Baseball is in the midst of a Golden Age. It is hard to deny they are raking on unprecedented money, getting tremendous amounts of exposure and attracting new fans from all around the world. Now the man at the head of this renaissance of Major League Baseball for over two decades was Bud Selig. He was heralded as breathing new life into baseball and being the innovator of many things new to the game. But what was it really like behind the scenes? The fans and the general public only get the positive spin on situations. Jon Pessah has written a new book that takes fans behind the scenes and shows us how the process was manipulated.
I have always thought there was more to the Bud Selig story than met the eye. From his ownership of the Milwaukee Brewers, to the power play that he made to become the Commissioner, Avoiding Pete Rose to the legacy he left when retiring. When he was talking, it always felt like you were not getting the whole story. His ownership of the Brewers was never something dreams were made of it. Run on a shoestring budget, they always had roster and financial issues and always were considered the bottom feeders of the league.
Jon Pessah gives the reader a very thorough look at the journey that is Bud Selig. From used car salesman to his journey to become the king of baseball, you get it all. You see all the backroom deals and double crosses that made up the reign of Bud. You see his true personality shine through in the business dealings and how no real friendship was actually safe when it involved Selig. This book puts a real face on the personality of Selig in all of his business dealings, not just the positive spin that was created for the general public.
The other aspect of this book which I find interesting is Selig’s relationship and dealings with George Steinbrenner, who was basically the only man in the game almost as powerful as Selig. The book shows a lot of business dealings that the Yankees conducted and how they both meshed and contradicted Major League Baseball’s desires. It does give a nice glimpse of he internal strife that exists within baseball even to this day. Overall it was a good example of a team that at times worked against the machine. The only down side to that approach is that it becomes too Yankees heavy instead of staying on course with the Major League Baseball story, but overall it still works within the book.
Baseball fans should check this one out because it really raises the curtain on the reign of Bud Selig. He is not the shiny penny everyone always portrayed him as, and it shows what the Commissioner truly was like to deal with. This book will not in any way tarnish Selig’s legacy but at least now we all know the truth about the man from Milwaukee.
You can get this book from the nice folks at Little, Brown & Co.
It seems like throughout baseball history, each decade has had one season that stands out more than the others. Dynasties come and go, Superstars rise and fall and our country follows along as well. The 1960’s were by far one of the most turbulent times in modern American history. The world was a changing place, and baseball never one to be far behind society, was changing as well. Today’s book takes a look at one of those turbulent years in both society and baseball.
1968 has been coined as the year of the pitcher. Miniscule ERA’s and lower batting averages produced rule changes that have withstood to modern times. America was a changing place as well, so it was no surprise that the national pastime was part of the changes. What transpired in the summer of 1968 was the end of an era in baseball and ushered in changes that would help shape the future of our game.
Tim Wendel has written another winner with Summer of 68. The book starts by taking an overall look at the state of baseball in 1968. Starting out in spring training you see what shape the game was in and get a good feeling of where it was heading that year. The overall main focus of the book though is the St. Louis Cardinals and Detroit Tigers. These two teams would eventually meet in the World Series that year. You get an in-depth look at both teams. Who they were, how the functioned and how the both were great successes on the field that year.
Intertwined in the journey of a baseball season the author shows how the societal landscape of the United States was changing. You see how the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. effected the country and both of the baseball teams as well. The reader is shown how the home cities these teams were part of, were turned into war zones. You can feel the frustration of a generation coming out in the summer of 1968. The book gives a very good look at a bygone era and what transpired in our country to change the world that we live in today. It is a nice balance between baseball and society. The book is of course heavier handed in the baseball subject, but still gives you enough of the outside world to see how it effected the players within the game.
Tim Wendel did a very nice job with this book. If you were not able to witness 1968 first hand, it gives you not only a history lesson, but also a feel for what the world was like back then. You get to see the ups and downs that have shaped our world and made both our country and sport the greatest in the world. Baseball fans will enjoy this one, no matter what team you choose to root for.
You can get this book from the nice folks at DaCapo Press
The game of baseball is forever changing. One could almost consider it some form of living organism. The product is always changing and evolving into something much different from what you may have seen years before. It could be the actual play of the game, rules or even subtle changes to position players that have become unique. The role of the closer has been one such animal over the last 60 years or so, that has morphed itself to the forefront of the game. If a team doesn’t have a great stopper in their bullpen, they are going nowhere quick. Todays book takes a look at that changing role straight from the horse’s mouth.
This book takes a rather unique, but definitely effective approach to the role of the closer. You get the information direct from some of the names that have defined the role throughout the years. Starting in the 1950’s with the person whom many consider the original closer Elroy Face, to current day closing specialists like John Smoltz, you get the story of why these roles have become so important. The book breaks down the closer role into three eras. The beginning, the transition years and the modern era. Each section has interviews with several of the pitchers that became closers in their careers during those periods, and how the changing role of the closer within the game affected them.
The authors have done a nice job of showing the reader how the player viewed themselves within the game. It shows how the pitcher really fit in the game both before and after they became a closer, and how it changed their careers. There are several Hall of Fame careers that were actually saved by becoming a closer. Some guys had fairly succesful careers before the switch, but everyone interviewed seemed to view the switch as a positive thing for their careers.
If you want to see how the game has evolved and read some really good interviews at the same time you should check out this book. The authors did a nice job with it and should be proud of their work.
You can get this book from the nice folks at Running Press