Sunday, April 13, 2008
THE BOOK REVIEW "Walkoffs, Last Licks and Final Outs" and other Worthwhile Reads
All variety of prisms function quite nicely through which to view different aspects of the network of sports. Some have a narrow focus while others take a broader view. All have something to say, something to stay with us.
One of my favorites of recent seasons is Bill Chuck and Jim Kaplan's "Walkoffs, Last Licks and Final Outs" (Acta, $14.95, 216 pages, paper). It features all matter of factoids, trivia, charts, facts and figures focused on "baseball's grand and not-so-grand finales." Fred Merkle failing to touch second, base, Carlton Fisk touching them all and waving his arms to wave the ball he hit fair in the 1975 World Series, Bobby Richardson catching the liner that Willie McCovey of the Giants hit at Candlestick Park, box scores, line scores, the last games in ball parks - the slim book has a treasure trove of goodies for all baseball fans. TOP OF THE HEAP
"Ty and the Babe" by Tom Stanton (St. Martins' Press, $23.95, 288 pages) is a heartwarming and well researched book about the relationship of two of the greatest baseball players of all time and their showdown match in the 1941 Has-Beens Golf Championship. "Ty and the Babe" tells much about what many know little about. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
In sort of the same mold as "Ty and the Babe" comes "Arnie & Jack" by Ian O'Connor (Houghton Mifflin, $26.00, 354 pages). Timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Arnold Palmer's initial Masters triumph, a time he took the links together with Jack Nicklaus for an Ohio exhibition game, "Arnie & Jack" is a bit like the Stanton tome probing and explicating the relationship of the two golf icons. This is a book to read and read again and keep in a place of prominence on your bookshelf.
"101 Baseball Places to See Before You Strike Out" by Josh Pahigan (Lyons Press, $28.95, 288 pages) despite its depressing title is a well researched work on all sorts of places across America that have a baseball connection: ballparks, restaurants like Ozzie Smith's, the remnants of Forbes Field, the gravesite of babe Ruth.
Get a bunch of baseball junkies together, give them the assignment to write about "When Boston Still Had the Babe: the 1918 World Champion Red Sox" (Rounder Books, $18.95, 213 pages, paper) and have Bill Nowlin in charge of editing and you have a winner. There is so much info about the season and the roster that one does not have to be a fan of the Olde Towne team to enjoy this unusual and highly entertaining product. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED FOR ALL BASEBALL FANS