15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on June 21, 2004
This is the only baseball book that I have read in every decade of my life, from the first. I'm 54, and I first read this book in 1959, with awe and rapture. It captures the flavor and the intensity of the experience of baseball before television as no other pages do and, as it happens, it tells the story of one of the transcendent moments of real baseball history. When Willie Mays was given an honorary degree at Yale this year, they specifically cited "the catch" fifty years ago as his most distinct single moment of on-field performance, for all that he was never less than a captivating performer. Hano's book is one to read and reread, with ever-renewed pleasure.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on August 21, 2004
This book captures what it is to be a fan better than anything else I've ever read. I often read this book in the Spring, to cleanse my mental palate of a long dreary Winter of football, basketball, the off-season noise of player contracts, and all else that is life without baseball actually on the field and in the stands. This book always does the trick. I once lost my copy (probably loaned it to someone who never returned it) and had to live without it for years until I found another used copy. Those were hard times. Now it's readily available and I can give it as a gift. Glory, glory, glory!
I know, this doesn't actually tell you about the book, but I'm too thrilled to bother with all that now. Just get it. I've never lent my copy to anyone without them coming back singing its praises...except for that mystery s.o.b who apparently liked it too much to return it.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on September 29, 2004
Did you ever wonder what it was like going to a game at the Polo Grounds? This is an inning by inning description of Game 1 of the 1954 series that covers getting to the park, who was sitting nearby, and of course the game itself. It is told from the view of a fan who knows and loves the game, but avoids windy philosophy and theory. It is especially grand to read in the depths of winter when baseball is either a memory or anticipated. I can't recommend it too highly.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on December 13, 2004
Although I was still 10 years away from being born when Mr Hano attended the first game of the 1954 World Series, I thoroughly enjoyed his telling of his experiences attending the game. As a baseball fan, I couldn't wait to get my hands on this book, and it doesn't disappoint. I could imagine myself being there.
The book is a classic and one I will read again. My ONLY disappointment with the book is that it ends so abruptly. The last out is made. He looks around for the lady in the red hat. She's gone and he mentions the fact that he never got a look at the face of the Cleveland fan and basically, that's it. Book over. I was hoping he would end the book with his getting home and speaking to his wife about the game, the way the book opened.
My other disappointment was in the afterword. I was pleasantly surprised that Mr. Hano is still living. He ran down the list of where are they now from the '54 Giants, which I enjoyed. I kept waiting for any other recollections he might have had about that game, the way baseball was then compared to now, etc. And I was also hoping he would mention what happened to his wife; if she's still living or not. But he did neither, but that's ok.
All in all, this book is one that will stay on my shelf for a good long time. Well worth the read!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 17, 2007
After Willie's unbelievable catch, I was born over a decade later. As a result, I never visited the Polo Grounds. Mr. Hano painted an awesome picture for me. It was awesome to read about baseball in that era.
I work part-time a local radio station, close to Yankee Stadium. After I read the book, I was able to contact Arnold. I wanted to interview him. I thought he would be too busy for me. He returned my call promptly! A week later, he agreed to do an interview. I was thrilled, I didn't want to go to sleep that night! I never performed an official interview before. This would be with an old-time baseball fan in NYC! One friday afternoon, we discussed the book in detail. Yes, we talked about Willie's catch, however, he emphasized to me he wrote the book as a fan. We discussed minute details such as: conversations with his wife the night before, bleacher fans in the Polo Grounds, Giant reserve player Joey Amalfitano taking batting practice swings that day, Dusty Rhodes pitch-hit HR to win the game, the Indian players during batting practice, intricacies of the Polo Grounds, the state of the game today, and his memories growing up with 3 ballclubs in the same city.
Speaking of living in the moment, Arnold was a pleasure to speak with.
This is not just another baseball book written in the 50's! A+ for Arnold!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on July 17, 2004
ARNOLD DOES A GREAT JOB DESCRIBING GAME 1 OF THE 1954 WORLD SERIES PLAYED IN THE POLO GROUNDS. READING THIS BOOK I CAN PICTURE VERY CLEARLY, THE EVENTS THAT TOOK PLACE THAT DAY. FROM THE TIME HE LEFT HIS HOUSE TO THE GAME ENDING HOMERUN, I WAS TOTALLY CAUGHT UP THIS DETAILED ACCOUNT OF "THE CATCH". HIS DESCRIPTION OF THE PEOPLE AROUND HIM, THE GAME ACTION, AND HIS THOUGHTS ARE PUT TOGETHER IN THIS GREAT READ. A MUST READ FOR ALL GIANT FANS AND BASEBALL HISTORIANS.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 15, 2012
I for one am grateful that way back in 1955 Arnold Hano wrote a book about the September 29, 1954, opening game of the World Series between the New York Giants and the Cleveland Indians -- played at the Polo Grounds, won by the Giants, 5-2. This book, like Daniel Okrent's Nine Innings (which came decades later), makes you feel as if you are there, in the seats, watching the game. Hano's book is much simpler and in some ways more enjoyable than Okrent's, because Hano is there as a fan, whereas Okrent is there as an observer. Hano is a very good writer, and that is no little part of enjoying this book: the observations, words, and phrases come at the reader as smoothly as a fastball. Hano also understands baseball and relays that understanding to the reader in the most casual yet most exciting ways. Not to be missed.
on June 4, 2012
"A Day in the Bleachers" is a richly detailed account of the First Game of the 1954 World Series twixt the New York Giants and Cleveland Indians. The game was played on September 28th at the hallowed Polo Grounds on 155th Street and Eight Avenue in New York on the Manhattan side of the Harlem River. Yankee Stadium and the Bronx were on the other shore. (When this reviewer was in the 6th grade, a helpful ball park cop explained the local geography to him).
To state that ADB is "detailed" is a substantial understatement. Author Hano's account is virtually encyclopedic. He must have had a photographic memory. There was no room in the crowded bleachers to take voluminous notes and if one spends too much time taking notes, there is no time to watch the game! And intently watch Hano did. Following are selected subjects of his poignant observations and descriptions:
> The pre game ticket line as hopeful fans patiently cue up to purchase bleacher seats. > The team pennants flying atop the old ball yard. (In those days, both Al and NL flags were arrayed according to league standings). > The "whooshing" sound the Giants fans made if the Indians failed to score in the top of an inning. > An aging Bob Feller-at the end of his Indians' career-painfully doing pre-game pushups. > Giants third sacker Hank Thompson snagging a Jim Hegan bounder and nipping the Indians catcher at first base.
There is more: Hano artfully describes the variances in swings by Giants right fielder Don Mueller: "Mandrake the Magician" had a short wrist snap swing and one with arms fully extended. We are mindfully informed that Giants shortstop Al Dark saved the game by keeping a ground ball to deep shortstop from rolling to the outfield. The Indians Larry Doby never scored what would have been the winning run. How many noticed? Hano even turns the purchase of a beer can into a nice vignette.
This reviewer cannot resist carping at some factual glitches: No one called the Cardinals veteran second sacker by his given name, "Al". It was always "Red" Schoendienst! The hero of Game 1, the late James Lamar "Dusty" Rhodes of Matthews, Alabama actually played with the Giants in San Francisco for 54 games in 1959. He was not "left behind", though he was optioned to the minors (Phoenix or Tucson) in 1958. And the author is way off base in inaccurately dragging in General George Patton's famous rain prayer during the Battle of the Bulge. That story had no place in the text.
Should ADB be reprinted, it would be nice to update the lives of a few more of the players on either team. And a Box Score would be a fitting augmentation.
The bottom line is that "A Day in the Bleachers" is a wonderful baseball treat. For fans "of a certain age", such as this reviewer's, is it virtually required reading. It contains far more tidbits and morsels than described here. It is fun to read and only a churl would object to the occasional digressions and over-analyses. They simply are not making any more stories like this. Sadly, writers who remember the golden age of baseball as described herein are fading from the scene. Let's enjoy while we still can.
On the subject of tidbits and morsels, the author includes this one from those halcyon days:
"Say Hey Willie; Say Hey Willie Mays;
Say Hey Willie; How do you make them plays?
Say Hey Willie; Runnin' outta your hat;
Say Hey Willie; Whatcha mean by that"?
on December 29, 2014
This book's appeal is probably the strongest among older baseball fans who remember some of the players from the mid 1950s, like Willie Mays, Alvin Dark, Sal Maglie, Al Rosen and Bob Lemon. The format of the book is simple. In 1954 the author attended the opening game of the World Series between the New York Giants and the Cleveland Indians in the Polo Grounds in New York. He sat in the bleachers that day and then wrote a detailed account of his experience.
The result is an interesting volume about baseball and life. Hano, an editor, mystery writer and baseball historian, exhibits tremendous knowledge of the game and the players of the era as well as observations on the attitudes and values of his fellow fans in the bleachers. The game was an exciting one, highlighted by Willie Mays' famous catch of a drive to deep center field by the Indians' Vic Wertz. Hano puts the catch in perspective and goes on to detail the dramatic later innings of the game. The book also serves as a wonderful social and cultural document of American life in the mid fifties. As someone who has written about sports in the 1950s (Hoop Crazy: College Basketball in the 1950s), I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the history of baseball or American life a half century ago.
on October 19, 2013
Very good book written from the perspective of a Giants fan sitting in the bleachers on the day of Willie Mays' historic catch of Vic Wertz's smash. Enjoyable reading by the author describing the day's events of that World Series game. From the time he walks up to the ticket counter to buy his World Series ticket to the end of the game. In between very interesting read in how he describes the mood of the game, the fans, the players, and the game itself. Highly recommend the very detailed and insightful description of a very historic game.