When a team changes cities it is a daunting process. Ownership has to make sure it crosses all its T’s and dots all its I’s to make sure everything will be to their, and more importantly their fans liking. No where as near as common place as it once was, team transfers can be a great thing for those involved. New stadiums, new fan base, a whole new chance to invent yourself and the financial rewards usually aren’t too bad either. That is just what the New York giants were hoping for with their move to San Francisco. A shiny new stadium to call home accompanied with lots of parking spaces for ownership to sell each night helped sell them on their new locale. But sometimes all is not what you hope it will be, and todays book takes a look at the Giants move to California and good or bad, depending on where you stood, their new Home Sweet Home.
We are all well aware of the story of the Dodgers moving to Los Angeles and their conquering of the Southern California market. Sometimes lost in that great shadow is the Giants, who abandoned the Polo Grounds and the city of New York at the exact same time to help usher in baseball across the continent. Walter O’Malley was larger than life at times and in that shadow one can understand how Horace Stoneham may have fallen by the wayside. So with that, it easy to forget the history of the Giants during the first years in California. Luckily for us this book shows us what it took to get the Giants in place in San Fran and the hopes ownership had for the new frontier.
Robert Garrett does a good job of giving us the background of the team in New York and the situation it found itself in during the late 50’s. From stadium woes to the personality of Horace Stoneham you get a pretty good feel of what it was like for the team during their waning days in New York. He shows the courtship of the Giants by a new city and the promises bestowed by the local government, the biggest of all being a new stadium.
Stoneham had a somewhat of a hands off approach to his new stadium as the book shows and it in turn came to bite him in the butt. Candlestick Park had its own set of issues that are well chronicled in the book which in turn snowballed, enough so that it would essentially destroy many of the dreams of what Stoneham had for this new venture. In the end it is one of the driving factors that ends the Stoneham ownership of the team.
Next we look at the struggles to find new ownership and the quest to keep the Giants in San Francisco less than twenty years after the had arrived. Once new ownership was found you see the same struggles of old ownership with the albatross of Candlestick still dangling around its neck. It shows an interesting look at how baseball operated in regards to stadiums, success at the gate and play on the field. You see how the Giants, except for a few years as a whole, struggled while they called Candlestick home. It’s also shown how the people of San Fran really didn’t care if they ever got out of there.
Finally, you see a final change on ownership that get the Giants to a new frontier and a stadium worthwhile of Major League Baseball and the success that comes with that type of arena. I honestly think this book is a great look at this era of Giants baseball, no matter how bad it was on the field. It’s a portion of team history that gets overshadowed by the Los Angeles Dodgers moving at the same time, the expansion of baseball and the evolving changes that were going on in both baseball and society. It proves some dreams take longer than others to come to fruition.
If you have an interest in California baseball during this era this book is definitely worth checking out. You can get this book from the nice folks at the University of Nebraska Press.
I have always had trouble with coffee table books. Sometimes it was the size of the book that made it cumbersome, other times it was the content. Basically the author tried to cram too much information into one book. So that has left me on the fence where these books were concerned. I am seeing as I continue with this blog that as my horizons expand on baseball subjects, so does my taste for the coffee table books. I have found another one that I liked that was worthy of being shared.
This book has some incredible pictures of some iconic ballparks. That is the short version of why I am fond of this book. It takes a look of some of the most famous and historical stadiums in baseball history. Places such as Ebbets Field, Old Yankee Stadium, The Polo Grounds, Fenway, Wrigley and Tiger Stadium. The book gives the reader a look at some seldom seen photos of both the inside and outside of each ballpark. It talks about some of the historical events that happened in each palace, as well as some of the characters that called it home. Each ballpark is given its hard-earned due. It respects the rich history at each place and shares with the reader the great qualities that each place has or had.
Another cool aspect of the book is that it almost a pop-up book for adults if you will. For each ballpark, it gives you little pieces of memorabilia for each place. It could be postcards, ticket stubs or reproductions of programs from historical games. Each stadium has its own pocket these little treasures are contained in so they don’t get lost. It’s a neat little feature that you don’t normally find in these books. I was surprised by this one and thought it would just be another stadium book, but it earned its space in the bookcase.
I realize coffee table books sometimes are not worth the space that they take up in your bookcase, but this one is different. Even though it is over-sized, I don’t think you will be disappointed by giving this one a chance. It will add a special something that you don’t usually find in these type of books.
You can get this book from the nice folks at Thunder Bay Press
If you are the fan of any baseball team, then at least once you have had a horrid season. The type of season that no matter what you do you can just not shake the memory. For fans of the 29 other teams in the league, they can take some pride in the fact that they are not the all-time worst…….hey that honor has to go to someone, right? Well, congratulations New York Mets fans, the honor is all yours. The proud owners of 120 losses in their inaugural season in 1962, the New York Mets set a new record for futility that has yet to be broken over 50 years later. Now there is a book that allows you to relieve the highlights, or low-lights, depending on how you look at it, of that first season.
There is a whole series of the “Tales From the Dugout of….” books available for various teams out there right now. They all follow the same basic premise of highlighting a certain team or season to the delight of that team’s fans. They are targeted to a very specific market and may not appeal to all baseball fans.
This specific book from Janet Paskin allows readers to look at the Mets 1962 season. Each chapter highlights specific moments in the season that were of historical significance. It also takes a look at player performances and antics during the season, on and off the field. The final piece of the book takes a where are they now approach and tells the reader what happened to the individual players after 1962.
Unfortunately, these are the same old stories you would hear as fans about the 1962 New York Mets. I am sure its very hard to come up with new material about a single season more than a half century later. While historical for it being the Mets first season and the record-setting loss total, nothing really historical happened within baseball. There was nothing groundbreaking that would make it a season to be remembered for all time.
If you are a Mets fan, the stories in this book you have probably heard 100 times before. That being said you will probably enjoy reading them for the 101st time. If you are not a Mets fan, this will have a hard time holding your interest, unless you really enjoy stories of ineptitude on the baseball diamond.
You can pick up this book from the nice folks at Sports Publishing