Tagged: roger maris

Baseball’s Fallen Angel


I easily admit that my favorite genre of baseball books are the biographies.  They help show the real person behind the player’s public image and sometimes allows fans to get an inside scoop on some events.  On the other hand some of the biographies are ghost-written, self-serving and are just a ploy to both increase popularity and pocket a few extra bucks.  Thankfully for readers, those books are usually evident before you ever make the mistake of buying them.  Readers should also be grateful to find books like today’s autobiography, because it shows the human side of a player, flaws and all, and does not sugar coat anything.

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By:Eli Grba & Doug Williams-2016

Now we all know Eli Grba did not have a Hall of Fame baseball career by any measure but he this book shows that he is a Hall of Fame caliber person.  He had a well known problem with alcohol during his playing days and subsequent years and that honestly is just the tip of the iceberg in this compelling life story.

Eli Grba walks the readers through his entire life story in this book.  From his upbringing and his time labeled as a troubled youth and the multiple problems associated with that tag to the his showing promise as a stud pitcher.  You see the highs and lows of his life through all of its stages and it shows his true human side.  It also shows the love he had for his family, especially his mother, and how he has realized later in life the trouble and pain he has caused for those who loved him.

Grba also walks the readers through his rise through the baseball ranks and his eventual arrival to the majors.  He shows us the troubles he had along the way and how alcohol was the usually the underlying theme to these issues. He also shows us how in the end, alcohol derailed his promising career and how except for a few highlights it was talent wasted.

This book is a great look at a player who has come to terms with his demons and admirably overcome them and made his life better for both himself and those around him.  He talks extensively about his mother and the closeness they had and now realizes the pain he caused her over the years.  Throughout the book Eli is very honest with the readers and pulls no punches about his faults and failures along the way.  It is refreshing in this day and age to say anyone take responsibility for their actions, but it is even more eye opening to see a former professional athlete do it .

This is a great book for baseball fans to read.  It sheds a bright light on both Eli Grba’s life and career and shows how he was able to beat those demons.  Both Eli and co-author Doug Williams have made this a great story to read and a book that many people will not be able to put down.  It is one of those books that people dealing with the same types of problems will be able to relate to and in the end be able to take something from it that will help them with their own struggles.

Take a look around on social media sites because you can get autographed copies direct from Eli Grba as well as getting it from the standard on-line retailers.

Check it out I don’t think you will be disappointed, because the first angel has written a first rate book.

Happy Reading

Gregg

Babe’s Place-The Lives of Yankee Stadium


I am not a Yankee fan in any sense of the word, but I will acknowledge their achievements throughout history and the contributions they have made to both the game and its storied history.  The original Yankee Stadium was witness to many of the games greatest players and scores of historical moments.  With its closing a few years back, baseball lost one of its historical palaces, but I have found a book that chronicles its entire history and gives the stadium the true respect that it was due.

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By:Michael Wagner-2015

There have been a few books in the past that have made me go wow, but this one beats them all.  Author Michael Wagner starts from the stadium’s original construction and provides all sorts of details about building a stadium in the 20’s.  It covers stories about building delays, internal political struggles, how many bricks that were used and monetary costs to build the palace.  I am using that brick number to dazzle my friends when we start asking each other obscure baseball trivia.  It obviously does cover the great moments that happened there during its original incarnation and gives the reader a good feel of what the stadium was like during that early era of baseball.

Next the book takes another in-depth look at the remodeling of the stadium in the mid 1970’s.  The deconstruction and remodeling details are plentiful in this book and gives an inside look at what really went on behind the scenes during this remodeling phase.  Many of these things you will find hard to believe when you hear the  lengths they went to preserving its original heritage.  This portion of the book also covers the great moments that happened at Yankee Stadium during this second phase of its life.  This is the phase many of us are most familiar with so it was nice to relive some of those memories.

This book provides an enormous array of pictures.  From the original building of the stadium to its remodeling.  Many are from the authors private collection, and they are a unique insight to the process and how large of an undertaking it was to remodel this stadium.

Finally, one aspect I found interesting was the personal correspondence of the author attempting to get memories from those who played there.  He had success to varying degrees, but it was a fun way to see what players thought about the old girl during her prime.

It doesn’t matter if you are a New York Yankee fan or not this is a book worth checking out.  The original Yankee Stadium has given way to progress, but I personally think it should have remained and been revered in such ways that Wrigley Field and Fenway Park are today.  Old Yankee Stadium had a large historical value and this book has done a wonderful job on preserving some of the details and memories for generations to come.

You can contact Author Michael Wagner directly via email for information on how to order this great book for all baseball fans.

yankeeswinws@yahoo.com

Happy Reading

Gregg

McFarland-Never Ones to Shy Away from Obscurity


In baseball book circles every publisher has their own certain niche.  Whether it is historical volumes, biographies, complete seasons or any of the other countless things you could document within the game.  McFarland has always been a staunch supporter of the sport and released various books about our beloved game.  The one thing that has always struck me interesting about McFarland is how they don’t shy away from the obscure subjects like other publishers would.  It adds new facets to the readers library and makes sure we do not forget what the game has evolved from and the great and not so great names that helped bring it there.  They have a few new ones out that I figured I would share, because they are subjects that we as readers are sometimes hard pressed to find books on.

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By: William A. Cook-2016

Johnny Temple was a household name in Cincinnati during his playing days.  Get outside of Ohio and the spotlight tends to fade on Temple’s fairly solid playing career.  Cook takes the reader on a journey through Temple’s struggles that he had to overcome to be welcomed into professional baseball.  He introduces the reader to his fierce competitive streak that endeared him to local fans, but quite honestly to the rest of the world made him look like a miserable SOB.  The author shows the reader his entire playing career with stops in various cities throughout the league.  He was a solid player who was probably a bit underrated in the end, but that was probably due to the fact that he may have been his own worst enemy both on and off the field.

Finally this book takes a look at Johnny Temple’s life after baseball and the struggles that followed.  Troubled by serious financial and legal problems, Temple lived a life of obscurity and carried a heavy burden that followed him until his dying days.  The author does not delve very far into Temple’s legal problems but enough to peak the readers interest and realize these problems were probably of his own making.  Check out this book if you want a real good feel of what the Reds had at Second Base during the 50’s.

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I have read work from these authors before and expected nothing less than what you get with this book.  George Weiss was part of the Yankees front office during the Golden Years.  He is also not remembered very fondly by former players and members of the team.  There are many adjectives that have been used to describe him by former players and most were not very flattering.  This book takes a look at Weiss’ business acumen and how it was applied to building the powerhouse that the New York Yankees became.

It is an interesting look at the business angle of a team that everyone is familiar with and it’s one that not many people take the time to analyze.  This is an often overlooked subject with the Yankees of this era and now that we see what a major business powerhouse the game of baseball has become, it shows what differences the business dealings had during that era.  This book offers a unique perspective of the Yankees to the readers and should not be missed if you want to complete your education of the New York powerhouse.

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By:Jorge Iber-2016

Our final book of the day forces me to ask the question, where do you draw the line of who to write about and publish?  Is it the author’s personal preference or is it just one of those things keep going until you find someone willing to publish it.  Mike Torrez had a serviceable career and was witness to a few interesting events during his time on the mound, but will never be confused with the second coming of Cy Young.  All of the above being said this book did make me pose the question as to why, but there have been lots of other books published for less deserving candidates.

This book attempts to tackle two issues in one step.  Torrez’s life and career are addressed like most biographies attempt to do, but it also attempts to analyze his Hispanic heritage and the social impacts that may have had on his career.  Now both of these things would make great books in their own right, but when you try and squeeze them both into one book, you don’t give enough time to either subject.  Overall it is a pretty good book, but if you split the subject into two volumes you could probably have two better books.  If you are a Mike Torrez fan and looking for a baseball book, you should still check this one out.  70% of the book is still baseball and career related and would hold the readers interest.

Take the time to check out the McFarland website, because they have countless other books on baseball available and quite honestly will have something for everyone.

Happy Reading

Gregg

 

 

 

Strangers in the Bronx-The Changing of the Yankee Guard


I hate to admit it, but I always enjoy a good book about the Yankees.  The Phillies fan in me has a hard time justifying spending the money on purchasing one, much less enjoying a book about the evil empire.  In the past there have been many avenues taken to relay the stories about the fabled team from the Bronx, but as of late it seems we keep taking the same walk around the same block.  I would like to say today’s book would take us on a different tour, but I am sad to say we have been down this road many times.

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By:Andrew O’Toole-2015

Andrew O’Toole has taken the reader on an adventure with the New York Yankees during a time of transition.  A time when the one of the teams greatest stars was fading and its next one was on the rise.  It shows a time when the Yankees were full of uncertainty but about to embark on a sustained period of success that may never be rivaled.  Say what you will about the Yankees, they have a history that is hard to top.

The book shows what the 1951 season was like for the New York Yankees.  Di Maggio’s last season in pinstripes was not one of his greatest, but he earned the respect he demanded from the masses and his teammates and finished out the season and his career like only Joe DiMaggio could.  Waiting in the wings was Mickey Mantle the young mid westerner who was on his way to fame and stardom and did not even realize what was awaiting him.  Its a tale of two outsiders that came to New York and took a bite out of the big apple.

The downside to New York Yankees books is the fact that no matter what the subject matter is, it gets beat to death.  We have several different authors attack the very same subject and for the most part attain the same results in the end.  If I stop and take a look at my personal library, there are an insane number of books about Mickey Mantle and Joe Di Maggio.  It makes it hard to figure out what is the real truth on either of them.

As far as the 1951 season goes we have seen a few books from different authors.  While they attempt to each provide their own spin on the events of that year, unfortunately, it is impossible to.  This is in no way a reflection on this book’s author, it is just the reality that this book falls into a very crowded playing field.  It reminds me of the old politician saying that we may be saying the same thing, but you haven’t heard me say it yet.

While each of these books offers essentially the same thing, each writer has a different style that may appeal to different readers.  So choose wisely, or if you are familiar with that authors previous work and enjoyed it, stick with that version.  I was hoping we could get to the point where some authors would find something different and give us some new revelations, but I think that ship may have finally sailed.

If this book is one that might capture your interest on the 1951 season, you can get it from the nice folks at Triumph Books.

Strangers in the Bronx

Happy Reading

Gregg

Pitch By Pitch-My View of One Unforgettable Game


The passage of time is a fact of life.  No matter what happens in the world around us, time always marches on.  In baseball we measure time by seasons, innings and even outs.  As time passes, nostalgia tends to creep in and distort memories of the past.  So how does one keep those memories straight and know exactly what was going through their mind at a given point in time almost 50 years ago?  You ask Bob Gibson how to do it of course!

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By: Bob Gibson & Lonnie Wheeler -2015

I don’t know about any of you, but I can’t keep straight what I did last week, let alone decades ago.  So you can understand my apprehension with this book when you realize Gibson is trying to remember his thought process from one single game in 1968.  Granted that game was game from the 1968 World Series, but I still started reading this book with some skepticism.

After reading this one, I am very glad to report that Gibson and Wheeler have produced a very enjoyable book that is fun to read.  Bob Gibson walks us through the entire game of the 1968 that he started.  Inning by inning he gives the reader the inside angle on pitch selection, how he approached certain batters and his overall attitude.  All these things put together give you a view of the game that fans can rarely see.

Another nice aspect of this book is that it is not strictly game details.  He weaves in stories and anecdotes that give the reader some things in which to connect with Gibson.  A fierce competitor who some would consider downright scary at times and a person never known to hold back his opinions, this book puts a face to that side of his personality that you  rarely see from Bob Gibson.

I imagine it is very hard for anyone to remember all the details from that long ago and I am sure some video watching was involved in prepping for this book, but Bob Gibson does a really great job of getting the entire story across to the reader.  This game was a few years before my time, but I found within these pages what was needed to make me feel like I was really there.

Baseball fans across the board should enjoy this book.  It is a rare glimpse into the mind of a great competitor doing what he does best.  At almost 80 years old the recall of the game is an amazing feat in and of itself, but the book makes you feel like you are on the field with him.  Check it out, I don’t think you will be disappointed.

You can get this book from the nice folks at Flatiron Books

Pitch By Pitch

Happy Reading

Gregg

The A’s – A Baseball History


It is hard to deny that the Athletics baseball team have a pretty incredible history.  Having called three separate cities home over the course of their existence, they have reached the pinnacle of the game several times over, along with finding the depths of despair.  Some people think of the A’s as three separate teams at each of their locations, but now you can get a book that covers them as one entity.

By: David M. Jordan - 2014

By: David M. Jordan – 2014

David M. Jordan has taken on the task of covering the entire history of the Athletics franchise.  Each location the A’s have called home are covered in this book.  It is easier to find a book that covers one location, but it is I think, harder to find one book to cover their full history.  Jordan covers the history in Philadelphia, Kansas City and Oakland with great detail.  He shows the mainstay personalities that helped create their storied history in each city.  He also covers the championships that have come their way throughout the years.

Books like this are usually for the hard-core fans of that team and this one is no exception.  It gives a lot of detail of certain memorable seasons and glances over the not so memorable ones.  They have a long history that is very hard to cover in a single book, especially when you are trying to cover the time from Connie Mack to Charlie Finley and then on to Billy Ball.   Nonetheless, David M. Jordan does a thorough job and gives the reader a real feel for this teams history.  If you are not very familiar with the A’s complete history, this gives you a good taste of what you have been missing.

If you are a hard-core fan, this is a good book for you.  The reader gets some obscure facts that those type of fans will appreciate. I think if you are a casual fan and looking for a light easy read, this may not be for you.  This book gives a detailed history lesson of the A’s that is hard to beat.  No matter what city that you were a fan of the A’s in, it is worth checking out.

You can get this book from the nice folks at McFarland Publishing

http://www.mcfarlandbooks.com/book-2.php?id=978-0-7864-7781-4

Happy Reading

Gregg

Yankee Doodles – Inside the Locker Room with Mickey, Yogi, Reggie and Derek


When you do the same job for several decades it can get stale.  You get to the point that nothing new ever really happens and you just start phoning in your job.  You do the bare minimum just to skate by until you wind up retiring.  Now this is true for most of us, but if you are lucky enough to have a job that no two days are ever the same, it’s totally different.  You can’t wait to get to work and enjoy all the ups and downs of your job.  Now most of us obviously fall into the former description, but if you are the New York Yankees beat writer like Phil Pepe was for several decades, you have a ton of great stories filed away in the memory bank just waiting to be shared.  Todays book does just that.

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By:Phil Pepe-2015

This would probably be a dream job to most Yankee fans.  Following the team day in and day out, mingling among the legends and almost becoming an extension of the team itself.  While I am sure it is not a walk in the park every single day, I can think of a few professions that this would highly rank above.

Phil Pepe takes the reader on a journey with this book through several decades of Yankee stories.  It is personal, first hand interactions with the team and stories he has witnessed in his years covering the team.  He takes us from Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio all the way up through Derek Jeter.  In between those two icons the book is filled with stories about other Yankee legends that donned the pinstripes while he was their beat writer.  If you look at it from a historical standpoint this was a great time to be covering the team, because the baseball history he has witnessed is amazing.

This is a typical Pepe book in the style in which it is written.  I have always found his books to be engaging and able to pull the reader into the story and make them feel like they were there as well.  Phil Pepe has a real knack for getting the reader into a story and holding onto them until the very end.  Perhaps I am a little biased because the other books he has written have ranked up there among my favorites.  I am not sure if this was Pepe’s swan song for his distinguished career, but if it was he goes out on the top of his field.  He shows his skill and dedication to his craft and does not use it as any sort of retribution towards people in the stories he tells.  He tells stories that the everyday fan would never have known about if not told in this book. I found these stories in no way to be malicious or scandalous in any way, it was just more of a fun reflection on his career covering the Yankees.

Baseball fans and Yankee fans especially will enjoy this one.  Its just a lot of fun stories from a raunchy locker room that is not always visible to the public.  Readers should give this one a shot, I don’t think they will be dissapointed.

You can get this book from the nice folks at Sports Publishing

http://www.sportspubbooks.com/book/?gcoi=58261109512610

Happy Reading

Gregg