You can always find a team that one year or another falls in the cracks of existence. It could be a bad season or a string of bad years that makes most of America forget or even care that the team is still playing. Perhaps it is even the locale or the personality of the team and ownership that makes it less appealing to the masses. Teams that have had these problems such as the Montreal Expos, Miami Marlins and even the Seattle Mariners at times have trouble sustaining success on the field when none of the fans really care. The Minnesota Twins are one team that I feel that gets lost in the shuffle of baseball. Be it a lack of success in recent years or geographical location, the Twins just seem to get no love from the rest of the country. It’s a good thing they have a rich history to celebrate and a die-hard fan base that will enjoy today’s book.
The Twins started their existence as the transplanted Washington Senators in 1961. Moving to a colder and more temperamental climate they set off to build a whole new tradition on and off the field. They have succeeded in building one of the most dedicated fan bases in the game and achieved some moderate success through the years on the field including a few World Series Championships.
Doug Grow takes fan’s of the Minnesota Twins on an entertaining ride through their existence. Year by year, you are walked through the history of the team, along with some pop-culture snippets going on at the same time as well. Published in 2010, this book only takes you through the opening of Target Field, so currently it is a little dated. Each year starting with the shift that bore the Minnesota Twins you get player insight, on and off field team drama, as well as fun facts about the team itself. If you are not a die-hard fan of the Twins or have not spent a lot of time learning their history it is very helpful.
These type of books that chronicle a franchises complete history allow general baseball fans to learn specific details of a team and form a connection. When you have fans forming a connection with a team, you in the end create a fan of that team. These books then become dual purpose, by being both a history book and also the ability to generate new fans for that team. Doug Grow did a very thorough and entertaining job with this book. It was hard to put down because it was so enjoyable. If you are a Minnesota Twins fan you probably have heard some of these stories before, but will more than likely enjoy them again. If the Twins are not that familiar to you, this book becomes a great learning experience and is entertaining at the same time.
You can get this book from the nice folks at University of Minnesota Press
Every team has a history. Some teams have stayed in one place and followed the straight and narrow, while others have made stops along the way, some of those in three or four towns no less. Sometimes it is lack of fan support, the lure of a new stadium or for other owners its just the temptation that the grass is greener on the other side, that makes them up-root their teams. The Minnesota Twins, born out of the remains of the original Washington Senators, are one of those such teams and todays book takes a look at their rich history after moving out to the prairie.
The upper mid-west was a grand opportunity for the owner of the Minnesota Twins. There was not much in the way of professional sports representation for that area at the time, and Calvin Griffith saw a gold mine for the taking. Sometimes these moves go as expected and sometimes not, just ask Charlie Finley how Kansas City was. Regardless, Minnesota got a new baseball team for the 1961 season and the endless love affair between team and city has not missed a beat since.
Stew Thornley takes an in-depth look at the team from its humble beginnings in 1961, through a few World Series appearances and finally to their new home at Target Field. The author breaks down each decade of the teams existence and shows the highs and lows that came about. The book is a very quick read at only 123 pages, but it does not just touch on the main events. It encompasses the minor details that have made Twins baseball special to the people of Minnesota. Thornley also gives a nice overview of what baseball was in Minnesota prior to the Twins arrival on semi-pro levels. From Killebrew and Oliva to Molitor and Mauer, this book does a great job of covering the team history.
If you are a Twins fan or someone who is not in the Minnesota region but likes to learn about team history, you will really enjoy this book. It paints a solid team picture in a short span, and helps you understand why the fans of Minnesota are so proud of their hometown team.
You can get this book from the nice folks at The History Press
With the Hall of Fame voting coming up in a few weeks, everyone is wondering who will be next. Will it be a superstar who played on the biggest of stages every night? Or will it be someone from a small stage that had an incredible career. Only time will tell, but todays book takes a look at a player that worked day in and day out to perfect his craft on a smaller stage.
By: Rod Carew & Ira Berkow – 2010 University of Minnesota Press
Rod Carew was a sure-fire Hall of Famer, no one denies that. The only problem was, I don’t think he ever got the true recognition he deserved. Mainly due to the fact that he played some of his most productive years as a member of the Minnesota Twins. He never hit for massive power, but he still put up some incredible career numbers that punched his ticket for the Hall of Fame.
This book was first published in 1979 and was an incredible story. It was re-issued in 2010 to add the years covering the end of his career, life after baseball and his HOF induction. Carew is honest and forthright in this book, discussing his upbringing in Panama, his move to the United States, his baseball career and his marriage to white Jewish woman in the U.S.. Remember, this was during the time when interracial marriages were not accepted in our society, so you see the difficulties he had to overcome in regard to that issue. You get some insight into his career and life after baseball, but nothing earth shattering.
For the heights that tell-all player biographies have reached in the last few decades, this one is very tame. You get thorough information and what seems like honesty out of Carew but really nothing that makes you go wow I can’t believe that happened. That is always the feeling I have had about Rod Carew. A great and dedicated player that went about his business and was not interested in making waves or being a showman. Perhaps part of the book comes off this way because it was first published back in 1979. In all honesty I just think it is how Carew operates and Ira Berkow portrays the man and the player accurately. I still think as far as Hall of Famers go Carew is underrated but I don’t think anything will ever change that.
If you have any interest in Rod Carew or his baseball career this will be a very good read for you. For someone who does not seem to crave the limelight of his stardom you get a good look at the true man. Minnesota Twins and California Angels fans will also really enjoy the look at their hometown hero.
You can get this book from the nice folks at The University of Minnesota Press
Happy Reading and a safe and Merry Christmas to all my friends that hang out in the bookcase with me