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$23.07 $22.37 list($34.95)
1. Three Nights in August : Strategy,
$25.95 $2.66
2. My Losing Season : The Point Guard's
$24.88 list($17.00)
3. A Good Walk Spoiled : Days and
$2.24 list($16.95)
4. The Only Way I Know
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5. Moneyball
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6. Leading with the Heart : Coach
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7. Pure Baseball: Pitch by Pitch
$25.00 $0.74
8. Fairball
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9. Luckiest Man : The Life and Death
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10. The Psychology of Tournament Golf
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11. Old Man in a Baseball Cap: A Memoir
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12. The Teammates : A Portrait Of
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13. When You Come to a Fork in the
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14. Think LIke A Champion : Building
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15. Sandy Koufax : A Lefty's Legacy
$12.00 $1.90
16. Harvey Penick's Little Red Book
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17. A Sportsman's Life: How I Built
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18. Putting Out of Your Mind
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19. Men at Work
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20. Baseball

1. Three Nights in August : Strategy, Heartbreak, and Joy Inside the Mind of a Manager
by BuzzBissinger
list price: $34.95
our price: $23.07
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1565119754
Catlog: Book (2005-04-07)
Publisher: Highbridge Audio
Sales Rank: 180124
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars Terrific look at baseball behind the scenes
3 Nights in August is an awesome look at baseball and why it is such a great game.Buzz Bissinger follows Tony LaRussa around and chronicles a 3 game series with the Cubs.There are plenty of asides - histories of players, coaches, strategy think sessions, etc.It really brought baseball to life for me.For too many years I have lived through "fantasy" baseball, numbers flying at me through the internet.That is no way to enjoy baseball.To enjoy it through the eyes of a manager and a team that love the game - that was something very fun.

However, if you don't like baseball, you probably will be bored silly throughout this book.But you never know - give it a chance and you may appreciate the game a little bit more.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Read for Real Fans
Buzz Bissinger is a talented journalist and writer, who knows how to tell good stories about the people who play and manage sports.He also has the ability to capture some of the beautiful complexity of baseball, as seen through the eyes of Tony LaRussa, and play it out in ways that make the book difficult to put down.He does not approach his subject with the sublime wit infused throughout Michael Lewis's Moneyball.Nor does he go so far as to deconstruct the whole game, like George Will did in Men at Work: The Craft of Baseball.While I rank those books above this one, you will find Three Nights in August a thoroughly satisfying read if you read and liked those books.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Look Behind the Scenes!
This book is a great chance to see what goes on in the many hours between baseball games and the life of an athlete on the road.Stories of Rick Ankiel and J.D. Drew are great examples of the perils of the modern athlete, while the part about Daryl Kile will tear out your heart!Reading about the seeming indifference of a gifted athlete like Jose Canseco can make one question why they believe in baseball, but then there's the story of Albert Pujols to restore one's faith.By the way, Bissinger mentions about Canseco's apathy about playing during the 1990 season without following up with the Oakland A's getting swept by the mighty underdog Red in the Series that year.My big question after reading the book is, "How does Tony LaRussa continue to function while getting so little sleep?"

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
It's hard to believe the Tony LaRussa in 3 Nights in August is the same expressionless man I see in the dugout every Cardinals game.

I'm a huge baseball fan and a coach, and I recommend this book to every ball player before he begins playing in high school.The book was educational for me as a coach, and I wish I'd have read it when I was playing.As a fan, it's easy for me disagree with a manager's decisions when he puts in a .230 average utility infielder in a close game, but two of my favorite topics in the book are the importance of bench management and developing younger players.

My only complaint about the book is Buzz Bissinger's vocabulary.I read because I enjoy it and it keeps my mind sharp.I have reasonable intelligence and a decent vocabulary.But I think Bissinger, like too many authors, sacrifices the flow of the story to boast his own vocabulary, and, in the process, he makes the reader feel intellectually-inferior.Any word that isn't used at least rarely in a conversation should be equally absent in a book.It's frustrating when I'm reading about baseball and I have to stop to figure out or look up the meaning of words like leitmotif.

Aside from the abundance of unnecessary foreign words, I loved the book.Bissinger did a great job of showing the different personalities of the Cardinals players, coaches, and behind-the-scenes workers.

5-0 out of 5 stars Already Seems So Long Ago
Bissinger's book isn't as inspiring as FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, but he's a careful stylist, and the depth of his take on manager Tony LaRussa may never be equalled.Tony's fights and reconciliations with his wife, Elaine, over family issues and how to work out a long distance marriage are part of the book, a big part, and any honest reader will see both sides to the story and will come away with admiration for both LaRussa's for trying to handle a difficult issue in public.

Darryl Kile's death, which ironically occurred in Chicago, the city with which St Louis has such a great rivalry, is presented here in moving detail.I feel sorry for Flynn, Kile's lovely wife, and their children.Their little boy is maybe three or four now and yet he will never know his father.

The story of Rick Ankiel is treated more lightly, and will keep you in stitches.Ankiel, the pride of Fort Pierce, comes off in Bissinger's aphoristic prose as a bit of a flake.

The three games Bissinger writes about are thrillingly presented, but when I closed the book it all seemed to have happened so long ago, particularly because only in the past year or so has the issue really been broached about steroid use.LaRussa seems honest about this, but it's hard to tell how much he's covering his own ass about rampant steroid use on his team and what he knew about it.After Jose Canseco's book and congressional hearings into the matter, maybe the real story will have to wait until a few more players die brutal and unexpected deaths.Or perhaps, as Canseco implies, you're not really a man if you can't handle the drugs that go with baseball.

I must also add a word in favor of LaRussa's work with the Animal Rescue people.No matter what people say about Tony, you know his heart is in the right place, and this animal work is nothing new for him, he's been into it for eons.Good for him.If St Louis ever tires of T, there's a place for him reserved at Rainbow Bridge. ... Read more

2. My Losing Season : The Point Guard's Way to Knowledge
list price: $25.95
our price: $25.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553714074
Catlog: Book (2002-10-15)
Publisher: RH Audio
Sales Rank: 952944
Average Customer Review: 4 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Despite losing, Conroy scores
Although I'm not a basketball player or even a sports fan, I couldn't put this book down. The book is really about the coming of age of a young man, as seen through the experience of an intense basketball season at a military academy. The writing is full of wonderful metaphors, and smooth and easy to read. The emotional journey--like other Conroy books--is intense. The difference here is that the experience is so real. He's describing real people, and the narrator is Conroy himself. The depiction of what goes on at The Citadel may shock you with its brutality. Its amazing that Conroy can recreate his senior year in college so clearly thirty years later. Thoroughly enjoyable. ... Read more

3. A Good Walk Spoiled : Days and Nights on the PGA Tour
list price: $17.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1570422974
Catlog: Book (1995-06-01)
Publisher: Time Warner Audiobooks
Sales Rank: 151522
Average Customer Review: 3.96 out of 5 stars
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Reviews (49)

4-0 out of 5 stars Solid, insightful, inspiring
I'll begin by saying that I don't find Feinstein a particularly elegant writer. Like so many of the golfers he admires, Fienstein is a bit of a grinder. I prefer the golf essays of Herbert Warren Wind and John Updike. That said, I immensely enjoyed this book for its detailed and often inspiring look at the golfing and private lives of several players on the Tour. If the book had a central point, I thought it was that playing professional golf is just about as difficult a way to make a living as there is. The physical, mental, and emotional strain is almost unbearable and the lonelieness and self-reliance very fatiguing. Like another reviewer, I did not find the book too long, but too short: I wanted to read about more players and about more seasons.

5-0 out of 5 stars Pressure that most people will never feel
For any of us out there who still harbor dreams of one day hitting the tour, this book is enough to scare those dreams right out of you. Focusing on everyone from top tier players to rookie scramblers, this is the most comprehensive look at the world of competitive golf I have seen in a long time. For some players, the PGA Tour is a goldmine, where private jets and Florida mansions are the norm, while for others, just winning enough to enter the next tournament is a victory in itself.

Feinstein does an excellent job of getting in the golfer's heads and really conveying what they're thinking as they experience pressure most ordinary people won't ever understand. He was given almost unheard of access to the players, and he makes the best of it. His ability to describe the courses makes you feel like you are right there with Davis Love III, with 148 yards to the pin, or with Tom Watson as he looks over one of the most important putts in his life.

This book is a real gem for any sports fan, and a must for any golfer.

4-0 out of 5 stars Loved it, a new perspective on the game...
If you are a golfer, read you a new appreciation for the game and people that play it. It looks so different on television....

4-0 out of 5 stars Inside The Bags And Heads Of The Pros
Golf is the cruelest sport, and "A Good Walk Spoiled" is a probing look at what beats inside the hearts of those who play it for a living. Author John Feinstein chronicles the 1994 PGA Tour season through the experiences of several pro golfers, stars like Tom Watson and Davis Love III as well as those trying to make the grade.

If you watch pro golf at all, even just occasionally tune in on the final round of a major, this is a book for you. It gives you a taste of why the Tour is so absorbing to those who follow it week-in, week-out. The first 100 pages pull you right in with scenes from two pressure-cooker events from opposite ends of the bell curve: The 1993 Ryder Cup at The Belfry resort in England, where America's best golfers compete with those from Europe for a much-coveted trophy; and Qualifying School, where the wanna-bes vie simply for the chance to compete on tour. Both are nervous narratives, and highly addicting.

Feinstein is no elegant prose stylist, but he's not a short-order cook, either. He writes in a deceptively easy-going way, not beating you over the head with all the words he knows or quoting from great works of literature to describe how John Cook felt about trying to make a certain putt. He just puts it all together and makes it gel, sometimes throwing in a clever metaphor. About the weather at the start of the 1994 British Open: "Turnberry had the feel of a schoolyard on the first warm day of spring, everyone excited and rejuvenated by the gorgeous weather." On the work ethic of the pros: "On any Tuesday and Wednesday on tour, the [driving] range looks like the exchange counter at Macy's on the day after Christmas."

Feinstein is even better as an interviewer. From normally taciturn guys he draws out some personal stories worth reading, like Paul Azinger's fight with cancer and how Curtis and Sarah Strange dealt with an unexplained medical condition she had that hobbled her for months. Some nice catty comments, too, like Davis Love's noting the demeanor of tour legends Watson and Jack Nicklaus: "I'm sure it's subconscious, but sometimes with those guys you feel as if they have to remind you how great they were because they can't show you anymore."

Watson was a revelation for me in this book. He always came off as prickly and distant, but he shared a lot with Feinstein and comes across the better for it. He was still trying to win majors in 1994 at age 44, and coming heartbreakingly close, but maintained a stoic demeanor and a sense of humor throughout.

Feinstein is a friendly-enough golfer's Boswell, but not everyone benefits from his pen. John Daly, working through his personal demons in 1994, comes in for some withering criticism, as does Greg Norman, who plans an elitist alternative to the PGA Tour that never gets off the ground. Tiger Woods is conspicuous by his absence, just a single mention near the end. He was barely on the radar screen in 1994, a teenage phenom noted for his skin color and not much else.

Some say "A Good Walk Spoiled" is the lesser for the lack of Tiger-time, but I enjoyed the opportunity to see what the tour was like before he changed everything. It's a worthy historical record for that alone. And though the book does drag a bit in the last 100 pages, with Feinstein not putting the same level of effort into his writing as he did detailing earlier tournaments, it makes for very pleasurable and edifying reading all the same. Even if you still can't make yourself care about who's squaring off in the last round of the Match Play Championship, you will finish "A Good Walk Spoiled" with a much deeper appreciation for those who live and die by how they play the game.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good storytelling, but disjointed
As I read this very enjoyable book, I felt more like I was listening to a conversation than reading a book. It almost feels like "Did I ever tell you about the time I was playing with Greg Norman, and he..." Feinstein has access to places and people that most golf fans never will, and as such, he has boatloads of great stories about the events and players of the PGA Tour (and the PGA wannabes). Feinstein is great at collecting and telling the stories, particularly the character-revealing ones. For that, the book is wonderful. Specifically, I felt I was in Davis Love's quaking shoes while he was "throwing up on himself" at the Ryder Cup. Feinstein tells the story so well, the reader feels part of the action.

At the same time, I couldn't help but think that the book was poorly organized. Feinstein makes some effort to put the contents into a unified semi-chronological tale, but he fails in that. Most of the events or people that he writes about require going back to cover background info on what set up that situation, or how that player got where he is now. The backgrounding leads to a lot of de-synchronization (? -- throwing off the timeline?) in the book. Many of the background information is also great and enjoyable storytelling, but given the chronological organization of the book, it was hard for me to keep the events straight -- which came first, which story had later impact on what, which ones overlap (two stories about two players at the same event, for example).

There's also a lot of jumping from discussions of one player to another. This works fine for the well known players, but not so well when the reader is trying to remember which of the Q-school players is which. Still, in thinking about it, I couldn't think of a better way to organize it.

Having felt self-imposed "pressure" on the golf course -- if I make par here, this will be my best round ever! -- reading anecdotes about the *real* pressure of Q-school was fascinating. Feinstein gives the reader the feel of needing to make a shot to be able to eke out a living by playing golf, and made me appreciate the difference between that than the pressure of making a shot to take pocket change from my foursome.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book. What's not to enjoy, really -- it's good stories about an interesting (to any golfer or golf fan) subject. I give only four stars because I just can't help feeling that the book could be much better organized for a more consistent read. ... Read more

4. The Only Way I Know
by Cal Ripken, Mike Bryan, Sam Fontana
list price: $16.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0140864628
Catlog: Book (1997-04-01)
Publisher: Penguin Audiobooks
Sales Rank: 791294
Average Customer Review: 3.84 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

There aren't many Americans who didn't feel a lump in their throat watching Cal Ripken, Jr. take a historic jog around the bases on the evening of September 6, 1995--the night he smashed Lou Gehrig's record number of 2,130 consecutively played games. But, as "the hardest working man in baseball" will tell you, he was just doing his job. And now he tells you just how he does it, why he does it, and how it makes him feel.With the candor and grace that have endeared him to fans everywhere, Cal Ripken, Jr. tells the story of his journey to the major leagues: of his early childhood and life with a baseball manager for a father; his stint in the minors, working his way up from the Rookie Leagues to Triple-A; and finally to the permanent call from Baltimore where he began the drive to an All-Star career. Cal talks with warmth of his mentors and teammates, and with honesty of the Orioles' roller-coaster ride from the pennant to a lamentable 0-21 start in the eighties. He reveals his innermost thoughts on the game, and leads us through his strategies at the plate and on the field. Best of all, Cal reveals what makes him tick: his commitment to the game, to his family, to his career, and to the team. In this rich and rewarding memoir, we find out why he's credited with putting the "great" back into America's greatest game: it's the only way he knows.

*The #1 Washington Post bestseller
*Author is one of the most visible--and articulate--baseball players of the century
*Available on audiocassette from Penguin Audiobooks
... Read more

Reviews (19)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Only Way I Know
"The Only Way I Know" is a great autobiography about Cal Ripken Jr. I especially liked this book because it's not boring, and instead is fast-paced throughout the whole book. This book also has great pictures from his whole life. This great autobiography also explains everything from the first time he played catch with his dad to his record setting 2,131st consecutive game and everything in between. This story explains everything down to the tiniest detail. This is a great book for any baseball player or fan. I hope anyone who reads this excellent book likes it just as much as I do.

3-0 out of 5 stars "The Only Way I Know"
The Only Way I Know is a good book. IT tells you alot about Cal Ripken Jr. It talks about him as a child, a baseball legend, and a father. I enjoyed reading this book a hole lot. I recomend this book to any Cal Ripken Jr fan. The book helped me understand what it is like being a profesional athlete

4-0 out of 5 stars Zach's Review of The Only Way I Know
If you are a fan of Cal Ripken Jr., "The Only Way I Know" is the book for you. In this autobiography Cal shares information with us on how he got to where he is today and what it is like being a profesional baseball player. He overcame a lot during his brilliant career as a Baltimore Oriole. In Ripken's illustrious 20 year career with the Baltimore Orioles he broke several records and appeared in several all-star games. This book is 326 pages and took me about three weeks to read. I am a big fan of Cal Ripken Jr. so I really enjoyed this book. Ripken is one of the most recognized profesional athletes ever, so you can only imagine how good this book really is. As you all know Ripken broke the record of consecutive games by playing 2,132 consecutive games; he is known as the iron man. There are also many pictures in the book from different points in Ripken's career. I hope you enjoy this book.

1-0 out of 5 stars Boring
I bought this book hoping to learn about the Cal Ripken Jr. the man...But all I was able to learn from this book is that he is a baseball player. He goes very little into his own life outside of the ballpark. I would not recommend this book to anyone that is not a huge Ripken fan. D-.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great for the fan but best for the young want to be athlete!
This book shows the ordinary life of this talented and driven athlete. Should inspire and confirm that everyday effort and hard work makes for success. You will find Cal's boyhood stories and read about his entire family's passion for the game. The role model his father afforded him. There are stories about his wife and children and his genuine competitive spirit. I was struck by the ordinary upbringing and the seemingly level headedness that he has maintained throughout his success. I am a fortunate season ticket holder who attends many games. And I am always amazed at the class and level of integrity that Cal seems to possess. Even as a local and available to many reports on Cal at play and with charitable events, this book still offered an interesting read. You will also find a section of color personal photographs. ... Read more

5. Moneyball
list price: $25.95
our price: $17.13
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0739308157
Catlog: Book (2003-05-09)
Publisher: Random House Audio
Sales Rank: 36667
Average Customer Review: 4.45 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The Oakland Athletics have a secret: a winning baseball team is made, not bought.

I wrote this book because I fell in love with a story. The story concerned a small group of undervalued professional baseball players and executives, many of whom had been rejected as unfit for the big leagues, who had turned themselves into one of the most successful franchises in Major League Baseball. But the idea for the book came well before I had good reason to write it—before I had a story to fall in love with. It began, really, with an innocent question: how did one of the poorest teams in baseball, the Oakland Athletics, win so many games?

With these words Michael Lewis launches us into the funniest, smartest, and most contrarian book since, well, since Liar's Poker. Moneyball is a quest for something as elusive as the Holy Grail, something that money apparently can't buy: the secret of success in baseball. The logical places to look would be the front offices of major league teams, and the dugouts, perhaps even in the minds of the players themselves. Lewis mines all these possibilities—his intimate and original portraits of big league ballplayers are alone worth the price of admission—but the real jackpot is a cache of numbers—numbers!—collected over the years by a strange brotherhood of amateur baseball enthusiasts: software engineers, statisticians, Wall Street analysts, lawyers and physics professors.

What these geek numbers show—no, prove—is that the traditional yardsticks of success for players and teams are fatally flawed. Even the box score misleads us by ignoring the crucial importance of the humble base-on-balls. This information has been around for years, and nobody inside Major League Baseball paid it any mind. And then came Billy Beane, General Manager of the Oakland Athletics.

Billy paid attention to those numbers —with the second lowest payroll in baseball at his disposal he had to—and this book records his astonishing experiment in finding and fielding a team that nobody else wanted. Moneyball is a roller coaster ride: before the 2002 season opens, Oakland must relinquish its three most prominent (and expensive) players, is written off by just about everyone, and then comes roaring back to challenge the American League record for consecutive wins.

In a narrative full of fabulous characters and brilliant excursions into the unexpected, Michael Lewis shows us how and why the new baseball knowledge works. He also sets up a sly and hilarious morality tale: Big Money, like Goliath, is always supposed to can we not cheer for David? ... Read more

Reviews (209)

4-0 out of 5 stars major eye opener onto the field of baseball
This book is about the power of critical thinking. It traces the moves made by a general manager--Billy Beane--who, with the help of statistical geeks, was able to find undervalued players and dish off overvalued players. The author points out that players are commonly misappraised because their value is generally tied to things like "looks" and statistics like "batting average" and "rbis" and "saves" and "fielding percentage" which do not adequately reflect the extent to which a player's performance contributes to value to his team. For example, Mr. Lewis describes formulas which have been derived that accurately predict the number of runs a team will score over the course of a season, and these formulas do not depend on some very commonly used (or misused! stats) After you read this book you will get the point that on-base percentage is 3X more valuable than slugging percentage in the formulas. One drawback of the book is that the formulas discussed are not explicitely stated and their validity is not conclusively demonstrated. Another aspect of the book I also wish was expressed in more detail is the new set of pitching statistics that are devoid of any aspect of luck commonly built into today's commonly advertised stats, like "wins" and "era." In the end, the lesson of the book is that you must always ask, "why, why, why." Why do I care if this pitcher has 30 saves? Why do I care if this outfielder made 10 errors. This books explains in a fun way why you shouldn't necessary care about these questions at all!

5-0 out of 5 stars Misleading Title, Great Book
Even though I enjoyed Lewis' Liar's Poker, The New New Thing, and Money Culture, I wasn't planning to read Moneyball. I didn't really care about the economics of baseball. Then I found out that Moneyball is about the Oakland A's, computers, and statistics. I had to read it.

Lewis reveals how the A's became (and have stayed) a top team even though they have one of the smallest payrolls in baseball. Billy Beane's (the general manager) method of using massive amounts of statistical information tells him what players to draft and what plays to execute under different conditions. The scouts and even the manager have become less important than his small staff of number-crunchers.

By following certain statistically-determined rules such as "never sacrifice bunt," (the numbers show that historically, it doesn't pay off) the A's have gone to the playoffs year after year. Beane refuses to draft players out of high school, because they haven't faced enough real competition to determine, statistically, if they will be any good. It's only in college and the minor leagues that players compile meaningful stats.

Not much money in Moneyball, just great writing, and a terrific story.

4-0 out of 5 stars Thinking outside the box
Michael Lewis deftly inserted himself into the A's front office to find out how a professional baseball team with a $40 million payroll can win 102 games and consistently 90 or more wins in subsequent years and compete with teams like the New York Yankees who have payrolls exceeding $130 million.

What he reveals is that by approaching baseball in a more rational, analytical way and doing away with all the traditional conventions, you can compete with anyone who doesn't do the same. Too many GMs and coaches are seduced by speed, home runs, and batters who swing at bad pitches when the simple truth of it is that in baseball the most precious thing you have are your three outs per inning. Anything that risks losing one or more of those outs is something you should avoid. As a long-time fan of the game, it's hard for me to swallow some of the anti-traditional things Lewis describes in this book. But the proof is in the pudding as they say and the A's success over the past several years is hard to argue with.

The focus of the book is A's GM Billy Beane, a former A's player himself who had a world of talent but could not transform that talent into a Hall of Fame career. He didn't have certain intangibles that are needed. Beane now recognizes those talents in the players he drafts, recruits and trades for. Beane's obsessive personality and unorthdox ways make for interesting reading. He's a man who seems horribly tortured by the game and yet thrives on his success in the game as well.

There are excellent mini-biographies in the book including one on A's first baseman, Scott Hatteberg, a Red Sox catcher who was thought all but done with baseball after he ruptured a nerve in his throwing arm. The A's reclamation project recognized a diamond in the rough and brought him aboard to train him as a first baseman, mostly so they could benefit from Hattie's shrewd batting.

Chad Bradford, the A's middle relief pitcher with the unorthodox pitching style and uncanny ability to get outs, is also profiled. A's minor league phenom Jeremy Brown, a former University of Alabama catcher who broke all sorts of NCAA records but wouldn't get a look from most pro teams, is also profiled. You get the sense from this book that there IS no traditional upbringing for a pro baseball player. The A's unusual collection of "misfits" all came from different backgrounds and most have taken a rather odd path to success.

This book is a great insiders look at a pro baseball team and how they approach the game from a very unique perspective. The most fascinating thing of it is, the A's didn't invent what they're doing at all. They're exploiting baseball wisdom that was anyone's for the taking for the past 30 years. You just need to know where to look.

If you're a baseball fan or just someone who can appreciate creativity and ingenuity in a world that promotes imitation, you'll enjoy this book.

1-0 out of 5 stars Lewis Played Like a Banjo
Michael Lewis seems unaware that the A's front office is hamming it up in front of him. Poor journalism if he couldn't figure it out.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Reading!
"Moneyball" is an oustanding read if your are interested in baseball, economics, and or statistics. Michael Lewis does a great job telling the story of the Oakland A's and just why a team with one of the smallest payrolls in baseball has compiled one of the best records. This was a book that I found almost impossible to put down and I know that everyone at work got sick of me talking about it, but it was fascinating!! Don't miss reading this one!! ... Read more

6. Leading with the Heart : Coach K's Successful Strategies for Basketball, Business, and Life
by Donald T. Phillips, Mike Krzyzewski
list price: $18.98
our price: $12.91
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1570429111
Catlog: Book (2000-03-01)
Publisher: Time Warner Audiobooks
Sales Rank: 103176
Average Customer Review: 4.16 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"Now Coach K reveals his personal principles for leadership, from dealing with adversity in life or on the basketball court, to taking responsibility for your actions, to learning how to trust your heartfelt instincts in times of trouble. The result is a book that shows how you can be successful in any leadership challenges you face.

LEADING WITH THE HEART chronicles Coach K's background in a Polish Chicago neighborhood, where he was guided by parents who demanded honesty and integrity. From his days at the U.S. Military Academy playing under Coach Bobby Knight, Krzyzewski first learned that coaching meant more than showing players what to do and how to do it. It meant building an emotional bond of trust that gives his players the confidence and freedom to succeed both on and off the court. From his tenure as the Duke head coach, Coach K illustrates his leadership insights and shows you how to:

Summon the courage to endure adversity and critics--follow through with your plans and commitments, even when everyone else is saying you can't do it.

Learn how to think on your feet--a leader has to come in with a great game plan but must know when to improvise and make adjustments.

Take responsibility for how your team performs--if you're a stickler for excellence, then winning will be a natural by-product.

Give your players time and attention--commit to giving them 100 percent of your focus and they'll commit 100 percent of their effort. An inspiring look into the heart and mind of an extraordinary leader, LEADING WITH THE HEART is about bringing out the best and demanding the best--from ourselves, from those around us, and from any organization that is playing to win today." ... Read more

Reviews (44)

5-0 out of 5 stars Steps to a Dream
My stepdaughter decided she wanted to go to Duke at the age of six, when she fell in love with Bobby Hurley's vibrant playing style. As a result, we've watched the growth of Duke's men and women's basketball programs over the years. Recently, we took my stepdaughter, now sixteen, to see the campus and what do you know; there in Cameron Indoor Stadium was Coach K with about 250 young men for basketball camp. We bought the book on the way out and I read the entire book in one day.

This book appeals on several levels. For a teenager, it can be a road map to help reach a dream. Coach K describes what he looks for in prospective players and his combination of talent, respect for authority and coachability clearly distinguish any promising athelete. However, they are equally hallmarks of the best entry level professsionals in business.

Coach K's use of the phases in a season work very well as a framework to build his ideas on. The analogies to business situations, which he makes from time to time, are inescapable for anyone who leans to team based leadership styles.

In our work, this book will become the basis for a team building exercise to help launch a new team and a new business.

I strongly recommend reading the book and sharing it with your team and your kids. It will be a great discussion source for both groups you need to communicate with.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent book in all regards
I graduated from Duke in 68 and am an avowed fan of Coach K.However, I've hit a rut in my reading recently, can't find anything that seems stimulatiing or interesting.I was afraid this book would just be another of those "smaltzy" rah rah type of books that coaches(and usually someone else write), but I was happily surprised. It is really worth everyones attention, whether to motivate a business person or anyone on how to live ones life. The usual blah blahing about excellence is pretty much left out, thank goodness, and the book is full of very helpful aphorisms about what priorities to put first and how to lead a wholesome and successful life,even if you don't have a jump shot.Coach K comes across as really honest and sincere.I can't stand phonies and really was pleasantly surprised by the book. Lots of real life anecdotes about games, players, situations and how to take defeat.Truly inspirational from a superb leader. For sports fans, look what he did with the team of mostly freshman this year, way beyond anyones expectations.He uses his heart a lot, but also his head.You can also read and skip around in the book, its not like a novel.Again, his repeated emphasis on how to deal with defeat and failure shows true wisdom, far beyond that of most college coaches. I remember the tonge in cheek defintion of a college basketball coach by a player once."you have to be a little bit crazy to base your career on someone else's jump shot." Coach K is crazy like a fox.

3-0 out of 5 stars More about basketball and coaching than leadership
As one who is interested in leadership development, I was disapointed in this book. For those of you who are coaches of athletic teams this book will be usefull. For those who are looking at leadership for business, government etc, there are likely better books out there that cover the subject minus the glory of the Duke basketball team.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very Motivational!
Let me first preface this by saying I'm a huge Duke fan...
now, let me tell you that if you are in any position of leadership, this is a must-read! Coach K's outlook on leadership is very positive and easy to work into any type of job. I even found things to use while teaching 2nd graders!
If you are anti-Duke, you may be put off to references to past players, but the leadership ideas are so valuable! If you have ever read Pat Riley's book on leadership and enjoyed it, you will definitely enjoy this one!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply phenomenal
One of the few "good guys" in college basketball, Coach K always seems to have two things in common that are usually mutually exclusive in college sports - a superlative record of winning & more importantly, a superlative family atmosphere. Too many times in both college and in business we hear of two types of coaches and managers - the overly soft players coach or the motivate by fear authoritarian type. Seldom have we seen a coach succeed at such a high level who, through a tireless work ethic, has engendered such indelible values as trust, personal responsibility, honesty, teamwork, the ability to laugh at one's mistakes, selflessness, & a genuine love for those on your team as if they were your family.

This is, as opposed to a memoir, a leadership book - one that everyone who has followed Duke would enjoy and learn from. Coach K reveals his secrets to motivating players, his core values, how to deal with adversity, how to maintain a level of excellence, & what it takes to get to the top - in sports, business, and in life. Coach K chronicles humorous and educational anecdotal stories with his players such as Chris Collins, Christian Laettner, Bobby Hurley, Grant Hill, Elton Brand, Jeff Capel, Danny Ferry, Trajan Langdon, Wojo, Johnny Dawkins, & Shane Battier to name a few that helped mold them into not only great players on the court, but more importantly, great leaders off of the court. The audio version is especially poignant and well read. ... Read more

7. Pure Baseball: Pitch by Pitch for the Advanced Fan
by Keith Hernandez, Mike Bryan
list price: $17.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1559949422
Catlog: Book (1994-02-01)
Publisher: Harper Audio
Sales Rank: 1008064
Average Customer Review: 4.62 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Former All Star Keith Hernandez teaches even the most learned fan a thing or two about baseball with his unparalleled insight into all aspects of the game, from the action in the bullpen to the positioning on the field to the plays at the plate.

Praise for Pure Baseball:

"We have never seen the game scrutinised with such care and detail.Hernandez provides commentary on two ball games in the 1993 season : a Philles-Braves match-up and an extra innings battle between the Tigers and the Yankees. [He] examines the overall strategies of the game and offers good analyses of fielding techniques, base stealing, lineups, umpiring etiquette, double-steal rundowns, hit-and-runs, signals, infield shifts and more.His most intense and incisive analysis, however, is saved for the psychology of the pitcher-hitter duels.No matter where you are watching, you will never again see the game in the same way."
-- Playboy

"Keith Hernandez, it turns out, is even smarter than we thought he was in the Mets' glory years. All the subtleties of baseball are revealed as the two games unfold.Mr. Hernandez'sopinions and pet-peeves--intentional walks, early-inning sacrifices, throwing fastballs to prevent stolen bases, large gaps in the outfield, pitchers who 'nibble. nibble, nibble,"--are well thought out and clearly articulated. [He] is particularly strong in analyzing the cat-and-mouse game played between pitchers and hitters as the count shifts the odds back and forth."
--New York Times Book Review

"An MVP of a guide to the national pastime from savvy 17-year veteran of the major leagues who remains an ardent fan in retirement.Hernandez came up with an angle that works to near perfection: tellingly detailed start-to-finish accounts of two games played midway through the 1993 baseball season."
-- Kirkus Reviews(starred) ... Read more

Reviews (13)

5-0 out of 5 stars A pitch-by-pitch analysis of two baseball games
Pure Baseball is a treat for the serious, and I stress 'serious' baseball fan who wants to delve deep into the minds of pitchers and batters. This is pretty dense reading material, but Hernandez shares his wisdom in an entertaining fashion. I found myself having to re-read portions of the book, sometimes even using it as a reference.

4-0 out of 5 stars Keith takes us inside the game
For those of us who like keeping score during a baseball game and trying to get inside the real game, Pure Baseball is highly recommended. Keith Hernandez explores two ballgames, one NL and the other AL, and goes pitch by pitch and analyzes the pitcher/batter confrontation in depth. Perhaps it's in too much depth, one of Hernandez's axioms is that this is the essence of baseball, and devotes little time to fielding and baserunning. No matter, the NL game in particular is fascinating to study, as Atlanta's Pete Smith faces the Phillies under lefthander Danny Jackson. I learned so much reading this section alone. Hernandez does his best work in the first half of the book. The AL section seems rushed and not as in-depth, perhaps because the designated hitter takes out so much of the strategy when it comes to pitching changes. If you see this book and enjoy the inner game of baseball, by all means pick it up. It's a book I've re-read a couple of times, there's so much of value here.

5-0 out of 5 stars outstanding
Easily the best baseball education in print that I've ever seen. It's like taking a master's course in baseball. You have an opportunity to almost sit down with a major leaguer and say "Teach Me" and he does. Keith has a bit of a weakness as far as pitch sequencing and understanding missed spots, but they are not particularly glaring. His understanding of counts, and situations outside of the count (inning, score, particular players involved etc..) are exemplary. Any serious ballplayer's dream.

5-0 out of 5 stars Worth the time for the advanced fan
It takes time and patience to read this book. The title says "Pitch by Pitch for the Advanced Fan," and it means it literally. Hernandez talks about what goes through a player's mind during a game. His descriptions of how a batter thinks about an at-bat are priceless. It takes a while to plow through all this stuff - there's a *lot* of detail - but if you do you'll have a deeper knowledge of the little in-game strategies and decisions that make baseball so special.

5-0 out of 5 stars A MUST read for the real fan
If ever there was a necessary baseball book, this is it!! I reread it every season (as does at least one other reviewer) and always learn something more from doing so.

I have taken Mr. Hernandez' advice and always turn off the sound when watching a game on TV. I find it to be a major improvement and I'm no longer distracted by the content-free, pointless remarks made by most announcers.

Frankly, judging from the mental errors common to the game today, it should be required reading for each and every player from the rookie leagues to the bigs.

If you're not a serious student of the game, then maybe you should pass on this one!! ... Read more

8. Fairball
list price: $25.00
our price: $25.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0553502638
Catlog: Book (2000-04)
Publisher: Random House Audio
Sales Rank: 676739
Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

4 Cassettes 6 hours
Read by Author

It's Costas unplugged--a provocative, no-holds-barred assessment of the troubled state of Major League Baseball, with innovative strategies for restoring the thrill of genuine competition and rescuing fans from the forces that have diluted the sheer joy of the game.

No one calls ballgames better than Bob Costas, and no one is more knowledgeable and eloquent about baseball and its timeless appeal.Now, from his ideal perspective as an authority and true fan, the renowned broadcaster shares his honest, unflinching views on the subversive forces that are diminishing the game for fans - and proposes realistic changes that can be made to protect and promote the game's best interests.

Taking a bold and refreshing stance, Costas examines the growing financial disparity which has resulted in more than two-thirds of the teams in major league baseball having no chance of contending for the World Series.He takes a hard look at how talent-starved teams are increasingly marketing themselves by promoting family entertainment at the ballpark over star attractions on the field.And he presents a withering critique of the wild-card system, the designated hitter and short-sighted league realignment proposals that are compromising the competitive flavor of the game.

Filled with stories of games and players as only Costas can tell them, and superbly balanced by his unbridled appreciation for what he calls the "moments of authenticity" that can still make baseball inspiring, FAIR BALL is a vision of our national pastime as it can be, a game that retains its traditional appeal while remaining a central part of American life for the next century.

... Read more

Reviews (86)

5-0 out of 5 stars COSTAS FOR COMMISSIONER!!
Bob Costas gives a clear and concise analysis of the state of major league baseball today and how it was just 15 years ago. Bob is not afraid to tell it like it is, and explains concrete reasons (not just "being a tradionalist") why gimmicks such as new ballparks, interleague play, wildcard play, etc., and why crippling events such as owners who know no limits to their spending or players who know no limits to their greed are destroying the grand old game.

But it's not a book of complaining. Oh, no. Bob gives a very comprehensive plan of how to fix many of these failures. There is one problem with most of his solutions -- they make sense. With today's wishy washy commissioner, with one or two owners having their own way no matter what, and with players who follow any ridiculous notion that their ill advised union throws out, ideas this well thought out will be immediately dismissed. Why fix team salary inequities when you can put Spider-man on the bases? Why control players' salaries when you can pump your players up with illegal steriods and then move the fences 25 feet closer to the plate? No, Bob's ideas will not be accepted in today's baseball family because they are not gimmicks.

Let's hope that when Selig steps down (or falls down), Costas is considered for his job. I actually think that Bob could push through some of these ideas.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good ideas to level the playing field...
I checked this book out of the library after seeing Bob Costas on the YES Network's "Center Stage." I've always admired Costas for both his intelligence and his love of baseball; he seems able to throw around facts and statistics from regular season games played thirty years ago. I also like Costas's seemingly "romantic" view of the game, although he denies that he has that attitude.

As baseball is played now, the Braves and Yankees (and probably a few other clubs) have a decided advantage over most other clubs based solely on their wealth. The rich teams buy the best players, win the World Series, make more money, and buy the best players, and win again, and make more money, etc. etc. Teams like the Devil Rays and the Expos really don't have a chance in hell of ever winning a pennant unless things change (or unless they do what Florida did in 1997 - spend tons of cash on outstanding players, win the Series, and then have a firesale).

This book has some totally valid ideas on how to make the game better... specifically, how to level the playing field so that every team has a chance. The ideas that Costas offers in this book are WORKABLE, and would appeal (for different reasons) to everybody involved in the game - from wealthy owners to poor owners, and wealthy baseball stars to rookies. And these ideas would accomplish what Costas and the rest of baseball fans want... they would LEVEL THE PLAYING FIELD. After implementing these ideas, the World Series winner wouldn't be the one with the most money, rather the one with the best farm system, the one that made the best managerial choices, and the one whose players played the best. That's how the game should be.

Some of Costas's other ideas seem to be a matter of his personal preference; ideas that he feels would make the game more exciting. Such as no DH, no Wild Card (which he argues would make pennant races more exciting in September), leagues with only three divisions, etc. I don't necessarily agree or disagree with his ideas on these matters, but he may be correct - it might make the game more exciting.

I'd love to see Costas's ideas implemented. And I say this as a Yankee fan! If anybody is benefitting from the current model of business in the game, it's my beloved team... but still, I'd like to see other teams get a fair shake. Dominating the other teams year after year gets a little boring after awhile!

2-0 out of 5 stars Philosophically dubious
There isn't a book's worth of material here, that's for sure. This could easily have been boiled down to a lengthy magazine piece for Sports Illustrated. And his prose is merely serviceable - far short of George Will's eloquent standard.

I'm not familiar enough with the background of this debate to say whether his ideas are "original" or not. But they're certainly plausible enough to warrant examination. My only real beef with them is philosophical in nature, I suppose. He repeatedly insists that the few superstar players asked to sacrifice under his salary cap proposal could easily afford the loss.

First of all: they wouldn't be "asked" anything. They would be legally prohibited from earning their full market worth. Say it's "for the good of the game" if you like, but that seems like one slippery damned slope to me. Second: I don't know if that's a judgment you're entitled to make, Bob. I'm sure you're making plenty of scratch these days too. Feel free to donate as much of your salary to the Expos - in the name of "competitive balance" - as you like. But taking money out of someone's pocket - even Alex Rodriguez's pocket - without their consent is usually called theft.

5-0 out of 5 stars some good ideas about fixing a great game
Bob Costas brings up so interesting facts about how to save baseball it can also be stated as a case to save all profesional sports like the NHL so this is a good book for even non baseball fans

5-0 out of 5 stars For Every Problem, There Is a Solution
Though Major League Baseball is mired in a sea of problems, most dealing with economics, these are not problems that cannot be fixed. Bob Costas offers some cogent solutions to remedy most of these problems in order to restore the competitive integrity of the game. Costas' proposal to implement not only a salary cap but also a salary floor benefits not only the majority of the owners but also the players who make the minimum salary. He talks at length about the wild card and how he believes it should be abolished; I absolutely agree. Given the best-of-five first round, the team with the best record in each league should be rewarded, as the two best teams in each NFL conference are, with a bye (this is mentioned in the book, along with many more reasons for why there should be no wild card). Basically every major issue is brought up by Costas that needs to be rectified, and for many he answers questions many skeptics may pose. I would love to hear his evaluation of the most recent CBA, along with his take on the issue of steroids in baseball. ... Read more

9. 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: 0743530101
Catlog: Book (2005-04-01)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
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10. The Psychology of Tournament Golf
by David L. Cook Ph.D., David L. Cook Ph.D.
list price: $59.95
our price: $50.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0965878880
Catlog: Book (1997-01-01)
Publisher: Mental Advantage, Inc.
Sales Rank: 929042
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The Psychology of Tournament Golf is a cutting edge program developed from years of work with the PGA (professinal golfers association).This program will help golfers of all levels play their best when it means the most.Mental toughness, confidence, concentration, pressure management, course and practice management, serve as the foundations of the program.Over 100 PGA Tour players, 5,000 golf professionals, and thousands of amateurs have taken part in this program. The program consists of 5 audio tapes which run about 4.5 hours. It was given a 4 star rating by GOLF Magazine. ... Read more

Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Inspirational, entertaining, lower golf score
Dr. Cook breaks down the mental aspects of golf into bite-size concepts that I could apply to my own game. The tapes are inspirational and entertaining, but more important to me, they have helped me lower my golf score.

The tape series prepares you for the challenges that we create in our minds when we get on the course. I have listened to the tapes several times and each time I have taken away nuggets of mental preparation that have made my game more successful and more enjoyable. ... Read more

11. Old Man in a Baseball Cap: A Memoir of World War II
by Fred Rochlin
list price: $18.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0694522414
Catlog: Book (1999-09-01)
Publisher: HarperAudio
Sales Rank: 719287
Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

I went to the University of Arizona and I majored in civil engineering because that's what my two brothers had done.

I thought it was the right thing to do.

When I got there, I found that I couldn't pass anything. I couldn't pass a damn thing. I was flunking out and that would be a big scandal in my family. I was getting desperate.

I didn't know what to do.

That December, the Japanese government saw fit to bomb Pearl harbor.

So, next month, January, two weeks before finals, I got very patriotic and I went down and enlisted in the Army Air Corps.

Old Man in a Baseball Cap is a wonderful, hilarious, and haunting memoir. Written when Rochlin was seventy, after he took a storytelling workshop with Spalding Gray, it was originally performed as a monologue and was described by the New York Times as being "about an ordinary man in extraordinary circumstances, [it] has elements of an epic: love and death, honor and betrayal, vengefulness and martyrdom, and ultimately, the fortuitousness of survival."

Old Man in a Baseball Cap is an astonishingly fresh, candid look at "the last good war." At once naive and wise, Fred Rochlin's voice is unforgettable. ... Read more

Reviews (30)

5-0 out of 5 stars A Gift For My Father
Author Fred Rochlin implores us in the beginning of his extraordinary memoir to tell our stories. Everyone, not just artists or great thinkers, not just adventurers or philosophers. Five billion people, five billion stories, is the way he sees it. "Tell your story. Tell your story."

And with this you begin to read his: poignant, self-deprecating snapshots of a guy beginning with a classic stumble into the war effort and then just trying to survive when everyone else around him is dying, physically and spiritually. There is a fatalistic bent to his humor, self-deprecating, dry, keenly observant but still achingly innocent. Life, as Fred remembers it seems to be a series of incidents, one inexorably leading to another, and another until you either survive, or you die.

Fred's mission to us in the forward of his book now makes sense: living with those memories and the loss of innocence that is never recoverable has left him with the belief that all human life is sacred and every life is a memory to be cherished. Perhaps if more stories are told, there will be less of a void left by those who did not survive the bombings, the shootings, the camps and the marches.

I know my father, who was given this book for his birthday, and who has never talked of the war, will see Fred as more than just an old guy, but a fellow traveller who blossomed out of the adversity of life and created a miracle out of memories. My father couldn't have a better gift to celebrate his seventy-fifth birthday than that.

5-0 out of 5 stars Old Man in a Baseball Cap
It may be impossible for anyone who personally experienced World War II, or whose parents or grandparents lived through those dramatic and traumatic years, to remain unmoved when reading this profoundly insightful memoir of that time by artist/architect/social and political activist/writer and now performer Fred Rochlin.

Rochlin here tells stories of his role in that war, when he joined the then Army Air Corps right after Pearl Harbor, at the age of nineteen, and flew some 50 missions over Italy as a navigator on B-24 bombers. It is a story filled with horror, humor, pathos, and great wisdom, and it's told by a man who wrote it when he was 70 years old, but who clearly has never lost the wide-eyed wonder and enthusiasm of that nineteen year old boy.

4-0 out of 5 stars Better on Tape
The audio version is the only way to go. Do not listen if you are easily offended by frank talk of the things young men do when they have resigned themselves to unpleasant circumstances. Rochlin is NOT an exemplar of Brokaw's "Greatest Generation." He and his comrades at arms were decidedly human.
Rochlin acknowledges that men of his generation were discouraged from talking about traumatic experiences. He also acknowledges that his memories are factually suspect. While current opinion seems to hold listening in higher esteem than talking, Rochlin maintains that sharing one's stories is a gift to others. It's too bad they didn't give WWII combat veterans a "transition debrief" before they sent them home. Many of them suffered from post traumatic stress for decades and their loved ones never knew exactly what had happened to them. A chance to talk to someone about their experiences might have helped many combat veterans and there might be a better understanding of what that war was really like.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Read
Well written in an easy to read, intelligent style. Reminds me of the clarity of Hemmingway's the Old Man and the Sea. Whether embellished or not, the stories transfer to the reader the feelings these young men must have had to go into the meatgrinder week after week. There is a gentle humor surrounding the constant tragedy that was WWII for them. Was a nice follow-up read to Ambrose's book on the 15th Air Corps.

1-0 out of 5 stars Worst WWII Memoir I've Ever Read
I've been reading WWII vets' personal accounts for more than thirty years and this book JUST DOES NOT RING TRUE. I understand that the author has a stage act where he talks about his experiences. It sounds like he wrote this book with the idea of embellishing his act to (what else?) make money. His adventures come across as the fantasies of a dirty old man, writing what he WISHED had happened. A tryst with his aunt in the back of a truck while his uncle obliviously drives only a foot away? Yeah, right. An affair with a female Yugoslav partisan during weeks of evading Germans in the countryside? Forced to cut a young German prisoner in half with an automatic weapon? Come on! Worst of all, catching a CO (that he obviously hated) in a comprimising homosexual encounter when Mr. Rochlin just happened to peer through the window? Give us a break! It sounds more like petty revenge fifty+ years later. I bought this book at the airport and was looking forward to a diversion during a long flight. How utterly disappointing! Upon my return I expressed my opinion with a friend who'd also just read "Old Man In a Baseball Cap." We were both disgusted and felt completely ripped off. Short, silly and obviously a load of nonsense. Don't waste your money! ... Read more

12. The Teammates : A Portrait Of Friendship
by David Halberstam
list price: $25.98
our price: $17.67
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1401397476
Catlog: Book (2003-05-01)
Publisher: Hyperion Audio
Sales Rank: 200787
Average Customer Review: 4.54 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Ted Williams, Bobby Doerr, Dom DiMaggio, and Johnny Pesky were all members of the famed 1940's Boston Red Sox. Their legendary careers led the Red Sox to a pennant championship and ensured the men a place in sports history.

David Halberstam, the bestselling author of the baseball classic Summer of '49, has followed the members of the 1949 championship Boston Red Sox team for years, especially Williams, Doerr, DiMaggio, and Pesky. In this extremely moving book, Halberstam reveals how these four teammates became friends, and how that friendship thrived for more than 60 years.

The book opens with Pesky and DiMaggio travelling to see the ailing Ted Williams in Florida. It's the last time they will see him. The journey is filled with nostalgia and memories, but seeing Ted is a shock. The most physically dominating of the four friends, Ted now weighs only 130 pounds and is hunched over in a wheelchair. Dom, without even thinking about it, starts to sing opera and old songs like "Me and My Shadow" to his friend.

Filled with stories of their glory days with the Boston Red Sox, memories of legendary plays and players, and the reaction of the remaining three to Ted Williams' recent death, The Teammates offers us a rare glimpse into the lives of these celebrated men -- and great insight into the nature of loyalty and friendship. ... 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

13. When You Come to a Fork in the Road, Take It: Inspiration and Wisdom from One of Baseball's Greatest Heroes
by Yogi Berra, David Kaplan, Dave Berra, Dale Berra
list price: $18.95
our price: $18.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1565114760
Catlog: Book (2001-05)
Publisher: Highbridge Audio
Sales Rank: 317478
Average Customer Review: 4.69 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Now available in paperback, "it's déjà vu all over again" with another New York Times bestseller -- more than 160,000 copies in print!

Three-time MVP and Hall of Famer Yogi Berra hit home runs twice in a row with his two previous books, The Yogi Book and It Ain't Over. Now, his winning streak continues as the celebrated athlete and true American hero speaks about life, baseball, and "the forks in the road."

Filled with the baseball legend's inimitable and unwittingly wise aphorisms from "It ain't over till it's over" to "You can't think and hit at the same time," these reflections focus on the valuable lessons he learned on and off the field. ... Read more

Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars Easy Inspiration
As only Yogi can do, he brings many tough life issues down to the ground level. This book is a collection of 2-3 page "truths" according to Mr. Berra. I was really impressed. The approach is one of facing challenges at the gut level and straight ahead. Don't make things complicated, just do it. A must read for everyone. Thanks, Yogi.

4-0 out of 5 stars When Taking the Bull by the Horns, You'll See the Point!
Yogi Berra is our modern day version of Will Rogers. He talks about life and what he sees, and captures a fundamental truth and humor that tickle our fancy and our sense of what's right.

This book contains many of Yogi's most famous aphorisms, followed by essays that explain what he means . . . in other words.

Here are some of my favorites among his aphorisms in this book (which double as titles for the essays):

"We Have a Good Time Together, Even When We're Not Together."

"If People Don't Want to Come Out to the Park, Nobody's Going to Stop Them."

"Ninety Percent of the Game Is Half Mental."

"You Observe a Lot by Watching."

"It's Deja Vu All Over Again."

"We Made Too Many Wrong Mistakes."

"It Gets Late Early Out Here."

"Nobody Goes There Any More, It's Too Crowded."

"I Love Movies When I Like Them."

"If the World Were Perfect, It Wouldn't Be."

"Always Go to Other People's Funerals, Otherwise They Won't Go to Yours."

"Ninety Percent of Short Putts Don't Go In."

The beauty of Yogi's aphorisms is that we know exactly what he means, which we don't always appreciate about what more learned types have to say. The unusual content also jolts us into paying attention, instead of putting us into a mild doze.

About the aphorisms themselves, Yogi says this, "I don't think I ever said anything intentionally humorous in my life."

You could sum up his philosophy as "I really have no regrets." Yogi basically suggests that you take life as it comes, make the best of what it offers, and move on. His most beautiful aphorism is here also, "There Is Always Some Kid Who May Be Seeing Me for the First or Last Time. I Owe Him My Best." The essay describes how Joe DiMaggio always played the hero's role in public, and how much Yogi admired him for it.

The book also contains the famous story of how Yogi refused to reenter Yankee Stadium for 14 years after being summarily fired as manager in mid-season in 1985 (after being told this would not happen). George Steinbrenner finally met with Yogi and apologized. Yogi began coming to Yankee Stadium again. That struck me as very consistent with his sense of what's right and wrong.

Yogi chose to leave school at a very young age. He thought he didn't have much of a future there, and he felt he liked and could do a lot of other things better. That's the story behind the book's title. But Yogi reminds us, "People shouldn't forget where they came from." In fact, the essays double as an autobiography of Yogi.

I enjoyed his stories about the glory days of the five straight World Championships, and how he improved as a catcher while being lambasted by the sportswriters. Having listened to Don Larsen's perfect game against the Dodgers, it was fun to read what Yogi had to say about catching the game. I didn't know he called Larsen "Gooney Bird."

His essay about talking to players, pitchers and umps is also a classic.

Anyone would benefit from his advice about losing. "If [you]lose . . . , shake their hand and try harder next time."

He also maintains that it's not true he was ever in a hitting slump. He just wasn't getting many hits. That's an extension of his focus on keeping a positive outlook.

Each essay is preceded by a small black-and-white photograph. These add a nice personal touch to the essays.

After you read this book, think about where you need to take a fork in the road with courage and enthusiasm. Think of Yogi when you take that fork. He'll be pulling for you.

If the stick in your eye is hurting you, there's no law that says you have to keep holding it in there!

5-0 out of 5 stars We can all learn a lot from Yogi Berra
Yogi Berra is an American treasure, epitomizing many of the things that make America great. As a legend in life as well as a legend in baseball, the common-sense pearls of wisdom that drop from his lips are as instructive as they are humorous. I consider Yogi the common man's philosopher. This book offers forty chapters, each containing helpful advice, based upon a famous Yogi-ism, as well as inspiration to the reader. Most of us already know most of these lessons, but we need to be reminded of them periodically. Yogi is the perfect teacher. He is humble and honest, perfectly willing to use his own failures as well as his successes as object lessons for the rest of us; he also speaks from the heart in plain language. I love the unpretentious nature of this book; maybe it breaks a few rules of proper grammar, but it comes across in such a way that you half believe Yogi is sitting in the room with you and just talking. Yogi does offer up a number of parallels between baseball and business, stressing the importance of true teamwork, loyalty, and the personal involvement and commitment of all involved, but most of the lessons he imparts here are lessons about life and the proper way to live it. All the inspiration and wisdom aside, though, I have to admit that what I enjoy the most is Yogi's baseball stories. Baseball was a different game back when Yogi was playing, and I'm sure I'm not the only fan whose love of the game has faded as the game has turned into an impersonal industry. Yogi represents baseball at its best.

I also enjoyed learning a little more about Yogi's personal life - heck, I didn't even know how he got the name Yogi before I read this book. Here's a kid born in St. Louis to first-generation immigrants who quit school after eighth grade and pursued a dream that many people said he would never attain. All he did was play on ten World Series championship teams, earn three MVP awards, and become one of the most-loved baseball heroes of all time - heck, I bet there are even some Red Sox fans who love Yogi. He is also a war hero, having fought in the D-Day landing at Normandy. (He also played a brain surgeon on an episode of General Hospital back in the early 1960s, as I was quite shocked to learn.) With all of his success, though, he has always been remarkably humble and quick to thank those who made his good fortune possible. He is a great role model for kids as well as adults, and we all can learn a great deal about life by heeding his practical advice.

5-0 out of 5 stars Straight talk from Yogi
This collection of short snippets of wisdom from Yogi Berra is an enjoyable and ,yes, profitable read. Yogi is a man of great integrity and dignity and those qualities shine through on every page of this simple and relatively quick read. Pick it up and read it on your next long flight.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wit and Wisdom abounds from this unlikely philospher!
You don't need to be a baseball fan to enjoy (and benefit from) the words of wisdom in Yogi Berra's book, "When You Come to a Fork in the Road, Take It!". Yogi explains and refines the numurous malapropisms that he noted for is this short and quick read.

Without going into the many "Yogi-isms" found in this book, let me suffice to say that you'll get a better perspective on life after reading it. Yogi does a great job giving advice and sharing his worldly experiences with the reader in his own inimitable way. This would be an outstanding graduation gift to share with young people ready to embark on their own life journey. I think it would especially appeal to young athletes who may already be somewhat familar with the Berra legacy.

Older readers will certainly enjoy the "Yogi-isms" that are used as the chapter titles and the numerous pictures from Yogi's photo archive. Yogi is a lovable baseball figure who has furthered his appeal factor by putting his thoughts down in words. Here's hoping that each reader will take something a little different from the experience! ... Read more

14. Think LIke A Champion : Building Success One Victory at a Time
by Mike Shanahan
list price: $18.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0694522406
Catlog: Book (1999-09-01)
Publisher: HarperAudio
Sales Rank: 864204
Average Customer Review: 4.89 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Coach Mike Shanahan knows about achieving big goals. Armed with his plan, he and his world champion Denver Broncos have elevated themselves to spectacular levels of performance. In three amazing years, they transformed a "mediocre," aging" franchise--and their legendary quarterback who just "couldn't win the big game--into the most feared powerhouse in the league; with back-to-back Super Bowl rings to prove it.

 Now, in Think Like a Champion, Shanahan opens his playbook to show the X's and O's of winning, a detailed game plan to help you storm the field with foolproof strategies, confidence, and the indomitable will to win. Shanahan's principles of success are as deceptively simple as they are challenging:Preparation is keyWhatever the sacrifice, it is worth the price of pursuing your passionBreak down the competition's weakness and learn from their strengths Pick great leaders and give them the power to inspire Set huge goals. It's about work ethic and balance

Armed with his vision, and these proven success principles, you can improve your chances on Game Day--or any day of the week.
... Read more

Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars Building success one victory at a time.
I have heard this advice before: If you want to be successful
at something, find the most successful person you can in that area, listen to what they say, and try to follow it. Well, its hard to imagine a football coach more sucessful than Mike Shanahan. Here's a guy who started with a dream: to be a head football coach, started as an unpaid volunteer for a college team, and worked his way to be one of the best, most respected, coaches in the NFL (winning 2 consecutive Superbowls) at a young age.

The great thing is, he has written a book that is designed to help people win beyond football, in any area of life. Shanahan breaks it down for you: the way he prepares, some struggles he's had, some ways he motivates people (including the little things that we learn are so critical), very good wisdom concerning life, and a lot more. Also very critical is the fact that this book is very easy to read and understand.

You even get a bonus section in each chapter written by some of the greatest people and minds in football: Paul Tagliabue, Jerry Rice, Bill Walsh, John Elway, Deion Sanders, Steve Young, George Seifert, Joe Montana, Marcus Allen, Al Michaels, and more. They give their own take on the subject being discussed in the chapter, which is not only informative, but like the book itself, filled with wisdom.

The chapters consist of 16 basic areas to focus on to become successful, things like: Preparing (all of life is preparation, and not preparing is preparing to fail), Sacrificing (don't expect to get anything good done without sacrifice, if it was easy, everyone would do it), Learning (without learning, you will be hopelessly stuck where you are), Detailing (the devil is definitely in the details and that's where things often break down). This is just a taste of the wisdom in this book. Highly recommended for people looking to improve themselves.

5-0 out of 5 stars What a Success Story! Motivational!
A die-hard Broncos fan from the days dying watching those ridiculous striped socks and watching Fran Tripuka get killed, what a job Shanahan did turning it around into two Super Bowls in a row.

Learning of his background and his principles makes me now not only a more avid Bronco fan, but also a Shanahan fan as well. His perseverance from the days of his kidney injury to how he became part of Sooner coaching staff till today is truly one of principles of success through hard work, not gifts or who you know or any of the other myths most people who never get anywhere fall for and are unmotivated. Most of them just don't ever want to work hard at anything, but have it handed to them. Shanahan disproves all that bunk and shows how it came to be. Unbelievable that when given the Raiders head-job, didn't even have the downpayment for a house.

This guy is very endearing to so many of us who never had the backgrounds for those connections, but wanting something bad enough, and always believing it, achieve it one goal at a time.

Great advice, especially appreciate his concern for balance.

Excellent read. Thanks, Mike, from a new fan and admirer.

5-0 out of 5 stars "...if you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail."
Straight-forward, crisply articulated and with practically no unnecessary fluff, Mike Shanahan's book, "Think Like a Champion," compellingly argues that the game of life is basically won or lost before the "players" take the field. Shanahan asserts his point of view over sixteen easy-to-digest chapters (each about ten pages or less) on the diffent tenets of becoming the best at what you do.

What I liked about this book is that while the author culls specific examples from his football career, the "moral of the story" is clearly applicable to ANYONE seeking to become the best in any endeavor. Offering an excellent, enjoyable read to both sports enthusiasts and non enthusiasts alike, the author's writing style is to neither excessively arm-wave nor make unsupported generalizations.

In fact, part of the Shanahan's credibility here is in his willingness to name names when providing examples of people living up to a credo espoused in a given chapter or more dramatically, falling short.

Written with humility, Shanahan's book leaves the reader feeling that there is nothing magical to becoming a huge success -- other than having a plan and putting in the blood, sweat and tears required to make that plan a success. Or as the author concludes, citing legendary coach Vince Lobardi, "Your quality of life is in direct proportion to your commitment to excellence." So true.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great.....if you can decipher all of the football jargon
Mike Shanahan does a wonderful job at getting across the key points of being successful, and the work ethic and dedication needed to get by. I could have done without all of the sideline/football references, but seeing that he eats, drinks, and sleeps football, that may be a bit much to ask. I would recommend this book, but if you're not to savvy about football, it may be a bit rough.

5-0 out of 5 stars Prepare for Success
I enjoyed this book very much. I am preparing to take the CPA exam. For those of you who aren't familiar with it, the CPA exam is one of the most gruling professional certification exams. I read Shanahan's book to motivate and inspire me to do all that I could to pass the exam before I begin to study.

One phrase in his book sticks out in my mind:

Preparation + Desire + Work Ethic = Luck

I read this quote evey morning before work and every time I start my study. I have this on my review materials and I remember it as I prepare.

I am a huge fan of the Denver Broncos and of Shanahan. Later this year when I pass the exam I will send him a letter thanking him for the motivation. ... Read more

15. Sandy Koufax : A Lefty's Legacy
by Jane Leavy
list price: $34.95
our price: $23.07
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060569441
Catlog: Book (2003-09-01)
Publisher: HarperAudio
Sales Rank: 544826
Average Customer Review: 4.24 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Sandy Koufax was the consummate pitcher: elegant, dominant, unsurpassed. He defined and distinguished himself by what he did on the baseball field and what he refused to do. He challenged batters and stereotypes. On the evening of September 9, 1965, he pitched a perfect game against the Chicago Cubs. Less than a month later, he achieved another kind of perfection by refusing to pitch the opening game of the World Series because it fell on Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar. Until then, he was a ballplayer, perhaps the greatest lefthander of all time. Forever after, he would be a symbol, the one thing he never wanted to be.

A year later, he was gone -- done with baseball at age thirty. No other sports hero retired so young, so well, or so completely. Opting out of celebrity, refusing to cannibalize himself for profit, he is described by one former Dodger "as the most misunderstood man in baseball." Part biography and part cultural history, Sandy Koufax: A Lefty's Legacy gets as close to the legend as he will allow.

... 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

16. Harvey Penick's Little Red Book
by Harvey Penick
list price: $12.00
our price: $12.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0671799614
Catlog: Book (1993-03-01)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Sales Rank: 256242
Average Customer Review: 4.75 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

Harvey Penick's life in golf began when he was eight years old, caddying at the Austin, Texas, Country Club.Eight decades later, he is still there, dispensing wisdom to pros and beginners alike.His stature in the golf world is reflected in the wide array of champions that he has worked with including those featured on this audio program, and it is not for nothing that the Teacher of the Year Award given by the Golf Teachers Association is called the Harvey Penick Award.Now after sixty years of keeping notes on the things he's seen and learned and on the golfing greats he's taught, Penick is finally letting the secrets in his Little Red Book be heard by the golf world.His simple, direct, practical wisdom pares away all the hypertechnical jargon that's grown up around the game, and lets all golfers play their best---whatever their level.Already a classic in hardcover, the audio adaptation of Harvey Penick's Little Red Book will be a constant source of guidance and inspiration to anyone who has ever stepped up to the first tee. ... Read more

Reviews (32)

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply Amazing
Harvey Penick wrote his masterpiece with this book, a simple, common terms, way to understand all you ever needed to know about golf. In an age of technical, computer, look-alike golf swings, Harvey Penick wrote a book that the common man can understand.

I have used the thoughts and tips from Harvey's book for over five years now, and it has done nothing but help me become a better golfer, and student of the game. Harvey's tips are great not only for amateurs, but are used by professionals as well. This book is the bible of golf books, a starting point for anyone interested in the game, or interested in getting better.

I know people who read this book every year getting ready for the golf season, and it does nothing but help them with their game. Some of the best parts of this book are when Harvey shares anecdotes from his life, which are always filled with humor and applicable to the golf world, and life.

Harvey Penick was a mad who had integrity, and that is why his legacy lives on. This book is highly recommended to golfers, and non-golfers who might just catch the golf bug after reading this book.

HARVEY PENICK'S LITTLE RED BOOK: LESSONS AND TEACHINGS FROM A LIFETIME OF GOLF is a must have for any serious golf library. Filled with anecdotes, stories and practical golf advice, Penick's book is a forthright, enjoyable read. No wonder these lessons had such an impact on the likes of golf greats Ben Crenshaw and Tom Kite, both of whom were Penick proteges.

Penick's book also lends a classical look at a classical game. With all that's going on in the world of golf today: the exorbitant salaries, conflicts about equipment and vintage courses becoming too short, Penick's book reminds us that once upon a time golf was a genial game instead of a rabid business. Read it and gain some needed perspective on the greatest game in the world.


4-0 out of 5 stars Everything you need to know
This book covers everything you need to know to improve your game. Mr. Pennick's insights are quick and concise. This is ibe of the best instructional books I have ever read. The only advice I have to give is to take one tip at a time. Pick one thing to work on, when you feel you have achieved what Mr. Pennick said, then move on to something new. The tips are also sprinkled with tales of yesteryear and legends of the game. It is difficult to read this without wanting to put the book down and try each tip as it comes along, I would say read the book once, then go back and work on the things that made hte most sense to you.


5-0 out of 5 stars Magnificent
A great read. Best golf book I've ever layed my hands on.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest books ever written on golf
Yes....that's right....I said it is one of the greatest books ever written on golf and I stand by that....I first read it years ago, and ya know when I read it most recently? Last week! My golf game was struggling...anyone who plays knows there is so much technical jargon to think about, and once all these thoughts enter your head, you're done for! That's where the legend Mr. Penick comes in. Forget about rotating this part of your body 90 degress and your ankle must be at a 32 degree angle and so forth....Take dead aim! Get the negativity out of your head, remember a few SIMPLE methods to hit the ball, and as Taylor Made once advertised, Find Your Game! My game was gone...I was hopeless and didn't know what to do with myself....I saw the book on my shelf, read it (very easy read), and my next opponent better be ready! If you love golf, and you wanna read a book that just makes sense (and provides a lot of inspiration) this book is highly recommended. A man's entire life experience with the game he loved is in this book...treat it with respect...heed the words....and the next putt you drop you might find yourself looking up at the heavens saying "thank you Harvey!" ... Read more

17. A Sportsman's Life: How I Built Orvis by Mixing Business and Sport
by Leigh Perkins, Geoffery Norman, Geoffrey Norman, Doug Ordunio
list price: $25.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0787123374
Catlog: Book (1999-11-01)
Publisher: Audio Literature
Sales Rank: 1658129
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Book Description

When Leigh Perkins bought the Orvis Company in 1965, the fly-fishing and bird-hunting outfitter was a sleepy business with annual sales that had leveled off at $500,000. Over the next thirty years Perkins built Orvis's annual sales to $100 million by revolutionizing the catalog retail industry and reshaping the company's tradition-bound culture. He achieved this by blending his love of nature with his business acumen and bringing the commonsense approach he learned in the streams and on his hunts to his boardroom decision making.
The basic principles he used to run his business include:

The Customer Is Always Right. . .Even When You Know Damned Well He's Wrong: Perkins put such a high priority on customer service that he would personally man the phones at the height of the holiday season each year to keep in touch with his customers.

Product Excellence: Perkins made sure that everything Orvis sold was of the highest quality--even if that meant he had to fight the US government to get access to embargoed Chinese bamboo for fly rods.

Empower Your Employees: By promoting from within, and by empowering his employees to solve problems without manager involvement, Perkins built a loyal and talented team.
Living the outdoor life his catalog popularized, Perkins traveled all over the world to fish and hunt, from Argentina to New Zealand, while devoting his resources to conservation causes worldwide.
... Read more

18. Putting Out of Your Mind
by Bob Cullen
list price: $12.00
our price: $9.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0743507746
Catlog: Book (2001-06-01)
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
Sales Rank: 552847
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

"You drive for show, you putt for dough."

This old adage is especially resonant with Dr. Bob Rotella, the bestselling author of Golf Is Not a Game of Perfect, and one of the foremost golf authorities today. In Putting Out of Your Mind, Rotella offers entertaining putting. He reveals the unique mental approach that great putting requires and helps golfers of all levels master this essential skill.

Much like Golf Is Not a Game of Perfect and Golf Is a Game of Confidence, Putting Out of Your Mind is an informative and valuable guide to achieving a better golf game. While most spend their time trying to perfect their swing so they can drive the ball farther, Rotella encourages golfers to concentrate on their putting -- the most crucial yet often overlooked aspect of the game. Great players are not only aware of the importance of putting, they go out of their way to master it, and mastery can only begin with understanding the attitude needed to be a better putter. Rotella's mental rules have helped some of the greatest golfers in the world to become champion putters and for the first time, are now available to golfers everywhere.

From true-to-life stories of such greats as Davis Love III, David Duvall, and Brad Faxon to dozens of game-changing practice drill, Putting Out of Your Mind is the new bible of putting for amateurs and pros alike. ... Read more

Reviews (10)

5-0 out of 5 stars Putting is all in the mind
If you are looking for a book that is a once informative and entertaining, you have to get this one. What I found interesting in this book are the insights that the author gives us as to how pros and ordinary players think, or should think when preparing to putt. He discusses the importance of the pre-shot routine . As 40% of the shots made in the course of a game are putts, it's simple logic that such a book should interest all golfers whatever the state of their game. If you wish elevate your game another notch, this book is for you.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Golf Doctor Is In
This book is a very enjoyable read and has many "Dr. Bob" insights that will help golfers of all levels. Unfortunately on the heels of his classic "Golf Is Not A Game Of Perfect" this exposition on putting is less fulfilling, but very good nonetheless. Ultimately the book recommends the following: 1) focus on the process of putting (developing a standard mental and physical pre-shot routine to clear your mind), not the mechanics or outcome of each putt; 2) don't worry about mechanics during practice or course putting, just focus on the target and aim to put each putt in the hole; and 3) the more relaxed and positive you are about your putting and the experience of putting the better the results will be. The messages in the book are simple. While they seem redundant at times the lessons are valuable and the book is an enjoyable and beneficial 4-5 hour read. As the author points out, 40% of strokes are putts so it's worth putting time into improving this part of your game.

5-0 out of 5 stars This is a must!
My golf game has been transformed by this CD. What is so valuable is the perspective he offers on the mental side of the game. I was a horrible putter only a couple of months ago, shooting in the mid to upper 80's, and my handicap of 8 was rising. After listening to this,practicing what he recommends, I just won my flight and low net champion at the Club, shooting a 1 over total for 2 days! It does work.

5-0 out of 5 stars About Time
So good practice drills and backs up recommendations with real data...a must read!! Doesnt try to change anything about your technique just improves what you have.

5-0 out of 5 stars Perfect for those who think "I can't putt worth..."
This book was great. Rotella guides you right off that path you've been walking that's called the mental approach to putting. One of the biggest things you should learn from this book is that you won't make every putt you look at. What's more, is that Rotella tells you why you won't make every putt and then goes on to show you how you can think that you're a great putter even though you're not sinking every putt. Read this book carefully, once your putting improves your whole game will because you won't put pressure on yourself to hit everything close.

Buy this book now!!!! ... Read more

19. Men at Work
by George Will
list price: $15.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1559943572
Catlog: Book (1991-03-01)
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Sales Rank: 907032
Average Customer Review: 3.97 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

He may be a political columnist and commentator by profession, but George F. Will's true passion is baseball.Men at Work profiles four men whom Will feels are exemplary of the best attributes of their respective positions:San Diego Padres' slugger Tony Gwynn, Baltimore Orioles' shortstop Cal Ripkin, Jr., Oakland As' manager Tony LaRussa, and Los Angeles Dodgers' pitcher Orel Hershiser.Now baseball fans can listen to sportscaster and fellow baseball enthusiast Bob Costas present Will's unique perspective on the game.

Will makes the point that it is not talent alone that makes baseball--and these particular men--so special.Baseball is a sport that demands intellectual energy, logic and--above all--hard work.

Filled with baseball history and anecdotes, Men at Work is a tribute to baseball that will leave you feeling as Will does: "Some men are like mountains, the closer you get to them, the bigger they become." ... Read more

Reviews (38)

4-0 out of 5 stars "There's a lot of stuff goes on"--Tony LaRussa
George Will's "Men at Work" was written out of his love for the game, and "the game inside the game." The book features extended interviews with baseball luminaries Tony LaRussa, Orel Hersheiser, Tony Gywnn and Cal Ripken jr. It is divided into sections on managers, pitchers, hitters, and defensive play. Will states that baseball is about paying attention, about the myriad details that make up each pitch, each play, each out.

At times the book bogs down into a tech manual, giving even the most enthusiastic readers a little too much detail; at other times Will's rightwing political bias does emerge in the guise of a discussion of a strong work ethic, individual initiative for personal gain, and nostalgic idealization of the past.

But taken as a whole, "Men at Work" is a paean to what used to be called "America's favorite pastime". Will demonstrates why baseball appeals on many levels to a wide range of people. As a lifelong fan, someone who has never tired of the game because however lopsided the score, there is always something to pick up on (see Tony LaRussa's quote above), I recommend the book to readers of all ages.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Inside Pitch
George Will is a witty columnist, television personality and author that has won many awards over the duration his career. He spends most of his time writing columns for Newsweek and The Washington Post. Also, he makes appearances on the ABC network commenting on political issues. My focus is on his 1990 number one best selling book that stayed on top for over two months, "Men at Work: The Craft of Baseball."

Many books are available today that focus on the game of baseball. There are all sorts of reading material obtainable if you are looking for such things as history of the game, pitching strategies, tips for hitting and the list goes on. Nobody else but George Will can bring all of these elements into one clever written piece of literature.

Will breaks his book down into four main branches of baseball. He focuses on the managing, pitching, hitting and defending aspects of the game. This is done with the help of some protracted interviews with some of baseballs legends. In the managing section he interviews Tony La Russa, one of baseballs' great all time managers. He provides insightful details on getting the winning edge over the opponent. "He is responsible for wringing the last drop of advantage from the situations that will occur in each game. To do this he must know the abilities his players have revealed in their past performances and he must have similar knowledge of the players in the opposite dugout" (Wills 7). With his vast knowledge of the game, Will certainly communicates to us how meticulous managers have to be to become successful.

In the next three sections he gives us a very informative look at baseball interviewing Orel Hershiser for pitching, hitting with Tony Gwynn and defense with Cal Ripken, all of which are legend of the game. He focuses in on these sections just as he did for the first section, full of enlightening insight of strategy and looking extremely close of the inter workings of the game. Not just through his eyes but also through the eyes of these great players. Will also portrays the game of baseball as a difficult sport to master because "baseball is a game of failure, even the best batters fail about sixty five percent of the time" (Will 1). Many people don't appreciate the level of skill it takes to be able to either thrown a 90mph pitch or hit a 90mph pitch. Will makes it clear that constant effort and much practice is needed to succeed at the game of baseball.

I found that this book is for the baseball blooded competitor that wants every advantage possible when playing the game. Although, Will might be over-analyzing America's national pastime to the point of exhaustion, he makes us realize that there is more to the game than just playing it. He makes us realize that baseball doesn't ride on talent by itself but hard work and determination gets players to the next level.

I think George Will has written a great book that has definitely put a solid image of what it take to be a ballplayer in the readers head, not just physically but mentally. He has broken down the barrier of the unknown and has taken us through an insider's look of what baseball is really all about. Baseball on the outside is just a simple game where most would agree that only physical challenges are met. But Will shows us the professional baseball mind and how the game gets so much more complex as the competition grows stronger. One cannot help but gain an understanding and a deep appreciation for the game of baseball through all of his Will's insightful words and thorough analysis of some of the greatest players that ever lived.

4-0 out of 5 stars George from Florissant is a hick from North County
Hey George from Florissant, how about those Cardinals now??? Still bashing LaRussa??? Why don't you get over your Whitey Herzog obsession and enjoy the fact that the Cards play hard every night. If you had cable you'd be able to see that most other teams don't do that.
La Russa is a great manager and this is a pretty good book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Yeah
This is a great book, largely because George Will is a conservative. I am obsessed with ensuring that everything in life - every book, every movie, and even my own miserable life - is boiled down to a liberal or conservative issue. "Men At Work" is a great read and reminds me of a terrible script I wrote that no one would buy. Buy this book, though! George Will shows a great love and understanding for the game of baseball. The liberals are after me. In addition, Will's insights really sparkle upon rereading. I come from a great family, all of whom are more accomplished people than I. Buy this book.


5-0 out of 5 stars GEORGE HITS A HOMER
"Men At Work" is a great, great baseball book. Is it as good as "The Summer Game", "Five Seasons", "A False Spring"? Interestingly, it is and it isn't. Technically it is. It contains superb reportage and loving writing about a game George Will adores. But the there is a technology to Will's writing, a one-two-three, a but-for premise that borders on lawyering, advocacy. I love it, yes, but I have to rate this just below the pure romance of Roger Angell or the raunchy, man's-man baseball-as-life stories that infuses Pat Jordan's work. Will has written here a book that precursors "Moneyball". It describes the new age of baseball, an age of computers and preparation that replaces the Joe Schultz "Let's beat 'em, then pound some Budweiser" era described by Jim Bouton's "Ball Four".

STWRITES@AOL.COM ... Read more

20. Baseball
list price: $22.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 067943514X
Catlog: Book (1994-09-06)
Publisher: Random House Audio
Sales Rank: 698685
Average Customer Review: 4.02 out of 5 stars
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Book Description

The companion audiobook to Ken burns's magnificent PBS television series

The authors of the acclaimed and history-making bestseller The Civil War flow turn to another American phenomenon. Their subject is baseball.

During eight months of the year, it is played professionally every day; all year round, amateurs play it, watch it, and dream about it. Baseball produces remarkable Americans: it seizes hold of ordinary people and shapes them into something we must regard with awe. Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson, Joe DiMaggio ... truly gifted human beings acting out universal fantasies that, for whatever reason, are most perfectly expressed on a baseball field.

All this and more rings through Ward and Burns's moving, crowded, fascinating history of the game -- a history that goes beyond stolen bases, triple plays, and home runs to demonstrate how baseball has been influenced by and has in turn influenced, our national life: politics, race, labor, big business, advertising, and social custom. The audio covers every milestone of the game: from the rules drawn up in 1845 by Alexander Cartwright to the founding of the Brotherhood of Professional Base Ball Players in 1885, from the 1924 Negro World Series through Jack Roosevelt Robinson's major-league debut in 1947, and Nolan Ryan's seventh and last no-hitter in 1991.

Monumental, affecting, informative, and entertaining -- Baseball is an audio that speaks to all Americans.

Baseball is available in hardcover from Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. ... Read more

Reviews (93)

2-0 out of 5 stars Ken Burns does not realize his film is hypocritical.
'Baseball' is yet another mega-documentary by Ken Burns, a filmmaker who thinks he is cracking down on race relations in America. Although there are certain moments that are very powerful, most of the movie is like the game of baseball itself, boring. Burns covers some important moments in the history of the game, but he doesn't realize how hypocritical his movie is.
For example, he exposed many of the racial prejudices that have existed in the game since it began, but he does not spend that much time on black ballplayers. Yes, he does cover the Negro League extensively, but that was still not enough.
First of all, he hardly covers the carrer of Henry Aaron. Aaron has to be one of the most underrated athletes of all time. His 755 home runs is arguably the greatest record in sports by a single player. Burns barely touches on his carrer and focuses mostly on the two seasons when he was chasing Ruth's record. Burns spends almost entire videotapes covering the carrers of Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Mickey Mantle, and Joe DeMaggio. Yes those players were great and are very influential, but plenty of black players were just as great and influential.
He does the same thing with Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente, Lou Brock, and a number of other black superstars. He doesn't give them justice, he just does not spend enough time on them.
Certain moments of the film are worth watching, but other parts of just plain bad. Here are some low points. Burns feels the need to play different versions 'The Star-Spangled Banner' and 'Take me out to the ballgame' about 50,000 times throughout this film. He doesn't realize just how annoying those songs get after a while. He treats those two songs like they are sacred songs from some religious text. The most embarrasing moment is the section titled 'The 7th Inning Stretch'. Here a group of semi-famous people try to sing 'Take me out to the ballgame', and they are screwing it up. It is a bad and unnecessary part.

Burns also feels the need to show the same photographs and film clips over and over again. I don't know how many times they showed the same photograph of Curt Flood or the same vidoeclip of Ted Williams skipping the bases, but I was ready to shoot the T.V. For crying out loud, man, but find some clips or photographs nobody has seen.

5-0 out of 5 stars The History of the Game in One Comprehensive Collection
In keeping with the tradition of the Civil War Series, Ken Burns has meticulously researched the game of baseball and created a most enjoyable history on video. Each video in the set is divided into innings, with a top and bottom half. Burns begins his study back in the 1870s and continues through the present day. All of the classic moments are captured here; from the great Ty Cobb, Rogers Hornsby, and Honus Wagner to modern day heroes such as Ken Griffey Jr., Tony Gwynn, and Cal Ripken, Jr. The Black Sox scandal of 1919 is told in great detail, and the great teams of the 30s and 40s are described as well. Perhaps the greatest World Series ever, the 1975 Red Sox-Reds classic, comes to life in this video, too. Burns devotes 1 tape to the great Babe Ruth and the impact he made on the game. Burns points out that Ruth hit more home runs in a season by himself than many TEAMS did collectively.

Using excellent still photos and real game footage, Burns brings the game of baseball to life as only he can. This excellent set is definitely worth the money. I highly recommend this series. Baseball fans everywhere will definitely enjoy it.

4-0 out of 5 stars View it as entertainment, not as history
Ken Burns is becoming well-known as much for what he leaves out of his documentaries as for what he tells you and how he tells it. One sees it somewhat in the Civil War documentary (unless of course you are a Lost Cause devotee, in which case you view that series as horribly biased and riddled with errors), and it is definitely (and troublingly) evident in his Jazz documentary, where 40 years of jazz is virtually glossed over in favor of an almost obsessive fixation on Louis Armstrong. In the case of "Baseball," Burns again leaves out huge chunks of the story, although the end result is nonetheless entertaining.

In the case of "Baseball," the unrelenting focus is on New York City, Babe Ruth & Jackie Robinson, and to be fair, there is no way you could discuss the subject of baseball without devoting a great deal of time to these subjects. However, the title of the documentary is "Baseball," not "The New York City, Babe Ruth, and Jackie Robinson Story," and it is possible to watch this documentary at times and come to believe that nothing else was happening out side of New York most of the time.

I recall reading a Sports Illustrated article a few years ago that discussed the Philadelphia Athletics from 1929-1931, and made the case that that team was better than the famed "Murderer's Row" Yankees of 1926-1928, and possibly the best team in baseball history. The article's author crunched the numbers, compared the stats, and made a pretty compelling case. He then asked why so little attention has been paid to the A's over the years, and posited that because most of the nation's important papers and sportswriters were based in New York City; by default the majority of the great sportswriting was devoted to the Yankees, while relatively backwater Philadelphia languished in obscurity. It seems to be the same situation with Burns. While other incredibly dominant teams such as (in the early years) the Chicago Cubs, the A's, the Pittsburgh Pirates & the Detroit Tigers are given passing mention, they are quickly shoved on the back burner in favor of the Boston Red Sox & New York Giants. Then the Yankees & the Dodgers begin to coalesce, and it is all New York, all the time. One gets no feeling for how dominant the 1929-1931 A's (or the St. Louis Cardinals of the mid-1930's) were, because Burns continually focuses on Babe Ruth & the Negro Leagues.

When Burns gets to the 1950's he can be excused, because really it was a New York-dominated decade like no other. However, the other decades did in fact see a more competitive balance, and one would not get this impression from the documentary.

It would have been nice if Burns hadn't crammed the last quarter century of his story into one "inning." Are you telling me that the stories since 1970 aren't as compelling as the early years of baseball. I don't believe that Burns would have had to devote that much more time to the post-1970 era to make it feel less cursory and rushed. This is a somewhat annoying tendency of his that was more griveously evident when he made "Jazz."

Also, I get a little tired of the "poetry of baseball" school of thought. It isn't as though I am some knuckle-dragging troglodyte who gets all his news from sports radio; I am just as likely to go to the opera as to the ballpark. This baseball as metaphor for how the cosmos works gets on my nerves after a while (although I consider Roger Angell's comment "there's more Met than Yankee in all of us" to be priceless beyond description). It's not that baseball doesn't imbue our life with a little extra something special, it's just that some of these talking heads tend to get a little overwrought.

I enjoyed watching the documentary the first time, and I have watched it probably half a dozen times since over the years. By comparison, I have watched "The Civil War" about 15 times, I would guess. I was so disappointed with "Jazz" that I managed only a second viewing. In any case, "Baseball" is very entertaining, and that is what largely accounts for my 4-star rating I would only caution those who don't know their baseball history that this documentary omits a great deal of what is a very good story.

5-0 out of 5 stars Costas at his best
You don't have to love baseball like I do to enjoy this documentary about Americas pastime. Although I got a little tired of Ken Burns style (I think it's unnecesary to quote someone and THEN state the name of the person being quoted, a Ken Burns trademark) the material is just too great and too American to be disliked. The best part? I was mesmerized by Bob Costas' description of events that took place in the BoSox clubhouse during their 9th inning collapse in game six of the 1986 World Series. When he recollects his "What do I do if they tie it?" remark to his producer it is fascinating, thrilling, and in the end, very sad. Just more proof that baseball is "designed to break your heart". Trust me on this one.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great documentary but what's the deal?
Has anyone noticed that the times given for each "Inning" (i.e., disc) on the DVD is wildly inaccurate? Am I missing material or what? Almost every inning is under two hours according to my DVD player but the case usually indicates a time of 145 to 155 minutes or more. Are there hidden easter eggs on the disc or is PBS just wrong?
jr ... Read more

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