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Kiss It Good-Bye: The Mystery, The Mormon, and the Moral of the 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates Hardcover – March 3, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

Review

In baseball, you never know. But I know Vern Law was a darn good pitcher. This is the honest truth why Pittsburgh beat us in that 60 Series. --Yogi Berra<br /><br />It's an amazing story...[with] many life lessons. --Fox News<br /><br />The 1960 Pirates were one of the great underdog stories of the century. John Moody's book brought back memories for me. Kiss It Good-bye is as close as you can get to being in the Pirate dugout with Murtaugh, Clemente, Vern Law and the rest of that great team. --Bill Mazeroski

Kiss It Good-Bye is a valentine not only to that dramatic game [1960 s World Series] but also to a memorable summer of baseball and a sweet season in life. . . . Mr. Moody is on something of a mission, as suggested by his subtitle: The Mystery, the Mormon and the Moral of the 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates.; He adored the Pirates as a boy . . . The pitcher [Vernon Law] in 1960 posted a 20-9 record (with 18 complete games!) and won the National League Cy Young award. The next year Mr. Law went 3-4 with one complete game, and it would be four years before he enjoyed another stand-out season. It turns out that Mr. Law, a Mormon whose staid demeanor had earned him the nickname - the Deacon,; was injured during the celebration after the Pirates clinched the National League pennant in 1960. Precisely how the injury happened we'll leave to Mr. Moody to reveal, but the pitcher's hampered condition makes his two World Series wins against the Yankees all the more impressive. --Wall Street Journal

The 1960 Pirates were one of the great underdog stories of the century. John Moody's book brought back memories for me. Kiss It Good-bye is as close as you can get to being in the Pirate dugout with Murtaugh, Clemente, Vern Law and the rest of that great team. --Bill Mazeroski

About the Author

Not content to hang around suburban Pittsburgh forever, John Moody lived and worked in New York, Moscow, Paris, Bonn, Warsaw, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Rome, among other places. He helped start the Fox News Channel and now works for its parent company, News Corporation. He co-wrote The Priest Who Had to Die, and is the author of Moscow Magician, a novel, and Pope John Paul II, a biography. After all his world travels, he's still proud to come from Pittsburgh.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 350 pages
  • Publisher: Shadow Mountain; n edition (March 3, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1606411497
  • ISBN-13: 978-1606411490
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 6.1 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,032,526 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Ronnie on March 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Kiss It Good Bye is a great story that kept me on the edge of my seat. It was also a nice trip back to the America of the 1960's, my boyhood years. The author is a wonderful writer and story teller. I knew a little about Vern Law and enjoyed the background information about his growing up years in Idaho and how he picked the Pirates as the team to play for right out of High School. I also loved feeling the emotion the Pittsburg fans must have felt going up against the Goliath Yankees in the World Series. It had been the Dodgers against the Yankees for me. I wouldn't have thought it possible to enjoy a baseball book based on one player, one team, and for the most part one season and one game. But I did! For me it was a home run.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Literati Lexicon on March 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I read this book as an advance copy from the publisher. I'm not a huge baseball fan, but I do love the game. I generally don't read books about baseball for that reason. I found this one interesting because it covered the lives of two men in the same city at the same time - one a star Pirates player (Vern Law) and the other just a fan of the game (the author). The history of the city of Pittsburgh was kind of fun to read too. All of this happened way before my time,but I really enjoyed it because it was so much more than just another sports book. There is a moral contained in here about doing the right thing and rising above the average. I think there is a bigger take away then just another recounting of a very famous game a long time ago. Overall, very enjoyable!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By chicagocubsfanSLC on March 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I received an advance copy of the book and was skeptical because I'm not a Pirates fan. But after starting the book I really got into the story. The Pirates were one messed up baseball organization and to read about their turnaround and dramatic World Series win turned out to be really interesting.
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11 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Tom Lawry on April 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Boy was I excited when I saw this reviewed in the Wall Street Journal. A Pirate fan from 66 through about 92, I was eager to read about the storied 60 season. It did not take long for me to be disappointed. The first few chapters had more to do with the Mormon religion than the Pittsburgh Pirates. Not only that, but there was a political rather than a sporting focus. Digs at the ACLU and PETA, comments extolling physical punishment of children...the book was a hagiography of Vernon Law and his values. Not even that much about Law the pitcher, although he was more of a focus in the book than the Pirate team. I gave this Book two stars because it is well written and covers the 60 Series pretty well, I was more ready to give it zero stars after the first 100 pages. There is almost nothing written about the 60 pennant race, and nothing to speak of about the MVP, Dick Groat. Most egregious, the writer calls Clemente "arrogant" three times, and cowardly twice! He says that the book on Clemente was to brush him back and then he would bail out....unless of course Vernon Law protected him. Maybe in 60, but in the late 60's when I saw Clemente brushing him back meant the next pitch was going to be rifled off the right center field fence. Overall, I enjoyed the account of the 60 series, but felt pretty ripped off by the rest of the book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By D. Bell on April 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you like baseball, you will enjoy reading this book. It is a throw-back to the genuine days of baseball. If you were a kid in the 60's this is a fun walk down memory lane. If you played baseball, especially beyond little league and high school, you will love this book. It reminds of how close a team can become and how the essence of winning is teamwork. It also portrays the behind-the-scenes life that exists grinding through 6 months of playing 6 games per week. This is a bitter-sweet story, especially knowing (for me, for the first time) what happened to Vernon Law. One year he was "Lights Out" and the next, just average, never to be great again. It's an age old story of our sports heroes. But the gem that you come away with after reading the story is how a genuinely good soul handles adversity. It was inspiring to me. The author does dwell a little too much (even to a fault) on the spoiled players of today. It took a little off the shine that otherwise this story is. Enjoy a good baseball book.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Terry J. Amdur on July 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Found the book disappointing. Really wasn't particularly interested in a treatise on the Morman religion, which took up a substantial portion of the book.

Also found several errors which are inexcusable. Dale Long did not hit pinch hit home runs in eight consecutive games, the center field wall was 457 feet from home plate, not 467 feet, Joe Adcock did not ruin Harvey Haddick's perfect game with a home run, but rather a double, and the claim that the Pirates were able to draft Roberto Clemente from the Dodger's Montreal farm team because the Dodgers were unaware of his talent is ridiculous. The Dodgers tried to hide Clemente in Montreal, going so far as to pinch hit for him in the first inning with the bases loaded.

Some people should keep the memories of their youth to themselves.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C. Saunders on September 24, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I am giving this one star for one BIG reason., John Moody is someone who has been employed in the media his entire life, yet he writes a book that I find is filled with errors, incredibly bad opinions and facts that should not come from someone who is allegedly trained in journalism. I was a journalism major and to read some of his blunders makes me choke. And he went to Cornell! An IVY league school too! One would think his education would have held him to the highest standards. Hell, I didn't get a journalism degree from an ivy league school but I would NEVER write anything without making sure all my facts were straight.

He says Dale Long hit 8 pinch hit homeruns in a row. NOT TRUE! He hit homeruns in 8 straight games setting a major league record that was later tied by Don Mattingly and Griffey Jr.

He says on page 277 (I think that is the page...if not it is pretty close) that Mickey Mantle was "only then beginning to display his mastery of the game" by the 1960 world series. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!?! By 1960 he had won a triple crown, two MVP's and THREE homerun titles! Wow!

He calls Roberto Clemente's basket catch "arrogant" (where the hell does he come up with that from?). I suppose that means Willie Mays was also "arrogant"?

And he claims he is going to reveal the "true" reason Vern Law got hurt. Heck, I had already read elsewhere that Bob Prince, the Bucco broadcaster, was responsible for this injury along with a group of other players during a post-game celebration.

In addition, he keeps referring to Gino Cimolli as the Latin Lover. Fer crying out loud, he was ITALIAN!

Plus, I did not enjoy reading the first 60 pages which were more focused on explaining what Mormonism was about.
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