Tagged: st johann press

The Glory of the 1966 Baltimore Orioles


One of the beautiful things about baseball is it allows you to become a time traveler.  You can pick any point in time over the last 150 years or so, and you will find a baseball book that will transport you there.  World Series champions have always been a popular place for time travelers.  You can pick your favorite team and move yourself back to a time when you were 7 years old, or even go to a point when you were not even alive.  These books give you a chance to witness history, or possibly relive your youth.  Baltimore Orioles now have a great point in time to travel to with today’s book.

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By:Mark Millikin-St Johann Press 2006

Author Mark Millikin has fired up the time machine to transport the readers to the glorious year of 1966.  That year, Baltimore came out on top of the world.  The freshly reloaded Baltimore Orioles and their new star player Frank Robinson, were taking the town by storm.  That addition of Robinson alone pushed the Orioles to the forefront of the American League.  The very player that the Cincinnati Reds thought was past his prime and on the decline, gave the Orioles that extra spark they need to reach the top of baseball.

This book takes a very thorough look at the 1966 Orioles.  Through interviews with former players, sportswriters and fans it shows how popular that team was in the city of Baltimore.  The team that had a few future Hall of Famers on the roster, produced out on the field at a level that made the fans of Baltimore proud.  Playing at a torrid pace all season long, they propelled themselves to the top of the standings and never really looked back.

Teams like this always hold a special place in the hearts of their fans.  For whatever reasons each fan has, they are the team they always remember.  It was Baltimore’s first major success with the Orioles since they arrived in 1954, and made the fans dedication to their team stronger and of course, worth it in the end.  Frank Robinson really was that final piece the Orioles needed to reach immortality.  While the Orioles reached the World Series in a few of the years beyond 1966, fans never will forget their first true love……the Orioles of 1966 that swept the Dodgers.

Orioles fans will love this book.  The details are amazing and the stories are entertaining.  Fans of all teams should enjoy it as well, because if you didn’t live through it first hand it becomes a great history lesson for those that missed it.

You can get this book from the nice folks at St Johann Press

ww.stjohannpress.com

Happy Reading

Gregg

 

Negro Baseball……..Before Integration


Whatever your chosen avenue of reading is, there are always books that are considered classics.  Almost all baseball books do not fall into the category of great examples of classic American literature.  Once in a great while you will find some baseball books that baseball fans will consider a must read.  Ball Four and Veeck as in Wreck are two that come to mind for me that every fan should read.  I am sure if you ask 100 different fans you will get 100 different answers as well.  Nonetheless, there are some books that every fan should read, if for nothing more than the historical value they provide to the reader.  Today’s book is one of those.

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BY:Effa Manley and Leon Herbert Hardwick 2006-ST Johann Press

Originally published in 1976,  Negro Baseball……Before Integration is a great history lesson.  In the generation before the internet brought the world to our fingertips, this book brought us back to a long ago time and told us how it really was.

Written basically in a first person account, Effa Manley walks you through what transpired during the life of the entire league.  It shows the ups and downs and the monumental moments that occurred throughout the league.  You also got an idea of what the leagues overall general health was like and the way the league ultimately folded after the integration of Major League Baseball.  It truly gives a first hand account of the league and what ultimately transpired.

This book is an important one in each fans library.  It is a good account of what transpired in America in a totally different era, but is something that should never be lost to the ages.  I have always said knowledge is power, and as fans it is our duty to learn as much as we can about the game.  With that knowledge, it allows fans to keep the by-gone eras alive and well for future generations.

You can get this book from the nice folks at St Johann Press

http://www.stjohannpress.com

Happy Reading

Gregg

 

A Baseball Dynasty – Charlie Finley’s Swingin’ A’s


There are times when successful teams become monsters.  Not necessarily just on the field.  In the annals of history the teams legacy can become grander than they ever really were, and take on an entire life of their own.  One such team that I feel has taken on a new meaning as time has marched on is Charlie Finley’s Oakland Athletics.  The team was born of a time before free agency and assembled through the farm system and trades.  The end result of that work was the formation of a powerhouse that may never be duplicated in the future.  1971-1975 was a magical time to be a Oakland A’s fan.  This book we are looking at today helps us relieve the magical era by the bay.

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By Bruce Markusen-St Johann Press 2002

What is there not to love about the 70’s????  Handlebar mustaches, bell bottoms, disco and of course the almighty Oakland A’s.  They were the hands-down the most dominating powerhouse of the American League in the first half of the decade, and produced a legacy that would be destroyed by the advent of free agency as well as the miserly ways of their owner Charlie Finley.

The A’s on the field were virtually unstoppable.  Multiple trips to the World Series in the early 70’s as well as a few rings to boot, made them the favorite to repeat each year.  With stars such as Reggie Jackson, Vida Blue, Catfish Hunter, Rollie Fingers, Mudcat Grant, Gene Tenace and Sal Bando, they were almost unstoppable.  With this many elite stars assembled on one team, of course drama would not be far behind in Oakland.

Bruce Markusen has assembled a nice collection of stories on the A’s during their dynasty years.  Through exhaustive research he has created several analyses on what made the A’s such a formidable team and what led to such a prolonged success.  This newer updated version also has interviews with some of the players and behind the scenes stories that really bring the Oakland A’s to life.  Of course since it is the Charlie Finley Oakland A’s we are talking about here, you get stories and details about all the bickering and in-house disputes between teammates, managers and the front office.  It does paint a very good picture of the A’s figured out how to win on the field and become a powerhouse, in spite of their behavior off the field.  They easily rivaled, if not surpassed any Steinbrenner run team in the drama department.

The author has written a very enjoyable book if you have an interest in the A’s.  It shows an inside look at a team success that we as fans, will be hard pressed to see again in modern baseball.   One can only imagine if the A’s had an owner other than Charlie Finley, how much more success they could have attained in the latter half of the 70’s

You can get this book from the nice folks at St Johann Press

http://www.stjohannpress.com

Happy Reading

Gregg

 

Baseball’s Peerless Semipros-Bushwick


When I had the thought of doing a book review blog, I figured I would stick to just doing autobiographies.  I knew there were tons of those types of books out there to pick from.  What I didn’t realize was that there was books on so many different facets of the history of the game.  I have been pleasantly surprised at some of the books I have found, and it has allowed me to become a history student again.  Todays book added some new information to my ever-growing knowledge base.

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Baseball’s Peerless Semipros

Thomas Barthel-2009 St. Johann Press

I will admit before I got this book I had never heard of the Bushwicks.  Happily though, through my learning process I found a very interesting story.  A bunch of semi-pros, former major leaguers and negro-leaguers formed a high quality team that most competitors found, was hard to beat.  Through the process of winning they also produced a form of civic pride that most residents of Brooklyn found more appealing than the professional teams of the day.

Max Rosner who was a Jewish immigrant was the owner of the Bushwicks.  Through his hard work and promotion he built a local empire.  He basically created one of, if not the biggest draw of the first half of the twentieth century participating in baseball.  That is no small feat if you consider he was competing against the Dodgers, Yankees and Giants in the same city.

I always find it interesting that you can see where something considered an innovation back in the day was derived from.  Rosner was the brainchild behind the idea of night baseball under the lights.  His idea sprang forth a full five years before the Cincinnati Reds decided to give it a try.  It is small innovations like that which are now part of the everyday norm in baseball.

Barthel gives you a year by year look at the Bushwicks and the triumphs and struggles they encountered along the way.  One of the big things they had an issue with was finding qualified competition.  The team existed in almost a no-mans land if you will.  They were not major league quality but still too good to be considered amateurs.  It almost looks as if they were a quality minor league team in an era before minor league baseball existed.

You really get a glimpse in to the inner workings of a baseball team before MLB ruled the world.  They may not have been the big apples within the Big Apple but they were still a pretty impressive team.  Books like this I always enjoy because they are definitely off of the mainstream that baseball fans normally read and talk about.   History buffs will really enjoy this and each fan should take the time to read and learn something new.

You can get this book from the nice folks at St. Johann Press.

http://www.stjohannpress.com

Happy Reading

Gregg

 

Everyone needs a hobby I guess ????


I always say everyone needs a hobby.  Whether it is to relax in your free time, to add fulfillment to your life or just something to do until you find something better to do.  Baseball falls into the category of hobby in most of our lives.  Mostly because there are very few of us that can ever make any real money from what we do with it.  You can watch baseball, collect cards, collect autographs, write about it or make road trips with your friends to visit historical  stadiums.  There are countless other things that you can do with baseball that would be considered a hobby including today’s book…..

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Baseball Burial Sites

By:Bob Bailey 2004-St Johann Press

Yes, you can visit burial sites.  I also think this is considered a hobby to many.  Now regardless of what the rest of the world thinks, this is a viable hobby to many folks.  I myself never understood the interest of visiting the grave site of a baseball personality.  Perhaps it is to pay respects or something of the sort but I still don’t really get it.  But to each their own because as the title says, everyone needs a hobby, and this is still better than collecting lint.

 

Bob Bailey has done a very nice job of organizing an “interesting” subject.  The book is broken down into several different sections depending on specialty.  All field personnel including umpires are included in the book.  As well as owners, broadcasters, writers and other lesser known personalities.  For each section it gives an alphabetical listing along with date of death, cemetery name and location.  I see this as a somewhat herculean task to try to find these sites to write a book.  I know from my own work trying to find a former player it can sometimes be a tall task, and that’s for the living people.

 

The final section of the book satisfies even the most casual of the burial site seeker.  It is an alphabetical state listing that then breaks it into individual counties.  Under the county section it then gives you the cemetery name and which players are buried there.  For me, I now know that Smokey Joe Wood is buried down the road from me.  Until I looked at this book I never knew that.  Which in turn I found odd because the town I live in (Shohola, Pa.), he is their only claim to fame and they mention him whenever possible.

 

In no way am I  intending to look down on anyone that enjoys this.  If this is how you enjoy the hobby then so be it.  To each their own.  I just don’t get it.  But to someone out there who enjoys this, Baseball Burial Sites is a great book for you.  The author put a lot of work in to and provides you with great information.  It’s basically a map to the burial plots.  Its well-organized and detailed so even the novice plot chaser should be able to locate who they are looking for.

You can pick up this book from the nice folks at St Johann Press.  www.stjohannpress.com

Happy Reading

Gregg

Red Sox Nation – Rejoice!


I, first off, must apologize as my review is a day late because quite frankly…… I needed to cut my grass.   It was not even remotely fun but needed to get done nonetheless.  So without further ado let get to todays book.

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Red Sox Review – 110 Years of Boston Red Sox Photos

By Mark Stang – 2011 – 224 Pages

St Johann Press

I have never really been a big fan of the coffee table book sector.  Most of the time I felt they were fluff pieces that rehashed the same old photos with the same old captions we have seen 100 times.  In that market, I have come across the same exact book with a different dust jacket and a new copyright date.  So that really soured me on giving these types of books much of a chance.  That is until now!

The Author of Red Sox Review has actually taken some time to thoughtfully outline the different subject matters.  They have gone through the photographic history of the Sox over the last 110 years and found some people who are not necessarily mainstream.  They have taken the time to pay homage to the personalities that have added substance to that storied franchise.  It is by far not a fluff piece that talks about Ted Williams and Yaz for 80% of the book, then sprinkles everyone else in for good measure.  It actually gives people like Bucky Walters, Smokey Joe Wood (who is from Shohola Pennsylvania, where I live, by the way!) and Pinky Higgins their due.

The format of the book that I find unique is almost every single person gets their own page.  It is not like some books where they are going to fit six guys on a page, come hell or high water.   In most cases it devotes a full page to the player and gives a thorough account of his time in Boston.  It shows some great quality images of some turn of the 20th century players.   Then the book works its way through today devoting the same space to those current day players.  Another really cool aspect of the book is some of the photos they used are ones I have rarely, if ever, seen.  How many of us have ever seen Rollie Fingers in a Red Sox uniform?  After that botched trade with Charlie Finley’s Athletics, I bet not many.   It’s in the book!

I don’t claim to be any sort of Red Sox expert but it really was interesting to see how many star-caliber and even Hall of Fame players have made their way through Boston.  They are rich in history and this book takes a good and thorough look at what has transpired in Boston in terms of personnel.  Not only does it cover players, it covers Managers, General Managers, Owners and Broadcast Personalities as well.  It truly is all-encompassing of the teams history.

If you have any interest in the Red Sox or even baseball history in general this would be a good book for you to pick up.  Die Hard Bo-Sox fans may not learn much new, but they will probably see some never before seen photos.  This book actually made me change my perception of what a coffee-table book can be.  It will make me think twice before I say no to looking at one in the future.  It seems, after all, that sometimes an old dog can learn new tricks!

 

This book published by St Johann Press.

http://www.stjohannpress.com

Happy Reading

Gregg