Being New Years Day, one tends to look back at the past. Sometimes it is the past year one reflects on, and for others you may want to reflect back on something over 50 years ago. In baseball history we have many seasons we get the chance to reflect on and honestly, I think that there are so many it makes it hard to choose. Todays book takes a look at one of those spectacular seasons for a team that is almost forgotten due to the success of their team in subsequent years.
Before the Machine-The Story of the 1961 Pennant-Winning Cincinnati Reds
By:Mark Schmetzer – 2011 Clerisy Press
The 1961 Reds on paper looked to be nothing spectacular. A mix of aging veterans and young up and comers were not expected to make any real noise on the field. Playing in an antiquated ball park and dealing with the death of their owner just days before the start of the season, things were not looking great for the team. But little did the fans of Cincinnati and the world of baseball know, this was going to be their year.
Mark Schmetzer takes readers on a journey through that great 1961 season. You see it from beginning to end, starting with the off-season and spring training, you see the pieces assembled that made up this team. Players that were brought in to fill holes became vital pieces in the success on the field. The book also takes you through each month of the season, showing the highs and lows of a grueling seven month season. Player injuries, slumps, and hot streaks are all contained in the book. It gives you a great look at team struggles and chemistry, that add up to make a successful team. There are tons of never before seen pictures in this book that add to the feeling that you are witnessing this team at a level higher than just a book. You also get to re-live the disappointment of the 1961 World Series at the hands of the New York Yankees. While it may not be a great event that their fans want to re-live, it gives a very comprehensive account of events on the field.
I often have felt this team gets overlooked in the annals of history. Primarily because of the multi-year success of the Cincinnati Reds Big Red Machine. When people think of the Reds success they automatically gravitate towards the teams of the Big Red Machine. Perhaps because it was their first year of success in such a long period of time, but it does seem that sometimes they just are plain old forgotten. The author has done a great job of making sure this team never gets forgotten.
All fans should enjoy this book. It does a nice job of covering the history of the team and that magical season in Cincinnati. Also, books like this are important because they make sure certain teams and pieces of history, do not fall through the cracks of time. It makes sure these teams are remembered for all future generations of fans to appreciate and enjoy.
You can get this book from the nice folks at Clerisy Press