Tagged: Jim Bunning

Odds and Ends-Spring 2016


I figured with my extended time off to recuperate I would have plenty of time to write on my blog.  Boy was  I wrong, between needing to get up and walk around every ten minutes because I am stiffening up and the fact the the medicines keep knocking me out, I am having trouble finding the time to write, let alone read.  But, what it has done is given me the chance to look at some books that I would not always feel were the correct fit for an entire single post.  The book could be too short, it could be a coffee table book or it could be a book that doesn’t really target my audience.  These are in no way bad books, because honestly if they sucked, I wouldn’t waste the time putting them on here for everyone to look at them, but there is a format issue that doesn’t work well within my bookcase. So from time to time we do one of these multi book posts to clean up one of the shelves in the bookcase……and share some of these books to the world.  So here we go…..

Baseball’s No -Hit Wonders-More than a Century of Pitching’s Greatest Feats

By Dirk Lammars-2016

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Is it me, or do no hitters seem to happen more often today then they did say thirty of forty years ago?  Has the level of play in the league diminished that much that these have become commonplace?  Lammers takes the readers through the interesting history of the no hitter and how it has played out through the history of the game. He shows the pitchers and hitters involved, no hitters that were broken up after 26 outs and all the other odd and wacky things that happened in the past to those pitchers, both lucky and good enough to even flirt with a no-no.  If your interested in the who, what, when, where and why of no-hitters you will really enjoy what this book will bring to your table.  You can get this book from the nice folks at Unbridled Books

 

The 50 Greatest Players in Pittsburgh Pirates History

By David Finoli-2016

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These types of books are always fun.  For the one and only reason that no two people will ever agree 100 percent as to who belongs at what spot on the list. I really don’t know what the criteria is by the authors to make it on to these types of lists, but they never seem to disappoint the reader.  They always include the Hall of Famers, team superstars as well as the hometown heroes. You would also have to think they target their specified teams fan base so they are always eager to please the homers.  I had done this type of book by another author on the Pittsburgh Pirates last year and I went back to pull it out to compare.  What I found is that more then half of the players they can agree on being in the book,, but differ on where they rank.  So bottom line is if you read one of these books about your team and find another one, check it out because it may give you a different spin on the players that may be more in line with your personal rankings as well.  You can get this book from the nice folks at Rowman & Littlefield

 

The BUCS!-The Story of the Pittsburgh Pirates

By John McCollister-2016

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Lets stay in Pittsburgh  for a second on this book.  The BUCS! takes a very brief look at the history of the Pittsburgh Pirates.  From its 19th century beginnings to its current day under field manager Clint Hurdle, this book takes an abbreviated, but fast paced look at the history in Pittsburgh.  If the Pirates are not your team and never have been in the past, this book is a great way to get a good albeit brief history from Kiner and Roberto to Bonds and McCutchen.  Its only roughly 200 pages, so even if you are familiar with Bucs history it would be a quick and easy refresher course.  You can get this book from the nice folks at Lyons Press.

The Legends of the Philadelphia Phillies

By Bob Gordon-2016

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What would one of these posts be without a Phillies book?  This book, first released by Bob Gordon in 2005, compiles some of the greatest names in Phillies history and gives strong bios on each of those lucky enough to be a Phillie. It gives a great look at team history from an author that has some great ties to the team itself, through several other books he has written.  So why do you need to buy the reprint of a book released ten years ago?  It has been updated for deaths of the older players and it also has added a few Phillies superstars that became prominent in the last half of the last decade when the Phillies were on top of the world.  You can get this book from the nice folks at Sports Publishing.

 

The Grind-Inside Baseball’s Endless Season

By Barry Svrluga-2015

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Without question, Baseball has the most grueling schedule of all the professional leagues.  Almost stretching to nine months of the year when you factor in pre and post season, it would take some sort of toll on even the strongest of personalities.  Svrluga has taken a look at this relentless schedule and the effect it has on the personal lives of those involved and how it effects almost everyone involved with a team.  It looks at varying position players , the 26th man on most rosters, travelling secretaries, spouses, kids and clubhouse attendants.  It really is an interesting look behind the scenes of the game and what those involved are willing to sacrifice to be a part of the great game of baseball. You van get this book from the nice folks at Blue Rider Press

 

Diamond Madness-Classic Episodes of Rowdyism, Racism and Violence in Major League Baseball

By William A. Cook-2013

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William Cook’s Diamond Madness gives the reader a good look at the scary side of baseball.  When you get beyond all of the normal hero worship that comes as part of the normal territory with the game and when those things get really scary.  Fan obsessions, death threats, violence, racism, shootings and robberies are all just a part of what is shown to the readers of this book.  It is amazing how even though these are normal stories in the everyday world, they are so many times magnified just by playing baseball.  It also goes to show how much work the people behind the scenes in baseball put in to making sure nothing tarnishes the wholesomeness of the American Past-time.  I think if you check this out it will show some new perspectives to the average fan of what really goes on.  You can get this book from the nice folks at Sunbury Press.

 

Tales From the Atlanta Braves Dugout

By Cory McCartney-2016

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I will admit it………..I love this series!   You can get whatever team you wish at this point because it seems like almost every team is available now.  You can also use it as a history lesson to brush up on all the funny stories of a team that you are not very familiar with and get a good feel for what that teams history is all about.  If you grab the book of your favorite team it is a chance to regale in all the stories you have heard time and time again and like a favorite uncle at a holiday dinner, are glad to listen to over and over.  You can get this book from the nice folks at Sports Publishing.

 

 

I See the Crowd Roar-The Story of William “Dummy” Hoy

By Joseph Rotheli & Agnes Gaertner-2014

This book is intended for a younger audience but it does provide a very deep lesson for all fans.  William Hoy was hearing impaired and never heard a single fan cheer for him.  The book shows how Hoy overcame his disability and made the best if it as well as keeping up a positive attitude during the course of events.  The book also shows the positive impact had on the function of the game and how things like hand signals that were originally implemented for Hoy alone, have become mainstays of the game generations later.  It truly is an inspiring story that younger fans should be made aware of so they have a complete baseball education.  There is also a movie version of the book in the pipeline as well.  You can get this book from the nice folks at the lil-red-foundation.

 

Black Baseball, Black Business-Race Enterprise and the Fate of the Segregated Dollar

By Roberta Newman & Joel Nathan Rosen-2014

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In baseball nothing is ever as simple as it seems.  This book takes a look at how the integration of baseball, while a great thing on the civil rights front, created waves that destroyed black economies in the larger cities that were homes to Negro League Teams.  It is a really interesting look at the economies of the integration of baseball on those parties that were not in any way involved in the decision making process or the game of baseball itself.  It also shows how the innocents involved were essentially destroyed by the baseball powers that were at the time pushing it as a cause for greater good.

Happy Reading

Gregg

Mike Schmidt-Philadelphia’s HOF Third Baseman


Growing up in Philadelphia, my childhood coincided with the career of one Michael Jack Schimdt.  Arguably one of, if not the greatest third baseman to ever play the game of baseball.  Owner of 548 Home Runs, three MVP awards and a World Series Championship to go along with his Hall of Fame resume.  The only down side to Schmidt’s career was the love hate relationship he had with the Phillies fans.  I got to witness the sometimes borderline train wreck relationship between the 3rd baseman and the fans, and honestly it was not always pretty.  I finally found a book that shows the softer side of the burly third baseman and helps fans in Philadelphia appreciate what we really had.

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By:William Kashatus-2000

I admit this book is a little dated.  It came out five years after Schmidt was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1995,  and at the time, and even today for that matter there is not a wealth of Schmidt books on the market.  He is a complex personality that was never truly appreciated by the Philadelphia fans until he was almost gone.

William Kashatus does a tremendous job of chronicling the career of Mike Schmidt.  The high school and college injuries that almost ended the career before it began.  The minor league struggles that helped shape his personality and forced him to question his abilities. The author also shows an inside look at the pressures the Phillies put single-handedly on Schmidt’s shoulders and the effects it had on his career development.

This book also shows the reader the great influence that Pete Rose was on Schmidt’s career after they picked up the free agent to get them over the playoff hump.  He was the extra mentor Schmidt needed to build some self esteem and accept and realize his true talents.  It also shows the ongoing relationship that transpired between the fans, the media and Mike Schmidt.  If you were not in Philly during his career this book gives a real good portrayal of what really went down.

There are a few books about Schmidt out there but not something that shows this much career depth about Schmidt himself.  It was a little light on personal details about Schmidt’s life and I think by design Schmidt may have agreed to be interviewed for the book  with that condition.  Even with that restriction this is still the most thorough and in depth look at the player and the man.

All baseball fans can learn something from this book.  Even Phillies fans can gain some new insight from this as well.  Its well worth the time to read it.

You can get this book from the nice folks at McFarland

Mike Schmidt

Happy Reading

Gregg

 

The Hall – A Celebration of Baseball’s Greats


Choosing the best of the best can really ignite some serious debates.  Who belongs, who doesn’t, who should be eligible and who should not even be there always makes for good conversations among friends.  The Baseball Hall of Fame, which is nestled in that sleepy little town in upstate New York, is the mecca of baseball junkies.  You can walk among some of the greatest artifacts throughout the history of the game as well as visiting the memorials to all the games brightest stars.  If you are not lucky enough to be located within a reasonable distance of the Hall like I am (2 hours), then you may not be able to get there as often as you would like or even at all for that matter.  I found a book, if you are one of the unlucky few that may never get there that will help you experience some of the magical aura that is The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

The Official 75th Anniversary Book-2014

The Official 75th Anniversary Book 2014

The Baseball Hall of Fame has really published a first-rate book with this one.  The quality of the book alone is incredible.  From the paper stock, to the printing this is a really nice book.  Quality of the book is something I really never comment on, but this one is really that good.

The Hall has compiled all its members, including managers, executives and umpires and given the reader in-depth overviews of every single person.  Each player section is broken down by position into its own chapter and then sorted by induction year.  It has dedicated two pages to each personality and gives a nice biography of their career as well as a brief snippet of that persons unique personality.  It is a nice feature for each person that you don’t always get in these types of books, because it is usually more focused on the career numbers.  Each person’s Hall of Fame plaque also heads their individual page so you are able to read exactly what is hanging on the wall in Cooperstown.

The other nice feature is a several page essay at the beginning of each chapter.  A player from that chapter has written about his own experiences during his career that led him to The Hall of Fame.  It is  something you don’t normally see in a Hall of Fame coffee table book and adds a real human touch to this book.  I think the Hall of Fame sometimes lacks a human touch when speaking about its members, so this brings it back to a very personal and fan friendly level.

This book covers all the players that were enshrined as of the publication date.  The only down side to these types of books is that they are not accurate for very long.  Once the next July rolls around someone is missing.  But honestly this book is done so well it should belong in every fan’s library.  You may be familiar with some of the names, but there are others that are a real learning experience for fans young and old.

You can get this book from the nice folks at Little Brown and Company

http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/titles/the-national-baseball-hall-of-fame-and-museum/the-hall-a-celebration-of-baseballs-greats/9780316213028/

Happy Reading

Gregg

Whatever Happened to What’s His Name?


Do you ever wonder what happened to all the old players you rooted for?  As a fan, one day they are a vital part of your daily routine and then the next day they are gone.  You invest time in players six months out of the year, so much so that they seem to become part of your life.  As time erodes skills, these players just often vanish into thin air once your favorite team is done with them.  Now you can take a walk down memory lane and catch up with those players of yesteryear.

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By:Fran Zimniuch-2015

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By:Rob Raines-2013

I will admit, I am a sucker for books like these.  It gives me the chance to take a trip back in time and re-live a few memories with some of the players I followed during their careers.  It also gives me a chance to catch up with these same players and see where their lives went after baseball.  Since fans dedicate so much emotion to the game during the season, you form a personal connection with certain players each season.  That is why these books to me almost feel like catching up with some old friends.

Sports Publishing publishes these books for various teams throughout the league using authors that are well-educated and connected with their respective teams.  Using these type of authors allows the reader to see some famous and not so famous players that they can relate to.  Fran Zimniuch who is the author of the Phillies book brings us the stars like Steve Carlton, Mike Schmidt and Robin Roberts which appeal to multiple generations.  But he also catches up with Bill Laxton, Costen Shockley and Doug Clemens, which honestly only hard-core Phillies fans would even know they were part of the organization.

Rob Raines takes the same approach to his Cardinals version of the book, but honestly due to the pedigree of the St. Louis Cardinals he has a better pool of players of which to choose from.  The end result is he has a few more well-known names compared to the Phillies book.  Both books offer the fans of those teams a fun and interesting read that fly’s by.

I think fans of each respective team should take a look at these, because you get a little history lesson and might find some players that you never realized were part of the team at one point in time.  It also is a fun trip down memory lane and you may find yourself going hey I remember when that happened.  Sports Publishing has a pretty big team list of these types of books so there is something for everybody.

You can get these books and several other teams from the nice folks at Sports Publishing

http://www.sportspubbooks.com/book/?GCOI=58261105500960&

http://www.sportspubbooks.com/book/?GCOI=58261103982910&

Happy Reading

Gregg

Almost Perfect-The ’64 Rise and Fall of the Philadelphia Phillies


Throughout my writings on this blog I have never made it any secret that I am huge Phillies fan.  Growing up in the suburbs of Philadelphia showed me that misery is just part of the game of baseball in the city of brotherly love.  Mr. Murphy and his pesky little law always found a way to rear its ugly little face just as the Phightin Phils were on the brink of success.  He would show his face in the various forms of Chico Ruiz and the Cincinnati Reds, Davey Lopes and the L.A. Dodgers, Joe Carter and the Toronto Blue Jays and countless others.  For some reason we Phillies fans love to relive our misery.  With the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Phillies and their season that almost was recently passing, there have been plenty of books recounting the misery of that season.  I have looked at three other books on the 64 Phils on this blog, so if you check the archives you can find the others.  Today’s is the final one I have been able to get a copy to review, and offers a little different perspective.

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By:Steve Stefano and Andy Olcese-Chapel Hill Press 2014

Being in a field of books about the same subject has to be a challenge.  Each book wants to make its own mark in the world while offering the reader something the others don’t.  I have read the other books that came out on this subject except for September Swoon, and each offers the reader something different.  The authors of this particular book have found a way to relay the same story to the reader but show pride and passion that they possess for their beloved Phillies.

Stefano and Olcese are two home-grown Philly guys that review the events of 1964 in their writing.  The thing that makes it different is that you can feel the baseball fan in their writings.  You can see how that team made them hurt and all those fans around Philly as well.  The book almost feels like a true Philly fan’s account of what 1964 meant to them.  They also do the obligatory state of Philadelphia on a societal level, which does give you nice background on the city itself.

The one thing that has set this book apart from me are the pictures.  All the other books had pictures, but this one had them in color.  Its little things like this that make a reader go hey, that’s cool.  The center of the book also contains recreations of the Philadelphia Bulletin’s player pictures that were given away in the paper in the summer of 64.  For someone who grew up in Philly you see this around from time to time, but if you live outside the area you may not be as familiar with them.

Phillies fans will love this books for lots of reasons.  It gets in deep with the Phillies of years gone by and shows it from a fans perspective, so its easy to relate to.  Also, it allows Phillies fans to do what they have been trained for, wallowing in their self-pity.  History fans will like it as well as it is a thorough recount of 1964 season and the events that unfolded for the snake-bitten Philadelphia Phillies.

You can get this book from the nice folks at Chapel Hill Press

http://www.chapelhillpress.com

Happy Reading

Gregg

1964 – Still a dirty word in Philadelphia


Philadelphia sports fans constantly get criticized for acting the way they do.  They get called all sorts of names that are justified at times.  Yes we are pessimists, and always expect the worst.  Throughout it all we are loyal to our teams, sometimes to a fault.  If you look back in to history perhaps you can trace our actions to one disappointing season.  1964.  It was the year that the one time the Phillies fans felt they had the season already in the bag, it blew up in their faces.  To this day 50 years later, mentioning 1964 evokes a string of obscenities not even a sailor would love.  Todays book gives us fuel for the obscenity laden fire…..

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1964

By; Barry Bowe-2014 Self published

Phillies fans to this day are still cursing Gene Mauch for his bonehead moves.  Still hating Chico Ruiz for stealing home and still wondering what could have been.  For those not familiar with the 1964 Phillies here is the short and quick version.  The Phils were leading the National League by 6 1/2 games with 12 games left to play and found a way to blow it.  Through a series of managerial blunders and the overworking of two of the anchors on the pitching staff, the Phils coughed up the lead and ended the season tied for second place.  The downward spiral was started by a 1-0 loss to the Reds in a game in which Chico Ruiz stole home with Frank Robinson at bat.  To this day mention Chico Ruiz to a Phillies fan and they just shake their head.

Barry Bowe undertakes a very touchy subject with this book.  It could only be handled by a true Philadelphia sports fan.  He does a great job of not only explaining the 1964 season but also interjecting information about the Philly sports fan psyche in general.

Bowe dissects each game inning by inning throughout the entire season.  That alone is a monumental undertaking, but he also interjects information about some of the players in those specific games as well.  The attention to detail in this book shows through in the fact that every game adheres to the same level of detail.  He also throws in little tidbits of information as to what was happening in the world around us on any given day.

Another fun aspect of this book is that the author reveals some personal information.  He describes his fan experience during certain points in his own life.  Those personal stories did not always occur in 1964, but did explain his growth as a Philadelphia sports fan.  He does make the attempt to give a brief explanation as to what other collapses have occurred on the Philadelphia sports scene throughout the years.  They are very brief accounts, that give the reader a quick overview, but also shows how these occurences could fill their own book.

Overall Bowe does a great job helping the Phillies fans re-live a nightmare.  Phillies fans should really enjoy this book as it helps justify the anger 50 years later.  People outside of the Philadelphia area should find this book helpful in the fact that it may help explain, why we the Philly fans are the way we are.

You can pick up this book direct from author Barry Bowe

http://www.barrybowe111.com/1964.html

Happy Reading

Gregg