I am all about giving respect where respect is due. As always, anniversaries are a great way to show respect. Baseball has never been one to shy away from commemorating something either big or small, or both. 2016 is the 30th anniversary of the last Mets World Series winner and the events marking that this year have been coming at fans both fast and furiously. The book arena has been no exception to these celebrations, and while we have covered several of these in previous posts, I think I have the last two out there this year that I am going to do. It is amazing how much time and money has been spent this year for this one and done World Series winner, but for me, it is time and I am ready to put this subject to bed. So without further ado, here are the final two books.
Originally released in 1995 One Pitch Away takes a unique look at all the post-season teams in 1986. You get perspectives from several key members who played for one of the four teams, which is a nice change, because most of these books about 1986 only cover the World Series teams. You get a real good feel as to what was going through the heads of those involved during this amazing post-season.
I first read this when it was released in 1995. My initial reaction then was the same as it is now. It gives great insight into the games from the players themselves and Sowell’s work comes through strong. The interviews seem well prepared for by both parties and is time well spent reading about the fab-four of the 1986 post-season.
If you are a fan of any of the teams involved check out this book, I don’t think you will be disappointed. You can get this book from the nice folks at Summer Game Books. One Pitch Away
The next book brings us to current times with the 2015 Mets. By winning the division last year the Mets re-captured the hearts of the New York faithful in the Big Apple. After a decade and a half or so of the Yankees being the toast of New York, it was nice to see the love spread around town.
Greg Prince who runs his own New York Mets blog, also has written about the Mets several times before. He has an intense love for his team and it shows in his writing. He takes a thorough look at the colorful cast of characters the Mets were able to put together for their improbable run in 2015. If you are a fan of the Mets it is a fun reflection on an improbable year. It is for sure a good read, but will probably be more enjoyable in 10 or 15 years when time has passed and the limelight has faded on this particular team. This is another book that is time well spent reading today, but as it ages will become even more valuable to certain fans. You can get this from the nice folks at Sports Publishing.
I will admit it, 2016 has been off to a somewhat slow start for me with baseball books. The books from publishers and authors have slowed down somewhat, so I just don’t have as many books to post as of late. One book that I am glad to say I still had in my arsenal was this one.
Every generation of baseball seems to have that one character that stands out above the others. Not necessarily for their skills on the field, but more for the character they are off of it. One of those larger than life characters was Bobo Newsom. Coming from very humble beginnings in South Carolina, he turned his baseball skills into his own little circus. Making stops in various cities around the league, some of those actually more than once or twice, he made the best of situations and created himself, the legend of Bobo.
Bobo is definitely an under-covered personality of the game. Perhaps it is because he passed away more than 50 years ago or perhaps the powers that be within the game want us to forget about him altogether. Whatever the reasons may be, it is important that we remember these types of people because these dedicated folks are what the game is built on. Guys like Bobo and Boots Poffenberger need to be remembered for their contributions to the game and not lost to the passage of time.
Jim McConnell has done an awesome job of bringing Ol’ Bobo back to life. For generations that may have missed him, this book takes you back to the time when Bobo reigned over baseball, to the delight of many and maybe not so much to others. His career and personal life are both covered in this book and it paints a complete picture of someone we honestly don’t get to read that much about. I had trouble putting this one down because he played in so many decades that he kept crossing paths with some of the games greats and it kept the story moving along at a brisk pace. His larger than life personality also made it a very interesting book and kept the reader involved the entire time.
Baseball fans should pick this one up, because it will appeal to fans of the game. If you are a fan of a specific teams, there is a pretty good shot Bobo played for your team at one time or another way back when, so it should have some appeal there as well. In all honesty, there is a great story in this book about one of the games most interesting personalities. This book is a great tool to teach the future generations of fans about the legend of Bobo Newsom.
You can get this book from the nice folks at McFarland
Baseball fans always remember their first time. No matter what city it was in or who it was with, it is something that lasts with you your entire life. Of course I am talking about a baseball game here and it is a special and memorable moment in every fans life. The question I have is, do you remember all the details of your first time at the ballpark? I know I don’t remember mine, but now there is a book that helps young fans enhance the experience of their first trip to the ballpark.
This book gives young fans the opportunity to put in writing all of their own experiences from the stadium as well as learn a few important facts about the game itself. These facts really cover the basics about the game and some terminology they are going to hear along the way, which will help avoid some of the confusion these new fans will encounter. It also allows these newly ordained fans the chance to write down details of the day, beyond just the game itself. Things like how did they get there, what are the vendors selling, what are the smells you are encountering etc. It really is a good book if you are a young first time fan and a little unsure of what to expect.
O’Malley and Vascellaro have done a really nice job with this book. It is something the young fan will enjoy completing while going to the park the first time. It is also something that someday that same fan when older, will look back through and cherish some of the memories contained within. It is published in journal style and comes complete with a sharpened pencil all ready to go. I will be honest, I appreciate the sharpened pencil because I have no idea if I even own a pencil sharpener at this point in life. Young fans could use this the first time or even the first few times they go to a game just to chronicle their varying experiences.
This book would also be helpful for parents that have no baseball knowledge and are being dragged to a game because their kids wanted to go. Parents and kids can learn together from this book and gain an appreciation for what they are looking at.
Baseball fans with younger kids who are learning about the game should check this one out. It gives a lot of vital information in a small package, that will enhance the overall experience of watching the game.
You can get this book direct from the authors
I will admit that I am not an easy person to impress. I can spot flaws in a lot of things, and usually it is about something that most people would never give a second thought to. Call me picky, difficult or any number of adjectives, you have to work pretty hard to make me go wow. I have looked at books from Insight Editions on this blog before, and they made me go wow. They now have another book out that is making me have the same reaction……..again!
The Baltimore Orioles were created from the charred remains of the St. Louis Browns for the 1954 season. A legacy left behind in St Louis of ineptness and failure, the Baltimore Orioles hoped that a new beginning would bring forth success and happier times. Welcomed by the fans of Baltimore, the Orioles embarked on a love affair with the city that has created remarkable memories and seen some pretty great players pass through that town.
Insight Editions has published a new book that marks the 60th anniversary of the Orioles coming to Baltimore. Author Jim Henneman walks you through the rich history that has been created in Baltimore along with some monumental moments in baseball history. It takes a journey starting in 1954 with manager Jimmy Dykes, and brings you to the present, visiting with superstars such as Brooks and Frank Robinson, Reggie Jackson, Jim Palmer, Eddie Murray and some other fellow named Ripken.
The book is broken into several era’s of Orioles history and shows what unfolded in each decade. From World Series triumphs, through the changing of the guard on the field at the end of each era, you get a complete look at the Orioles history in Baltimore. You also get some incredible pictures of Cal Ripken Jr’s breaking of Lou Gehrig’s record in 1996. How many of us, when we think of the Orioles reflect back on that moment? Through a couple of ball parks, a few generations of employees, players and a few thousand games, you get the complete picture of what the Orioles have accomplished in Baltimore, and also get a feel as to what they mean to the fans in Baltimore.
As with the other baseball team books that Insight Editions has produced, they have made this one a pop-up book for adults. By that I mean, they have included folders in the book with postcards of special moments in Orioles history, ticket stubs from World Series games, actual copies of letters from fans and a few other cool surprises. They really out-do themselves with these types of books and this one does not disappoint in any way.
Orioles fans should check this out to re-live some of the great moments in Baltimore Orioles history. Non-Orioles fans should also check it out because it gives a very valuable history lesson of the franchise that has produced some great players and even greater memories for us all.
You can get this book from the nice folks at Insight Editions
One of the beautiful things about baseball is it allows you to become a time traveler. You can pick any point in time over the last 150 years or so, and you will find a baseball book that will transport you there. World Series champions have always been a popular place for time travelers. You can pick your favorite team and move yourself back to a time when you were 7 years old, or even go to a point when you were not even alive. These books give you a chance to witness history, or possibly relive your youth. Baltimore Orioles now have a great point in time to travel to with today’s book.
Author Mark Millikin has fired up the time machine to transport the readers to the glorious year of 1966. That year, Baltimore came out on top of the world. The freshly reloaded Baltimore Orioles and their new star player Frank Robinson, were taking the town by storm. That addition of Robinson alone pushed the Orioles to the forefront of the American League. The very player that the Cincinnati Reds thought was past his prime and on the decline, gave the Orioles that extra spark they need to reach the top of baseball.
This book takes a very thorough look at the 1966 Orioles. Through interviews with former players, sportswriters and fans it shows how popular that team was in the city of Baltimore. The team that had a few future Hall of Famers on the roster, produced out on the field at a level that made the fans of Baltimore proud. Playing at a torrid pace all season long, they propelled themselves to the top of the standings and never really looked back.
Teams like this always hold a special place in the hearts of their fans. For whatever reasons each fan has, they are the team they always remember. It was Baltimore’s first major success with the Orioles since they arrived in 1954, and made the fans dedication to their team stronger and of course, worth it in the end. Frank Robinson really was that final piece the Orioles needed to reach immortality. While the Orioles reached the World Series in a few of the years beyond 1966, fans never will forget their first true love……the Orioles of 1966 that swept the Dodgers.
Orioles fans will love this book. The details are amazing and the stories are entertaining. Fans of all teams should enjoy it as well, because if you didn’t live through it first hand it becomes a great history lesson for those that missed it.
You can get this book from the nice folks at St Johann Press
Knowledge is power. Baseball history affords us the opportunity to gain greats amount of knowledge. If you appreciate the game as an entire institution or just an individual team holds your attention, the information available is endless. Todays book allows fans the ability to learn in-depth about their favorite team.
The Orioles Encyclopedia
By:Mike Gesker – 2009 The Johns Hopkins University Press
Fans of the Baltimore Orioles have a very valuable tool at their disposal. Whatever morsel of knowledge they want to acquire is now contained in one neat little package. From their roots deep in the transplanted St. Louis Browns, starting play in 1954 as the Baltimore Orioles through the date of the book’s publication, you get it all. Fifty plus years of information rolled in to one neat little 862 page package.
Readers get several interesting aspects of the teams history. The book is split into various sections. Seasons, all-time rosters, coaches, managers, ballparks, post season berths, award winners and broadcasters are all covered in here. One of the more interesting sections I found was first round draft choices. You get to see the successes and busts that have come through Baltimore’s farm system. Off the field is fun is not forgotten in this book either. You get some behind the scenes glimpses of what antics went on in the Baltimore locker rooms as well. This book is invaluable to Orioles fans that want to complete their team knowledge.
There have been several of types of these team encyclopedias published through the years for various teams. I think they are a very important piece in a fans personal library. You get the ability to sit down and browse through the book and relive some great memories of your favorite team. I know by reading through this I came across some players I didn’t even know played for the O’s. The only down side to these types of books is that they need to be updated every few years with new editions. Orioles fans, this should be on your must buy list because it will really be enjoyable to have the information at your finger tips and the ability to re-live some old memories.
You can get this book from the nice folks at The Johns Hopkins University Press
Baseball is full of storied careers. With the passage of time, some of the stories become bigger than life. Some of those careers get clouded by the haze of nostalgia, or the feeling of what we used to have is better than today. Todays book takes an honest look at a high-profile career and gave me a clear look at what really happened.
The Wizard of Waxahachie
By:Warren Corbett – 2009 Southern Methodist University Press
Paul Richards mark on baseball is undeniable. There are many things, by design or perhaps by accident, that have been attributed to him. Pitch counts, five man pitching rotations, tracking on-base percentages, his fingerprints are all over baseball today. What you don’t always see is the way the mind operated during his lifetime dedicated to the sport.
Warren Corbett wrote a book almost 25 years after Richards death. Relying on family memories, notes and audio recordings that the family had provided, and has given a seldom seen side of Paul Richards. He delves in to the devious side of Richards and his dealings with players and management during his illustrious career. He also creates an accurate feeling that he was a hustler to many, both on the field and the golf course.
The most interesting aspect of this book to me is the trouble Paul Richards had bridging the generation gap. When I say generation gap I am talking about the gap that was created near the end of his career in the dawn of free agency. Richards had a lot of problems accepting the birth and subsequent power of the MLB Players Union. It shows how after almost 50 years in baseball he was very set in his ways.
While after finding moderate success on and off the field in all his stops in baseball, Richards was a man of many friends and able to work the old boy network to his advantage and always find work. That may be some of the reason he was not interested in adjusting to the new era of baseball. The book is very heavy in detail about his time in Baltimore with the Orioles. It was the longest stop of his career but still dominates about half of this book. His stops in Houston, Atlanta, both stops in Chicago and finally Texas seem to be condensed versions to fit in the book. I think a little more time could have been spent in Houston alone, due to the challenges of building a new franchise.
In the end Richards does not come out of the book looking like the genius he is regarded as today. He seems almost human and to an extent skating through some of the stops in his career. The end result of the book has shown us what I feel is a very fair and accurate portrait of Paul Richards. Wayne Corbett did a great job on this biography especially since he was doing it almost 25 years after Richards death.
You can get this book from the nice folks at Southern Methodist University Press
By now we all know who Rick Dempsey is. A serviceable catcher who put up decent numbers, but was never a Hall of Fame caliber player. Even with those types of numbers it seems Rick Dempsey is almost a folk hero to the fans of the Orioles. That brings us to today’s book…….
Rick Dempsey’s Caught Stealing
By Jonathon Schaech-2014 Cemetery Dance Publications.
Folk hero is the only reason that I can come up with as to why we need this book. Other than becoming the 1983 World Series MVP, he had an ordinary career. My other thought was that maybe Dempsey wanted to be like everyone else and rake in some extra money from writing a quick autobiography. The only problem with that second idea was that Dempsey didn’t write the book and is talked about in the third person throughout most of it. Except for a few select quotes in each chapter there does not seem to be much of the subjects influence throughout this writing.
The author grew up in Maryland and is an Orioles fan. So that explains to some degree why he chose Dempsey. His writing style almost comes across as “why don’t you all pull up a chair, because I am gonna tell ya a little story bout Rick Dempsey“. Which is great if it works, but I don’t think on a player biography it necessarily works. It almost felt like it was some sort of hero-worship book that was written by a fan with some bias towards his career. I have had the same problem of not enjoying this kind of writing style with Jimmy Breslin’s books as well. So maybe it is just me that is the problem with this book.
By no means am I trying to knock Dempsey’s career here. I think he had a career to be proud of with his skills and has made a success of himself both on and off the field. I just think the author missed his mark on this book, whatever that mark was supposed to be. It’s a small book, approximately 130 pages, with photos and a few dead pages between chapters. So for the price of the book, I don’t think you are getting much bang for your buck. The low number of pages also force the book to lack any type of detail to any subject matter. With so many other baseball books out there you get more product for your dollar.
Orioles fans will love the book I am sure, and think I am out of my mind with this review, but I’m just being honest. If you can find the book for a discounted price pick it up and read it, maybe I just expect to much out of a player biography.
You can get the book from the nice folks at Cemetery Dance Publications