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Mickey and Willie: Mantle and Mays, the Parallel Lives of Baseball's Golden Age Hardcover – May 14, 2013
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Top Customer Reviews
All the key events of their careers are included in this book: Willie Mays' catch in the 1954 World Series, Mickey Mantle's catch in the 1956 World Series to save Don Larsen's perfect game, the continued years of leading the leagues as the greatest hitters from 1954-1962, Willie Mays' great All Star games, Mickey Mantle's great World Series games, including the 1962 World Series when they played each other (which wasn't so great for either of them).
However, if you are looking for books on their careers, I would turn elsewhere, e.g. Willie Mays, the Life and Legend by James Hirsch (refenced in this book a number of times) and The Last Boy by Jane Leavy (the most recent book about Mickey Mantle although The Mick and Mickey Mantle, My Favorite Summer - 1956 are also great but hard to find now.) These books do more justice to each individual and don't go back and forth in such a way that it can get somewhat confusing at times.
What is good about this book is the relating of the times that they interacted: the barnstorming tours, Willie Mays All Stars vs. Mickey Mantle All Stars, and especially the Home Run Derby episode in 1960 which the author goes into in much detail (those were great episodes). Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle became close friends and colleagues due to similar experiences and careers and this book highlights that. If you are interested in that, I do recommend this book for you.
What is not good about this book, is the tendency of the author to make the book about himself and not these two baseball greats.Read more ›
Allen Barra beats a reader over the head with the fact that he is a professional writer while others are nursing a sixpack and working on a second bag of Doritos in front of a Yankees - Twins game at a neighborhood bar. He makes sure you know that he gets to go to baseball games on an expense account, while you get to shlep on the D train back up to the Bronx or Brooklyn or wherever it is you park yourself after your night shift at the city morgue. Today people like this are called solipsistic, a fancy word for a know it all. What Allen Barra does is to make himself the story and substitute our interest in the life and times of Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays for an interest in his life. It's not an attractive quality.
What's more, some of the writing is clearly misinformation. Case in point: "who cared about Dick Groat or Brooks Robinson" in a bubble gum pack. Short answer: lots of people. We'll leave out Dick Groat's All American status at Duke University, and just say that Dick Groat took every team he played on either to or near the World Series, and around 1966, when Frank Robinson went to the Baltimore Orioles from the Cincinnati Reds, his teammate Brooks Robinson was, without argument, the best third baseman on the planet. Even today, the 1970 World Series is still known as the Brooks Robinson World Series. So who cared about Brooks Robinson? Everybody.
Perhaps even more unforgivable, the author awards the first two games of the 1955 World Series to the Brooklyn Dodgers. Actually, the Dodgers lost both of those games, but came back to sweep the Yankees three games to none at Ebbets Field.Read more ›
To that reviewer, this book is not about the three centerfielders but the two biggest players to don the hot baggy uniform. To my knowledge there has never been a book about the "other" "M & M boys", Mantle and Mays; their beginnings, as similar. Strong family and community support for their dream.
What is very refreshing and soothing to this fan, is the author's very fair approach to statistics. he is the first published writer I recall who *ever* wrote that Mickey had a very good season in 1966, during that "down" period when most writers lump that year together with 1965, that nightmare for Mantle-Yankee fans (in my opinion, far worse than the following year when they finished at the bottom). He looks at 1967-68 and notices that Mickey played full seasons and did very well at first base - plus hit a decent amount of round trippers.
Further, he engages the under-used on-base average and notices that for both players, even in their "declining" years, they still got on base.
Although Barra seems to provide more coverage to the Mick than to the Say Hey Kid, his comments about many small details about May's career, i.e., Mays' losing the MVP to Maury Wills in 1962 ring very true, I think, for most fans and historians. maury stole 130 bases. great. Willie led his team to the Series and although I don't have the number at hand, the outfielder probably scored at least as many runs. The author adroitly points out another terrible disappointment for May's fans, in that, in 1965, the Giants did not win the pennant, and so Mays' incredible MVP year lost a lot of lustre.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It's hard to believe this guy is a published author. His writing style is weak and uninteresting. I did not enjoy his writing and I do not suggest you spend money on this author.Published 6 months ago by kiddo
As a sports fan in my late seventies, I fould that I learned a lot about both men, particularly Mays. A good read for older baseball fans....Published 7 months ago by billmac mexico
Mickey & Willie by Allen Barrra was an incredibly interesting read and I truly enjoyed reading about these two great of baseball; history. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Amazon Customer
A Mickey and Willie fan. Happy with book. Was delivered rapidly and as described.Published 11 months ago by Yankee fan
Seemingly inspired by Plutarch's Parallel Lives, Allen Barra has endeavored to write a juxtapositional biography of Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays, the two biggest stars,... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Brian Brockmeyer