Tagged: martha jo black

A Life Full of Changes and One Final Hurrah!

Every once in a while I wander out of my library on the blog and become just an everyday baseball fan.  Content with enjoying the baseball world around me and taking in the sites, sounds and smells of the game I love.  Tonight is one of those times there are no books involved with the post but still about the game I love.

Life is ever evolving and changing.  Nothing stays the same for long and part of life is adapting those changes.  Some changes are better than others, but this is easily one of the better ones that comes along.  My wife and I are expecting our first little future big leaguer or ball girl in August, and yes he or she will be rooting for the Phillies………no exceptions to that rule!


We are very excited about this new chapter of our lives, honestly a little nervous and sometimes overwhelmed at the thought of it all.  But on the bright side, people have been doing these for a long time, so how bad can we screw it up?  We both decided we wanted to take a final vacation before our little Phanatic arrives and thought of all the usual spots, Florida, the Caribbean, Mexico, but nothing was saying this is truly the last real vacation you will have for the next decade or two…………but then it hit us.

We could pull off the ultimate baseball vacation.  Eight days, six MLB stadiums and one Minor League morning game, mostly because I want to say I went to a baseball game and ate an egg mcmuffin while watching it.  We have an itinerary that is a little aggressive but I think we can pull this off, as long as the woman next to me who will be six months pregnant at the time keeps a sense of humor about this trip.

The plan is as follows:

Sat 5/21-Braves @ Phillies (Citizens Bank Park)

Sun 5/22-Rockies @ Pirates (PNC Field)

Mon 5/23-Indians @ White Sox (U.S. Cellular Field)

Tue 5/24-Off Day-Every team needs at least one

Wed 5/25-Phillies @ Tigers (Comerica Park)

Thur 5/26-Toledo Mud Hens-10:30 a.m. game (If you are going to a minor league game it just should be the Mud Hens.  Maybe Klinger will be there)

Fri 5/27-Phillies @ Cubs (Wrigley Field)

Sat 5/28-Orioles @ Indians (Progressive Field)

This is as of right now our trip, hopefully it will be fun and memorable.  Of course three Phillies games in one week was not by accident either. It is a lot of driving between cities, but nothing too over bearing I think.  Now if anyone who is reading this has stuck with me this far, I thank you for hanging in here, but I need your help.

If anyone out there has any ideas of something we shouldn’t miss in these cities on this trip, drop me a line.  If anyone has any ideas or lives in any of these towns and wants to meet the book blogging guy, let me know maybe we can meet up somewhere.  If anyone knows anyone who works for any of these teams that we are visiting and help us add to this experience and wants to reach out to them for us it would also  be appreciated.

I am going to do a daily blog on this trip to give everyone an update on each of the stadiums we are visiting.  Perhaps by doing this we can inspire some other fans to take the same journey.  Hey, if I can do this with a pregnant woman, you don’t have much of an excuse now do you.  This is our farewell journey in this part of our lives, so before we open the door to the next chapter we figured one last hurrah was in order.

If anyone has any ideas please don’t hesitate to drop me a line and thanks for the help folks.  Baseball is what brings us all together and hopefully makes our own worlds a little brighter.

Happy Reading……….or travelling




Joe Black – More Than a Dodger

I have talked on here of people being humble and fading into the scenery.  For some people, that works just fine and they go about their business, happy about being left alone.  Then there are others that while happy to fade into the scenery, are still able to make a difference to those folks around them and have a positive influence on everyone they meet.  Today’s book takes a look at a person who made every life around him a little brighter.


By:Martha Jo Black & Chuck Schoffner 2015 Chicago Review Press

Joe Black’s story is a very interesting one.  Not so much for the baseball career, but for his life off of the diamond.  Except for one good year in 1952, Joe Black’s career in baseball was fairly mundane.  Due to arm troubles and a late start to his career with the Dodgers, Black really could just be remembered as a flash in the pan one year wonder.  Luckily for us fans and the people whom Joe met, he was so much more and spent his life sharing with others.

This new book gives a detailed account of Joe Black both on and off the field.  It shows his beyond poor upbringing in New Jersey, how he overcame racial undertones to make the major leagues and how his career struggled after his somewhat magical first year in 1952.  What I found particularly entertaining about this book was the story of Joe’s life after baseball.  It shows how he went from being a school teacher and coach to a lifetime of being an executive for Greyhound Bus Lines.  The book also explores causes Joe had a soft spot for,  how he helped the poor and unfortunate and never truly forgot where he came from. He always remembered what it was like to grow up poor and that inspired him to help others wherever he could.  Through his church and his daily job at Greyhound, Joe was able to touch many lives, even if just for a few minutes, and those folks were better just for meeting Joe.  His life after Greyhound is also remembered and his works through the MLB Baseball Assistance Team.  It shows what a caring individual Joe was and no matter what stage of his life he was at, he always had time to give and care.

Now the down side of this book.  Joe’s daughter, Martha Jo Black is listed as lead author.  From what you find in the book, Martha Jo is just giving commentary as to what is being written about.  Almost an inside look at what transpired.  It is placed sporadically throughout the book and probably would total 10 pages of the books 354 pages.  So I found that confusing.  The other problem I had, was that the story was not in chronological order.  It would jump 50 years from chapter to chapter so you struggle to find continuity in the story.

Those two points listed above which I did not care for aside, it is a very interesting story.  If you can get past the timeline issue, the readers should really enjoy it.  Joe Black was a brief shining star in baseball and has almost become the forgotten Dodger, but should definitely remembered for the person he truly was.

You can get this book from the nice folks at Chicago Review Press


Happy Reading