it should have remained and been revered in such ways that Wrigley Field and Fenway Park are today.  Old Yankee Stadium had a large historical value and this book has done a wonderful job on preserving some of the details and memories for generations to come.

You can contact Author Michael Wagner directly via email for information on how to order this great book for all baseball fans.

yankeeswinws@yahoo.com

Happy Reading

Gregg

Another Dumpster Fire Added to the Mix


It has been a very interesting week in American history.  First the Chicago Cubs finally won a World Series after a 108 year drought, breaking the curse of the Billy Goat.  Secondly, the Presidential election is finally over, and no matter whose side you were on, it would be hard to deny that it had its plot twists, keeping it interesting to say the least.  So now as we look into the cold, hard baseball-less Winter, we readers need to find new ways to keep ourselves entertained until Pitchers and Catchers report in February.  I figured the best way to start out the off season was to start with an undeniable dumpster fire of a book that will help keep all of us warm on those cold nights.

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By:Lenny Dykstra-2016

Growing up, Lenny Dykstra for me was the epitome of cool.  He played for my hometown Phillies and was the spark plug that ignited the team on a daily basis and his hard nosed play would excite any fan.  As the years passed rumors came to light about Lenny’s behavior off the field, but he was still our guy.  Fast forward 20 years and you see what a train wreck Dykstra made of his life and those around him that he touched.

House of Nails is Dykstra’s attempt at setting the record straight with the world.  Talking candidly about his steroid use, his financial investments and other business dealings along with his time in prison.  To some degree it is an apology to some of the people he wronged, but when you read it closer it also seems to feel like Dykstra is still trying to sell the world his program on investing strategies.

The book covers in depth his baseball career and why he thinks he was so awesome on and off the field during his day.  He also tells readers how he was wronged  by those around him and how the course of events that left him penniless and in prison, were none of his doing.  From my perspective I just don’t buy his story.  He ran a media marketing circus around this book and just came off as a guy desperate for attention once again.  He wanted the reader to buy that he changed his ways in life and was on the road to being a decent guy ready to embrace life.  From some of the picture he posted on line he may to some degree be changing, but when you read stories about him screwing respected co-author Peter Golenbock out of his work on this book, you start to see it’s the same  old Lenny.

If you want to read a story about a beat up old player trying to relive some of his old glory and tell you why he is the best, then this is the book for you.  You get some inside stories about his career, but honestly how much of it is even the truth.  Any book that Lenny himself is involved in has to contain some level of B.S..  It just seems to be how Lenny rolls and it is a shame Golenbock got involved with him in the first place.

Check it out if you dare, just don’t stand too close to the flames.  It has some value in the baseball book world but will never be considered great literature, even with Peter Golenbock’s touches.

You can get this book from the nice folks at Harper Collins

House of Nails

Happy Reading

Gregg

 

Pedro – The Mystery Solved


The Baseball Hall of Fame Inductions are complete.  The old members have all stopped by Cooperstown and waved to the fans, welcoming this years class of immortals. The old stories have been swapped, photos have been taken and another year has come and gone of happy times in Cooperstown, Now we look forward to the debates and arguments that will ensue regarding the next class to be enshrined.  One of the more interesting personalities that was part of this years class, is Pedro Martinez.  Pedro came out with a new autobiography this year and it has brought varying degrees of response from the masses, so I figured I should check it out for my blog.

By:Pedro Martinez-2015

By:Pedro Martinez-2015

My first reaction when I heard the release date of this book was, how ironic it was coming out in his Hall of Fame year.  I guess good marketing strategies never sleep.  Pedro had always been a source of controversy to some degree during his career.  Early in his career he picked up the label of head hunter, mainly due to his pitching inside and making sure the batter knew who owned the plate.  For the record I have no problem with that, it is a part of the game that has disappeared through the last few decades and probably something that should find a way to return.  Pedro also had a well-remembered battle with Don Zimmer one time that might have made some highlight films on a few stations.  But on the field it was hard to deny Pedro was an incredible competitor,  No matter where he played you could always see his skill and desire, but now this book gives you the personal side of Pedro.

If you listen to interviews with Pedro, he his a big fan of himself and in this book, he has no reservations in telling you why.  From his on field play, to those people around him Pedro is a guy that demands respect from people and it seems he is not one to shy away from the limelight.  The book starts from his growing up in the Dominican Republic and how he had struggled as a child to be taken seriously as a baseball player.  His brother Ramon, signed by the Dodgers, was Pedro’s ticket to getting a serious look from a big league team.  Pedro walks you through his progression from dim prospect, to major leaguer, to superstar and introduces you to all the people he met in between.  He has a very long memory of those who did him wrong and makes sure you know who they are in this book.

I had read some reviews of this book before I read it, just to see what I was getting myself into.  Many other folks said that Pedro liked to remind the reader how great he really was.  I am not disagreeing that point in any way with this book, but I don’t think it is Pedro being a conceited jerk.  I think it more his immense pride coming through.  He has very strong family roots and pride in his accomplishments.  Also, the points he makes in the book about respect and his troubles along the way with getting any respect, it to me came off as a man with a strong pride.  Now I say all this never being a huge Pedro fan when he was playing.  The only regular first hand account of his playing days I had, where when he played half a season in 2009 for my Phillies.  Even at the end of his career you could see his determination, pride out on the field and his ability to lead by example.  So maybe Pedro isn’t as big of a jerk as some of the other book reviews have made him out to be.

Baseball fans should check this out for themselves.  Maybe I am right or maybe everyone else is, but it’s you job as the reader to make that determination, I am just one guy’s opinion, who found after reading this, a new-found respect for Pedro Martinez.  No for his on the field playing, but for the person he is.

You can get this book from the nice folks at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

http://www.hmhco.com/shop/books/Pedro/9780544279339

Happy Reading

Gregg