March 21, 2008

Quick Book Review

Okay- due to sickness, I wasn't able to post "Part 2" of my off-season book review. I will rectify that this weekend- I promise!

However, in the meantime, Sports Illustrated has a snipet from an excellent new book online, which you can access by clicking here. Entitled "Change Up," authors Larry Burke and Peter Thomas Fornatale have decided upon, after great debate, the "8 Key Events that Shaped Modern Baseball" - as in post-1947 and the dissolution of the so-called color barrier. The 8 events that they decided upon and the examples of each are:

1.) Expansion - The 1962 Mets
2.) The Latino Wave (Roberto Clemente)
3.) Ball Four (Jim Bouton's great book which blew the lid off of America's past-time in the late 60's)
4.) The Birth of the Player's Union (think Marvin Miller!!!)
5.) The Designated Hitter (Ron Bloomberg!)
6.) The First African American Manager (Frank Robinson)
7.) Cal Ripken's Streak
8.) Ichiro Comes to America (Japanese player revolution)

Yes, there are MANY additional key events (steroids, steroids, steroids!!!) that weren't chosen, but like any book premise, there comes a time when you have to cut the ideas off in order to publish the book, and Burke and Fornatale truly do right by their material. The best part of the book, for me, is the fact that, rather than being so-called "talking heads," the authors preferred to interview top baseball players, managers and front office personnel and allowed them to tell these stories in their own words. Reminds me of the classic "The Glory of Their Times" by Ritter, where old time ballplayers discussed the growth of the game through their eyes, and through their stories.

For example, in order to discuss the 1962 Mets, the authors interviewed Roger Craig, Jim Hickman, Ed Kranepool and Frank Thomas, among others; for Bouton's "Ball Four" players who were discussed within the book, including Tommy Davis, Gary Bell and Mike Marshall, as well as the author himself, Jim Bouton, and baseball commentator extraordinaire, Bob Costas, were allowed to discuss how the book effected them, specifically, as well as the great game of baseball!!!

This book is a MUST READ!!! I have purchased 2 copies to give as gifts so far, and my brother will be getting a copy from me soon, too! And NO, we do NOT know the authors, but I AM going to try to interview them at a future time for the blog!


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