The passage of time is a fact of life. No matter what happens in the world around us, time always marches on. In baseball we measure time by seasons, innings and even outs. As time passes, nostalgia tends to creep in and distort memories of the past. So how does one keep those memories straight and know exactly what was going through their mind at a given point in time almost 50 years ago? You ask Bob Gibson how to do it of course!
I don’t know about any of you, but I can’t keep straight what I did last week, let alone decades ago. So you can understand my apprehension with this book when you realize Gibson is trying to remember his thought process from one single game in 1968. Granted that game was game from the 1968 World Series, but I still started reading this book with some skepticism.
After reading this one, I am very glad to report that Gibson and Wheeler have produced a very enjoyable book that is fun to read. Bob Gibson walks us through the entire game of the 1968 that he started. Inning by inning he gives the reader the inside angle on pitch selection, how he approached certain batters and his overall attitude. All these things put together give you a view of the game that fans can rarely see.
Another nice aspect of this book is that it is not strictly game details. He weaves in stories and anecdotes that give the reader some things in which to connect with Gibson. A fierce competitor who some would consider downright scary at times and a person never known to hold back his opinions, this book puts a face to that side of his personality that you rarely see from Bob Gibson.
I imagine it is very hard for anyone to remember all the details from that long ago and I am sure some video watching was involved in prepping for this book, but Bob Gibson does a really great job of getting the entire story across to the reader. This game was a few years before my time, but I found within these pages what was needed to make me feel like I was really there.
Baseball fans across the board should enjoy this book. It is a rare glimpse into the mind of a great competitor doing what he does best. At almost 80 years old the recall of the game is an amazing feat in and of itself, but the book makes you feel like you are on the field with him. Check it out, I don’t think you will be disappointed.
You can get this book from the nice folks at Flatiron Books
I thought in the spirit of Independence day we could take a look at how baseball books can play into that. Now this is not a post about the patriotic side of baseball and how it coincides with America, but how it allows one to be independent, no matter what interests them within the sport. There are tons of options out there that allow the reader to follow any avenue they choose, some are related and others are not but they still have that common theme of baseball. So what is out there for us readers?
Biographies are a fun way for readers to learn all about their favorite players. Whether it is first hand by the player himself or a true biography, you get great stories and once in a while some new information is discovered in the author’s research. You most times come away with a more favorable impression of the player, but there are instances that you think what a jerk he was. So it sometimes is better to stay away from your favorite player if you are not prepared for a bad impression. McFarland publishes biographies of some of the most obscure players and often overlooked subjects. The authors they work with are often SABR members and often provide an excellent finished product like the Evers biography shown above. McFarland books are most times and enjoyable history lesson for the reader.
Are you more dedicated to an entire team as opposed to an individual player? Well then these types of books may be for you. Yankee Stadium Memories compiles the thoughts of 26 of the best writing professionals who spent time working in old Yankee Stadium. What this book gives you is an inside look into the building and what went on behind the scenes that the average fan would not see. To some degree I think all writers have some sort of underlying fan allegiance to their team. So this book gives those people the chance to express those sentiments without taking a hit to their professional credibility. Sports Publishing creates this book that allows the fan to get the feel of being there, even if you never were. It re-creates events that many of the readers never witnessed and will never happen again. These book are a great deal of fun for team devotees and casual fans as well.
Maybe, you are more of a quirky superstitious number person or something of the sort. Do you wonder why every player on your team that ever had the number 8, never became anything. Or do you lay awake at night trying to remember every player on your team that ever wore number 34? Well Sports Publishing again has this series that looks at the each teams roster in this series from 0-99. It shows the fun stories and highlights surrounding these individual numbers. It also shows how some numbers may be cursed and no matter what that number should be retired. It’s another fun look at team history that all fans should enjoy.
Are you more of a history buff, but don’t want the stiff side of baseball. This book gives you brief history lesson of the game while keeping it entertaining. It gives some great player bio’s along with keeping the facts fun and interesting. I never have come across a book in my life that is a history book but still fun. It asks questions about how certain things have happened in baseballs past along with what might have been if certain aspects changed. It really makes the reader think and Acta Sports did a nice job with this one that fans will enjoy.
Are you more of a minor league fan? This one would be for you. It shows what life was like in the minor leagues in the 1950’s in the Southwest. Major league baseball had not quite made it past St. Louis yet so minor league baseball had a stronghold on these small towns. The author paints a very vivid picture of a bygone era, that should never be forgotten. These small towns and teams are what modern baseball is built upon. It is always important to remember where you came from.
Are you more of a casual fan that only pays attention when your team makes it to the World Series. Clerisy Press has the book just for you then. The Comeback Kids gives fans a chance to re-live the magical 2010 season where they defied the odds and made the post season. None of the so-called experts gave the Reds a fighting chance for any success that year. But sticking to their guns they pulled off the impossible. Clerisy Press always does a nice job on the Cincinnati Reds. They are locally vested in the Cincinnati community and their pride in these books shine through. Reds fans should make sure they check out their catalog beyond just this book on the Reds, because they are truly something to behold.
Baseball is full of quirky little tricks and gimmicks. The Hidden Ball Trick takes a look at the history of this dying art form. It has been successful a few hundred times in the history of the game, but more often it’s not. It truly is an art-form to get this trick to work in today’s modern game, but it is a fun look at how it can be conducted. Rowman & Littlefield made a fun book with this one and fans should check it out
They always say records were made to be broken, but is that really true. Certain records probably won’t be broken after all because of the changing nature of the game. James Baehler and Sports Publishing take a look at those records and see whether or not the possibility is there for them to be broken. I agree with some and not others ones, but it is a good book to fuel some debates with your buddies.
Finally, you always hear about the little things that help make great teams. Chemistry and other unspoken dynamics that help pull 25 players together to make a winner. Intangiball looks at all these dynamics together and explores how they work together to help make teams better over the course of a season. It really makes you think about what has to come together to create a winning team on the field.
So as you can see there are lots of choices for readers under the baseball umbrella. Each one is really an independent avenue for which the reader can explore fun facts and theories. I always say knowledge is power and having all these different types of books that fall under the subject of baseball helps promote reading among the fans. Everyone should take some times to explore some of the above sites because you will find tons of other great baseball books available by the same publishers.