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Hammerin' Hank, George Almighty and the Say Hey Kid Paperback – April 1, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
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About the Author
Visit him at www.johnorosengren.net
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Top Customer Reviews
There have been a run of books in the past several years by authors celebrating individual baseball seasons: 1964 and 1949 (David Halberstam), 1975 and 1966 (Tom Adelman), 1908 (Cait Murphy); each one has a hook about what makes that year special. John Rosengren's concept for 1973 is that it's a transition year for baseball, a year of firsts and lasts: the first year of the designated hitter, and the first year of George Steinbrenner's ownership of the Yankees; the last year of Willie Mays' career and the first year of Reggie Jackson's superstardom. It was also the year Hank Aaron did not break Babe Ruth's all-time home run record, but any book with Aaron on the cover is likely to do well this year, thanks to Barry Bonds-inspired backlash.
"Hammerin' Hank" is an easy read, as chapters alternate between the book's five principal characters: Willie, Reggie, Hank, George, and Orlando Cepeda (the first great DH in his last great season). Interesting that all the players involved are minorities: three essentially winding up their careers, and one just beginning. Much attention is paid to the AL West and NL East division races, all three playoff series and the All-Star game. As with ...Read more ›
admiration of any historian, but it's the vivid, engaging writing that makes "Hammerin Hank..." such an appealing read. For fans who remember the 1973 season, and those who weren't even born yet, this book paints a picture with details and a story that live up to the title's hype. The effects of many of the events from that season are still being felt today.
This was the year that George Steinbrenner took over the Yankees, and 35 years later the Boss, and now his son, continue to loom over the game. In the book, we read the type of Steinbrenner tale - him demanding that three Yankees get haircuts - that made him such an easy target, yet Rosengren also shows the lengths he'd go to to make the Yankees a winner, no matter the cost.
The DH went into effect in '73, and years before chicks dug the long ball, Rosengren shows how Oakland owner Charlie Finley pushed for more offense in the game, believing it would bring fans back. The DH rule led Carl Yazstremski to say, "It's legalized manslaughter," because pitchers no longer had to worry about suffering the consequences if they beaned an opposing hitter.
1973 was Willie Mays's final season. Today, whenever an older athlete struggles, it's almost become cliche to say that he should retire because we don't want to see him "stumbling around like Willie Mays." Rosengren details exactly what happened to the baseball legend, and how he struggled through his final days on the field.
The book tells the big stories, as well as the memorable smaller ones - like Gaylord Perry's spitball-throwing antics, and the tale of the two pitchers who switched lives, including wives.Read more ›
The Oakland A's, and there mercurial owner, Charlie O. Finley dominated the landscape in many ways. Finley, with his out of the box thinking, his boorish behavior and his control tendencies. But also, the team, which had future Hall of Famers Reggie Jackson, Catfish Hunter and Rollie Fingers, as well as many perennial all-stars, like Bert Campaneris, Sal Bando, Gene Tenace and Joe Rudi. They had colorful stars like Vida Blue and Blue Moon Odom rounding out a mini-dynasty.
But the season offered contrasts, and the sad diminishment of Willie Mays, one of the five greatest players in baseball history, was a huge one. Brought back to a city that loved him, but a manager, in Yogi Berra, who really did not want him, his level of performance was that of a journeyman. The World Series ended with Mays sitting on the bench, being bypassed as the Mets were down to their final out, for another journeyman.
The other big story of the season was the onset of the Designated Hitter. The author focuses on the requiem for Orlando Cepeda, yet it was a huge change for the game of baseball.
George Steinbrenner took over the Yankees, and for better or worse, baseball was changed forever.
The feature entree, however, was Hank Aaron's pursuit of the most hallowed of baseball's records. In this season, as Aaron sped toward history, he endured pressures and hatreds which were still very open in 1973. His was a very lonely journey, yet led with heroic dignity.
For the most part, a very well written chronicle of a bellweather time in our National Sport.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The year 1973 was well chronicled by John Rosengren and was interesting reading.Published 19 months ago by John McCarthy
well written. the author brings the excitement and reality of 1973 to those reading the book in 2014. You follow. Read morePublished on January 5, 2014 by Lovestoread
As someone who wrote a book on the 1973 season, Swinging '73, I read this book with a critical eye and knowing a lot about the events that went on that year. Read morePublished on November 21, 2013 by Matthew Silverman
This is a nicely readable trip down baseball's memory lane. Author John Rosengren focuses on three players (Hank Aaron, Willie Mays & Reggie Jackson) to present baseball circa... Read morePublished on August 30, 2011 by K.A.Goldberg
Basic rehash of the 1973 season, centered around the A's and Reggie Jackson, the Mets and Willie Mays, Hammerin' Hank and George Steinbrenner. Read morePublished on March 25, 2011 by Amazon Customer
Who knew so much was going on in baseball in 1973. Excellently written very informative.Published on January 18, 2009 by Gregory T. Mergens
Not many books can transport you back to your childhood, but Hammerin' Hank, George Almighty & the Say Hey Kid does just that, providing 'box seats' for an era of baseball and... Read morePublished on January 10, 2009 by S.W. Capps, Author of Salmon Run & Train in the Distance
A book covering the 1973 season, with the advent of the DH, Willie Mays retiring, etc. - this book will be appreciated by those growing up during this time - I dare say a little... Read morePublished on December 29, 2008 by Jeff Bullock