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1. Luckiest Man : The Life and Death
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2. Coach: Lessons on the Game of
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3. Juiced : Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids,
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4. The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty:
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5. The Teammates
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6. Bat Boy : My True Life Adventures
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7. Me and Hank : A Boy and His Hero,
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8. The Oldest Rookie: Big-League
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9. The Bad Guys Won! A Season of
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10. Joe DiMaggio : The Hero's Life
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11. Hank Aaron And The Home Run That
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12. The Life You Imagine : Life Lessons
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13. Ted Williams: The Biography of
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14. Sandy Koufax : A Lefty's Legacy
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15. George Brett: From Here To Cooperstown
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16. Have Glove, Will Travel : Adventures
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17. Ed Delahanty in the Emerald Age
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18. One Pitch from Glory: A Decade
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19. Don't Look Back : Satchel Paige
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20. Veeck--As In Wreck : The Autobiography

1. Luckiest Man : The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig
by Jonathan Eig
list price: $26.00
our price: $17.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743245911
Catlog: Book (2005-04-01)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 417
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Lou Gehrig started his professional baseball career at a time when players began to be seen as national celebrities. Though this suited charismatic men such as Babe Ruth and Joe DiMaggio, Gehrig avoided the spotlight and preferred to speak with his bat. Best known for playing in 2,130 consecutive games as well as his courage in battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (a disease that now bears his name), the Iron Horse that emerges from this book is surprisingly naïve and insecure. He would cry in the clubhouse after disappointing performances, was painfully shy around women (much to the amusement of some of his teammates), and particularly devoted to his German-immigrant mother all his life. Even after earning the league MVP award he still feared the Yankees would let him go. Against the advice of Ruth and others, he refused to negotiate aggressively and so earned less than he deserved for many seasons. Honest, humble, and notoriously frugal, his only vices were chewing gum and the occasional cigarette. And despite becoming one of the finest first basemen of all time, Jonathan Eig shows how Gehrig never seemed to conquer his self-doubt, only to manage it better.

Jonathan Eig's Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig offers a fascinating and well-rounded portrait of Gehrig, from his dugout rituals and historic games to his relationships with his mother, wife, coaches, and teammates. His complex friendship with Ruth, who was the polar opposite to Gehrig in nearly every respect, is given particularly vivid attention. Take this revealing description of how the two men began a barnstorming tour together following their 1927 World Series victory: "Ruth tipped the call girls and sent them on their way. Gehrig kissed his mother goodbye." Eig also shares some previously unknown details regarding his consecutive games streak and how he dealt with ALS during the final years of his life. Rich in anecdotes and based on hundreds of interviews and 200 pages of recently discovered letters, the book effectively shows why the Iron Horse remains an American icon to this day. --Shawn Carkonen ... Read more

Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary biography of a mythic figure
Lou Gehrig has risen beyond mortality, into mythology. His life and death are part of our lore more than our common history. But Eig does a beautiful job of chronicling both in human, concrete terms, not in the poetic abstractions of baseball memory. Don't get me wrong: I love the poetic abstractions of baseball, but here we get a glimpse of the kind of flesh-and-blood hero we haven't had for a long time, engaged in a rise and fall unlike any we see in a media-saturated 21st century.

Eig's writing is full of the pain, celebration, quiet nobility and raw physical strength that made Lou Gehrig. The fact that a sports figure remains a figure worth our money, time and interest 60 years after he died is testament to his contribution to the sport and the impact of his personal courage.

Gehrig wasn't without flaws. Rather he was a perfect antithesis to teammate Babe Ruth, a significantly flawed fella who wasn't without his personal qualities. Together, they stand as icons of the golden age of the sport, and Eig's biography pointedly (and poignantly) paints Gehrig as a myth-in-the-making, utterly unaware of his deity-to-be.

And that's how it should be.

5-0 out of 5 stars A True Role Model
Reading this book made me wonder, "Are there any men of this caliber of character in MLB today?"My immediate answer would be, "No."Who in today's big leagues would feel almost embarassed to get a raise?Who would play for such a quiet love of the game?

A ballplayer from the 80s, Ryne Sandberg, does come to mind.Of course, he was nowhere the player of Gehrig (who is?), but he always seemed like a gentleman who gave it his all.

God Bless Lou Gehrig and all he stood for.Read this book if you want to be inspired by a genuine American role model and hero.

4-0 out of 5 stars Rise and Fall of the Iron Horse
In his biography of Lou Gehrig, Jonathon Eig offers up a portrait of an iron willed individual, complex to a fault, who achieved the highest level of success in a sport dominated by oversize personalities such as Ruth, Cobb,and Alexander. Lou may not have had the talent of those men , but his work ethic and boy scout persona honed his skills to the extent he became the greatest offensive force in the game in the late 1920's and 30's. Not just a portrait of a superior athelete, Luckiest Manexamines Lou's struggles with the disease which would become linked with his name. A wonderful read which draws you into the golden age of sports,providing a link from Babe Ruth to Joe Dimaggio, Luckiest Man is a rare sports bio which offers adose of humanity of such a complex man .

5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Read!
Paints an informed and vivid picture of a complicated man with an inspiring and unbelievable work ethic.Great for baseball fans, but also great for anyone seeking inspiration in the face of adversity.Often when talented people are brought down in the prime of their lives, they become martyrs and their accomplishments are embellished over time.For the story of Lou Gehrig's life and death, martyrdom and embellishment are neither necessary nor appropriate, and Jonathan Eig skillfully avoids both of them.One can only wonder how long Lou Gehrig's streak would have lasted had he not been stricken at such a young age.

5-0 out of 5 stars Well researched, great read!
This is an amazing book.Eig has done a ton of research (check out the list of primary sources in the back!), and lets you see Gehrig as a man, not just through his stats as a baseball player.After reading this book, I really felt like I had some insight into Lou Gehrig's personality, his upbringing, his motivation, and especially his courage as he faced a slow death from ALS.By seeing Gehrig as a complete person, including his faults, I believe Gehrig becomes even more of a hero.

This book is very well written and could be enjoyed by baseball historians, casual fans, and those who might only know the name Lou Gehrig.I'm proud to have this book on my shelf next to great baseball writers like Lawrence Ritter, Robert Creamer, and Harold Seymour. ... Read more


2. Coach: Lessons on the Game of Life
by Michael Lewis
list price: $12.95
our price: $10.36
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393060918
Catlog: Book (2005-05-16)
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Sales Rank: 114
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

A story with a big heart about a boy, a coach, the game of baseball, and the game of life.

"There are teachers with a rare ability to enter a child's mind; it's as if their ability to get there at all gives them the right to stay forever."

There was a turning point in Michael Lewis's life, in a baseball game when he was fourteen years old. The irascible and often terrifying Coach Fitz put the ball in his hand with the game on the line and managed to convey such confident trust in Lewis's ability that the boy had no choice but to live up to it. "I didn't have words for it then, but I do now: I am about to show the world, and myself, what I can do."

The coach's message was not simply about winning but about self-respect, sacrifice, courage, and endurance. In some ways, and now thirty years later, Lewis still finds himself trying to measure up to what Coach Fitz expected of him. 14 illustrations. ... Read more

Reviews (4)

4-0 out of 5 stars For Parents, Athletes and Coaches...(In That Order!)
Having previously read Moneyball, I was keenly interested in Michael Lewis' tribute to his high school baseball coach.He did not disappoint.It is a brief, almost essay-like book that gives us snapshots of his coach and himself that reveal worlds about life, coaches, athletes, parents and rising to meet the challenge.

He contrasts very effectively the experience he had with the experience of present-day players, and sets the coach and his ways in graphic relief against both. His admiration for his coach comes through the telling of the story, and not through a simple list of his accomplishments.

The book does give important lessons on the game of life, thus fulfilling the promise of its' title.

One of the book's strengths is also a weakness.It is too brief!This will make it more easily accessible for many, but this reader was left wishing for more...but isn't that the grand goal of most good authors?Michael Lewis has given us another gem.

Highly recommended for athletes, coaches, and especially parents of athletes!Read, enjoy, learn...

5-0 out of 5 stars I had a high school basketball coach just like Coach Fitz
If you are a parent and are wondering if you're kids are going to grow up to be happy, but aren't sure if you're doing the right things for them, read this book.Coach Fitz is much in the same vein as Herb Brooks, the legendary Minnesota Hockey Coach - if you've seen the movice Miracle - I've lived through a wind sprint marathon myself when I played High School basketball.I can tell you unequivocally that this type of insistent compassion is rare but absolutely essential for people to learn to deal with pain.I have seen this type of leadership in the organization where I work as well, and can tell you it makes all the difference in how well an organization performs.

5-0 out of 5 stars I know the coach
I have recently began to train with Coach Fitz. Yes he is intimidating but i dont see why the parents would be mad at him. I understand why he pushes his players. His ace pitcher this year has already signed with Stanford but will probably go high in the draft. His pitcher wouldnt be what he is today if it wasn't for Coach Fitz. I am goin to pick up my copy of this book as soon as I can.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book
Author Michael Lewis does a great job showing how perseverence and determination leads to success. With illustrations and an easy to read approach, this book conveys a message of hope and stresses the importance of one's formative years. Highly recommend. ... Read more


3. Juiced : Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits, and How Baseball Got Big
by Jose Canseco
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060746408
Catlog: Book (2005-02-14)
Publisher: Regan Books
Sales Rank: 4841
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Touted as a Ball Four for the new millennium, Jose Canseco's Juiced promises to expose not only the rampant use of performance-enhancing substances in baseball (with steroids replacing the amphetamines of Bouton's day), but the painfully human flaws of its heroes as well. A steroid devotee since the age of 20, Canseco goes beyond admitting his own usage to claim that with the tacit approval of the league's powers-that-be he acted as baseball's ambassador of steroids and is therefore indirectly responsible for "saving" the game.

Chief among his claims is that he introduced Mark McGwire to steroids in 1988 and that he often injected McGwire while they were teammates. According to Canseco, steroids and human growth hormones gave McGwire and Sammy Sosa (whose own usage was "so obvious, it was a joke") the strength, stamina, regenerative ability, and confidence they needed for a record-setting home run duel often credited with restoring baseball's popularity after the 1994 strike. Although he devotes a lot of ink to McGwire, Canseco envisions himself as a kind of Johnny Steroidseed, spreading the gospel of performance enhancement, naming a number of players that he either personally introduced to steroids or is relatively certain he can identify as fellow users. Because Canseco plays fast and loose with some of the facts of his own career he provides fodder for those looking to damage his credibility, but in many ways questions of public and personal perception are what raise the book beyond mere vitriolic tell-all. Those willing to heed his request and truly listen to what he has to say will find Juiced to be an occasionally insightful meditation on the workings of public perception and a consistently interesting character study. --Shane Farmer ... Read more

Reviews (105)

5-0 out of 5 stars The most revealing baseball book since "Ball Four"
This is the book that grabbed Congress' attention and finally forced the politicians to make baseball clean up its sordid act. Canseco not only implicates himself but also exposes some of the biggest stars of the past 20 years. And not one of them has refuted his charges. While Canseco's steroid-fueled past is undeserving of an endorsement and his statistics are forever tainted, his unmasking of what really goes on inside "the grand old game" is at once shocking and essential. He's a pariah in baseball circles now, but his book is what the sport needed.

5-0 out of 5 stars Juiced
Review By Josh Dall May 18, 2005
Juiced published by Jose Canseco

Jose "The Chemist" Canseco tells all in the book Juiced, an autobiography about his experience in baseball. This book explains why he started taking steroids, and why he thinks people need to know the truth about who cheated in baseball and who didn't. Canseco admits to steroid use and was banned from baseball, but the untold truth of the players who did it come out in his words from Jason Giambi and down to Mark Mcgwire. He explains how baseball has invited in steroids, and why it's their fault people use them still today. But besides steroids he explains the high life of a baseball player and what you don't know.

There are many characters in this book, but there not the usual made up characters you may find in stories. These characters are future hall of famer's, and names that associate with baseball. In this autobiography Canseco accuses Mark Mcgwire, Sammy Sosa, Ken Caminiti, Bret Boone, and 4 teamates from when he played on the rangers, and himself of using performance enhancers. Canseco tells what he knows about political figures and managers who knew about steroids and did nothing, including such names as George W. Bush and Tony Larussa. All these accusations that Canseco makes seem believable because Canseco seems to know what he is talking about. Still, the players aren't admitting what they have done, so what Canseco has done is exploit these players who still deny using steroids.

This book is a autobiography and very well written. What makes this book so great is that Canseco tells about the onward dissucion on the steroid issue which has become part of baseball for many years. One thing that did surprise me was that Barry Bonds was hardly mentioned, and he didn't say anything on steroid suppliers who may still be selling them today as much as I thought. My favorite part in this book is where he says all the names of baseball heroes so the public will know who is a cheater and who isn't. Through and through he reveals his life in baseball and what it's like to be criticized. Through the book he openly says he introduced them to baseball and he calls himself the "godfather" of steroids, which is pretty powerful to say. The players who were accused in this book, we're obligated to attend a conference hearing on steroids. All of them attended, accept Giambi, and Mark Mcgwire was crying when questioned, saying "the past is done and the future is now". Juiced, leads us to the point, is baseball Juiced?Even though some people are saying he's just making it sound like steriods are ok to kids and trying to make money,I still recommend this book to anyone who want's to here the truth on baseball, howit stands today, and what it will be like in the future.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good stuff, some errors, and a lot of blame
I purchased this book shortly after it came out and blew through it quickly.While the inside info of who did steroids and who he helped with them was nice, Canseco takes none of the blame for his own mistakes.Whenever he was in trouble with the law, amazingly it was always someone else's fault or someone overreacted.There are some factual errors that an editor should've caught.Namely his "Game Six" at-bat in the 2000 World Series.One slight problem: It was Game Four and the Series only went five games.
One other thing that got my attention is where he was going to kill himself after finding out his estranged wife was seeing someone else, only to stop once he heard his daughter crying.Now had he killed himself, his daughter (only one at the time) likely would have starved to death since no one would've fed her.What an absolute a-hole.Enjoy your newfound pariah status, Jose.

5-0 out of 5 stars Jose is the MAN!
Who cares about the so-called name-dropping.THey all did steroids.Face it - Jose Canseco is the hottest guy in baseball and he can do no wrong by me.JOse - I'm your gal for life!

2-0 out of 5 stars revie of "Juiced"
Review of Juiced

"Wild Times, Rampant Roids, Smash hits, and how baseball got big was far from what Jose Conseco's book "Juiced" was about.This book brings me back to the third grade and how stupid I thought the "Where's Waldo?" books were.Since I am suppost to give this book an overall rating, I suppose it gets two stars and those stars are burnt out just like Conseco."Juiced" talked about the 1980 Athletics and mainly Mark Mcguire.There were other topics like locker room talk, record setting events, and everyday life stories but any baseball fan who reads this book knows that its just about low blows on teams and players such as Mark Mcguire.Conseco's thoughts are strongly discussed in his book and the thing that makes this book so unattractive to the reader is his lack of ability to support his topics.
Of the many weaknesses in this book there are a few strong points.The thing I do like about this book is that it is a quick and easy read.And by easy I mean EASY!I really do feel like I am back in the third grade reading books with big letters aboutbig animals like Clifford, the big red dog, only this time I'm reading medium letters about big steroid craving monsters.If your thinking about traveling a short distance and your in the mood to end your trip feeling like an empty headed Jessica Simpson, pick up juiced.
With the many weaknesses in this book there is one that sticks out more than any in my mind.That is when Jose Conseco talks about how he pinch hit in game six of the two thousand world series when it was only a five game series.Too me that would be something that I would not get wrong especially since its only the biggest game of the year.
My last and final good comment about this book would probably be giving Jose credit for admitting his steroid use and having the testicular fortitude to name and talk about other players in his book.Although I think this book was written manly for the money, I like how he describes Cal Ripken jr. as a blond, polish diva who demands fancier hotels than the rest of the team.Also I like how he calls "Big Mac" (Mark Mcguire) "Not the best looking guy around".I also like how he talk about his past and his self-confidence issues until he bulked up chemically.
After reading this book I will say that I do have a different view on baseball.I think that steroid use should not be allowed at all.I know that as a child I looked up to baseball players and how I always wanted to play major league baseball.If I ever had kids I don't think that I would want them to now about some of these players.With that being said this book had a tad bit of impact on me.I still love baseball and that will never change.I just think that once these players are done playing they should not always resort to writing books.

... Read more


4. The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty: The Game, the Team, and the Cost of Greatness
by Buster Olney
list price: $26.95
our price: $17.79
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060515066
Catlog: Book (2004-09-01)
Publisher: Ecco
Sales Rank: 699
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Book Description

For an extraordinary handful of years around the turn of the millennium, the Yankees were baseball's unstoppable force. With four World Series championships in five seasons and a deep bench of legends and comers -- Clemens, Rivera, Williams, Soriano, Jeter, O'Neill -- they dominated the major leagues, earning the love of their hometown fans and the grudging admiration of players and spectators everywhere.

For the members of the team, though, baseball Yankees-style was an almost unbearable pressure cooker of anxiety, expectation, and infighting. With owner George Steinbrenner at the wheel, the Yankees money machine spun out of control, and as the team's revenues skyrocketed, salaries were inflated unimaginably -- and smaller teams found themselves priced out of competition. True devotees of the game suffered, and so did Steinbrenner's employees. Emboldened by New York's unforgiving fans, Steinbrenner let the Yankees know loud and clear that their fat paychecks carried an equally exaggerated mandate: win now, and win all the time -- any season that doesn't end in a World Series victory is an unforgivable failure. As the spending and emotion spiraled, careers were made and broken, friendships began and ended, and a sports dynasty rose and fell.

In The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty, Buster Olney tracks the Yankees through these exciting and tumultuous seasons, providing insightful portraits of the stars, the foot soldiers, the coaches, the manager, and the Boss himself. With profound knowledge of the game and an insider's familiarity with the team, Olney also advances a compelling argument that the philosophy that made the Yankees great was inherently unsustainable, ultimately harmful to the sport, and led inevitably to that warm autumn night in Arizona -- the last night of the Yankee dynasty.

... Read more

5. The Teammates
by David Halberstam
list price: $22.95
our price: $16.06
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 140130057X
Catlog: Book (2003-05-14)
Publisher: Hyperion
Sales Rank: 1670
Average Customer Review: 4.54 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

As baseball legend Ted Williams lay dying in Florida, his old Boston Red Sox teammates Johnny Pesky and Dom DiMaggio piled into a car and drove 1,300 miles to see their friend. Another member of the close-knit group, Bobby Doerr, remained in Oregon to tend to his wife who had suffered a stroke. Besides providing a poignant travelogue of the elderly Pesky and DiMaggio's trip, David Halberstam's The Teammates goes back in time to profile the men as young ballplayers. Although it is enlightening to learn about Doerr, Pesky, and DiMaggio, the leader of the group and star of the book is Williams. Halberstam portrays the notoriously moody and difficult Williams as a complex man: driven by a rough childhood and a fiercely competitive nature to become perhaps the greatest pure hitter of all time while also being a magnetic personality and loving friend. While there is nothing exceptionally unusual about old men who have stayed friends (plenty of people stay friends, after all), baseball gives this particular relationship a unique makeup. Unlike most friendships, that of Williams, Doerr, Pesky, and DiMaggio was viewed all summer long by hooting, hollering Red Sox fans. As such, their bond is forged both of individual accomplishment, win-loss records, numerous road trips, and, since they played for the Red Sox, annual doses of disappointment. Halberstam, author of Summer of '49 and October 1964 is the ideal writer to tell two equally intriguing stories, both rich in America's pastime. Although he occasionally drops himself into the narrative, one expects that of Halberstam and gladly accepts it in exchange for the highly readable exposition infused with poetic majesty that has become his trademark. --John Moe ... Read more

Reviews (52)

5-0 out of 5 stars "The Red Sox killed my father. Now they¿re coming after me."
The 1946 World Series match-up between Boston and the St. Louis Cardinals went to seven games before Boston finally lost the championship, and Halberstam makes this seventh game come alive in all its frustrating excitement. The book is unique, however, not because of its rehash of old ball games, but because it brings back an era, more than a half-century ago, when close and supportive friendships developed between players who spent their whole careers on the same team. Telling the story of the sixty-year friendship of baseball greats Ted Williams, Bobby Doerr, Dom DiMaggio, and Johnny Pesky of the Boston Red Sox, Halberstam shows the kind of friendship which was possible in an era in which players were people, not commodities.

Warm and nostalgic, the book opens in October, 2001, as Dom DiMaggio, accompanied by Boston writer Dick Flavin and Johnny Pesky, makes a melancholy car trip from Boston to Florida to pay a last visit to Ted Williams, who is dying. As the men drive from Boston to Florida, they reminisce about their playing days more than fifty years in the past, recalling anecdotes about their friendship and talking about their lives, post-baseball.

Halberstam uses these memories as the framework of this book, describing the men from their teenage years. All were from the West Coast, all were about the same age, all arrived in Boston to begin their careers within the same two-year period, and all shared similar values. Ted Williams, "the undisputed champion of contentiousness," was the most dominant of the group. Bobby Doerr was Williams's closest friend and roommate, "a kind of ambassador from Ted to the rest of the world," Doerr himself being "very simply among the nicest and most balanced men." Bespectacled Dom DiMaggio, the brother of Vince and Joe, was the consummate worker, a smart player who had been "forced to study everything carefully when he was young in order to maximize his chances and athletic abilities." Johnny Pesky, combative and small, was also "kind, caring, almost innocent."

Stories and anecdotes, sometimes told by the players themselves, make the men individually come alive and show the depth and value of their friendship. The four characters remain engaging even when, in the case of Williams, they may be frustratingly disagreeable. There's a bittersweet reality when Halberstam brings the lives of Williams, Doerr, DiMaggio, and Pesky, all now in their eighties, up to the present--these icons are, of course, as human as the rest of us, subject to the same physical deterioration and illnesses. In Halberstam's sensitive rendering of their abiding relationship, however, we see them as men who have always recognized and preserved the most important of human values, and in that respect they continue to serve as heroes and exemplars to baseball fans throughout the country. Mary Whipple

5-0 out of 5 stars Friendship
Teammates is a story of true friendship. The book centers around three greats from the Boston Red Sox, Ted Williams, Dom Dimaggio, John Pesky, and Bobby Doerr. Their final meeting is used as a backdrop for several stories from their playing days.

The story starts in the final months of the life of Ted Williams. Dimaggio and Pesky are inspired to reunite with their friend before his inevitable death. Bobby Doerr is unable to make the trip because of the health of his wife.

The book is formatted in the same way things were probably discussed in the car that day. The stories build up as each one of the four joins the team with the final addition being Pesky. The book continues as it goes through the teams years as a American League powerhouse. Unfortunately, World War II and the Korean War would be the main factor in preventing these baseball icons for playing in more than one World Series. The Red Sox lost that one World Series to the Cardinals. The play that allegedly turned that series is discussed in detail. The misfortune for which Pesky was blamed is a travesty. Even his teammates try to take the blame from Pesky. Being the stand-up guy that he is, Pesky continues to unjustly accept the blame. The book ends with each playing leaving the team until Williams returns from the Korean War to find all of his friends are gone. This drains much of the fun of the game for Williams. As a consequence he also leaves baseball.

Halberstam really does not write a book as buy as he retells stories from a car ride. This book is certain to become a favorite of those who enjoy baseball or the friendships developed in team sports. It should also be required reading for Red Sox fans.

5-0 out of 5 stars Moving Tribute to Friendship
This is a moving book about friendship. As baseball legend Ted Williams' lay slowly dying at age 83 in the fall of 2001, his former teammates Johnny Pesky, Dom DiMaggio, and Bobby Doerr considered making the long drive to Florida for a final visit. The narrative focuses on that trip, and the enduring friendship between these four that continued for five decades after their playing days ended. Readers come to know these men, their backgrounds, flaws, strengths, families, health conditions, and post-baseball careers. Fans will enjoy their playing memoirs from the powerful Red Sox squads of the 1940's - teams that often fell just short at season's end. Adding spice to the narrative are Boston sportswriter Dick Flavin (who made the trip) and occasionally the author David Halberstam. This is another outstanding baseball book by Halberstam (SUMMER OF '49, OCTOBER 1964); let's hope he'll write more. THE TEAMMATES is a concise and moving tribute to friendship, baseball...and life.

4-0 out of 5 stars Life-long Lessons!
When we are young, most of us idolize certain sports heroes . . . usually because of their feats on the field rather than for their characters. Author David Halberstam had the great pleasure of getting to know some of his idols when he wrote the Summer of '49 about the Yankee-Red Sox pennant race in that year. He kept up with his new friends from the Red Sox including Ted Williams, Dom DiMaggio, Bobby Doerr and Johnny Pesky after the book came out. When he learned that in 2002 about the last trip that Dom, and Johnny had taken to see Ted, Mr. Halberstam knew that he had a story. This book relates that tale.

The book recounts the backgrounds of all four players, details their friendships from the days when they were in the minor leagues through the end of their lives and provides lots of perspective on the Red Sox during the 1940s and 1950s when these remarkable players were on the team. The end of the book also has the lifetime stats for each player.

One of the intriguing parts of the book is how hard Ted Williams was on himself and his friends. It is a remarkable tale of friendship to see how others would tolerate his abuse by rolling with the punches. Behind the friendships, you get many glimpses of great character . . . character that actually makes their athletic accomplishments seem paler by comparison.

I strongly urge all Red Sox fans and parents who want their children to develop better characters to read this book, and share the story with their friends and family. I know of no better book about athletes that looks at the qualities of true greatness.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great book about baseball and friendship
Back in the 1940's and 1950's Ted Williams, Dom DiMaggio, Johnny Pesky and Bobby Doerr were stars for the Boston Red Sox. Over the next 50 years or so, they remained the closest of friends. This book gives us a good look at that friendship, on and off the field, and at these four men.

It's unusual for a group of friends to stay so close for so long, but reading about the friendship makes you wish you were part of the group.

The book is full of humorous stories about their playing days and the years that followed. It also shows how close this team came to being a dynasty, but ended up only playing in one World Series (which they lost).

Halberstam does a great job, as always, showing us what baseball was like in the good old days and how the friendship between these players grew and remained strong over the years. It's one of the best baseball books I've ever read. ... Read more


6. Bat Boy : My True Life Adventures Coming of Age with the New York Yankees
by MATTHEW MCGOUGH
list price: $22.95
our price: $16.07
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385510209
Catlog: Book (2005-05-03)
Publisher: Doubleday
Sales Rank: 14596
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Fantastic Read!
There are so many wonderful moments in this book that I don't know where to begin:the naive and persistent phone calls that led to the job, the letter McGough's father wrote him on his first day of work (read it and see if you don't shed a tear), the part where McGough loses his meal money to fellow players playing blackjack on the team plane, and a relief pitcher gives him a $100 bill, the road trip to Fenway Park, where the players set him up on his first date...the list goes on, but even more poignant are the personal experiences McGough had with heroes Don Mattingly and Jim Abbott, who are portrayed as both noble and funny.Talk about meeting your heroes and having them exceed your expectations.

This is a beautiful book written with great sensitivity and insight.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Touching and Insighftul Memoir
McGough really nailed it with this memoir. He takes us back to an era when the Yankees weren't ferociously competitive every year, but instead more closely resembled perrenial losers. The narration is seamless, and McGough very effectively incorporates numerous aspects of clubhouse life into his book. As an avid Yankee fan, this book rings a certain bell with me, but in no way do you have to be a Yankee -- or even basbeball -- fan to enjoy this book. It is a book that begs its pages to be read, and it is often hard to resist the temptation. Bat Boy is well-written and demonstrates the power of sheer determination and persistence.

5-0 out of 5 stars A perfect summer read
For a transplanted New Yorker who did not grow up a Yankee fan, Bat Boy tells a story that is relatable to everyone.It is a quintessential summer read, full of funny anecdotes while delivering a message that hard work and perseverance pay off.

5-0 out of 5 stars Not just for baseball fans
Bat Boy is a compelling and entertaining book, even for someone who isn't necessarily a baseball fan.It is a story about the dreams of youth, when everything is still new and possible because we haven't yet been made timid by caution and restraint.Bat Boy is about deciding what you want, going for it, and miraculously getting it.And what is perhaps even more rare, finding that achieving and living a dream can be as good or better than the fantasy.

5-0 out of 5 stars Hate the Yankees, love the book!
It's a tribute to the author that I, an ardent Mets fan and Yankee-hater, really enjoyed the book. Maybe that's because, for all the funny baseball anecdotes and fascinating insider scoops, this isn't just a baseball book--it's a memoir, and the coming-of-age thrust of the narrative is quite effective. McGough manages to convey both the arrogance and insecurity that a 17-year-old boy in an infinitely enviable position--hanging out with his heroes, traveling with them, getting paid (among other perks)--must have felt.

The story is touching without being overly sentimental, and it rings true. Best of all, this isn't one of those corny "Baseball=life" stories; McGough skillfully interweaves the two main elements of his story with humor and a light touch. I actually laughed out loud in some parts, and was genuinely moved in others.

While baseball fans will surely enjoy this book on another level than their non-baseball-loving peers, any reader with an appreciation for clever writing and hilarious tales of hubris and naivete should read this book. ... Read more


7. Me and Hank : A Boy and His Hero, Twenty-Five Years Later
by Sandy Tolan
list price: $24.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0684871300
Catlog: Book (2000-06-05)
Publisher: Free Press
Sales Rank: 892953
Average Customer Review: 4.67 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

For decades 714 was the holiest number in baseball. When Hank Aaron began closing in on Babe Ruth's career home run record he also began receiving racist hate mail and death threats: "You are not going to break the record established by the great Babe Ruth if I can help it. My gun is watching your every black move."

In the midst of all the anger and hate, a white teenager named Sandy Tolan wrote a letter to Hank Aaron. "Don't listen to them, Mr. Aaron. We're in your corner. You're my hero. I believe in you." To his great surprise, several weeks later Tolan received a reply--from Hank Aaron himself. Tolan kept the letter, taping it into a scrapbook he was keeping to follow Aaron's home run record chase.

Twenty-five years later, Tolan, now a journalist, had the opportunity to finally meet Aaron. He recounts the meeting, and his decades-long admiration for the man in Me and Hank. No mere hagiography, Me and Hank lingers on a difficult question: Why was Hank Aaron's home run record less celebrated than Babe Ruth's? Or as Aaron himself put it in 1979, "Isn't it funny? Before I broke his record, it was the greatest of them all. Then I broke his record and suddenly the greatest record in baseball is Joe DiMaggio's hitting streak." Tolan uses Hank Aaron and the Babe's home run record as a prism through which to examine racial tensions in America--both in the 1970s and in the 1990s. Along the way he visits the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown (where Ruth has a room all his own while Aaron has "a wall and a locker"), meets Charlie Danrick, who sells audio tapes of old baseball games (the tape ofnumber 715 "doesn't sell. It just lays there. People don't buy it."), and befriends a homeless black man from Atlanta who was in the stands on April 8, 1974 ("And when I seen him hit the ball ... it felt like he passed the civil rights bill to me.") At times angry but always thoughtful, Me and Hank provides a much-needed window into baseball, race relations, and even American history. --M. Stein ... Read more

Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars Great book that could have eased up on the bitterness
Don't get me wrong -- this was a great read and a provocative book about my favorite ballplayer of all-time. But I thought Tolan was at his best describing the people who experienced Hank Aaron's home run chase firsthand (including himself) and at his worst when his personal memories shifted from fact to opinion.

The tale of his encounter with a homeless Atlanta man who attended the game where Aaron hit No. 715 is beautifully told and moving. His personal friendship with a Babe Ruth admirer ignores racism in his hometown and praises Aaron for his accomplishment illustrates how we need inner strength and conviction not to simply march in tune with those around us. Tolan's interviews with Aaron, his daughter Gaile and former teammates reveal the depth with which Aaron had to endure racism as a ballplayer, and his historical portrait of the racial tension in his hometown of Milwaukee is thorough and fascinating.

But the more Tolan discovers about how unappreciated Aaron truly is, the more preachy -- and less effective -- he becomes. He hits a low point when he grills three advertising executives on their lack of knowledge of Aaron's hardships as they prepare to pay homage to Aaron in a MasterCard commercial. Are they to be blamed for that? All of these people clearly respect Aaron, and they all interviewed Aaron in preparation for the commercial. If he'd really wanted them to know what he endured, he probably would have told them. He also takes some unnecessary shots at the Hall of Fame because they have chosen to pay tribute to Babe Ruth with an entire room, while Aaron gets only a wall. Sure, Aaron deserves a room to himself, so do Jackie Robinson, Bob Gibson, Curt Flood, and many of baseball's other African-American pioneers. They don't. Deal with it.

One need not be a walking encyclopedia of Aaron's life, as Tolan is, to appreciate his accomplishments achieved under extreme duress. Let those who appreciate Aaron for who he is -- a great ballplayer and a great man -- simply be. The irony is, I'm with Tolan on his central argument, that Aaron is one of the greatest and most underappreciated Americans in history. I'll even go far as to say you can't prove Ruth is better than Aaron, because Ruth played an all-white game and didn't necessary play against the best. But Ruth made the game popular. If not for Babe Ruth and what he did to make baseball America's pastime, Aaron's chase wouldn't have inspired the rancor that it did. People wouldn't have cared.

Sandy, let's enjoy being Hank Aaron fans by not wasting our time beating up those who don't appreciate him to the extreme degree we do.

5-0 out of 5 stars Must read !
Sandy Tolan did a good job interviewing many people, including Hank Aaron, to do this book. Hank Aaron is a wonderful person who deserves much more recognition for what he has done both on the field and off. The book is very well done. It makes you think.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful and moving
What a wonderful book! This is a fitting tribute to a man who has been shamefully underrated in American life, as well as a probing look at race relations in the past forty-plus years, seen through the prism of baseball and Hank Aaron's breaking of Babe Ruth's record. Like the author, I grew up in Milwaukee, although I am a bit older and so I saw Hank Aaron hit many of his home runs. His dignity and grace are a precious memory of my youth. Also like the author, I wrote Hank Aaron a letter when I learned that racists were hounding him for challenging Ruth, and received an eloquent letter in reply from Mr. Aaron. This book, with its highly personal approach to the subject, is a multifaceted view of a revealing part of American life. I couldn't recommend it more highly. ... Read more


8. The Oldest Rookie: Big-League Dreams from a Small-Town Guy
by Jim Morris, Joel Engel
list price: $22.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0316591564
Catlog: Book (2001-03-01)
Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Sales Rank: 402715
Average Customer Review: 4.06 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

After an injury-plagued stint in the minor leagues in his twenties, Jim Morris hung up his cleats and his dreams to start a new life as a father, high school physics teacher, and baseball coach. Jim's athletes knew that his dream was still alive - he threw the ball so hard they could barely hit it - and made a bet with him: if they won the league championship, he would have to try out for a major league ball club. They did - and he did, and during that tryout threw the ball faster than he ever had, faster than anyone there, nearly faster than anyone playing in the Bigs. He was immediately drafted by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and three months later made his major league debut, striking out All-Star Royce Clayton. ... Read more

Reviews (18)

4-0 out of 5 stars Dreams do come true
The Oldest Rookie recounts the improbable journey of pitcher Jim Morris to "the Big Show". Born to young parents, his father a military man who didsdained authority, and a mother who picked up the pieces after each move, Jim always remembers having a ball in his hand. Throughout the many moves, sports provided an introduction to new schools, new friends, and self esteem. Sports also provided a safe haven from the change and the chaotic life at home. Baseball was his first love, and the chance to play minor league ball at the age of 19 was a dream come true. Several years of struggle and injury finally eneded the baseball dream, and Jim moved onto real life, a wife, kids, debt, and struggle. Throughout this time, Jim continued school, played college football (punting for his college at the age of 29). Eventually, he found himself coaching high school baseball. Sensing his love of the game, the students make a bargin, if they make it to regionals, Jim will try out for the major league job he never achieved. At the age of 35, Jim Morris was the oldest rookie to ever start in the big leagues, pitching, no less. The story is remarkable enough, but Morris' accounting of the struggles of a young man unable to realize his dream is compelling. Along with co author,Joel Engle , he tells the story of the man his younger teammates came to call "the Unnatural". A wonderful story for any baseball fan, and a story of hope for anyone who feels they have let a dream pass them by.

2-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful story, disappointing book
This is one book I couldn't wait to read. The Jim Morris story to me, a 45-year-old still continuing my lifetime passion by playing hardball in men's adult leagues, was one of the most improbable and inspiring sports stories, EVER. For a 38-year-old guy to go from coaching his high school baseball team, to showing up at a major league tryout camp and start throwing 98-mph fastballs, then get signed, THEN reach the majors all in the same season, well, if it hadn't actually happened I never would have believed it. I followed his story closely as it was happening, and actually met him while he was playing in the Arizona Fall League in October 1999. I was there playing in the Men's Adult Baseball League World Series and managed to catch a game (Morris didn't get in, but he did sign a foul ball my buddy had caught). That said, "The Oldest Rookie" just didn't deliver. I thought starting off with Morris' childhood in chronological order was a big mistake. If I had co-authored the book, it would have begun with his feelings of first appearing in a major league game, of stepping onto the stadium turf, of what it was like to be staring down a big league hitter he had been watching on TV just months before. After all, why else would anyone be reading it? Once the book did get into that magical 1999 season, it picked up. But it took way too long to get there, I thought, and seemed to lessen the impact of what he had accomplished. Also, I was disappointed in the lack of photographs, which amounted to one tiny, non-uniform mug shot of Morris on the inside book jacket. I can't understand why photos weren't included. So The Oldest Rookie was an opportunity wasted, overall. Maybe a movie will be made someday and Jim Morris will get his just due. But until then, The Oldest Rookie will have to fill the void, and it just doesn't.

4-0 out of 5 stars America's Pastime
"Everything gets hard before it gets easy." A well known cliché Jim Morris knows all too well. The Rookie, a true story written by Jim Morris, travels the journey of Jim's dream and how he accomplished it. Morris learned to walk at seven months old, passing up five months or normal development, he had natural talent, and was arguably the best baseball player on any team he played on, whether little league or softball. Morris was even a star football kicker, launching the ball over eighty yards with one swift boot. He knew his baseball skills would take him far, maybe even the major leagues, but there was one little problem that hovered over his stardom; his arm. He had Tommy John Surgery on his throwing arm, setting him back a year, then he had more trouble which was a three inch bone spur in his shoulder, the surgery was said to put the cap on his career. Yet Jim Morris wasn't ready to end his career just then.

Every novel has its good points and its poor points, that is what makes it popular. It is hard to find a negative point when the novel is based on a subject that one may feel so passionate about, yet some of the facts presented here in the book make one wonder how they were retrieved. When Jim Morris walked for the first time, he claimed that his parents didn't even see him because they were driving across the country and neither of his parents were paying attention. More than likely this information was conjured up, which in turn makes the story more interesting, but should be omitted. Even though it may have been false information, the majority of non-fiction books tend to have some created information in them. A technique many writers include in their "bag of tricks."


Jim Morris dedicated his life to baseball. He played the game basically his whole life, and loved every minute of it. The emotions Morris encounters are of the harshest; from learning he will never play baseball again, to marital problems at home. He shares these sensitive feelings with the reader, letting the reader inside his mind and head, thus making the story feel more personal. When an author expresses personal experiences wit the reader, sometimes the reader can relate with the emotions and problems, and when a reader has gone through them as well, the book gets that much better. Jim Morris is a passionate man who has a love for America's past time, and never will let that love go. Jim Morris loves baseball.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Oldest Rookie
The Oldest Rookie

Joel Engel and Jim Morris really did a wonderful job when they wrote the book The Oldest Rookie. The story was so good in fact that it inspired a movie called The Rookie. Although I thoroughly enjoyed both of them I would have to say that the book was better. There are a number of superior qualities about the book. You know it must be really good to because I almost always like the movie more then the book. The Oldest Rookie is easily one of the 5 best books I've read.
In the book, you really get inside Jim Morris's head. You can see how he goes from a kid who did nothing except play baseball, to a minor leaguer who had to retire because of arm troubles, to a patient high school teacher, to a major leaguer. In the movie you see him as a kid playing baseball, however in the book he talks about how when he was younger the only toys he would play with were balls and how he was only in kindergarten when the fifth graders let them play in his baseball games because he was so good. Morris explains how the only think he cared about was baseball and he knew he wanted to be a pro ball player all his life. In the movie you are left to either assume that or to not know it at all. One of the most effective parts of the book was when Morris is describing when he went to play in his first major league game. He talks about how the hard journey had been worth it and you can almost feel his happiness as a smile spreads across your face and you turn the page. In the movie there was no way they could capture this moment perfectly. They just had him stand outside of the stadium for a few moments. In the book, you really get to see how Morris's brain works. He explains how he was a perfectionist and that it really hurt his life. They don't even touch this subject in the movie, even though it had drastic effects on his life. Feeling what Jimmy Morris feels really enhances the story.
The characters in the book are also superior to the characters in the movie. They include pretty much every person who ever had an effect on Jimmy's life, while in the movie they pretty much just focus on him. The other characters really add a lot to the story. For example they didn't even mention that Jimmy had a grandfather, while in the book Jimmy says that his Grandpa was perhaps the biggest influence in his life. It was his grandpa who taught him to work hard and to not feel bad for himself when things didn't go his way. Also, they completely changed his parents. In the movie they make them seem like a normal couple, while in the book Morris explains how they didn't even like each other. They only married each other because Jimmy's mom got pregnant and they eventually got divorced. The movie really messed up on the characters.
The biggest part where the book has the advantage over the movie is in the story. There were gapping holes in the movie. In the movie they started at page 1 and went to about page 12 and then they went to about page 200, and the book was less then 300 pages long. They skipped the meat of the story, which is when he is in the minors for the first time. If you watched the movie you'd have no idea he had ever really played in the minors before. They left out how he had started playing pro after his first year of junior college and then went on to the grueling minor league system where he would ride in small buses for countless hours and then stay in cheap motels. Then when he finally did pitch he did horrible and right when he started doing good his arm started to hurt. In the movie they mentioned he had received arm surgery but they did not explain how important to him it had been. In the movie they made it seem as if he had gotten arm surgery and then retired when he had really came only to need arm surgery again the next season. He even got one more after that one before he retired. Then his family went through harsh financial times before the movie finally picked up the story again. The movie plot is very flawed.
The movie tried to do what they do to most inspiring stories, and that is make it feel more like a fairy tail then something that could really happen. They failed to show a lot of the hard work he put in to get where he did. You should really pick up the book The Oldest Rookie , it's a great story and it a speed read!

4-0 out of 5 stars The Dreams of a Young Boy
The Rookie is an excellent book about a middle-aged man and the love of his life. Now this love is two things and they are the woman that he has always wanted and the world's greatest pastime, Baseball. Now Jim Morris is a middle-aged teacher who use to be a pitcher of a major league baseball team and he hurt himself severely and was not able to pitch another game. So he retired from the game that he always loved to play and watch and married the love of his life. He is now enjoying his life because he is coaching a young high-school team and is married to the woman that he has always loved and cared for all his life. Jim Morris's baseball team that he is coaching doesn't really know the truth about him being a major league pitcher. However after they see him pitch a couple of pitches ranging in the mid nineties they know that with that speed he had to have been a major league pitcher. So the team and the coach put on a little side bet. The team tells the coach if they win the championships than the coach (Jim Morris) has to go and try out for a major league team again and age forty. Jim Morris is a great coach and he then is asked to do this to really show his team what he still has left inside of him. This book is a very exciting and interesting book that has many different dilemmas and altercations in it. Personally when I was reading this book I just couldn't put it down. Every page that I flipped and began reading just made me eager to keep on reading because it was very enjoyable. I have never red a book that has given me this type of feeling. I highly recommend this book to everyone that loves a great book. It doesn't matter if you love or hate baseball this book is perfect for everyone. I can't believe that this book did not win a award or something that is achieved only through a great story. This book has all the qualities of a best seller. It is exciting, interesting, and you could say even touching in a way. Throughout my whole review and summary, in conclusion I highly recommend this book to everyone and I hope anyone who is looking for an excellent book to read to really try and read, The Rookie by Joel Engel and Jim Morris. I did and I am glad that I read this book and wouldn't have been happier if I red anything else for this project. ... Read more


9. The Bad Guys Won! A Season of Brawling, Boozing, Bimbo-chasing, and Championship Baseball with Straw, Doc, Mookie, Nails, The Kid, and the Rest of the 1986 Mets, the Rowdiest Team Ever to Put on a New York Uniform--and Maybe the Best
by Jeff Pearlman
list price: $24.95
our price: $14.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060507322
Catlog: Book (2004-04)
Publisher: HarperCollins
Sales Rank: 1336
Average Customer Review: 4.38 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Once upon a time, twenty-four grown men would play baseball together, eat together, carouse together, and brawl together. Alas, those hard-partying warriors have been replaced by GameBoy-obsessed, laptop-carrying, corporate soldiers who would rather punch a clock than a drinking buddy. But it wasn't always this way ...

In The Bad Guys Won, award-winning former Sports Illustrated baseball writer Jeff Pearlman returns to an innocent time when a city worshipped a man named Mookie and the Yankess were the second-best team in New York. So it was in 1986, when the New York Mets -- the last of baseball's live-like-rock-star teams -- won the World Series and captured the hearts (and other select body parts) of fans everywhere.

But their greatness on the field was nearly eclipsed by how bad they were off it. Led by the indomitable Keith Hernandez and the young dynamic duo of Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry, along with the gallant Scum Bunch, the Amazin's won 108 regular-season games, while leaving a wide trail of wreckage in their wake -- hotel rooms, charter planes, a bar in Houston, and most famously Bill Buckner and the eternally cursed Boston Red Sox. With an unforgettable cast of characters -- Doc, Straw, the Kid, Nails, Mex, and manager Davey Johnson (as well as innumerable groupies) -- The Bad Guys Won immortalizes baseball's last great wild bunch of explores what could have been, what should have been, and thanks to a tragic dismantling of the club, what never was.

... Read more

Reviews (37)

2-0 out of 5 stars Good Book?. . . ummmmm, not so much.
If you're looking for a bad book about a good team, this is the book for you

I'm a die hard Mets fan. I was 16 in 1986; the best age you can be when your team has a season like that. It was truly a season of baseball like it oughta be.

Jeff Pearlman spins a fairly entertaining account of the events and characters that made up that magical Mets season, but unfortunately I found myself fighting through it 10 or 15 pages at a time. As I battled through, it occurred to me that perhaps Mr. Pearlman was just missing 3 crucial members from his project team.

1) Proofreader
2) Editor
3) Fact Checker

This could have been a good book if it had ben edited properly. Sadly it was not, and the result is a barely readable book with real live factual errors.

If you are a Mets fan and can't get enough of memories of '86, pick it up for an entertaining read. If you are not a Mets fan, don't bother.

5-0 out of 5 stars GREAT BOOK ON A UNIQUELY GREAT TEAM!!!
Been a baseball fan living in the NY/NJ Metro area for a long time and this book brought back a lot of great memories about a unique team and a remarkable season that was unlike any in NY baseball history: The 1986 NY Mets. This book, especially for younger baseball fans, sets the stage when the Mets pretty much were THE team NY baseball fans cared about as the Yankees had not yet developed the championship forumula they'd forge into a powerhouse dynasty by the '90. The 1980s Mets were a fun, reckless, overly competitive, group of brawling misfits who knew HOW to play baseball, and played it their way! A team so far removed from today's more restrained, conservative great Yankee's that it's hard to realize there was ever a team that existed like this unrestrained bunch. But they DID exist...and for one magical season they played a style of "renegade" baseball unlike anyone had seen before in NY. In an era when there was no "wildcard" to extend the post season, these hated '86 Mets should have and could have won many more championships (they did win their division in 1988 and narrowly lost their division to the St. Louis Cardinals by perhaps a game in 1985). But what they did win in 1986, and how they won it, is the stuff of sports legend. And this is one legend that is as wild a tale today as it was almost 20 years ago.

4-0 out of 5 stars Get Metsmerized!
This book is priceless merely for the description of the recording session where some of the Mets try to cut a "Super Bowl Shuffle" style rap song, titled "Get Metsmerized!":

"When they need a batter filled with terror,
They call on me, Rick Aguleira!"

Look out Public Enemy!

This book is a great character study of a team full of characters, most of whom were borderline insane but were all gritty ballplayers. Jeff Pearlman makes the case that this was the last team of old school party boys to win a title before the onset of a more corporate era where the wackiest thing that ever happens is a rookie getting a shaving cream pie in the face. I don't know that his argument is entirely successful - it's more like the Mets were the last team of endearing jackasses to win - but the book is a very fun read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great baseball history book
If you are a fan of the Mets or a baseball history book, this is a must read. The book is very entertaining and an easy read.

5-0 out of 5 stars ha ha ha
this is the funniest baseball book ever!! i couldn't put it doown. ... Read more


10. Joe DiMaggio : The Hero's Life
by Richard Ben Cramer
list price: $28.00
our price: $28.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0684853914
Catlog: Book (2000-10-17)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Sales Rank: 186115
Average Customer Review: 3.47 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

In a stunning feat of meticulous reportage, Pulitzer Prize winnerRichard BenCramer ultimately puts to rest the "Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?"question with iconoclastic bravura. In Cramer's evaluation, the hero Americaheld onto so desperately for so long was really a creation of a nation'scommunal imagination. The Joe DiMaggio that America tried so hard to believe inwas never really here at all.

There was, of course, a Joe DiMaggio, and he had a splendid career in Yankeepinstripes--once hitting safely in an unimaginable 56 consecutive games--and atroubled marriage with Marilyn Monroe, each augmenting the other in our nationalmythology. But myths tend to be skin-deep, and Cramer's biography thrives in aninternal geography well below the surface. The map he charts is of a cold,small, often nasty, uncaring, resentful, self-centered man, a man of publicgrace and private misery who broke friendships, shunned family, and chased moneywith the same focused energies he once harnessed to run down fly balls. It's nota pretty picture.

Scrupulously researched and elegantly written, The Hero's Life is filledwith stories and reminiscences, both on and off the field, from others--notsurprisingly, DiMaggio offered no cooperation--that both illumine the man and,more fascinatingly, explain our very need for him. Amid all the success andadulation, there was little joy in DiMaggio's life, and few moments--beyond thereal heartache he felt over Monroe--of connection with others beyond Joe'spersonal need for others to serve him. "No one really knew what it meant to havespent a half-century being precisely and distinctly DiMaggio," Cramer writes,"what we required Joe DiMaggio to be. No one knew, as he did, what it cost tolive the hero's life. And no one knew, as he did, precisely what it was worth."It seems our nation turned its lonely eyes to a proud, but empty shell; Cramer'ssuperb book helps us understand why we did, and how DiMaggio was able to takeall the good will extended him and give so little back. --Jeff Silverman ... Read more

Reviews (104)

4-0 out of 5 stars Fact v. Fiction
While The Hero's Life is an excellent book about one of the three best baseball players who have ever lived, you have to wonder how much is true. Mr Cramer does list many sources and is wonderful at telling the story of Joe DiMaggio's life. DiMaggio kept the people whom he did not want in his life out and probably for good reason. The question does linger however that since he is basing most of the book on second hand information how much is true. An excellent book that was hard to put down I have recomended it many people. Having never seen Joe DiMaggio play and him seemingly in secrecy for most of his life I found him to be an "interesting" person. He was, is and should always be an American Icon; bringing a country that was embattled in war together for a brief point in history. If you dont know anything about Joe DiMaggio but would like to, this book is a must.

4-0 out of 5 stars This View of Joe Will Jolt You
This is a totally absorbing book. Not all writers can get away with an informal, vernacular style, but Cramer pulls it off--reading the book is like listening to an occasionally breathless but always fascinating raconteur hold forth. It's as if the author were talking to the reader personally, narrating the story.

The choice of words in the title is telling: not "a" hero's life, which would imply that DiMaggio was a genuine hero, but "the" hero's life, implying that the subject's actual life was greatly at variance with his heroic image, as it certainly was. Some DiMaggio fans are offended that Cramer didn't write a worshipful puff-piece; instead he revealed what a cold, mean-spirited, greedy guy DiMaggio really was. But the author also helps the reader understand how DiMaggio got that way, and it's this quality that makes the book so extraordinary.

Two criticisms of aspects of the book that make it less than a five-star production: The author's repeated use of the term "Dago" when referring to DiMaggio could perhaps be explained by the fact that many people of the time really did refer to DiMaggio with that ethnic slur, but it's still offensive and unnecessary. People in the past may indeed have referred to DiMaggio that way, but that doesn't mean Cramer should compound the error by throwing the term around so frequently himself! If he were writing about Hank Greenberg, I'll bet he wouldn't refer to him throughout his text as "The Hebe" or "The Kike." Nor, if he were writing about Jackie Robinson, would he dream of referring to his subject as "The Nig," or by whatever other racist slurs were hurled at Robinson.

The other criticism is that I was constantly wondering how the author could possibly have known some of the things he includes. Maybe this is just awe at Cramer's reportorial skills, but since he includes no source notes, we have to take him at his word. He may well have had many talky informants, especially after DiMaggio's death, but I don't think anybody could have followed Joe into the bedroom with Marilyn Monroe, the way Cramer pretends to do!

3-0 out of 5 stars Good addition to DiMaggio Literature
Being a San Franciscan, I really appreciated the author's research and description of life in this City during the first 3-4 decades of the 20th century, including the baseball scene and the legend of Lefty O'Doul (whose bar is still open just off Union Square). There is also much to be learned for the younger readers about baseball in the 30s and 40s. Not all was a grand as today's romanticists like to portray it. How things should be is somewhere between the over-paid mediocre talent of today and the grossly underpaid---and unfree---players of those days. I can't imagine what someone of Dimaggio's caliber would be getting paid today.

The book also shined when describing not only Joe's relationship with Marilyn Monroe (brutal by today's standards) and what Hollywood and stardom was like.

Dimaggio's dysfunctional personality and apparent avarice are well-presented, as is the power he had to make men give up all dignity and self-respect simply to be his friend. While we can't simply assume everything said here about DiMaggio's attorney and "close personal friend", Morris Engelberg, is 100% accurate, it isn't hard to believe either. We had a very real taste of this man's character here in San Francisco with how he handled the whole affair of our city wanting to name the playground in North Beach for DiMaggio.

The only gap in the book for me was the leap it made from Marilyn Monroe's death all the way to the 1989 SF earthquake. I thought Cramer went pretty far in depicting the Kennedy/Sinatra involvement with Monroe and why Joe so despised them after her death. But he stopped there quite abruptly. There probably was more that could have been written to show Joe's scorn for them (like the snub of Bobby Kennedy at Yankee Stadium during an Old Timers Game introductions...Joe refused to shake his hand). Baseball-wise, I think more could have also been written about Joe's feelings for---or against---Mickey Mantle and how he felt about THAT center fielder's so completely winning the hearts of Yankee fans. If the author's intended audience was people like me and older, who are familiar with Joe's life and career, then I'm off-base. If he was hoping to have the 20-30 crowd know more about this myth, I think he could have written a little more.

Joe DiMaggio was not a good man necessarily, many people knew that before even reading this book. In today's world he would have been mauled by the press and fans and would likely not be perceived as such a heroic figure as he now is. Look at Barry Bonds, perhaps a better player overall (hard to say for those of us who never saw Joe actually play...hard to argue against 9 world championships in 13 years...versus Barry's ZERO), yet his personality is probably not too different from Joe's in his search for privacy and aloofness from his teammates. However, he is vilified by most and has precious few friends. In another day, he would have been up in the pantheon with the Babe and Joltin' Joe.

2-0 out of 5 stars Why the personal assault?
This book was a gift from my daughter; as such, I read it even though I knew that it was a hatchet job, for whatever reason, against a great player. At the end of the book I came away with the same conclusion I had when I started, and that is that Joe DiMaggio was one of the greatest hitters of all time (had an immaculate swing) and one of the greatest all around players of all time. As a baseball lover that is all I need to know. In short, he was idolized for his playing ability and for his quite demeanor on the field, while keeping his peccadilloes from public view - why is that so bad? What grudge the author has against Joe DiMaggio I don't know, but I see no need to attack a person based on the shortcomings of that person's personality.

1-0 out of 5 stars Bitter, angry, jealous - and that's just the author
This is a bitter, self-indulgent attempt by the author to attack DiMaggio. Period. He was a bad guy... so what? He liked money? Last time I checked, the author wasn't giving his book away. The main problem isn't with the book or DiMaggio, but with the people who make guys like DiMaggio the heroes they can never be. The bar is set way too high for these individuals. No one can reach it. Our solution: write about it. Consider this: I seriously doubt anyone will write a book about the author, because while he may have received accolades for his work as a reporter, all he has really done in his life is write about what other people have done in their lives. Seems like an empty accomplishment to me, and might be the reason for the high level of bitterness and, perhaps, jealousy that came through in this book. ... Read more


11. Hank Aaron And The Home Run That Changed America
by Tom Stanton
list price: $13.95
our price: $11.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060722908
Catlog: Book (2005-04-01)
Publisher: Perennial
Sales Rank: 376731
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Baseball has witnessed more than 125,000 major-league home runs. Many have altered the outcomes of games, and some, swatted into the stands on dramatic last swings, have decided pennants and won reputations. But no home run has played a more significant role in influencing American society than Hank Aaron's 715th.

Aaron's historic blast -- and the yearlong quest leading up to it -- not only shook baseball but the world at large. It exposed prejudice, energized a flagging civil rights movement, inspired a generation of children, and also called forth the dark demons that haunted Aaron's every step and turned what should have been a joyous pursuit into a hellish nightmare. In Hank Aaron and the Home Run That Changed America, Tom Stanton, author of the prize-winning The Final Season, penetrates the burnished myth of Aaron's chase and uncovers the compelling story behind the most consequential athletic achievement of the past fifty years.

The tale takes place during tumultuous times, the years of 1973 and 1974, as the Watergate scandal unfolds and the Vietnam War sputters to an end. It's the era of Ali and Archie Bunker, of Wounded Knee and Patty Hearst, of Roe v. Wade and Billie Jean King versus Bobby Riggs, of oil shortages, and of a nation struggling with deep divisions. At the center of the social storm stands a private, dignified man -- Hank Aaron -- who rises to accept the mantle of his recently deceased idol, Jackie Robinson, and becomes emboldened by the purpose of his mission: to break the record of sport's greatest legend, Babe Ruth, not only for himself but for the advancement of all African Americans and for the good of his country.

Along the way, Aaron endures bigots, zealous fans, hate mail, FBI investigations, bodyguards, the ambivalence of his adopted hometown, a batting slump unlike any other, the sniping comments of Babe Ruth's widow, the slights of baseball's commissioner, a string of controversies, and constant threats to his and his children's lives. The story features a rich cast of characters: a friend and sometime rival, Willie Mays, who must come to terms with the end of his own career; Aaron's hard-as-iron protector, manager Eddie Mathews; a young, self-assured, occasionally cocky protégé, Dusty Baker; a future president, Jimmy Carter; a preacher of rising prominence, the Reverend Jesse Jackson; stars like Willie Stargell and Tom Seaver; and a roster of equally colorful, lesser-known peers.

But at the heart of the narrative is Hank Aaron, a class player who refused to preen at home plate or strut shamelessly around the bases even as he reached the pinnacle of the national pastime. Three decades later, Tom Stanton brings to life on these pages the elusive spirit of an American hero.

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Reviews (11)

5-0 out of 5 stars A book as important as the record itself
Anyone who has ever read one of my reviews, may notice a theme. The fact that I am 25 years old makes me rely heavily on reading books such as "Hank Aaron and the Home Run that Changed America" in order to comprehend the historical significance of many of the greatest sports moments of the 20th Century.

Obviously, I was aware of what 715 was (and eventually 755) and what it meant, but it wasn't until reading Tom Stanton's book that I truly could grasp what it meant for the whole country, not just the baseball community. Reading about the turbulent times of America and the racial injustice that was going on in the 1970's during Aaron's pursuit, makes his accomplishment even greater.

Receiving death threats in the mail, the fear of having one of his children harmed, and being called some of the ugliest names imaginable, were all things that he had to endure the entire time his quest was going on.

This book is wonderfully written and truly captures the importance of Hank Aaron's record-breaking season. This book is an important part of not only baseball history, but American history as well and should become part of any teacher's curriculum when teaching about civil rights.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Antidote to Steroid Scandals
Barry Bonds may eventually break Hank Aaron's record, but he will never displace him as a hero worthy of a child's adulation. This book is a dramatic and entertaining portrait of a dignified and decent man who overcame great obstacles while dethroning the most mythologized sports legend in American history, Babe Ruth. I thought I knew everything about Aaron's pursuit of the record, but Tom Stanton surprised me over and over again. It's a great read and the perfect antidote for the disappointing news about players on steroids.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Story of a Legend
What makes a legend? Is it their talent? Is it their presence? Must one possess a little of both in order to be revered?Hank Aaron, a talented baseball player from Mobile, Alabama became a legend when he broke Babe Ruth's home run record, but before that, he was a talented all-around player for the Milwaukee Brewers and the Atlanta Braves.

Hank's journey to beat the Babe's record was not without obstacles and setbacks.While pursuing the record and playing for Atlanta, a losing team at the time, the stands were nearly empty.He received degrading mail that threatened his life and that of his children. He heard boos emanating from the stands. But why? Wasn't this man a great baseball player who was on his way to claiming the home run record? He was, but he was African-American, and many baseball fans did not take kindly to the thought of a black man stomping on Babe Ruth's record. But despite the racial slurs, discouraging letters, and enormous pressure to knock them out of the park, Hank Aaron remained a calm force and an admirable role model. Hank Aaron's career home run record, set in 1973, is yet to be broken.

Tom Stanton did a nice job of reviewing the history of Aaron, while adding a personal element to the textbook stats, players' names, and chronology. The reader is allowed to know Hank, to support him, to root for him, to feel for him.A true baseball fan will love this recount of baseball history. (RAWSISTAZ Rating: 3.5)

Reviewed by CandaceK
of The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers

5-0 out of 5 stars THE HAMMER AT HIS FINEST HOUR
THIS IS THE 30TH ANNIVERSARY OF HOMERUN 715. THE AUTHOR DOES A FINE JOB DESCRIBING THE EVENTS IN DETAIL THAT LEAD UP TO THE HISTORIC MOMENT. I FOUND THIS BOOK VERY INTERESTING AND WELL TOLD. SOME OF THE INTERESTING PARTS INCLUDE THE NON- APPEARENCE OF BOWIE KUHN AT THE HISTORIC GAME, THE DEATH THREATS TO HENRY AND HIS FAMILY, THE RACIAL ISSUES OF THE 1970'S AND GETTING TO KNOW HENRY A LITTLE MORE MAKES THIS A GOOD READ. NOW IT LOOKS AS IF BARRY BONDS MAKE BREAK THIS RECORD IN THE NEXT FEW YEARS. I FIND IT VERY UNFORTUNATE THAT HENRY NEVER GOT THE CREDIT HE DESERVED FOR THIS REMARKABLE FEAT AND FOR BEING A DAMN GOOD ALL AROUND PLAYER. A MUST READ FOR ALL BASEBALL FANS.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Quest For Baseball Immortality And Human Equality
The subtitle of this book, "The Home Run That Changed America," may seem a bit lofty to those born too soon to remember this record-breaking blow. But in these pages, Tom Stanton does a fine job of interweaving the story of Henry Aaron's chase of baseball's most hallowed record with the tale of the impact of that pursuit on the larger society. Stanton's love for the game shines through in this narrative, as does his sense of shame for those elements of the public who greeted Aaron's achievement not with praise, but scorn and hatred.

The narrative begins in the fall of 1972 with Aaron among thosein attendance at the funeral of Jackie Robinson, the man who broke the color barrier in modern baseball. The bulk of the book tells the story of the 1973 season, which saw Aaron surpass Willie Mays for second place on the career home run list and finally fall one short of Ruth's magic total of 714. Over the course of that season Aaron had to endure the ravages of age (he was thirty-nine), a steadily intensifying media circus, and most disheartening of all, a vocal stream of hatred and abuse, most (if not all) of it racially motivated.

The retrospective distance of three decades makes it clear that if anyone was prepared to endure this great strain, it was Henry Aaron. While other players in bigger media markets like Mays and Mickey Mantle had captured the public's imagination with flashier performances, Aaron had been toiling away in Milwaukee and Atlanta, steadily building up career totals that would place him in the first rank of baseball's Hall of Fame...and humanity's as well.

Aaron came back for the 1974 season determined to put the quest for the record behind him as quickly as possible. This couldn't come without controversy, either. Atlanta officials found themselves embroiled in conflict with then-Commissioner Bowie Kuhn when they threatened to hold Aaron out of the opening three games at Cincinnati so he could achieve the record at home. Under pressure from Kuhn, the Braves played Aaron in Cincinnati, where he tied the record. Fittingly, though, he saved the blast that put him alone in the baseball universe for the home fans. Appropriately, this is where Stanton's narrative ends. There's a brief afterword on what's happened to Aaron and the other key players (including a young acolyte of Aaron's, Dusty Baker) in the decades since. But the heart of the story is in that year and a half recounted in these pages....when, as Stanton puts it, Aaron placed an exclamation mark on Jackie Robinson's great achievement and helped further erode the barriers standing in the way of full equality for all Americans.--William C. Hall ... Read more


12. The Life You Imagine : Life Lessons for Achieving Your Dreams
by DEREK JETER
list price: $12.95
our price: $9.71
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0609807188
Catlog: Book (2001-06-05)
Publisher: Three Rivers Press
Sales Rank: 11000
Average Customer Review: 4.86 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Ever wonder what it would take to turn all of your dreams into reality? In The Life You Imagine, All-Star New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter shows how you can use the same game plan that helped an eight-year-old boy who fantasized about playing baseball for the Bronx Bombers grow up and become MVP of the 2000 World Series. With the help and support of both of his parents, Derek developed a practical program that would assist him in achieving all of his personal and professional aspirations-and now he shares his secrets to success so that you can get closer to living your dream, too.

In this inspiring, information-packed book, Derek provides you with the ten lessons that have guided him throughout his life on and off the field, from his dream of being a gifted, hardworking athlete to his goal of becoming an active community leader. Using personal stories from his own life as a student athlete in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and as a Yankee team player, Derek writes about the simple steps that put him on course for success, including:

* Setting your goals high and finding the right role models
* Being serious but still having fun
* Challenging yourself daily and not being afraid to fail
* Surrounding yourself with a strong supporting cast

Filled with rare family photos and pictures of Derek playing for the Yankees, The Life You Imagine is an intimate look into the life of a superstar athlete -- including the remarkable relationship he has with his family, what it's like to play with the Yankees, and how he's used his baseball celebrity to found the Turn 2 Foundation, a drug and alcohol prevention program for kids.
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Reviews (28)

4-0 out of 5 stars An inspirational book from a true role model
Derek Jeter is young by most all standards. At 26 years old he has his whole life ahead of him, but the story he has lived so far is incredibly rich in inspiration. As an athlete in the dawning of the 21 st century the way he chooses to live his life in the spotlight is even more commendable considering the alternative routes he could have chosen to go down. Instead of a money hungry, media blasting, bitter ball player, Derek Jeter has become a man we all can admire because of the little boy with a dream that he was... someone we can all identify with. This story solidifies his standing as a great role model for young and old alike. In this book you will see Derek's childhood and his ongoing journey through this life he has imagined. You will find out how deeply his family has grounded him and how wonderful a job they did. This story is great if you want to be inspired by a truly wonderful young man!

4-0 out of 5 stars The Life You Imagine: Life Lessons for Achieving Your Dreams
Who wouldn't want to be Derek Jeter? The money, fame, and women. The truth is, Jeter never really had it this good. This book, The Life You Imagine: Life Lessons for Achieving Your Dreams, talks about Jeter's struggles growing up, and his inspiring life-long dream he fulfilled when he reached the major leagues. In this book, Jeter talks about setting goals no matter how high, and striving hard to accomplish those goals. This is a book about life lessons, and using perseverance to get passed any stumbling blocks that may occur in one's life. Jeter encourages kids to dream, and believe they can accomplish their dreams. Even Derek Jeter faced difficult problems he had to overcome. In this book, Jeter gives a positive message to everyone, to believe in yourself, and you can do anything!

This book is unlike any other. Sure other books give positive messages about life, but this book gives lessons about life also. Anyone could tell a person that the problem they're facing is common and will work out, but it helps to hear from a professional athlete that experienced that same problem. Another thing that sets this book apart from others is its mood. The mood in this story is changing often. One chapter the story could be sad because of a bad situation Jeter faced, and the next chapter of the story could be happy because Jeter overcame his problem. The story goes back and forth, with Jeter facing a problem, then solving a problem. In the end Jeter is always able to persevere enough to get past whatever situation he faced, big or small. This book gives positive messages to everyone, but especially to kids. It talks about not using drugs, making right decisions, and being a good person. Derek Jeter is a great role model for any kid, not because he's a great baseball player, but because he's a great person.

5-0 out of 5 stars My favorite book of all time..
I'm about to read this book for the third time and I'm sure I'll love it just as much as the last. Reading this book always refreshes my outlook on life, it makes me see things in a more positive life. Jeter not only shines on the field, but off the field as well. He is one person that I will look up to for the rest of my life.

5-0 out of 5 stars Best book you can buy.
This book is incredible. I bought it 2 years ago thinking it was just about baseball, but it was much more then that. He talks about achieving your dreams. As a kid little Derek Jeter wanted to play Shortstop for the New York Yankees. Look where he is now. Short Stop for the Yankees. This dream wasn't just handed to him. He had to overcome a lot of challenges he dealt them in different ways. His parents where very supportive of anything he and his sister wanted. They deal a big part of his success.

This book was very useful to me. When I read it back in 8th grade I didn't want to put it down. SSR became my favorite part of the day so I could read it. I don't know how it happened, but the book was so inspiring. As I read it I would think, "Hey if Derek can do it so can I." Being in Special Ed. I though, "I'm not as smart as other people so why bother." After reading it I began to focus on my grades a lot more. I did all my homework and suddenly I had all these good grades. In the middle of the year I got moved up to regular classes and at the end of the year I was moved out of Special Ed. I now think anyone in Special Ed. can do well they just have to work hard and focus on school.

I'm now in 10th grade and I'm working hard to graduate and get into college teachers have asked me what encouraged me and I always say, "Derek Jeter." For some teachers that I have loved I bought them a copy of this book and they loved it. Because of this masterpiece book my whole future has been changed. I now know what I want in life. There have been so many wonderful things that have happened to me just because I focus in school and I owe it all to Derek Jeter.

5-0 out of 5 stars Jeter should be #1
This book was well written and made you want to be a part of the jeter houshold!!! ... Read more


13. Ted Williams: The Biography of an American Hero
by Leigh Montville
list price: $26.95
our price: $16.17
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0385507488
Catlog: Book (2004-04-13)
Publisher: Doubleday
Sales Rank: 1147
Average Customer Review: 4.21 out of 5 stars
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Amazon.com

Leigh Montville's Ted Williams: The Biography of an American Hero is the definitive biography that baseball fans have been waiting for. Montville, who was a sports columnist for the Boston Globe and then a senior writer for Sports Illustrated is an admitted Red Sox and Williams fanatic, and his passion for his hero rings clearly from every page, along with his clear baseball expertise. But Montville does not hide Williams's flaws. The young Williams was temperamental and justified bad behavior with batting prowess that could excuse just about anything. Quick to anger, "the Kid" had a gift for foul language, too.

Montville's study offers insides accounts of Williams's obsessive development as a hitter and his constant struggle to perfect his swing (mistakenly called "natural" by sports writers with little understanding of his extensive preparation). The chapter on 1941, perhaps the greatest year in his career, draws on research and interviews never before published. Montville lets whole passages stand uninterrupted--from Williams's manager, Joe Cronin, from his teammate Dom DiMaggio, and from other players and baseball officials who tell the story of Williams's quest for a .400 batting average. The tale of the final day of the season (when he refused to be benched and went six for eight in a double header to jump from .39955 to his final total, .406) is as pulse-pounding as any thriller.

Alongside its essential focus on Williams's baseball life, the book also delves into his military service during both World War II and the Korean War, his passion for sports fishing, and his commitment to helping children through the Jimmy Fund. Finally, Montville devotes a chapter to the controversy after Williams's death, exposing the back-and-forth among Williams's heirs in the bizarre decision to freeze his body in a cryogenic warehouse in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Montville's biography makes a good case that Williams was, if not the greatest hitter ever to play the game, certainly among them. For his focused, scientific approach to hitting, Williams is unmatched in the history of the game. His life, marred perhaps by a temper and occasional immaturity that soured his reputation in Boston, is one of true sports greatness. Early in the book, Montville argues that Williams is less appreciated today than he might be because he played out most of his 19-year career in the era before televised highlights. But with Montville's efforts to capture first-hand accounts of Williams's achievements, The Splendid Splinter's legacy is assured. --Patrick O'Kelley ... Read more

Reviews (19)

2-0 out of 5 stars The Life Of Ted Williams
Ted Williams is one of the greatest baseball players of all time. His .406 batting average stands as of the game's greatest accomplishments and is still the benchmark average that modern players aim towards. Leigh Montvale's Ted Williams: The Biography Of An American Hero is the most extensive book about the Splendid Splinter. Despite the fanfare, the book is a disappointment. Mr. Montvale spends far too much time on Mr. Williams' life after baseball than his time within the game. To any reader of any sports biography, the most important aspect of the book should be the subject's athletic career. No one wants to read just an expanded stat sheet, but Mr. Montvale concentrates too much of the book on Mr. Williams' life outside of baseball. The 1941 season has some detail, but the 1946 is almost written as an afterthought. That season ended in Mr. Williams' only trip to the World Series in his long career. His two Triple Crown seasons of 1942 & 1947 are mentioned in passing. Mr. Montvale does do an excellent job of explained the bitter rivalry between Mr. Williams and the Boston sportswriters. But again, he spends too much time into the background of the writers (one doesn't really care about the life history of Mr. Williams' fiercest critic, Dave Egan, but we get that). Mr. Montvale does go into great detail about Mr. Williams' three marriages and his fishing life on the Florida Keys and Canada. This is interesting, to a point, but these aspects of his life should have been given the secondary nature that his career received. Mr. Montvale also conveys Mr. Williams as an impetuous, foul-mouthed crank and relays countless stories from acquaintances and loved ones who hammer this point home. Included is a word for word interview with Mr. Williams' third wife Dolores that was conducted in 1969 but never released that makes this point abundantly clear. Mr. Montvale ends the book with a sort of biography within a biography as he details the life and exploits of Mr. Williams' only son, John Henry. Again, this is interesting and shows how sad of an end that Mr. Williams' life had, but he goes overboard in his tales of John Henry's transgressions. This book is not without merit as it does provide some detailed insights into one of the 20th Century's greatest athletes, but it falls short of its potential greatness.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great biography, depressing ending
This is a fascinating and illuminating book about a talented baseball player, a military hero, and a cantankerous curmudgeon - Ted Williams. Montville does a terrific job of encapsulating the Splendid Splinter's eventful 83 years into a fascinating 500-page book, complete with nearly a hundred black-and-white photographs, many never before seen. If you're looking for a biography of Ted Williams this is probably the one to get; it covers his entire life, something that his 1969 autobiography doesn't do (obviously).

Montville doesn't shine much new light onto the Public Ted - any true baseball fan is already familiar with his battles with the media, his 406 average in 1941, his weak performance in the 1946 World Series, the two military interruptions to his baseball career, his storybook home run in his final at-bat, etc. We already knew that stuff. Where the book truly shines is in illuminating the Private Ted...

The selfish Ted, who'd drag uninterested wives along with him on fishing trips, and who'd rather be alone in a boat somewhere than be present for his children's births; his lustful enjoyment of his hobbies was more important than his family. The angry and blasphemous Ted, who'd spit at fans and frequently (and colorfully) take the Lord's name in vain with a smattering of the f-word and his favorite modifier, "syphilitic." The lonely Ted, who married three beautiful trophy wives, had teammates and friends all over the country, yet still lacked the unconditional love he desperately needed. Somehow Montville manages to paint Williams as sympathetic, lovable, and even heroic, while still telling the story of a bitter and cranky man.

Thankfully, there were at least a few caring people in Ted's life to help diffuse his negativity and give him unconditional love: Louise Kaufman, the grandmotherly woman who became Ted's longtime companion after his three failed marriages to younger women, and the male nurses who took care of him during his final decade on Earth.

Sadly, the book (like Williams's life) ends on an unavoidable down-note. Montville frightens us with the awful tale of Ted's money-grubbing son, John-Henry. Here the author fairly throws objectivity aside, painting the younger Williams in tones reminiscent of Shakespeare's Iago. John-Henry's underhanded machinations and obvious treatment of Ted as a meal ticket rather than a beloved father left me feeling sad and depressed at the story's end. Junior was more concerned with his progenitor's ability to sign and sell valuable autographs than his comfort and welfare during his declining years. The demon seed of Ted Williams kept his father's friends and loved ones from calling and visiting, and then - in an act which violated Ted's wish for cremation, as per his will - John-Henry had his father cryogenically frozen after his death. Thus began the fighting and infinite court proceedings between Ted's offspring - an embarrassing and surreal coda to a life otherwise lived with integrity and dignity.

A great book about a great man. As sports biographies go, it's surely one of the best - just like Ted.

(News update: John-Henry Williams, 35, died of leukemia in March 2004. Perhaps now the legal maneuvering will stop; perhaps Ted can at last be cremated and have his ashes spread across the waters of Florida, just as he wanted. Meanwhile, thanks to John-Henry, the decapitated head of Ted Williams remains in a frozen vat in Arizona.)

4-0 out of 5 stars A must read for Williams fans...
This book is a must read for Williams fans, Red Sox fans and baseball fans in general. I felt this book was one of the most balanced books I have read aboout Williams. Not only does it pay tribute to his success on the field and in the air during WW II and Korea, but also decribes his many faults. I have always been a fan of Montville and this book, simply put, is a great one.

4-0 out of 5 stars A good, honest look at a good, honest man...
I recently read Cramer's bio of Joe DiMaggio and thought this would be a good complement. And it was. While the more one finds out about DiMaggio during and after baseball, the less one likes him; the more one reads about Williams, the more one likes HIM. He was the anti-Joe with his time and genuine concern for people, especially those less fortunate (in particular, children and the Jimmy Fund in Boston).

For baseball fans, this book is not too deep on his accomplishments on the field. But then again, his career is so well-documented that baseball fans are probably very familiar with it. Montville does shed light on his early days in the minors, the majors, the .400 season, the service years, his bad relationship with the Boston sportswriters and his refusal to tip his cap when he homered in his last career bat. All things that we are familiar with, but about which it was good to know more.

For those who are not baseball fans, the book offers more of a look at this man who had achieved so much in his profession, served his country in the middle of his career (in two separate wars) and delved into the complex relationship he had with his family yet how easy it was to be his friend...on his terms.

I think the author gives a good and balanced account of how this man went from a not-so-popular player in his own hometown and even with some of his teammates, to the much-adored icon he was in the last 10-15 years of his life. There are some truly touching passages about his innate goodness that was sometimes overshadowed by occasional and irrepressible bouts of anger. Looking around at today's ballplayers, once hopes for someone like Barry Bonds to have the same fate. To be misunderstood and unpopular while putting up one of the best careers even seen in the game and to be redeemed in the later years of his life. Might be too much to hope for in that case...

5-0 out of 5 stars What a life Teddy Ballgame had!
This book describes greatness, a quest for perfection, deep and long-term friendships between men; heroism and personal sacrifice for country; some of the inside details of baseball, a deep love for the game, betrayal and exploitation; and ultimately one of the most bizarre aftermath's to the life of a legend. There is no doubt that Ted Williams was one of the best hitters who ever lived. In fact, it can be argued, something that I often do, that he was the best hitter to ever play the game. On that note, while he was blessed with incredible skills, like so many successful athletes, he practiced as if he was a religious fanatic and that was his daily devotions. He was also a very intelligent man, some of the facets of hitting that Williams discussed had never been considered before. He studied pitchers with a precision that probably has never been duplicated.
Under the social classifications now used, Ted was a Hispanic, his father was Mexican and his mother Caucasian. Growing up in San Diego, he was worshipping baseball and making it his field of study at a very early age. Unfortunately, his skill at hitting a baseball did not translate into maturity. He became a star at an early age, and he never managed to mellow a ferocious temper, which many of his friends said was the key to his success. Like so many people who accomplished so much, he was a perfectionist. He would hit a homerun and then criticize himself for swinging at a pitch that was not in the strike zone. Montville criticizes Williams for this, but it is not totally justified. A mistake that turns out right is still a mistake, and if you are satisfied with that, then over the long haul, the mistakes will sum to a point that will overwhelm you.
It is amazing to think that he pulled two tours of duty as a Marine Corps pilot, flying combat missions in the Korean War and having a plane shot out from under him. There is no greater testament to his hitting ability than what happened after he returned from Korea at the age of 35. Having almost no time to readjust to the baseball world, he managed to hit over .400 for the remainder of the season and have a slugging percentage over .900. A close second is when he hit .388 at the age of 38, which put him within a few hits of .400. Over the course of the season, that many hits would have been generated by legs even a few years younger.
His later years were spent in and out of baseball, fishing, hunting and enjoying himself. It is here where we also see the consequences of celebrity. His relationships with women were strained, often a consequence of the fact that he could have so many. Women seemed to roll in and out of bed with him at a regular pace and there is a somewhat substantiated rumor that he caught an STD while in Korea. His relationships with his children were poor, which led to his being exploited, manipulated and mistreated in his last years. Those who knew him best and had looked after him were shut out of his life when he needed them most. After his death, his body was frozen, something that was almost certainly the consequence of a forgery that was somehow accepted as legal.
Ted Williams did many things at the highest level. He lived fast, enjoyed the good life of women, fame, adulation and monetary rewards. At the end, it seemed that his only regret was that he did not build familial relationships. Which is probably correct, because he maintained close relationships with friends for decades, old buddies to shoot piles of BS with.
Montville captures Ted Williams as a great man with great flaws. Some criticized him because they could and because it sold papers. Nevertheless, Williams often went out of his way to antagonize others, spitting at and cursing fans and sportswriters when he felt like it. As is so often the case, the very qualities that make someone great also make their flaws great. However, he was also willing to help people in need. There are many stories of his charity work and how he would stop and give a total stranger a tip on hitting. This is a book that all baseball fans should read. ... Read more


14. Sandy Koufax : A Lefty's Legacy
by Jane Leavy
list price: $13.95
our price: $10.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060933291
Catlog: Book (2003-09-01)
Publisher: Perennial Currents
Sales Rank: 65514
Average Customer Review: 4.24 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Nobody ever threw a baseball better than Sandy Koufax. He dominated the game -- and the ball, making it rise, break, sing. Then, after his best season, in 1966, he was gone, retired at age thirty, leaving behind a reputation as the game's greatest lefty and most misunderstood man. The Brooklyn boy whom the Dodgers signed as "the Great Jewish Hope" will forever be known for his refusal to pitch the opening game of the 1965 World Series because it fell on Yom Kippur. Forty years later, Koufax stands apart and alone, a legend who declines his own celebrity. In Sandy Koufax: A Lefty's Legacy, Jane Leavy dispels the mystery to discover a man more than worthy of the myth.

... Read more

Reviews (87)

5-0 out of 5 stars Perfect
"Sandy Koufax: A Lefty's Legacy" is one of the best baseball player biographies I've read in years. Author Jane Leavy blends a brilliant mix of Koufaxian fastballs (interviews) and curveballs (unexpected historical finds) in following the course of the Dodger ace lefty's perfect game against the Chicago Cubs on September 9, 1965.

"Koufax" gets off on a shaky note, as Chapter 1 is devoted to a mind-numbing study of the mechanics of Koufax's overhand pitching delivery. Then again, in two of Koufax's most famous performances, both well-detailed in this book, Sandy had a rough first inning as well. The rest of the book takes off pretty quickly thereafter and becomes absolutely un-put-downable.

The straightforward biography tells the curve (all right, I'll stop with the puns now) of Koufax's career, from his childhood in Bensonhurst to his surprise retirement from the game shortly after his 27-win 1966 campaign. Leavy draws on background interviews with Koufax (but doesn't quote him directly), and on many other interviews with his friends and teammates, from Brooklyn to Los Angeles. Along the way she uncovers a surprising mixture of statistics and modern-bay baseball interpretation, quoting from two websites dear to the current baseball cognoscenti, Retrosheet and the Baseball Prospectus. There's also, as you'd expect for any book that spans the 1950s and '60s, a decent canned social history of the era. I don't think even Leavy believes that Koufax's retirement marked the defining point between the end of Eisenhower's and the beginning of Nixon's, but the parallels are there if you want to play with them.

Interspersed with the biographical chapters is an inning-by-inning account of Koufax's perfect game, pitched at night in Los Angeles in the twilight of his career. These chapters are mind-blowing. Spending a book describing a single ballgame is a risky proposition (all those endless asides turned "Nine Innings" into something nearly unreadable), but Leavy paints a compelling you-are-there freshness, thanks in part to the serendipitous discovery of the final 7 innings of that game on audiotape. Wisely, Leavy allows Vin Scully's play-by-play to describe most of the late action, and Vin makes for remarkable reading in the same way that he makes for remarkable listening. His extemporaneous game descriptions are brilliant and the quotes here make it easy to see why, like Koufax, he's regarded as being at the top of his league.

The book ends with a brief overview of Koufax's retirement (best line of the book: Koufax briefly handed out business cards describing himself as a "Peregrination Expert"). Leavy balances the prevailing view of Koufax (sullen, baseball-hating) against the reality she's uncovered, and Koufax comes away a healthy, well-rounded character. No hagiography, "Koufax" is instead an respectful portrait of a unique man.

No description of Sandy Koufax is complete with discussion of his Judaism, and his seminal decision to skip Game 1 of the 1965 World Series, which fell on Yom Kippur. Leavy indulges in some detective work to show that Koufax didn't even go to synagogue that afternoon, but she offers enough anecdotal evidence to almost make you believe that Koufax alone ended most of the anti-Semitic stereotypes that prevailed in America through 1965. Almost. I remember learning about Koufax in Hebrew day school as a child (in a pamphlet about Jewish sports legends only marginally bigger than the one in the movie "Airplane!"), but his significance to the religion makes a lot more sense as Leavy tells it. There's even an interview with Shawn Green, the latest Jewish All-Star to sit on Yom Kippur.

Leavy leaves no stone unturned, and now I'm as close as I'll ever be to actually becoming a Los Angeles Dodgers fan. Well, not even close... I'm genetically bred to loathe them, even as I reluctantly root for the team now mismanaged by Koufax's childhood pal Fred Wilpon. But I will be reading this book again, the sooner the better.

4-0 out of 5 stars Koufax: Hall of Famer and Gentle Man
I would just like to echo the many positive reviews of Jane Leavy's biography of Sandy Koufax. The author has crafted a well-written account of the life and times of the former Dodger great. I was particularly taken by the way the book is organized, with chapters presenting a fairly straight-forward biography alternating with chapters dealing, inning by inning, with Koufax's perfect game in 1965.

Koufax, in Leavy's assessment, is a very private man, but not the aloof individual that so many perceive him to be. This supposed aloofness, together with his perceived "intellectualism" (the man read books, go figure) is pointed to as reflective of the subtle antisemitism that Koufax had to deal with throughout his career (and afterwards), an argument that Leavy makes effectively. Also convincing is her interpretation of Koufax's continuing symbolic importance to the Jewish community.

This book is a must-read for anyone interested in Koufax, the Dodgers, and baseball and its social context in the 1950s and 1960s.

2-0 out of 5 stars Readable but not much more
I found this book moderately interesting but it suffers from three significant shortcomings:
1)One, as stated in previous reviews, the author is overly fixated on Koufax's Jewishness. Although this is clearly an aspect of Koufax, his history and make-up, and impact on the Jewish community that should not be overlooked or downplayed, it did not need to be the overiding theme of the book, and as such it overshadowed his on-the-field accomplishments.
2)Koufax did not agree to personally contribute to the book, so many of the incidents are told from the viewpoint of other observers whose memories (reasonably) appear to be less than accurate 50 years after the fact. In several cases these third parties disagree on what actually occured and as a result you question everything in the book with the exception of the statistical reality of Koufax's career.
3)There is very little info regarding Koufax's life after baseball. Since he retired in 1966 nearly forty years have passed. Although readers may be much more interested in his baseball life, I would have liked more insight into how his post-baseball life has progressed.

2-0 out of 5 stars I didn't Like It
I don't care for the author's writing style -- a sort of smug hipness. I also got the sense that the author is overly playing the Jewish angle on this story; she cares more about his being Jewish than he does. I had to stop reading about halfway through.

4-0 out of 5 stars Koufax from the Stone Age
So there really isn't much mystery about Sandy Koufax. Shortly after he retired he married twice, each marriage being relatively long lasting, and he led a quiet life. He attended various baseball ceremonies, raised some money for charities, and coached a bit. Leavey demolishes the "recluse" nonsense.

She also sets out clearly why Sandy had to retire early. He like other starting pitchers of his era were exploited by their teams. Throwing fastballs for nine or more innings per game game after game would have ruined anyone's arm. Baseball had not yet appreciated the middle reliever and the closer. Had Sandy pitched 6 or 7 innings per game, his career would have lasted another 5 years easily. I have to admire his and Drysdale's work ethic though.

The book recalls the late 50's and early 60's well and makes you realize how much society and baseball has changed. It is a fun book to read. ... Read more


15. George Brett: From Here To Cooperstown
by George Brett, Steve Cameron
list price: $26.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1886110794
Catlog: Book (1999-05-01)
Publisher: Addax Publishing Group
Sales Rank: 177998
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

This full color volume contains quotes and unique photographs and memorabilia from the career of George Brett. The talented ball player reveals his thoughts on his life in baseball in a touching introduction, but the rest is left up to family, friends, an ... Read more

Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars WOW
Steve Cameron's latest work with George Brett is a must for any fan of the greatest game. For everyone who has thrilled to George's accomplishments and admired his blue-collar, headfirst approach to the game he loves, "From Here to Cooperstown" is a joy indeed. This book captures the entire story of Brett's career where he had a lifetime average of .305, 3154 hits, and 1595 runs batted in. Great photos and layout compliment the authoring by Steve Cameron. It includes a great section that has quotes and comments from players, coaches, and writers, that have watched George Brett move from a shaky Single A player to the Hall of Famer that he is. Another feature in this book is that George Brett shares his thoughts, emotions, memories, his recollections, and his feelings about the long journey. It captures the entire story of Brett's career from childhood through his many years with the Kansas City Royals. It also does an outstanding job of building an understanding of why Brett is so passionate about the game of baseball. Here is a quote from George on how he would like to be remembered. "I'd like to be remembered as the guy who always played hard and ran out every ball." Although George has made it to the Hall of Fame he thanks many for his success. George would later add in his Hall of Fame speech a thought about his parents. George said," To my parents, Jack and Ethel. Thanks for the endless hours of support and love. You taught me the qualities of life that I will pass along to your grandchildren, Jackson, Dylan, and Robin. I would recommend this book to all players in high school, College, and the Minors because of the lessons it teaches about respect for the game and a personal commitment to excellence.

5-0 out of 5 stars A very good book.
Steve Cameron's latest work with George Brett is a must for any fan of the greatest game. For everyone who has thrilled to George's accomplishments and admired his blue-collar, headfirst approach to the game he loves, "From Here to Cooperstown" is a joy indeed. This book captures the entire story of Brett's career where he had a lifetime average of .305, 3154 hits, and 1595 runs batted in. Great photos and layout compliment the authoring by Steve Cameron. It includes a great section that has quotes and comments from players, coaches, and writers, that have watched George Brett move from a shaky Single A player to the Hall of Famer that he is. Another feature in this book is that George Brett shares his thoughts, emotions, memories, his recollections, and his feelings about the long journey. It captures the entire story of Brett's career from childhood through his many years with the Kansas City Royals. It also does an outstanding job of building an understanding of why Brett is so passionate about the game of baseball. Here is a quote from George on how he would like to be remembered. "I'd like to be remembered as the guy who always played hard and ran out every ball." Although George has made it to the Hall of Fame he thanks many for his success. George would later add in his Hall of Fame speech a thought about his parents. George said," To my parents, Jack and Ethel. Thanks for the endless hours of support and love. You taught me the qualities of life that I will pass along to your grandchildren, Jackson, Dylan, and Robin. I would recommend this book to all players in high school, College, and the Minors because of the lessons it teaches about respect for the game and a personal commitment to excellence.

5-0 out of 5 stars Love of the Game
Steve Cameron's latest work with George Brett is a must for any fan of the greatest Game. It does an outstanding job of building an understanding of why Brett is so passionate about baseball.

There is a great section containing comments from players, coaches, writers that have watched George Brett move from a shaky Single A player to the Hall of Famer that he is.

I almost think this book should be required reading for all players in high school, college and the minors because of the lessons it teaches about respect for the game and personal commitment to excellence.

Until reading this book, I was sure that no one could love the game of baseball more than I did. George Brett is the one man that does.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellant Reading!
This book is the heart and soul of George Brett. If you are a George Brett or just a lover of the sport, this book is a must have!

5-0 out of 5 stars Welcome to the Hall of Fame George
This book captures the entire story of Brett's career from childhood through his many years with the Kansas City Royals. Great photographs and layout compliment the authoring by Steve Cameron. Unlike other books on Brett, this book is an autobiography. A "must" for any baseball fan. ... Read more


16. Have Glove, Will Travel : Adventures of a Baseball Vagabond
by BILL LEE, RICHARD LALLY
list price: $23.00
our price: $15.64
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1400054079
Catlog: Book (2005-02-08)
Publisher: Crown
Sales Rank: 95736
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (3)

5-0 out of 5 stars THREE CLASSIC BOOKS BY SPACEMAN
First came The Wrong Stuff, a classic of its genre; then the hilarious The Little Red Sox Book, a revisionist Red Sox history (Curse Reversed edition now available in paperback) and now Have Glove Will Travel. Lee is the Hemingway of baseball players.
Pumpsie Greenberg

5-0 out of 5 stars Hemingway Couldn't Write A Better Book
This book is extraordinary. First, it may be the most literate baseball memoir ever written. It reads like an excellent novel with some passages that moved me to tears, not because they were poignant, but because they were so beautifully written. Second, you will never read a more candid self-portrait. Mr. Lee writes honestly and insightfully though humorously about his many shortcomings. But what struck me is that this is a great piece of travel writing, something like a cross between Bill Bryson and the late Hunter Thompson. Lee relates zany and amusing anecdotes about the places he's visited and the exotic characters he's met while searching the globe for the perfect playing field. Lee writes of ending a drought byhitting a homer in Saskatchewan (with an wacky but loving travel piece on the town of Lumsden),educating Ted Williams, of all people, on hittng theory, and how he got arrested three times in one day while playing in Russia. It is all great, great fun. But when he writes about how baseball helped him reconcile with his father and children or of the gift he received from an impoverished woman while visiting Cuban, Lee (and his co-writer Richard Lally) will break your heart. The passages in these sections are as moving as anything you will ever read in a baseball book or any book for that matter. This book is essential reading for anyone who loves baseball or just loves great writing. I cannot wait to see the movie. Bravo!

4-0 out of 5 stars Bill Lee Has A Genuine Love For The Game
I was going to rate this book three stars, but the book rallied in the last few chapters.I was not interested in reading about Bill Lee's adventures around the world as it applied to drugs and other hell-raising escapades.He was put on baseball's black list after going AWOL during a game with the Montreal Expos when a friend of his was unfairly, according to Lee, released.There is a wonderful chapter on the conversation he had with Ted Williams.Williams, of course, claims he made a living off of dumb pitchers.However, Lee challenged Teddy Ballgame by saying he could tell him one reason Williams was such a good hitter that Ted wasn't even aware of.The skeptical, but curious, Williams decided to hear what Lee had to say.After having Williams conduct a simple experiment involving his eyes, Lee made a believer of Williams in regard to which of Williams' eyes was the dominant one.Lee genuinely loves the game of baseball as has previous generations in his family.In fact, his aunt, Annabelle Lee, was a professional ballplayer for nine seasons as the ace left-hander for several women's baseball teams during the 1940's.Her uniform hangs in the Baseball Hall of Fame.For Lee to continue playing wherever a ballgame can be found shows he has a genuine love for the game.There are some very funny anecdotes that will be fun to pass on to others.I give the book four stars rather than five, due to a lot of the aforementioned mischief stories involving drugs and alcohol.The last forty pages, however, make this book a worth while read. ... Read more


17. Ed Delahanty in the Emerald Age of Baseball
by Jerrold Casway
list price: $25.00
our price: $25.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0268022852
Catlog: Book (2004-03-01)
Publisher: University of Notre Dame Press
Sales Rank: 44666
Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Jerrold Casway’s fascinating biography of legendary baseball player Ed Delahanty (1867–1903) offers a compelling examination of the first "King of Swatsville’s" life and career, including the enigma surrounding his tragic and untimely death. Through Delahanty’s story, Casway traces the evolving character of major league baseball and its effect on the lives and ambitions of its athletes.

Delahanty’s career spanned the last decades of the nineteenth century during a time when the sons of post-famine Irish refugees dominated the sport and changed the playing style of America’s national pastime. In this "Emerald Age" of baseball, Irish-American players comprised from 30 to 50 percent of all players, managers, and team captains. Baseball for Delahanty and other young Irishmen was a ticket out of poverty and into a life of fame and fortune. The allure and promise of celebrity and wealth, however, were disastrous for Delahanty. He found himself enmeshed in desperate contract dealings and a gambling addiction that drove him to alcohol abuse. The owner of the fourth highest lifetime batting average, Delahanty mysteriously disappeared and was found at the bottom of Niagara’s Horseshoe Falls.

This rich biography, which relies on previously unavailable family papers and court transcripts, as well as the colorful sports reporting of the period, will appeal to anyone interested in baseball, sports, or Irish history. ... Read more

Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Lessons To Be Learned
Jerrold Casway has provided us with an in-depth study of 19th century baseball star Ed Delahanty. Like so many other athletes in his time Delahanty lived for today rather than postpone immediate gratification for a greater future reward. The lure of the racetrack while wintering in New Orleans and later alcohol were contributing factors leading up to the decline of this once great superstar. "The Only Del" toiled for unheralded losing teams such as the Philadelphia Phillies and the Washington Senators. Baseball wars were on and Delahanty had the problem of not caring how many contracts he signed as long as he played with the team that offered him the most money. I felt the author did a good job of sorting through the possibilities regarding Delahanty's death on the International Bridge crossing the Niagara River between Fort Erie, Ontario, and Buffalo, New York. Delahanty was removed from the train for abusive behavior, and from what information we have available it appears that he stumbled over railroad ties in an effort to elude the bridge watchman. His body was discovered below the Canadian Horseshoe Falls in the Niagara River one week later on July 9th. This was an era in which the owners had it all their way, and players had no financial benefits that today's players enjoy. Players usually reentered the regular workforce once their playing days were over. Delahanty, however, lived lavishly during his playing days without a thought to his post-playing days. Information is also provided on his baseball playing brothers in addition to his wife and daughter after Ed's death. If you enjoy 19th century baseball history I believe this is another book from that colorful age that you will find enjoyable to read.

5-0 out of 5 stars THE GREAT PHILLIES PLAYER!!!!!!!
ED DELAHANTY-THE ONLY MAN TO WIN THE BATTING TITLE IN BOTH THE NATIONAL AND AMERICAN LEAGUES (1899 AND 1902)WITH THE PHILLIES AND SENATORS DIED A TRAGIC DEATH IN 1903.HE ONCE HIT 4 HOMERS IN A GAME- ALL IN SIDE THE PARKERS! READ THIS BOOK!IT IS GREAT!!!!!!!I HAVE BEEN A PHILLIES FAN FOR 44 YEARS.

5-0 out of 5 stars Superb
Forget the sour grapes of that other review, this is a superb baseball history. It is extemely well researched with an incredible amount of information in a very readable package. Anyone who is truly into baseball history will want this book and will want to know and understand the 19th Century and the players. The sociology of baseball has been the sociology of this country and the early players are the heroes and pioneers who gave us the perfect game of baseball. Buy the book!

3-0 out of 5 stars Scholarly ode to workmanlike 19th-century baseball player
As the author of a later 2004 release, Cap Anson 2: The Theatrical and Kingly Mike Kelly: U.S. Team Sport's First Media Sensation and Baseball's Original Casey at the Bat, I was excited to buy a copy of Jerrold Casway's Ed Delahanty in the Emerald Age of Baseball. Kelly and Delahanty are the first 19th-century Hall of Famers of Irish descent to be the subject of full-length books. Each of ours seeks to be the standard biography of our subjects, and Casway didn't have as much of a head start (Kelly was treated in an 1888 ghostwritten autobiography, the first book about a professional baseball player, and in Marty Appel's 1996 Slide, Kelly, Slide).

In the 1880s, Kelly was to baseball, in a more animated way, what Delahanty was, in a more workmanlike way, in the 1890s. Casway likes social history, and he relates Delahanty's Irishness to the general status of the Irish in 19th-century America (he had written a 1999 essay in the Encyclopedia of the Irish in America entitled "Irish American Factor and the Emerald Age of Baseball"). To make Delahanty's story whole, he has unearthed personable information about Delahanty and his family, and his "Irish Kid from Cleveland" chapter is arguably the most interesting chapter of the book.

I find Casway's book most similar to Reed Browning's about Cy Young, as both were fairly stoic figures or at least covered without great detail to outside interests. A case in point is that Delahanty adored the theater, and even founded a social group featuring athletes, actors and businessmen. But reporting on that great love of his was apparently scant as it is limited to a few pages of the book. Kelly loved the theater as much as Delahanty and, in part because of Kelly's own stage career which included recitations of "Casey at the Bat," a lot more was said about his relationships with theatrical personalities and other players who performed on stage (who thus had a sense of the theatrical), especially Cap Anson and Arlie Latham.

Delahanty's arguably greatest significance was as a power hitter, when leading the league in doubles (which Delahanty did five times) was to batting what leading the league in home runs is today. Casway adequately reflects that aspect of his play while wrapping his career broadly around social history themes. Arguably Delahanty's main appeal today is his mysterious death, and the author is able to write definitively on the subject especially because of a prior book on the subject: Mike Sowell's July 2, 1903.

5-0 out of 5 stars Read this book!
The book is not only beautiful, but the content is interestingly captivating. It appeals to baseball fans, as well as a general audience. ... Read more


18. One Pitch from Glory: A Decade of Running the Red Sox
by Lou Gorman
list price: $24.95
our price: $24.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 159670067X
Catlog: Book (2005-03)
Publisher: Sports Publishing
Sales Rank: 57945
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Book Description

One strike away – a painful reminder to Red Sox Nation of the 1986 Red Sox team that, until the 2004 World Series champions, came the closest to delivering that elusive trophy back to Boston for the first time since 1918. It was a team constructed by Lou Gorman, who was in the early stages of a 10-year run that produced three playoff teams, plenty of excitement, and more than its share of controversy. In Lou Gorman: One Pitch from Glory, he shares rare and private stories about constructing a team in one of the most demanding markets in the world.

Fans can read about the deals made (and the ones tantalizingly close to being made) as the Red Sox tried to take things one step further than the American League champions of 1986. Gorman even traded two future Hall of Famers in an attempt to win it all during those seasons. One Pitch from Glory offers his unique insider take on owner collusion, Roger Clemens's infamous spring training holdout, the Wade Boggs sex scandal, the firings of managers, and his dealing with the wolves of the Boston media. Gorman also shares his thoughts on the "Moneyball" philosophy and the Red Sox team that finally broke the 86-yearold "curse." His stories show that there are no off-days for the front office. ... Read more


19. Don't Look Back : Satchel Paige in the Shadows of Baseball
by Mark Ribowsky
list price: $17.50
our price: $17.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 030680963X
Catlog: Book (2000-04-01)
Publisher: Da Capo Press
Sales Rank: 275403
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Never before in paperback: A New York Times Notable Book-the life and times of the first Negro League star inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame

Some say Satchel Paige was the greatest pitcher ever-and certainly his dazzling record of perhaps as many as 2,000 wins, first in the Negro Leagues and then in the integrated major leagues, ranks as one of the most remarkable athletic feats of the century. He also became famous for the advice he freely offered others, including the now legendary

"Don't look back, something might be gaining on you." Mark Ribowsky gives the best picture yet of life in the Negro Leagues as he brings to life a man whose act as a lovable eccentric with a golden arm masked a decidedly darker side as womanizer, hard drinker, and contract jumper always on the lookout for number one. Sporting News hailed Don't Look Back as "a fine and perceptive biography... that captures the essence of a complicated and terribly significant person." ... Read more

Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent bio,seperating myth from stereotype
Satchel Paige is an enigmatic figure in american histroy. Mention his name, people inevitably think of the negro leagues,or thta terrible bingo long movie.In fact, Paige was ,in many repects, the first modern ballplayer. He played for a percentage of the gate, would only pitch a couple of innings in these contests,had no compuction about jumping from team to team{or country to country}The minstel show,stephifetchit aura that he calculated with the all too eager white press was, of course, a huge ruse. He was a sometimes bitter man{quite understandably so}He knew, instinctively, that he was the best pitcher in the world{although,curiosly, his peers voted Smokey Joe williams better in a 1950 vote in the Pittsburgh Courrier} He despsed the Jim Crow laws, and what he had to do to get around them. HIs civil rights stands were taken in the 20's 30's and 40's, when such things often meant death. He pitched for what might have been the greatest team of all time{the Pittsburgh crawfords of the early 30's] Dimaggio called him ethe toughest pitcher he ever hit against.All of these nuggets are in this book. Mr. Ribowsky did a fine job here. Paige is a figure who should be celebrated for what he was:an american original,a species often sighted but rarely seen. A wonderful book!

5-0 out of 5 stars Demi-God
After reading this book, I am utterly convinced that Satchel Paige is as much of a baseball legend as a Ty Cobb or Babe Ruth. This book not only entertains but it fascinates, so much that I would'nt be suprised if someone mistook this biography for a peice of baseball folklore or a non fictitious work designed to capture the imaginations of baseball fans. This book portrays the life of Robert Leroy Satchel Paige in a most interesting way. In some cases he stands biggerthan life portrayed as a demi-god in the face of the gods of Major League Baseball and in some cases his mortality is revealed in the very midst of his immortality, and this is what makes this portrayal so unique. ... Read more


20. Veeck--As In Wreck : The Autobiography of Bill Veeck
by Bill Veeck, Ed Linn
list price: $16.00
our price: $10.88
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0226852180
Catlog: Book (2001-04-07)
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Sales Rank: 86906
Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Bill Veeck was an inspired team builder, a consummate showman, and one of the greatest baseball men ever involved in the game. His classic autobiography, written with the talented sportswriter Ed Linn, is an uproarious book packed with information about the history of baseball and tales of players and owners, including some of the most entertaining stories in all of sports literature.
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Reviews (10)

4-0 out of 5 stars Veeck As in Wreck
A wonderful slice of baseball history as seen from the consumate maverick of baseball. Veeck takes you on a journey from his beginnings listenning to John McGraw and his dad William Veeck Sr. shoot the breeze about baseball up until his purchase of the White Sox for the second time in 1975. Along the way you are introduced to those you may have never knew (Gene Bearden and Harry Grabiner), those you always knew (Eddie Gaedel, Satchel Paige and Lou Boudreau) and those you though you knew (Ford Frick, Del Webb and Charles Comiskey). The chapters about Veeck's ownership of the St. Louis Browns and baseball's fight about its disposition are alone worth the price of the book. I'd give the book five stars because it is well written and entertaining, but I suspect some of his stories are embellished in his favor. But you have to expect that in any autobiography. So many of today's ideas have Veeck written all over them, most notably interleague play and exploding scoreboards. One final note: keep a baseball encyclodedia next to you when you read this one. It comes in handy when the obscure names come flying, and if you feel "ole Willie" is telling a tall one.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Baseball Classic
This book is considered a classic because of the great inside information and the "smack 'em in the face" comments from Bill Veeck, the one-time owner of the Cleveland Indians and St. Louis Browns and the two-time owner of the Chicago White Sox. Veeck pulles no punches in discussing his views on the powers in baseball, including his favorite punching bag, the New York Yankees. Veeck is also very entertaining in describing his relationships with some great characters of the game. I really enjoyed this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent storyteller
I literally could not put this book down from start to finish. Whether you like baseball, dislike the Yankees, or just enjoy rooting for the one guy who could have saved baseball from the financial and legal disasters of the past 50 years, this book will be one of the best you have ever read.

5-0 out of 5 stars They do not make sports bios Like THIS anymore.....
The two things you need to know before you buy "Veeck -- As In Wreck" -- and you will buy this book, you must, if you've ever bought any professional sports bio before -- are the names Veeck and Linn.

Bill Veeck you know from reputation -- the wacky promoter who invented everything from Ladies' Day to Disco Demolition Night. The man owned several baseball franchises (including the Chicago White Sox twice, for some reason), and was known as a both a promotional genius and a shrewd financier.

As for Ed Linn... well, Linn was also the ghostwriter for another fantastic, edgy, opinionated baseball book, Leo Durocher's "Nice Guys Finish Last". Not surprisingly, "Veeck" reads a lot like the Durocher tome (and it came first, too!). On every page here you'll find a funny anecdote, a scary bit of prescience, and a unique look at an otherwise-beloved icon. With Veeck's memory and Linn's acid pen, this book is quite hard to put down. Or to pick up, for that matter.

Sports bios tend to hold back these days, let's face it. They're not as long and not as insightful as the Linn books. And the gift of time has helped ripen these pages. When Veeck talks about baseball's financial need to institute interleague play -- writing from 1961 -- you know this man saw around a few decades' worth of corners. When he takes the Yankees to task for failing to capitalize on Roger Maris's pursuit of the Babe Ruth home run record, and notes that it was a once-in-a-lifetime event, he's right -- so baseball got it right in '98, when McGwire came to town, and when the record fell yet again in '01, hardly anyone noticed.

In the meantime you'll laugh at the sad fates of Bobo Holloman and Frank Saucier, the latter being the only ballplayer ever to be removed from a game for a midget. You'll be intrigued by Veeck's take on Larry Doby, and by his bitter retorts at Del Webb, then-owner of the hated behemoth Yankees. And you'll marvel at just how little has really changed in baseball since Veeck was retired. Owners plotting franchise shifts in shady back-room deals (Montreal, Florida. Florida, Boston). Owners doing everything to baseball except what really benefits the sport (It's a tie in Milwaukee!). Veeck lamenting not the high price of talent but rather the high price of mediocrity (how much is Colorado paying for Denny Neagle and Mike Hampton?)...

Just about the only highlight not covered is the sight of White Sox outfielder Chet Lemon wearing shorts. One of the few Bill Veeck innovations that did not catch on, and aren't we all better off...

5-0 out of 5 stars He was a fun guy!
I read this book when I was thirteen, and read it again twenty years later. I enjoyed it both times. Spend a few hours with a man who loved baseball and is honest about being a little less than honest. ... Read more


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