If you are looking for a book review tonight unfortunately you have come to the wrong place. Being the name sake of this blog provides me the opportunity to have a public venting session when needed. So please if you all will, amuse me tonight and let me complain so that by tomorrow I will be in a better frame of mind and will return to what I normally do around here…….baseball books and all that go with it.
For those of you who haven’t heard, my wife and I are expecting our first child in August. To celebrate the event we were going to take an epic trip in May and visit six MLB stadiums in eight days along with one Minor League stop in there as well. Here is the link to the original story if you missed it. We had some good responses and ideas from a few of my readers to some things we should not miss at the places we were going. We also had some preliminary contact with a couple of the teams we were going to visit so it was looking like it was all going to come together nicely and be a fun trip. Until today, when my little black cloud, that seems to follow me almost everywhere, showed its ugly face once again and rained all over our trip. You may ask, what has happened that would be so crappy to ruin our epic trip……..here let me show you…………….
That is a wonderful x-ray of my spine. The same spine that now requires surgery and some sort of implant to fix and has essentially screwed us out of our trip. I will be out of commission for at least a month and that falls right during the month of May. So instead of following the Phillies from city to city, and eating an Egg Mcmuffin in Toledo at a baseball game, I will be sitting at home on the couch with my head buried in another baseball book.
My wife has brought up the proposition of doing this trip next summer with our new little bundle of joy in tow, but I haven’t 100% signed off that idea yet. I do think having the new addition along would be a great bonus to the trip, I am just not sure how easy that much travel would be with someone that little.
I would like to think there is some sort of reason this has happened now and that we are better off staying home. But more than likely, it is just my black cloud following me again. So all the above being said if anyone has some ideas for books I should check out during my several week recuperation let me know. I have a few weeks until my surgery date, but will still have several weeks at home to read.
So that’s the plan, we will make that my silver lining in all of this and hopefully get some new recommendations from my readers. I have lots of faith in the folks I talk to in baseball book land and have already read a few of your ideas. So I look forward to and also appreciate any ideas you all have.
Thanks for reading my rant, I appreciate you taking the time out of your day to listen to me whine and complain……………now back to your regular scheduled book reviews.
One thing I really enjoy about this blog is I never know who I am going to talk to, get the chance to meet or what I might have the opportunity to obtain. One of those such people who I had the absolute pleasure to meet yesterday was the one and only Ron Kaplan. For those of you not familiar with Ron (and I say shame on you if you are into baseball books and don’t know who he is) he is the man behind Ron Kaplan’s Baseball Bookshelf as well as an accomplished baseball author. One fact that may not have been as well know is that Ron was the man with an insanely large amount of acquired baseball books taking residence in his home, which led to this weekends meeting.
Ron decided it was time to clean house and get some of the boxes out the door and reduce some of his clutter. He worked tirelessly to find them a good home where they would be appreciated, because he and I both feel there is something inherently wrong with just throwing books in the garbage. The term one man’s trash is another man’s treasure applies here to some degree. Through his generosity he agreed to dispose of a large chunk of the book collection to me. It was Christmas in October on a quiet suburban New Jersey street if you will for this baseball fan.
I would guess roughly 800 books changed hands in this meeting, and with smiles on both our parts we ended the meeting, each of us very happy. The generosity of this to me was overwhelming to me and to Ron I send a heartfelt Thank You. I find it cool how baseball books can bring two strangers together and give them common link to build friendship upon.
To my wife Brina, if she does not leave me over bringing home 800 books to our house…….then I thank her too.
She was a real trooper after a late night Saturday in getting up bright and early for our trek to New Jersey. Without a complaint all day she helped greatly in loading and unloading of the truck and even had a few complimentary things to say about my blog…….yes, I was surprised too!
If you ever get a chance check out Ron Kaplan’s Baseball Bookshelf using the link above. As far as baseball book sites out there go, there is Ron Kaplan’s…….and then there is the rest of us. He would in my opinion almost be the Godfather of Baseball Book Blogging. Again Ron, I thank you, the boxes of books are all settled in their new home waiting to be unleashed. If you ever feel the need to unleash more of your baseball books on the world, remember I am only a phone call away. Next time we will definitely take you up on the offer of the cup of coffee.
As baseball fans we should remember we are the keepers of the game, and if there is something we can do to help our fellow baseball book fans enjoy their time more, we should pay it forward. I know that’s what I am going to be doing with some of my books (new and old ones) in the next few months.
When one thinks of under rated players lots of guys come to mind. When that happens, which it seems to a lot, perhaps they get overlooked for earned accolades such as the Hall of Fame. Luckily for some of those players they get the credit they deserved, while others just get forgotten. Orlando Cepeda was always a player I thought was overlooked. For what ever the reasons may be he always seemed to be forgotten in the conversations about the greats of the game. It seems since his induction to the Hall of Fame that he has finally gotten the accolades he deserves. Today’s book takes a look at that overlooked Hall of Fame career.
By far this is not a new release, but Cepeda seems to be a neglected subject in the book market. There are only a handful of Orlando Cepeda books out there but this one stands tall among the others. As always, Bruce Markusen does not disappoint.
Markusen’s book takes a very in-depth look at both Cepeda’s childhood and career development along with his MLB career. From his upbringing in Puerto Rico and growing up in the shadow of his father who was a former semi-pro player to becoming a star in his own right in his homeland, you see the environment that helped shape the man. You also get to see the immense pride that Cepeda has within himself and his country.
You next see the struggles Orlando overcomes in reaching the major leagues. At the time he came up, there were still residual effects of segregation effecting the Latino players, so you see how Cepeda was able to overcome these obstacles as well. From the start with the Giants in 1958, through the end with the Royals in 1974, Markusen takes us on Orlando’s journey through playing time, injuries, trades, the post season and winter ball. It shows a very complete picture of Orlando’s career. It also shows the reader some of the labels he was saddled with throughout the league that were not always positive. Injuries proved troublesome for him that got him the label of lazy and others along that line. These types of things helped keep Orlando Cepeda under rated as well.
Finally the author looks at Cepeda’s life after baseball. It briefly talks about his time in prison and how it effected his life. The one positive that has come out of his prison time is that it seems to have changed Orlando for the positive and he has in the end turned his life around for the better. It was also this jail time that probably led to him not getting in the Hall of Fame for as long as he did.
Markusen’s book tells a very good story about Cepeda and his life. The only problem I have with it is that it is only 126 pages. I would have liked to see it talk a little more about life after baseball with some more pages. Even though it is short, it is still a very good book that paints a good picture for the readers.
You can get this book from the nice folks at Arte Publico Press
Each of us has our favorite team. It could be the team you have followed since you were a little kid or one whose allegiance you have recently pledged. Regardless of who your team is, there seems to be books out there dedicated to every one of them. Sports Publishing has put out a series dedicated to each individual team that gets the fans all the interesting inside stories from the people who lived them.
The Tales From the Dugout series is the fans link to their favorite teams. It gives you inside stories from some of the most interesting people who lurk behind the scenes in your favorite stadium. Each of the books is not written by the same person, as others have been. In this series, some are written by the teams announcer, other former players and some by the front office folks. So each book gives you a different perspective of the team.
The two I looked at were the Kansas City Royals and the Arizona Diamondbacks. Two teams that I will honestly say are not high on my list of knowledge. These books gave me a little background on the stories and tales that have transpired throughout the teams history. They are fun stories, but they also give you a little history lesson on the team.
Fans should check these out because you can learn about some new teams that have been around a long time. Or you can re-live your own teams stories that you have probably heard hundreds of times before. Honestly though, if it’s your hometown team you will enjoy reading those stories over and over again.
You can get these books from the nice folks at Sports Publishing