Tagged: Integration

The Rise and Fall of Dodgertown – 60 Years of Baseball in Vero Beach

Teams that have been in existence for a long time have great histories.  It is inevitable that through the passage of time some neat things are going to happen and in turn create some great traditions.  The Dodgers are one such team that have that long and storied tradition.  Being part of the national pastime almost from the beginning, they have created some wonderful memories through the years as well as leaving their mark on the great game we all love.  One such tradition was Vero Beach, Florida.  The spring training home of the Dodgers for decades, they basically made that town their own little world.  Today’s book takes a look at the mark the Dodgers left on that sleepy little town in Florida.


By: Rody Johnson-2008

Vero Beach in the 1940’s was a sleepy quiet little town in Florida, at least until the Dodgers arrived.  Looking to save a buck and avoid segregation issues the Dodgers created their own little complex on a vacated military base.  The idea of doing that at the time was unheard of, but does show how the Dodgers liked to not always follow tradition.  It allowed for all the players to stay in one location and form a bond as a team, that none of the others had.

Rody Johnson has written a book that chronicles the entire existence of the Dodgers in Vero Beach.  From their first spring at the crude facility through the end when the Dodgers folded their tent and moved to Arizona, you see what became Dodgertown.  The book shows you how the Dodgers remodeled and expanded their facility through the years and how the local government was effected both by the Dodgers and other businesses that called Vero home.  It also shows the results of the growth of Vero Beach had, because the Dodgers called that town home.  Being more than a spring training complex you also get to see the operations the Dodgers had there pretty much year round that helped the economy of the area grow.

This is an in-depth book that shows how a team that you really only thought of as a spring training tenant really was a participant in the town all year.  If you are not familiar with the Dodgers spring training operations, as I wasn’t, you will be surprised at the magnitude of their facility.  It was called Dodgertown for a reason, and this book shows the reader that it really was warranted.

Dodgers fans will enjoy it as well as all baseball fans.  It shows a cool operation that was a big part of the teams history, and the likes of something we may never see again of this magnitude.

You can get this book from the nice folks at the University Press of Florida


Happy Reading


Odds and Ends

Being involved in baseball books allows ones self to explore many different avenues.  From the first time a game was ever played to modern-day 2015, the possibilities are endless.  Some stories are told direct from the sources while others have been passed down from generation to generation.  No matter what your specific preference is, as long as you have an interest in the common theme of the sport of baseball, there is a book out there somewhere for you.  Today we are taking a look across a few of the subject matters that are available.


By:Tony LaRussa-2012 Harper Collins Publishing

A story from one of the greatest managers of his generation in his own words.  A first hand account of the final on-field triumph of his illustrious career that ended in a World Series win.  An enjoyable book for all baseball fans that takes us inside the managers head and brings us along for the ride to the World Series.

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By:Jonathan Eig-2005 Simon & Schuester

An icon of baseball.  Lou Gehrig is easily one of the top ten people in baseball that almost everyone has heard of.  While not a first hand account of his life and career, it is a very detailed portrayal of the man who spent a lot of time in Babe Ruth’s shadow.  This book is becoming a baseball all-time classic due to both its subject and the writing.  A timeless player and his story has become a timeless book.

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By:Stuart Miller-2011 Acta Sports

For those that like to know about every aspect of the game and its history, this book is for you.  It walks you through the history of the bat.  How its made, how it was developed almost 150 years ago and shows how it has evolved to today’s modern bat.  It is a cool little book for those who really want to get all their facts about the hardware of the game.

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By:Josh Ostergaard-2014 Coffee House Press

Books like this are fun because they give you a different fans point of view.  The perspective of the game is a thing each person makes their own.  This book gives you how baseball is intertwined with American History and our society.  It is a little subjective but still a fun read.  It allows a whole new avenue for fans to explore beyond the game on the field.


By:Bruce Adelson-1999 University of Virginia Press

Integration has always been a hot topic for Baseball Books.  Jackie Robinson alone has been debated numerous times.  There are so many different aspects that you would need 100 different books to cover them all.  This book takes a look within the hot-bed of racial issues, the American South.  It shows the struggles and violence that continued even after the integration of baseball by Jackie Robinson, and how it finally came to be.


By:Abraham Iqbal Khan-2012 University Press of Mississippi

Curt Flood has always been a lightning rod for criticism.  From his fight against the establishment of baseball to his handling of the media, he has gotten his share of trouble.  This book takes a look at race relations within baseball, the media coverage of those players and the eventual demise of certain players who were deemed activists.  It is a very interesting book that gives a different look on the race relations within the game and on Curt Flood’s story as a whole.

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By:Bob Kahn-2012 The Wisconsin Historical Society Press

Every reader has to start somewhere.  For me it was finding and falling in love with the game at a very early age.  Books like this one allow young readers to have books geared toward them.  The writing allows for learning about the game at a level that is easy for them to comprehend and enjoy.  Biographies like this one foster learning in the game as well as allowing the young fans to see all the different aspects of the game that have existed throughout its history.


Edited by:Nicholas Dawidoff-2002 Library of America

Anthologies allow for the best of the best.  It gives you collections of the greatest writers, telling their greatest stories about the greatest game.  This books are easy to sit down and enjoy because you know you are getting the best.  For newer fans they help them understand the nuances of the game and what all the fuss had been about.  Some collections are better than others but this one truly gives you the best of the best.

This list is only scratching the surface on the subjects that are out there. Hopefully after looking through this some people now see how many different realms are out there and will think twice before picking up just anther player biography because it is the hot new celebrity story.  There is a wealth of knowledge out there just waiting to be discovered by new and old fans alike.

Happy Reading


Pride Against Prejudice-The Biography of Larry Doby

When you are #2 at something it has to be difficult.  Everyone always remembers who the first to do something was, but sometimes the importance when you are second is diminished.  In baseball, when you come in second in anything, it isn’t a good thing.  Being Jackie Robinson day in Major League Baseball, I figured we should take a look at the man who was the second person to integrate baseball.  He was the first in the American League, but second overall, so we should not forget him on this momentous day.

Ny:Joseph Thomas Moore-1988 Praeger Publishers

By:Joseph Thomas Moore 1988 Praeger Publishers

Larry Doby was the first player to integrate the American League in 1947 with the Cleveland Indians.  He arrived roughly 11 weeks after Jackie Robinson integrated the National League with the Dodgers.  The racial climate being what it was at that time, the challenges Doby faced were no different from the struggles of Robinson.  Intolerance, segregation and violence were just some of the challenges both men faced at that time.  Each man handled themselves with dignity and were assets to both of their teams on and off the field.  Unfortunately when you are the #2 guy, you don’t always get the same praise that the #1 guy gets.

Such is the case with Larry Doby.  There are tons of biographies about Jackie Robinson and his efforts, but Doby seems to be a neglected subject.  There are a few biographies out there on Doby, but today’s book takes a look at the struggles he faced with the Indians.  Honestly between Robinson and Doby it was two different men in two different cities but the same old problems.  Both were pioneers in their own right but again its #1 versus #2, and in the end #2 lives in the shadow of #1.

This book takes a nice look at Doby’s career and what he accomplished on and off the field.  Larry Doby may not have been as outspoken on matters as Jackie Robinson, or even Satchel Paige for that matter, but he did leave an undeniable mark on the game for all of time.  Doby was a quiet man and that probably plays into the fact that his legacy gets run over by Robinson’s.   It’s time as fans we take the time to give Larry Doby his due and learn as much as we can about his great career.

Fans should pick up this book and enjoy a little history lesson.  The pioneers of baseball endured incredible pain to become part of the game, and that struggle did not begin and end with just Jackie Robinson and the Brooklyn Dodgers.

You can pick up this book from the nice folks at Praeger Publishers


Happy Reading


Defining Moments-Jackie Robinson and the Integration of Baseball

When you think of Jackie Robinson, so many things come to mind.  Integrity, class, dignity, respect, …..the adjectives are endless.  He is the face of racial equality within baseball.  He has set the standard for generations to follow on how to be a leader and a great human being.  There are several books out on the market that spell out the details of Jackie’s career but I think todays book stands above the rest.


Defining Moments-Jackie Robinson and the Integration of Baseball

Lauri Collier Hillstrom-2013 Omnigraphics


This book has a little different approach from the traditional baseball biography we are all used to.  It moves away from the more common approach of a story and seems more like a lesson about baseball.  The book is divided into six major and separate sections.  It covers how the color line in baseball worked and what Branch Rickey’s experiment hoped to accomplish.  It then moves to Jackie Robinson himself  where you learn in detail about the man and the player. Struggles associated with joining the major leagues, dealing with threats and continued racism as well as new-found stardom are covered.  Finally you see what Robinson was able to accomplish after baseball and how the baseball experiment fueled his desires to join other causes in society.

I tink what was most interesting is that last part about life after baseball.  Those of us who read a lot of baseball books and those who are just fans,  are well aware of  Robinson’s accomplishments on the field.   I have never really come across a book that delves into his activities in the civil rights movement in the 60’s.  Some others have touched on it but not to this extent.  The author gives an interesting perspective on the effect of his personal legacy and how it applies within society.

Also included in this book are short biographies of a few Dodger teammates as well as the Commissioner of Baseball and Larry Doby.  It really finished off a complete picture of the Branch Rickey experiment.  The final thing I found interesting about this book is each chapter was broken into sub-chapters,   It allowed the story to explore the various avenues that each chapter title produced.

The only thing I found odd about the book was the binding.  It did not have the traditional feel of a regular book.  It gave the feeling of a text-book.  Almost like the kind that you would have had back in grade school.  It did feel different while holding and reading it but nonetheless it was still a very good book.

Fans of baseball history and Brooklyn Dodger fans alike will enjoy this book.  It provides a complete and somewhat unique picture of a man who we already knew very much about.

You can get this book from the nice folks at Omnigraphics


Happy Reading