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1950s Baseball Books

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  • 1950s Baseball Books

    Due out on April 1, 2019 from Lyons Press:

    The New York Yankees of the 1950s: Mantle, Stengel, Berra, and a Decade of Dominance by David Fischer
    My Review:

    Best baseball book I have ever read and I have been reading them for fifty years. In addition to chronicling the achievements of these great teams and players, the author interweaves short accounts of important 1950s US social, political and cultural events that provide important perspective and context for those who did not experience the time first hand, which is of course, going to be most of the people who read this book. For those of us that were there, there are some pointed reminders of the good, the bad and the wacky and the irretrievably lost. But also there are the memories that will, at least temporarily, supplant the worst of today. Character portraits of the Yankee players, manager Casey Stengel and general manager George Weiss are detailed, warts and all, but Fischer is neither adoring nor muck racking in his portrayals of these personalities, some of them very controversial in their time, He relates the events as they occurred and I found myself drawing my own conclusions and never battling the presenter's bias as one must do with the chroniclers of today's culture. Fischer does not attempt to compare 1950s baseball to the current game and I think this is to his credit. His text is rich enough for a reader of any age to discern the basic similarities and the glaring differences between an era long gone and the giant marketing scam that the game has become today. 1950s Yankee great Mickey Mantle once said, "After I hit a home run, I had a habit of running with my head down. I figured the pitcher already felt bad enough without me showing him up rounding the bases." Filed under the arcane concept 'sportsmanship'. So I enjoyed reading about the Yogis, Caseys and Bauers and can easily wait for March when baseball talk turns to silly beards, hairdos and launch angles and the "action" consists of strikeouts, lazy pop flies and the occasional home run. Today, I eagerly anticipate telecasts of Curling - it is more of a team sport, more competitive and often more entertaining. But no nursery school dances or running around mouth open like a demented maniac. Hell, you'd slip on the ice. With clear, concise, non-pretentious prose, Fischer has not only created an important sports document, but an admirable work that any non-fiction author would be proud of. A marvelous read for all ages.

  • #2
    I recently re-read the book of the 1956 and 1957 Yankees, and it too was well-written. If you lived in the 1950's, just about anything written about the 1950's is good, because it was the best decade overall for our country. The Middle Class was at its zenith during this decade. Baseball was probably the most advanced before the first expansion, as parity was starting to make it a better game. Of course, the Athletics were still just the AAAA affiliate of the Yankees, but even then, they were a better last place team than any of today's last place teams.

    Give me a good pennant race in the 1950's any time over the 1964 races or the 1967 AL. 1959 was a great year with Cleveland and Chicago going at it in the AL and LA, SF. and Milw in the NL. All summer, everybody figured the Yankees would get hot and eventually overtake the Indians and Chisox, but it didn't happen. All summer, most people figured that the Braves would run away and easily take their third straight pennant, but as Bill James has stated so eloquently in one of his books, Fred Haney was about as bad as a manager could be and botched up the best talent in the game.

    I will definitely read that book this summer. I hope it is as good as advertised. Thanks a million for putting the news out about its release.


    • #3
      Bill, how did you get an advance copy? Wes, what book in particular are you referring to concerning the 1956 and 1957 Yankees? Thanks.
      Last edited by 3rdGenCub; 02-10-2019, 10:34 PM.


      • #4
        Originally posted by 3rdGenCub View Post
        Bill, how did you get an advance copy? Wes, what book in particular are you referring to concerning the 1956 and 1957 Yankees? Thanks.
        It was called "A Season In The Sun" and was about the 1956 season. I previously read a book about the Yankees, Dodgers, and Giants from the 1940's to 1957, and I think it was written by Roger Kahn.


        • #5
          3rdGenCub: Sorry to respond so late. I got my review copy from NetGalley:
          After you sign up, you can select from different books, but it is up to the publisher to approve the release of an e-copy, which you will have one to two months to review before the loan expires. I use Adobe Digital Editions to read the book, but I think they may allow other software.


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