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June 4, 2009 by Reader's Connection

Somewhere out there, there´s a really great book about the Chicago Cubs. I´m talking about a book that was published in the twenty-first century. I haven´t found it, though, and I´m unable to include it in this group of releases from the last six or seven months. You´ll have to live with the lopsided New-Yorkiness of this list. 


After Many a Summer: The Passing of the Giants and Dodgers and a Golden Age in New York Baseball by Robert MurphyAfter Many a Summer
 “I have never quite been reconciled to the Dodgers’ being taken from me,” admits freelance writer Murphy, who grew up within walking distance of Ebbets Field and still lives in Brooklyn. He is able to put his feelings aside, however, in this objective reappraisal of the sequence of events that led Walter O’Malley (who “[left] Brooklyn a rich man and a despised man”) to take his team to Los Angeles–while, at the other end of New York City, Giants owner Horace Stoneham was making his own plans to leave town. Murphy is particularly eager to restore the reputation of Robert Moses, who has been accused of squeezing the Dodgers out. The city planner did offer solutions that could have kept the team in Brooklyn, Murphy reports, but the sites where O’Malley wanted to build his own stadium weren’t zoned for that purpose. The Giants’ story, though it runs concurrently, is much less dramatic; Murphy’s most significant accomplishment lies in breaking down the nostalgic myths and sorting through the historical archives to get the real story behind the transformation of New York’s baseball landscape. — Publishers Weekly


Becoming Manny: Inside the Life of Baseball’s Most Enigmatic Slugger by Jean Rhodes
Becoming Manny Manny Ramirez has terrorized major-league pitchers since 1994, first with the Cleveland Indians, then with the Red Sox (where he played a starring role in their two World Series wins in 2004 and 2007). In 2008, in a contract dispute with the Red Sox, he pouted his way out of town and landed with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Ramirez is arguably the best hitter of his baseball generation, but his career has also been notable for indifferent fielding, mysterious ailments, and various confrontations with owners and players. Rhodes, a professor of psychology, and Boburg, a reporter, use interviews with Manny s teammates, family, coaches, and friends to flesh out the details of his life–especially the poor New York childhood dominated by his mother and sisters and the close relationship he maintains to this day with his Little League coach and mentor. This is an authorized biography, but it s not the whitewash one might expect. The authors don t dwell on Ramirez s shortcomings, but neither do they ignore them. On balance, an interesting biography of a baseball lightning rod. — Booklist


Chasing Moonlight: The True Story of Field of Dreams’ Doc Graham by Brett Friedlander and Robert Reising
Chasing MoonlightEven non-fans might remember him from Field of Dreams, the film version of W. P. Kinsella’s Shoeless Joe. Burt Lancaster, in his last feature film role, played the elderly (actually, deceased) ex-player who went on to become a beloved small-town doctor . . . Graham batted as high as .335 during his nine-year minor league career, retiring after the 1908 season to pursue his medical career. Graham never groused about the way things turned out. In Field of Dreams, Lancaster doesn’t want sympathy for his failed diamond career; the bigger pity, he said, would have been if he had only bee a doctor for a brief time. — ForeWord







 Babe Ruth: Remembering the Bambino in Stories, Photos & Memorabilia by Julia Ruth Stevens

Babe RuthCo-authored by Julia Ruth Stevens (Ruth’s adopted daughter) and versatile journalist Bill Gilbert, this volume basically avoids the Bambino’s legendary excesses, instead focusing on his humble Baltimore youth, his meteoric rise as home-run king, his iconic Yankee status, his role as baseball ombudsman, his life as a family man, and his eventual decline and widely mourned death. The archival photos, some rarely seen, are fabulous, dramatically capturing Ruth the ballplayer at various career stages but just as often portraying his lovable self with loved ones, friends and fans (especially the kids). The book includes captivating reproductions of Ruth memorabilia, including his birth certificate, player contracts, game tickets and programs, and a signed team photo of the famed 1927 Yankees ballclub. — BookPage


Theo-logyTheo-logy: How a Boy Wonder Led the Red Sox to the Promised Land by John Frascella

 A profile of the MLB’s youngest general manager addresses numerous questions surrounding his career from his rapid rise to high-level executive power, to his abrupt departure after the Sox’s triumphant 2005 season, to his surprise return in 2006, in an account that also offers insight into his cutting-edge business methods. — Baker & Taylor








Yankee Colors: The Glory Years of the Mantle Era by Al Silverman, photographs by Marvin Newman 

Yankee ColorsCovering the last years of the Yankees’ golden age, 1949 through 1964, former Sports Illustrated photographer Newman’s images, many shot in color before it was routine to do so, are transfixing. Whether capturing the players, the game, the locker room, or the fans, Newman’s details and nuance took sports photography to a new level and are also valuable as social documentation of an era that didn’t seemed so imbued with character at the time. Silverman’s (former editor, Sport magazine) considerable and heartfelt text is the perfect complement to the images. — Library Journal




Heart of the Game: Life, Death, and Mercy in Minor League America by S. L. Price  

Heart of the GameOn July 22, 2007, minor league baseball player Tino Sanchez Jr. hit a foul ball that struck his team’s recently hired first base coach, Mike Coolbaugh, at the precise point on the back of his neck to cut off blood to his brain, killing him instantly. Price builds upon the article he wrote for Sports Illustrated to flesh out the lives of Sanchez and Coolbaugh, two “lifers” who devoted everything to the sport and got only fleeting glimpses of the major leagues in return. Price leans a bit too hard on the melodrama at first, but this story doesn’t need a hard sell. As he gets into the ordinary, working-class struggles of his two subjects, the men become real, vibrant personalities–and the tragedy, when it finally comes, takes on all too human dimensions; Sanchez’s despair over the accident is as heartbreaking to read about as the anguish of Coolbaugh’s family. Price isn’t the first to argue that minor league baseball, bracketed off from the glitz and scandals of the big leagues, is where the game’s true emotional core can be found. But he’s found a story that makes a powerful case for that argument. — Publishers Weekly


Remembering Yankee Stadium: An Oral and Narrative History of “The House that Ruth Built” by Harvey Frommer 

Remembering Yankee StadiumFrommer provides a nostalgic, factually keen description of the formidable ball yard through its many baseball seasons, 1923 through 2008 (set to be replaced in 2009 by a new facility). He also interpolates hundreds of quotable quotes from dozens of ballplayers and managers (Yankees and otherwise), front-office executives, broadcasters, newspaper writers, team employees and even garden-variety fans, all of whom share their unique perspectives on the great games they witnessed and the specialness of the Yankee Stadium baseball experience. The photographs are even more gratifying: black-and-white and color stills stirringly evoke the Yankee legacy, from Ruth and Gehrig through Rodriguez and Rivera. The foreword is by longtime stadium PA announcer Bob Sheppard, a legend in his own right, who observed the Bronx Bombers firsthand for some 50 years, through good times and bad. — BookPage


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