November 22, 2008

Book Review: 101 Reasons To Love The Red Sox

If you are looking for a good introductory book for a young Red Sox fan, check out David Green's 101 Reasons To Love The Red Sox. Green grew up in North Carolina and fell in love with the Red Sox as an eight-year-old in 1967.

Each of his reasons gets at least a few sentences -- some are a full page -- and often a photo, which are very well chosen. There are excellent shots of the Royal Rooters (#9), 1915-16 manager Bill Carrigan (#28), the Red Seat (#49) and Bill Lee (#71).

There is succinct information on Smoky Joe Wood (#17), the great Red Sox outfield of the mid-1910s: Duffy Lewis (#19), Tris Speaker (#21), and Harry Hooper (#20), Babe Ruth's pitching performances (#29), and Jimmie Foxx (#45). In the entry on Harry Frazee (#31), proper weight is given to management's battles with Ruth.

However, there are obvious errors in the book. Green repeats the incorrect tidbit that Mickey Mantle went 1-for-63 with 47 strikeouts against Dick "The Monster" Radatz (#64). In truth, Mantle was 3-for-16 with 12 whiffs.

Also, in the entry for Game 6 of the 1975 World Series (#75), Green states pinch-hitter Bernie Carbo hit the second pitch he saw for a game-tying home run. It was the fifth pitch; indeed, it was Carbo's horrifically bad swing on the fourth pitch, for strike two, that made his homer to dead center less than a minute later so amazing. With resources like Baseball Reference and Retrosheet available to everyone, there is no excuse for these kinds of mistakes.

Some of the 101 reasons are simply strange: the Curse (#34), the city of Boston itself (#35) and sitcom character Mayday Malone (#87). These choices, among others, make the book feel padded, as though Green had to stretch to come up with enough selling points. But since many individual achievements are among his reasons for rooting, like Roger Clemens's two 20-K games (#83) and Bill Mueller's two grand slam night in 2003 (#94), Green should have used more of those.

Pedro Martinez's 9-1-1-0-17 night in Yankee Stadium on September 10, 1999 or Johnny Damon hitting a single, double and triple in the first inning on June 27, 2003 are obvious possibilities. Digging up a rare gem from the team's dark ages of 1922-33 would have been an unexpected touch.

Green also includes 10 quick reasons to hate the Yankees, claiming that "no one is loathed more in Red Sox Nation" than George Steinbrenner. I do not agree with that assertion. (Green also says the 1978 Dent game denied the Red Sox "a berth in the World Series".)

The book is part of an on-going series. In addition to the Red Sox, Green has written books on the Cubs, Mets, Tigers and Giants. His older brother Ron has written about the Yankees, Cardinals, Phillies, Dodgers, and Braves.

I was sent a copy of the 2005 hard cover with Ted Williams (#47) on the cover. An updated edition is available with David Ortiz (#99) on the front.

***

CONTEST: I have an extra copy of this book (TSW edition) to give away. To enter, send me an email with your name and address, with "101 Reasons" (or something like that) in the subject line. I'll accept entries for three days -- until Tuesday at 7 PM. On Wednesday, I'll pick a name from the hat.

17 comments:

L-girl said...

"no one is loathed more in Red Sox Nation" than George Steinbrenner.

Heh. I know who I'm nominating...

(Green also says the 1978 Dent game denied the Red Sox "a berth in the World Series".)

Ouch. There's no excuse for that!

Sounds like a nice book for a kid, as you said. Or for someone who has to own everything with the words Red Sox on it.

FenFan said...

Digging up a rare gem from the team's dark ages of 1922-33 would have been an unexpected touch.

How about George Burn's unassisted triple play on 14 September 1923 versus Cleveland? One of two in Red Sox history (John Valentin in 1994).

What's more amazing is that he was the first baseman for Boston so, with runners on first and second, he caught a line drive, stepped on first, and then raced to second to beat the runner to the bag. I believe that he's the only first baseman in MLB history to turn this rare gem.

andy said...

Allan you should write the exact same book. You can title a book the same as another right? His would look like a cheap knock-off compared to yours.

redsock said...

That's very nice to hear, Andy.

That is a problem with these types of books, like a "Greatest 50 Games of All Time" book. Generally, the writers/publishers will go for the obvious choices and there are very few surprises. I would imagine most of the $$$ has to go for picture rights and not to the writer.

This book does have a few nice surprises in it -- mostly on the 1910s, though. Never hurts to have fans know about those guys.

9casey said...

redsock said...
That's very nice to hear, Andy.

That is a problem with these types of books, like a "Greatest 50 Games of All Time" book.



Know the problem with these books is , I always felt I could finish them in the bookstore so why bother buying it, it's more likely the gift I would recieve from my sister-in-law because she has know idea what to get me so it is always something to do with the Red Sox, not trying to dog the book , just never thought they were actually books, more like long lists with pictures........

redsock said...

Heh. I know who I'm nominating...

There's a few, actually!

accudart said...

What kind of hat and what firm will certify the drawing?

redsock said...

what firm will certify the drawing?

Yo mama.

Zenslinger said...

June 27, 2003:

Wow, thanks for the link. Insane game.

Carl Pavano started for the Marlins and Byung-hyun Kim for us. The final score was 25-8.

We knocked out two of their pitchers before they got a single out and scored 14 in the first inning.

And the Marlins...went on to win the WS?

L-girl said...

just never thought they were actually books, more like long lists with pictures........

Yeah, and there's a million of them, about every imaginable topic. People love list books. The 50 best this, the 100 best that.

Ish said...

See American Top 40.

I'd go as far as a top 5 list of something, similar to High Fidelity.

I once made a Top 37 most-fun song list a couple years ago. Started as a 25 but I couldn't just leave the other 12 songs out.

redsock said...

Then we can make lists of our favourite lists: the Top 5 Best Top 20 Albums lists.

Ish said...

Nobody ever writes a bottom list. My bottom 5 all-time most fun songs.

Anything country music. That should cover it.

redsock said...

Nobody ever writes a bottom list. My bottom 5 all-time most fun songs.

Would that be a most hated list? Because we've done that. I have known L's "most hated" song for years and years. Actually, I think I know her bottom 2.

L-girl said...

Then you get musicians to do music lists, writers to do lists of books... It's the story that writes itself.

Joe Grav said...

Bottom 5 boston sports media personalities...

James said...

I remember flipping through the first edition to this when I worked at a Barnes and Noble. Even then, I wasn't impressed.

Although the city of Boston is a pretty damn good reason to like the Red Sox, in my opinion. It's made me get over some of my venom towards BC football, at least.