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Catcher: How the Man Behind the Plate Became an American Folk Hero Paperback – September 16, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Nobody is better at recapturing how and why Americans played baseball. (History News Network)
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Top Customer Reviews
Catcher is no exception. It's a romantic voyage through the transformations the position experienced over the years. I've learned about catchers I didn't knew, men like Nat Hicks, Alamazoo Johnson and so on. I've learn more about Jim White, Charley Bennett and all the other 19th century backstops.
The only drawback of an however very good book is that Morris spent too much ink about the relation of the catcher and old time American heroes like Daniel Boone and Ulysse Grant. True, they share some common grounds, but going over that relation over and over again finally gets one tired of it.
Morris best book, in fact one of best baseball books ever written, is "But didn't we have fun?". I cannot urge you to buy a baseball book more.
Nonetheless, I recommend this fine work to all students of the game, and to those who wants to learn more about baseball's transformation from a new professional game to the economic powerhouse of the 20's
It's not a glamorous job by any means. However, the value of a good catcher can't be overstated. If their team frequently wins, it's usually because they were superior in their job description; and probably could hit as well. Witness the three Most Valuable Player Awards gathered by both Yogi Berra and Roy Campanella; long-time World Series rivals in the '50s. Certainly, both teams had their share of superstars, but it's unlikely either team would've made it to many World Series engagements without the engaging, dynamic forces behind the plate.
Any catcher tough enough to stick it out for longer than ten years is considered a war hero. A guy like Carlton Fisk, who hit one of the most memorable home runs in history during the '75 World Series, played over 20 years in the game's most demanding position, and he made it look easy; it was anything but easy. Just ask Ray Fosse, the former All-Star catcher for Cleveland. His career was essentially terminated during an exhibition game---the 1970 All-Star game---but to the player who slammed into him at home plate, Pete Rose, losing wasn't an option.
Throughout baseball history, the great catchers were not only terrific field generals, some were innovators; advancing the game with new and more sophisticated equipment.Read more ›
Morris is incredibly repetitious. His central insight, that the Catcher came to embody the traits of traditionally defined heroism theretofore reserved for Daniel Boone pioneering is a fascinating one. With the rise of cities and professions therein which involved making a living in increasingly NON physical, abstract ways, the desire arose to find a vessel and model for heroism in postbellum America. This admiration for catchers, and for athletes more generally, became even more widely accepted when the intellectual requirements of the position became clear. There you have it. That's really the meat of the book. Then there are several hundred pages of support.
What I found most interesting about Morris's thesis is really that it helped answer a personal query I'd been considering. I've been reading quite a number of baseball books recently, mostly about players from around 1930-1960. I'd noticed that so many of these books, quite absurdly, have similar titles or subtitles: The Last Hero: A Life Of Henry Aaron, Willie Mays: The Life The Legend, Hank Greenberg: Hero of Heroes, Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball's Last Hero, Mickey Mantle: The Last Boy, The End of America's Childhood, etc. So many titles about heroism and the end of something.
After reading Morris's book, I began to understand why: in post WWI America, baseball became a stage upon which the heroism reserved for war and geographic expansion played out far more safely and clearly.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Got this book for my dad for Father's Day. My great-great-grandfather was a catcher for the Philadelphia Athletics in the 1800's and was mentioned several times in the book. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Carolyn A. Lohkemper
This book was not what I expected, which is my fault for not doing my research for getting the book. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Reid Mccormick
As an ex-catcher and the son of an ex-catcher, when I saw this in the book store I had to buy it. The first 50-75 pages were fascinating; a wonderful history of the beginning of... Read morePublished on December 1, 2013 by PIA