"Vindicated" Heads the List of an Avalanche of 2008 Baseball Books,
Jose Canseco is at it again. And this time, despite the naysayers, he is as his new book title says, "Vindicated" (Simon Spotlight Entertainment, $25.95, 259 pages). The latest tome is all about "big names, big liars and the battle to save baseball" in the words of its sub-title.
"Vindicated" is stunning and swift reading from the former big leaguer who hammered 463 homers in a 17 year career. To add authenticity to his claims Canseco yielded to three lie detector tests. There are lots of big names who get the up close and shocking commentary from Canseco. For the startling revelations he provided in his first book "Juiced," the Cuban born superstar was dissed as a liar. This time around with all that has come out about steroids and big stars the liar label cannot be trotted out. A bit padded and not deserving of its price tag appendices, photos, repetitions all of which could have been trimmed, "Vindicated" nevertheless is worth the read.
As an oral historian and sports author, I was most anxious to read "Change Up: An Oral History of 8 Key Events that Shaped Baseball" by Larry Burke and Peter Thomas Fontale with Jim Baker (Rodale, $24.95, 290 pages). With three authors and 8 monumental national pastime events as the crowded agenda, "Change Up" reads as if it were a book proposal, a book first draft or a lengthy committee report.
Subject matter includes:
the 1962 Mets
Ball Four (Jim Bouton's epic effort)
The Designated Hitter and
Ichiro Comes to America.
We have mix and match and match and mix and a mish-mosh of oral history, narrative, sub-heads interfering with headlines. Too much. At times the book reads like a reading comprehension test.
From Skyhorse publishing comes two paperbacks - "Mets By the Numbers" by Jon Springer and Matthew Silverman ($14.95, 320 pages) and "It Takes More Than Balls" by Deidre Silva and Jackie Koney ($14.95, 304 pages.) The tome trained on the Mets is a must have for the Flushing team's fans providing as it does a lot of team history by uniform number.
An interesting feat. The other Skyhorse book with the unfortunate title is billed as "the savvy girls' guide to understanding and enjoying baseball. It is a primer of sorts, nothing more and nothing less. Fortunately, it does not claim to be more than that.
NOTABLE CHILDREN'S SPORTS BOOK: "The Aurora County All-Stars" by Deborah Wiles (Harcourt Children's Books) $16.00, 256 pages) for 10 and up is a remarkable book about Jackson, age ,the captain and star hurler of his team has a lot going for him including the concerns of a broken elbow, lots of secret time spent with Mean-Man Boyd. Enticing, interesting reading.