I have mentioned a number of baseball books throughout the past year in the Dugout Dirt column.
Here’s a few more books especially for those last minute holiday shoppers.
In October, Reggie Jackson published his memoir, Becoming Mr. October, through Doubleday Books. While Jackson’s memoir is soul-baring, brutally candid, and richly eventful, what is really does is bring in focus on two seasons in particular: 1977 and 1978. These are the two seasons in which the eventual Hall of Famer would become a Yankees legend.
After playing ten seasons for the Kansas City and Oakland Athletics, where he won two consecutive World Series championships, Jackson decided to become a free agent after the A’s traded him to the Baltimore Orioles.
George Steinbrenner and the New York Yankees did what the Yankees do best: they wooed him with big money. The Yankees needed someone like Jackson. After all, they had yet to win a World Series since 1962.
“I didn’t know what alone meant,” Mr. October says of his initial experience with the Yankees.
Moreover, Yankees manager Billy Martin didn’t want Jackson and let him know it–in front of the team. Tired of Martin, Jackson talked to his father about quitting. Thankfully for baseball, he didn’t quit. Reggie vowed to persevere and overcome Martin’s sociopathic hatred with pride, work ethic, and talent. In doing so, he won over his teammates and the fans.
What this book is, at its very heart, a self-portrait of a baseball icon at the height of fame and anguish. Jackson fills his memoir with anecdotes and bluntly honest portrayals.
The second book here is the epic biography of Boston Red Sox icon Ted Williams by Ben Bradlee, Jr. The Kid: The Immortal Life of Ted Williams released this month from Little, Brown and Co.
Williams wrote his own memoir, and then some but he is deserving of the comprehensive biographical treatment that Bradlee gave him.
Until Bradlee told Williams’ story, there was some part’s of Williams life that had remained untold. Not anymore. Bradlee bases this book on research that included exclusive access to Ted’s private papers, journals, photos, letters, family tape recordings and videos, and well over 600 interviews of teammates, associates, friends, etc. Some are talking about Williams for the first time in an interview setting. Because of this, The Kid is the most complete, revealing, and conclusive look at the Red Sox legend.
Ten years in the works, Bradlee looks at every aspect and angle of Ted’s life, including a private life that was filled with conflict, turmoil, and rage. Years from now, when people want to read a book on Williams, it will be this book.