Baseball Toaster Bronx Banter
2003-12-02 13:48
by Alex Belth

I hit a couple of used bookstores in Middlebury, Vermont last weekend and came away with a few good items. The first shop must not have recovered from when I was there last spring, because they had zilch in the baseball section. Vexed, I found another shop that had three shelves full of just baseball books. Ohhhh, bacon. I didn't end up buying much on the count of I didn't have too much money to spend and I've already got a stack of books at home I haven't read yet.

Of course, I did pick up inexpensive copies of books I already have and love, so I can give them away as gifts. They include, "Here Me Talking to Ya," an incredible collection of interviews with jazz musicians compiled by Nat Hentoff, and "Life On The Run," Bill Bradley's fine account of a year-in-the-life of a professional basketball player.

But I did get a few baseball books of interest, including, "All Those Mornings," an autobiography by Washington Post scribe Shirely Povich; "Charlie O and The Angry A's," by Bill Libby; a nice, first edition copy of Curt Flood's autobiography (written with Richard Carter), "The Way It Is," and Maury Wills' autobiography, "On the Run," (written with Mike Celizic).

There was a book of letters exchanged by Joe and Phil Neikro during the 1987 season, that looked like fun and a couple of books by Charles Einstein on Willie Mays that I'd like to get to at some point too. But I chose the Wills book because I remember Bill James commenting on it in one of his books. So far, it hasn't been a disapointment. In the first fifty pages, Wills comes across as a true son-of-a-bitch. He tells the reader that he is a drug addict. One of thirteen children, and went on to have seven of his own. He was married while he was still in high school and he and his wife never got along. (He claims to have never seen his wife naked either.) Wills writes about what a lousy father he was, and how the woman he loved after he left his wife, slept with his son Bump. A loner on the Dodgers, he talks about being a bed-wetter until he was in his early '30s. Oh yeah, he also mentions that he single-handedly revolutionized the game of baseball. A sombitch, yes. Boring? No.

Comment status: comments have been closed. Baseball Toaster is now out of business.