Category Archives: Joe DiMaggio

SUMMER BEACH READING – BASEBALL (RECOMMENDATIONS)

My usual preference for casual reading is a good legal thriller written by authors like Michael Connelly or John Grisham – but I’m always looking for a good baseball read. Here are four selections that I found to be not only entertaining but revealing about the game and the men who have played it.

The very first book I read about baseball occurred during my teenage years. I remember that it opened my eyes to a side of baseball few were aware of and certainly no one was writing about.images-33 Jim Brosnan’s  The Long Season not only was a smash hit for a pedestrian relief pitcher but a vanguard approach to baseball writing later exploited by Jim Bouton and others. A easy quick and entertaining read.

The other three books are a bit deeper but are equally as entertaining.images-40images-34 Two of these are written by Jane Leavy, both are exhaustively researched and offer an intriguing look into two enigmatic baseball personalities – Mickey Mantle (left) and Sandy Koufax (right). Reviews of each book by The New York Times are here: Sandy Koufax and Mickey Mantle.

Perhaps the most disturbing but equally entertaining entry comes from Richard Ben Cramer joe-dimaggio2and his definitive biography of another baseball icon – Joe DiMaggio. What makes the book better than your normal biography though is how Cramer brings the reader directly into the times and culture of DiMaggio’s era. Here’s the N.Y. Times review.

Finally, to read these (or any other) book……..think about giving the free app  Overdrive a close look. You can link directly to your local library and download a book to your mobile device……..it works and it’s free. Download info Here.

 

PETE ROSE BELONGS IN THE HALL – IT’S SIMPLY A NUMBERS GAME

Putting Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame where he belongs is simply a recognition thof what he did on the playing field,  the numbers he put up, and the relentless zeal with which he played the game. The man has the most hits ever over a career for God’s sake! And besides, some of the greatest players in the game could also be a jerk at times by demonstrating questionable character. 

Ted Williams who is often credited with being the the best pure hitter to everted-williams-with-bats play the game once was fined $5000 (a princely sum in 1956) for – get this – for spitting on fans during a game in his own ballpark. He was also known as a loner and egomaniac who was certainly not the go-to guy in the clubhouse. Ted Williams is in the Baseball Hail of Fame.

Joe DiMaggio is also in the Hall of Fame. He’s also one of the surliest joe-dimaggio2men to ever don a Yankees uniform. His own teammates viewed him as “unapproachable”. But he did hit in 56 straight games so he is forgiven and everyone moves on. You can read more on his character in Richard Ben Cramer’s  definitive biography  Joe DiMaggio: The Hero’s Life.

And then of course there’s Ty Cobbty-cobb who is said to be one of the meanest – most vindictive  – players to ever have put on a pair of spikes. Those spikes high sliding into second – be damned if you’re in my way. He too is in the Hall of Fame.

For every Cal Ripken with no visible character flaws in the Hall, there’s a Joe DiMaggio with a tainted image. And for every Derek Jeter (a sure first ballot inductee), there’s a Ted Williams who never really apologized for his spitting episode. The Hall of Fame was built to house and honor the best who ever played the game. No one would ever suggest Pete Rose as a candidate for Sainthood. He doesn’t have to be a Saint……….all he has to be is one of the greatest to have ever played the game. At least, give him that.