There are teams out there that have through their history had iconic players. When you think of the Yankees, Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio and Mantle always pop to mind. For the Red Sox, Ted Williams is the man. What if you are a team that does not have a century long history in the game and has had limited success on the field. The Tampa Rays come to mind with having no one that has been a stand out player and really have had limited success. The Astros and the Mets both entered the league together and have taken different paths. The journey of the Mets has generated a bunch of post-season births, coupled with a few World Series championships and a roster of iconic players. The Astros on the other hand have had limited success and a handful of post season appearances. With their past performance it is surprising how many great players the Houston Astros have had during their time in the league. One name that immediately pops to mind is the iconic Jimmy Wynn. Essentially being there from the beginning when they were still the Colt 45’s, Wynn’s performance on the field and his down to earth nature easily made him a force to be reckoned with on the field and a fan favorite off of it. While today’s book is not a new release, I wanted to share it because it really is an enjoyable tale.
In today’s terms Jimmy Wynn was a stud. Being the player on the top of the Houston power heap, Wynn was able to give the Astros someone to build a team around during their formative years in the league. Unfortunately for both parties they were never able to reach the ultimate goal of a visit to the World Series during their time together.
This is not like reading a regular book, it is more like sitting on the porch with your friend and listening to his stories. Wynn walks the reader through his childhood in Cincinnati and his dreams of one day being a big league baseball player. You get a nice look at the Wynn family values and how those ideals helped produce a fine person in Jimmy Wynn. Next you see the minor league struggles that brought Wynn from the hometown Reds farm system to the fields of Houston.
A good portion of this book is rightly so about his time with the Astros. He his most widely known for his accomplishments on the field there and where he spent the biggest bulk of his career, so it is only natural it takes up so much space in the book. Jimmy tells the reader about events both on and off the field that have helped him both learn and grow as a person, as well as the mistakes he has made along the way that effected his life. Finally the book takes us through stops with the Dodgers, Braves, Yankees and Brewers. It is a career well traveled and a lot of accomplishments that any player would be proud of.
The most surprising thing is that Jimmy Wynn admits his flaws and his mistakes he has made over the years. Most baseball players would not take the time to admit these things at all, let alone do it in their autobiography. It really shows the depth of character he has and what a genuine person he really is.
The book is a great read for all baseball fans. It shows the real side of a baseball star and how they are human just like the rest of us and have their own faults. It also shows how a player of this caliber can admit his faults and shows there is no shame in asking forgiveness from those you have wronged. Check it out, I don’t think you will be disappointed..
You can get this book from the nice folks at McFarland
With this week’s Hall of Fame vote finally announced, you get to see how many truly amazing players that played the game. Every year we fight about the superstars and who deserves to be enshrined this year. Beyond these greats are the people who are the backbone of the game. The good and borderline great players who are not Hall worthy but still had really good careers. There are also the people who had solid days on the field but were honestly nothing memorable otherwise. For every Hall of Fame caliber player there are hundreds of other players that fell below them in the grand scheme of the game. It is important that history does not forget these types of players. Through their hard work and dedication they have helped forge the story of baseball. Today’s book takes a look at one of those players that had a good career, that while not Hall worthy, still was good enough to be respected and admired by various generations.
I went into this book only familiar with Swish Nicholson’s time with the Philadelphia Phillies. A member of the beloved Whiz Kids, he was a name that Phillies fans were accustomed to hearing as one of the Philly greats. It turns out before Bill ever stopped in my hometown, he had a really incredible career in the Windy City with the Cubs, but was hindered by the fact that his prime was during the height of World War II. Being a wartime slugger discounted his achievements on the field because the rest of the world felt all the best players were off serving in the military. This fact created the perception of Swish Nicholson’s career as not being as good as his numbers portrayed, because the competition was not up to its normal MLB standard.
This book makes a very solid attempt at showing Nicholson’s career in the correct light it deserves. It gives a lot of background on his personal life and growing up in the early 20th century. The book gives the reader a real feel of what Bill Nicholson was like off the field, as well as what kind of exceptional player he was on it. This book also shows life after baseball and with older players, I find it interesting to see their transition back into regular life. It is so different than what modern players have to go through. It has to be very hard to go from being a star on the field to a regular guy working 9 to 5 and punching a clock.
Book like this are important in that they keep the memories of players whom may not have been Hall of Fame worthy alive in the minds of baseball fans. Books like this bring the past back to life and show readers various eras of the game they have only heard of through stories of older generations. Fans should check out Swish Nicholson, it is one of those books that is both entertaining and educational for everyone.
You can get this book from the nice folks at McFarland
Some teams are able to creates dynasties, while others find the formula to success only once. The same amount of effort is put in by both teams, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out as planned. It is probably harder to repeat as Champions then to win the first one, just due to the overwhelming demands. Demands on time, personal appearances, team obligations, media interviews and the list goes on, because everyone wants a piece of the Champions. The 1990 Cincinnati Reds were one of those one and done teams. 1990 was a lightning in a bottle year for them and I have found a book that chronicles the whole season.
The 1990 Reds seem to be one of those team that gets lost in the shuffle. They led the league from the season opener to the final day. At the time, they became one of only three teams in the history of baseball at that time to do that. Then, they went on to sweep the heavily favored Oakland A’s in the World Series. It truly was a magical year for the Reds.
Erardi and Luckhaupt have written a book that takes a look at all the exciting moments in the 1990 Reds season. It shows all the highlights of the season that came their way, and how the team persevered a grueling baseball season to stay on top from beginning to end. The authors also take a look at all the personalities that made the Reds so special. Being led off the field by Sweet Lou Piniella, and on the field by Hall of Famer Barry Larkin, the Reds but something special together. Players like the Nasty Boys, Eric Davis, Chris Sabo and off field personalities like Marge Schott, gave this team a personality that the fans of Cincinnati fell in love with.
It seems to me that some of the World Champion Reds teams fall through the cracks of history. They never seem to get the recognition they deserve. I think it has happened a few times with the prior Reds championship teams. Perhaps it is their location in Cincinnati that allows them to be forgotten, I am not really sure.
Baseball fans should enjoy this book. It gives a nice review of the entire 1990 season for the Reds. I have a feeling at the time most of us were not necessarily paying attention to what the Reds were doing, so you can take a look at what we all missed.
You can get this book from the nice folks at Clerisy Press
Certain places around Major League Baseball have been around since the birth of the league. Due to that fact, the history of those particular cities is deep. Thousands of people have been a part of the ran and file of that team, and helped create some amazing memories for their fans. The Cincinnati Reds have pretty much been around since day one, and contributed some defining moments to the game of baseball. Today’s book takes a look at some of those incredible moments in Reds team history.
When you have been in existence since 1869, where do you even start to define your greatest moments? Just by the sheer number of years you have been around you have more possible moments than everybody else. When you think about it the Cincinnati Reds have been around since almost the end of the Civil War. They are approaching 150 years in the league and are still on a daily basis making memories.
Greg Rhodes has compiled a book that was a monumental undertaking in my opinion. There are so many great moments over that near century and a half, that it has to be hard to narrow it down to just one book. The author breaks the book down into twenty year chapters. The initial chapter of the book covers the early years, 1866-1879 and then works in twenty year increments after that. Every section covers the who, what, when and why questions that have arisen in Reds history. It reviews the personalities that have graced the Reds, as well as major achievements on the field on both an individual and team level. It gives a good perspective of what the Reds have accomplished throughout their history.
If you are not Cincinnati Reds fan, or from that area, this book gives a good look at team history and player accomplishments. Many team books out on the market focus on one genre, and let some events or people fall through the cracks. This books make sure that the people and events that helped shape the team are not forgotten. You see names like Bucky Walters, Hugh Kritz and Clyde Shoun. While not Hall of Famers outside of Cincinnati, they have made big contributions to the team’s legacy. This book gives them their due and makes sure they don’t get lost in the passage of time.
I think books like these are important to fans. They are a nicely presented history lesson for the reader, and it makes sure that the people who contributed to the teams history are never forgotten. For other fans it may prove the Reds actually did exist before the birth of the Big Red Machine.
All fans that enjoy reading about history should read this book. It is very thorough in its team history from the beginning of the team, to its published date of 2007. It is presented so well, you won’t even realize you are learning something.
You can get this book from the nice folks at Clerisy Press
Not every player that makes it to the big time is a Hall of Fame player on the field. In real life though, some of them are Hall of Fame caliber people. Thousands of players have graced the playing fields throughout time in Major League Baseball. Some playing careers have been better than others, while others have fallen into obscurity due to the passage of time. The common denominator with all these guys is that they realized their dreams. To whatever degree they have succeeded on the field, it is nice to read about players that have appreciated how lucky they really were. Todays book is about a player who may not have been a HOF player, but he had a HOF attitude that has carried him throughout his life.
Hank Foiles came from humble beginnings in Virginia, growing up in an era marked by the depression and World War II. Always one of positive character, Hank grew up happy and excelled at sports in his native area. Feeling that Baseball was his true calling Hank pursued that sport and made it his life’s work. First signed and called up by the New York Yankees and crossing paths with superstars like Yogi Berra and Joe DiMaggio, Hank always keeps his humble persona. The book follows Hank through various stops in his MLB career and you get interesting stories about teammates and friends he has made along the way at each stop.
An interesting aspect of the book is Hank talks about his personal pride in being a Mason. It is something he is very proud of and dedicated his life to giving back. It is enjoyable to see a player who does take the time to give his time and service to a community organization. It is not something you see in today’s game, unless it is pre planned publicity. Finally the book gives you a look at Hank’s life after baseball and the jobs he held.
The book is very easy read and fans should enjoy it. It is nice to see a player who had a solid, but not superstar career, appreciate what he accomplished. By todays standards Hank may have been a superstar. So many time it seems players don’t appreciate what they have and it makes me so mad. Hank comes across as a great guy that has spent his life appreciating what he has been given and trying his best to give back to those around him. In my book that makes him a Hall of Fame person. Our game needs more guys like this!
You can get signed copies of this book direct from Hank himself