The latest and greatest in ESPN.com baseball guru Rob Neyer's
Big Book series, Legends is a highly entertaining guide to baseball fables that
have been handed down through generations.
The well-told baseball story has long been a staple for baseball fans. In Rob Neyer's Big Book of Baseball Legends, Neyer breathes new life into both classic and obscure stories throughout twentieth-century baseball -- stories that, while engaging on their own, also tell us fascinating things about their main characters and about the sport's incredibly rich history. With his signature style, Rob gets to the heart of every anecdote, working through the particulars with careful research drawn from a variety of primary sources. For each story, he asks: Did this really happen? Did it happen, sort of? Or was the story simply the wild invention of someone's imagination? Among the scores of legends Neyer questions and investigates...
• Did an errant Bob Feller pitch really destroy the career of a National League All-Star?
• Did Greg Maddux mean to give up a long blast to Jeff Bagwell?
• Was Fred Lynn the clutch player he thinks he was?
• Did Tommy Lasorda have a direct line to God?
• Did Negro Leaguer Gene Benson really knock Indians second baseman Johnny Berardino out of baseball and into General Hospital?
• Did Billy Martin really outplay Jackie Robinson every time they met?
• Oh, and what about Babe Ruth's "Called Shot"?
Rob checks each story, separates the truths from the myths, and places their fascinating characters into the larger historical context. Filled with insider lore and Neyer's sharp wit and insights, this is an exciting addition to a superb series and an essential read for true fans of our national pastime.
The title says it all: by compiling lists of players in a baseball"lineup" format, the author, an ESPN.com columnist, manages to catalogue the game's all-time greats--and all-time bums. In the process, he also creates a kind of capsule history of every major league team. The secret is in the categories: along with the"All-Time" bests of each club, the book also includes such lineups as All-Rookie, All-Defensive, All-Traded Away (players who became great after their original team got rid of them), and All-Bust (players who never came close to living up to the hype). And because not even diehard fans can live on lineups alone, Neyer has also packed his pages with little sidebar essays, ranging from analytical (in which he explains how he chose Mickey Mantle over Joe DiMaggio as All-Time Yankees center fielder) to eye-opening (in which Reggie Jackson tells how his ASU coach warned him that the New York Mets would shy away from drafting him because he had a white girlfriend) to puzzling (Neyer suggests that the Chicago Cubs should have kept Rafael Palmeiro instead of Mark Grace to play first base--on the same page that he lists Grace as the Cubs' All-Time first baseman). It may be a book of lineups, but these colorful sidebars supply most of the real conversation pieces. This volume wouldn't be nearly as hard to put down without them.