No matter who you are, if you are a baseball fan, you have opinions on how to make the game better. It could be ways to speed up the game, a way to play the game more effectively or even personnel decisions that would alter the complexion of your team. Regardless of what your ideas are, more than likely they will fall on deaf ears. Now if you are a baseball lifer like today’s author, you automatically gain some credence to your ideas just because of the experience and respect you have attained during your career.
Buck Martinez has been a solid baseball lifer. Spending a career as an on field back up Catcher, he had the opportunity to study the game during his three team stop in the major leagues. His final stop in Toronto seemed to provide him the best education and allow him to find as permanent a home as one can find in baseball. His post retirement career as both field manager and television analyst have continued his baseball education and allowed him to become one of the most respected minds in baseball.
This book has almost a Frankenstein feel to it. It really could have been several different stand alone books all by the same author, but here it is rolled all in to one product. The first part of the book that Buck gives the reader, is his childhood and playing career. You see his love of the game from his youth and how he worked himself hard to become a major leaguer. He was for most of his time in the major leagues a back up or fringe player which allowed him to study the game. All three teams, The Royals, Brewers and Blue Jays, were all fairly bad teams that were attempting to build a quality product on the field and Buck was part of the construction of all three. It was those three stops that Buck learned what it took to be a winner and how to build success.
After his playing days were over Buck found a home as an analyst for the Blue Jays and has made himself a vital part of the Jays TV crew and a respected voice from the booth. His analyst career was interrupted by a brief and not so successful stint as Blue Jays manager. It was a wrong place, wrong time career move, that if it was under a different set of circumstances, may have turned out much different.
The third part of this book conglomeration is Buck’s opinions of what works and does not work within today’s game. He cites examples of who he thinks is playing and respecting the game at the correct level. He also presents some ideas that he thinks would improve the game. He has some decent ideas that someone within the game and the powers that be, may want to stop and take a look at. They are not way out ideas and would help enhance the game as we know it today.
When you think of Buck Martinez you don’t think of a Hall of Fame player. While he had an average career, he has made himself a spectacular student of the game and makes educated and well thought out suggestions to improve the game. If you are looking for an educated view of the current game this may be a book you would want to check out. He presents his ideas in ways that would improve the game without disrupting its natural flow. The book showed a whole new side of Buck Martinez to me and allowed me to gain a whole new respect for him.
You can get this book from the nice folks at HarperCollins
I can not even the imagine the pain involved with being a fan of a team, and then one day they are gone. They cease to exist for whatever reason. Perhaps they just moved to another city or became a new franchise altogether in a new location. Being a Phillies fan my entire life I have been lucky enough, or cursed depending on how you look at it, to have them in the same place for my 40-plus years. Fans in Montreal, St.Louis and of course Washington understand the pain I am talking about, but what about Milwaukee. They had the Braves for over a decade and had sustained success in that town, then one day they were gone. Today’s book take a look at their short stay in Milwaukee and the glory that accompanied it
William Povletich has created a really entertaining and informative book. He takes an in-depth look at the Braves 13 year stay in Wisconsin, where they never had a losing season. If that wasn’t a match made in heaven for the Braves fans, what is? The author has a special passion for the Milwaukee Braves that comes through in his writing which is an enjoyable aspect of this book.
Weaving through their short stay in Milwaukee starting with their arrival from Boston, you see the move to their new home and their ascension to the World Series. You see the how the Braves were able to maintain winning seasons in their new town and able to garner some fan support of the quality players they provided for fan enjoyment. Alas, it was not to be and you see how the Braves were drawn in by Atlanta and eventually left for greener pastures.
The pictures included in this book are really great. I have read a few Braves books like this in the past and don’t ever remember seeing photos like these. One other aspect of the book that is enjoyable is the player interviews. The guys who actually played in Milwaukee during those glory years give you their take on events and how they unfolded.
Even if you have read other books about the Milwaukee Braves, you should still check this one out. This books writing style and photos give it an entirely different feel than some of the others. Each book offers different things about the same subject, and this one has earned its rightful place among them. Braves fans will not be disappointed.
You can get this book from the nice folks at the Wisconsin Historical Society Press
Baseball history is full of unique stories. Not every player had a Hall of Fame career, while others were the tops of their field. Thousands of players fall into the middle points of this realm, but every one of them has a unique story that sometimes gets forgotten. Part of the fun of being a student of baseball history is the opportunity to learn about each players individual story. Sometimes players fall through the cracks of history because each year new people are added to team rosters and add to the history of the game. Today’s book takes a look at the story of another player who deserves not to be forgotten due to the passage of time.
Andy Pafko, by all accounts had a very nice career. With stints on the North side of Chicago, Brooklyn and Milwaukee, he got to witness some great history as well as the chances to win a few rings. Solid on the field, putting up very good numbers by that day’s standards, Pafko was a quality player that may not have gotten the true recognition that he deserved.
Joe Niese has written an interesting book that goes to great lengths to show the true man. He takes an in-depth look at both the professional and personal sides of Andy Pafko. You not only see his professionalism on the field, you also learn what a quality person he was off the field as well. A dedicated family man, Andy Pafko comes across as having his priorities straight in life and never losing sight of what was important to him. He has proven that hard work and love of family both are rewarding in the end. Niese gives the readers insight on Andy Pafko’s hopes, dreams and personal triumphs that help shape the man in the end.
The part I found most interesting about this book is the passion that author Joe Niese seems to have in telling the story of Andy Pafko. It is a caring and interesting story that Niese helps tell in a way that truly captures the essence of the man himself. This book is so much more than just a standard biography of a player. It is really a biography of a great guy who just happened to be a baseball player. You learn a lot about Andy Pafko in this book, and it is also a great lesson for the baseball fan, that sometimes the quiet man on the field has the most interesting story to tell.
You can get this book direct from the author at http://www.joeniese.com
I always find it fascinating to see if the grass is greener on the other side of the field. I wonder if fans of other teams are as miserable as I am as a Phillies fan. I wonder if they have the same excitement when their team finally finds success, and its interesting to see how those fans react. These reasons explain why I enjoy team books so much. Especially those books that focus on a certain year in the team’s history, even if it wasn’t a succesful year. Todays book takes a look at one of those succesful team that had an incredible year.
The Milwaukee Braves were short-lived. Playing in Milwaukee from 1953-1965 after their transplant from Boston, it almost seemed those 12 years were just a rest stop on their way to Atlanta. But the Braves had one magical season in 1957 that stands out in the fans mind to this day. No matter who your team is, you would want a season like this to remember.
SABR member Gregory Wolf and his group of editors have written a great book that celebrates that magical season. They take you on a journey through the team roster. In great detail they look at all the strengths and weaknesses that each player had and what contributions they made to the team. This book covers every last person on the roster that season, not just the superstars. From opening day to the World Series end, you get everyone. It makes you go wow, I never realized that guy was on this team. It also reviews all the highs that the season contained for the fans and their journey to the World Series.
One of the most interesting parts of the book for me was how the Braves moved from Boston to Milwaukee. It put some of the pieces in their proper place so you understood the entire story of the move out of Beantown. Books written by SABR members never fail to amaze me. They always give me some sort of information that I always was curious about but could never find the back story on it.
If you are a Milwaukee Braves fan this book will not disappoint. It gives amazing amounts of details about that historical season, that you would be hard pressed to find anywhere else. Fans of great teams and special seasons will also enjoy this book, because it was something really special to be a part of. As always, SABR writers do not disappoint.
You can get this book from the nice folks at The Society for American Baseball Research