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  • Finally bought Ball Four. A lot of people have been suggesting this book to me for a long time. I'm only 22 so I hadn't heard of it until a couple years ago, it's probably one of the funniest things I've read ever.
    Don't think. It Can only hurt the ball club.

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    • The New York Giants: An Informal History of a Great Baseball Club by Frank Graham Jr. I really like Graham's writing style. He takes what could be a fairly dry history, and gives it a narative flow that keeps you turning the pages as the years fly by. The book was published in 1952, and I'm just to the point where the Giants have signed a young Negro Leager named Willie Mays. Hmmm...sounds promising.
      Last edited by mwiggins; 08-19-2009, 08:46 PM.

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      • Waiting for Luckiest Man, To Everything a Season, The Greatest Ballpark Ever and Land of the Giants.

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        • Originally posted by ol' aches and pains View Post
          I'm re-reading The Glory of Their Times for probably the 10th time, but the first time in about five years. Still the best baseball book ever. I'm enjoying it this time as much as the first time.
          Agreed. One of the very few books I have ever re-read, and you're right - just as entertaining the second time around as it was the first.

          Presently reading Crazy '08 (Cait has few mistakes here and there, but a writing style I enjoy), and also The Boys of Summer. Kahn can be a bit confusing the way he jumps around and sequences things, but a terrific writer and book.
          You see, you spend a good deal of your life gripping a baseball and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time. J. Bouton

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          • Recent Baseball books

            I'm just about done with As They See 'Em by Bruce Weber, the book about umpires and their craft that just came out a few months ago. It started off fairly sluggishly, but for some reason after about 1/3 of the way through, you won't want to put it down. The book points things out that even the most astute baseball fan doesn't easily notice, and from the get-go will have you watching the game in a different way than ever before. It feels like one of those books that you're almost sad to finish because you enjoy reading it so much.

            A few weeks ago I also read Odd Man Out, the minor league memoir written by Yale grad Matt McCarthy, in which he chronicles the 2002 season spent as a pitcher in rookie ball in the Anaheim Angels' system. I absolutely plowed through that one, it reads so vividly and quickly. Aside of the funny stories you'd expect from a group of Single-A ballplayers in their first ventures into the professional ranks, the book brings to life the dilemma of a minor leaguer whose own teammates are his fiercest competition. I'd recommend this one especially for anyone going on vacation (i.e. looking for something to read on a plane or on the beach), because it can be knocked out in 3-4 days no problem.

            I'm thinking about reading the Munson biography written by Marty Appel that just came out, has anyone read or started to read that one yet?

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            • Originally posted by LDYanks16 View Post
              ...A few weeks ago I also read Odd Man Out, the minor league memoir written by Yale grad Matt McCarthy, in which he chronicles the 2002 season spent as a pitcher in rookie ball in the Anaheim Angels' system. I absolutely plowed through that one, it reads so vividly and quickly. Aside of the funny stories you'd expect from a group of Single-A ballplayers in their first ventures into the professional ranks, the book brings to life the dilemma of a minor leaguer whose own teammates are his fiercest competition. I'd recommend this one especially for anyone going on vacation (i.e. looking for something to read on a plane or on the beach), because it can be knocked out in 3-4 days no problem.
              I have not followed the story up very closely, but I was under the impression that there was a lot of questionable accuracy in McCarthy's book: quotes, dates, and circumstances that could not have been, but which he insisted he carefully entered into his diary.

              I had originally planned to read it, but was turned off by the reports. I was concerned that McCarthy was forcing himself (and his book) into some unnatural, dishonest, mold -- Pat Jordan as lovechild of Jim Bouton and Jose Canseco.

              I'm thinking about reading the Munson biography written by Marty Appel that just came out, has anyone read or started to read that one yet?
              Yes.

              It reads quickly, is very anecdotal (although, if you've read Lyle/Golenbock's Bronx Zoo there is a good deal of repetition), but it definitely lacks narrative flair. It is not a riveting story, by any means, in my opinion. But it is a personal one, and I think Appel takes great care to try to show his readers the side(s) of Munson that they may not have known. Coupled with Munson's autobiography (which Appel co-wrote), it is worthwhile if you are at all interested in that era of Yankees baseball and in Munson himself.

              In other words, it is pretty good.

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              • Reviews

                Thanks for your response. I do agree that the question under which Odd Man Out has come does take something away from the book, but fortunately I didn't find out about the alleged inaccuracies until after I'd finished it.

                Overall, it's still worth the read. Anytime an "inside the locker room" or "inside the life" book is written, challenges to its accuracy are pretty much to be expected. Even if McCarthy did take some liberties with the book, it does not put much of a damper on it for me, because the most intriguing points still stood.

                Embellishing a story about a pitcher being taken out of a game for refusing to throw at a batter, or exaggerating the hijinks of the Latin American players, etc. may just have been necessary to drive home the "reader experience." McCarthy had almost a year's time in pro ball to forge into his mind that experience, while the reader only has 300-some pages to do so.

                It's similar to how a screenplay may only have time for one scene to drive home a point that ideally would require 3-4 scenes, but since no one wants a 4-hour movie, the one allotted scene is made more intense in order to stick it in the viewer's mind.

                Even if it's not 100% real, the book still took me into a world I only thought I knew about - the bus rides, the organizational pressure, the rivalries and resentment between teammates, the meager pay - it all gave me an ever greater appreciation for just how good you have to be, and how tough it really is, the make it to the show.

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                • Re-reading Ball Four for about the 50th time (my copy from 1981 is starting to wear out). I have Kiss it Goodbye by Shelby Whitfield on deck (another re-read, although I last read it back in high school, the story of Bob Short and the 1968-71 Senators - enough to make the Pope cuss). I have Crazy '08 by Cait Murphy and Robert W. Creamer and The Gashouse Gang by John Heidenry somewhere in the mail.
                  I also am about 1/2 way thru Me and Hank by Sandy Tolan and have read a chapter or so of Baseballs' Great Experiment by Jules Tygiel - I'm usually reading 2 or 3 books at the same time for some reason...
                  Last edited by minorfan; 08-25-2009, 04:34 AM.

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                  • Recently read Clemente by David Maraniss and Opening Day by Jonathan Eig. Both books delivered, as they combined compelling subjects - Roberto Clemente's life, Jackie Robinson's first season in the majors - with quality writing.
                    "Any pitcher who throws at a batter and deliberately tries to hit him is a communist."

                    - Alvin Dark

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                    • Reading Mark Frost's "Game Six" about the classic contest of the '75 Series. Very good thus far (seven chapters in). Delivers pitch by pitch action and provides good background info. Good flow to the story.

                      Also reading Dave Rosenbaum's "If They Don't Win It's A Shame", chronicling the Marlins' run to the '97 Series. A bit sarcastic at times, but overall a funny, easy read with just enough depth and insight to make it worthwhile.

                      Just finished the first half of "El Birdos" by Doug Feldmann. It's a farily comprehensive look at the 67-68 Cards. Pretty good detail but you have to be a baseball geek like myself to enjoy it because the prose sticks at times.

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                      • "Miracle Collapse: The 1969 Chicago Cubs" by Doug Feldmann.

                        "Born to Play" by Dustin Pedroia. (Some guy from the red sox, aparently)

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                        • Lee Lowenfish - the Imperfect Diamond

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                          • Phil Dixon's American Baseball Chronicles Volume Three, a book chronicling the 1905 Philadelphia Giants great season.
                            "He's tougher than a railroad sandwich."
                            "You'se Got The Eye Of An Eagle."

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                            • The Long Ball "The summer of '75 - Spaceman, Catfish, Charlie Hustle, and the greatest World Series ever played"
                              By Tom Adelman

                              I am really enjoying this book. Next on the list is TY & the Babe by Tom Stanton
                              I believe in all that - in baseball, in picnics, in freedom. Walt Whitman, 1888

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                              • Currently reading "Pitching in a Pinch" by Christy Mathewson. Really good so far of what Ive read. I love how players viewed the game back then, compared to now.
                                "I don't like to sound egotistical, but every time I stepped up to the plate with a bat in my hands, I couldn't help but feel sorry for the pitcher."
                                -Rogers Hornsby-

                                "People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring."
                                -Rogers Hornsby-

                                Just a note to all the active members of BBF, I consider all of you the smartest baseball people I have ever communicated with and love everyday I am on here. Thank you all!

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