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Nice Guys Finish Last Paperback – September 8, 2009

4.7 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

 “The delight of the book is its exuberance, its sense of a life lived at full tilt. . . . Durocher is a first-class raconteur.”

(Joe Flaherty New York Times Book Review)

“Hypnotic. . . . Durocher fought and scratched and made enough enemies so that one season he was expelled from baseball ‘for conduct detrimental to the game.’”--Esquire

(Roger Kahn Esquire)

“Mr. Durocher has somehow managed to be involved with more than his fair share of baseball’s mythic moments and situations. . . . This is Leo Durocher talking straight as a low line drive, not Leo Durocher ghosted up for Little Leaguers to hero-worship and copy. . . . If certain reputations lose out, the color and magic of baseball's past comes out a winner.”--New York Times

(Christopher Lehmann-Haupt New York Times)

"A 'must read' for anyone who loves sports. . . . He brings to life with Dickensian relish a whole raft of figures—Ruth, Dizzy Dean, Ducky Medwick, Mays, Branch Rickey."—Publishers Weekly
(Publishers Weekly)

"If you love the old baseball stories . . . if you like the romance and swagger and tough talk of bnaseball in the pre-corporate skybox era, this is fun. Especially if you skip the stuff about the Cubs."
(Joe Distelheim Hardball Times)

About the Author

Leo Durocher (1905–91) spent nearly fifty years in the major leagues as a player and manager. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1994. Ed Linn (1922–2000) was the author of seventeen books, including Veeck--As in Wreck.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 456 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press (September 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226173887
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226173887
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #315,306 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jason A. Miller VINE VOICE on July 4, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Usually considered to be one of the best baseball autobiographies ever written (by that small subset of us who actually consider the quality of such books), "Nice Guys Finish Last" is a terrific window onto 50 years of baseball history.
Leo Durocher began his career riding the bench in the shadow of Babe Ruth, and ended it as the manager of the glorious 1973 Houston Astros, led by their star outfielder Cesar Cedeno (and we all know what happened to him...). In between such humble beginnings and endings, however, Durocher was there for just about every pivotal moment in baseball history. Rest assured he has opinions on all of them. And he wants to set the record straight.
"Nice Guys Finish Last" is densely packed, full of satisfying venom, and leaves no stone -- or vendetta -- unturned. Whether or not the reader believes all of what Leo is saying is less important than the fact that this is a must read for anyone interested in baseball's previous generations.
They don't make managers like Durocher anymore, and, sad to say, there will be very few baseball autobiographies quite like this in the years to come.
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Format: Hardcover
Leo Durocher has a story to tell you and you'd better listen because he doesn't care to repeat himself. At least that is the tone I got from reading his autobiography. He hits the ground arguing and never lets up. In the process, we get a good look at a career that spans Ty Cobb to Cesar Cedeno with plenty in between. This book is a must for Baseball history buffs. As a matter of fact, I think it helps if you ARE a Baseball history buff because you might know more about a number of the controversies that Durocher talks about. I was not familiar with a lot of the controversies he wrote about. However, that didn't detract from the book but neither did it add to my enjoyment of it. You come to understand early on that it is not coincidental that Durocher encountered so many controversies in his career. These include controversies surrounding his relationships with his players, his general managers, his owners, the umpires, his real or alleged off-field associations, as well as with various Baseball Commissioners. There is even a controvery or two surrounding his wives although, in fairness, it has more to do with their relationships with their former spouses than with him. In that regard, this is not a "kiss and tell" book. It's more a "now that you've heard everybody else's version, here's my side of the story" book. That's the problem with this book. Although Durocher acknowledges occassional short-comings, he seems to always be "set-up" by others to look like the bad guy. After a few dozen of his "corrections of the record" you come away feeling that this man may have had a hard time with the facts.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Read this book years ago, lent it to a friend, never got it back. Wanted to read it again and that gave me an excuse to buy a Kindle too. It's a great baseball history from the point of view of one of baseball's greatest managers. Lots of anecdotes about many of baseball's greatest players, from Babe Ruth to Jackie Robinson and Willie Mays. Durocher knew them all.
But the Kindle version is festoonated wit mAny Typos of a11 kindz. Amusing, at first, then annoying. Nobody looked at the text after the printed pages were scanned. After 50-60 pages, I started reporting typos to Amazon, but I quit when it became apparent that if I took the time to report every one of them I might never finish reading the book. But... for an inside look at baseball the way it was when most players earned $30K or less, this book is for you.
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Being a die hard baseball fan who came of age far after Leo Durocher's years in the majors, I didn't know what to expect from the book. However, it kept me entertained for every part except the last couple of chapters. His life and times in baseball covered some of the most interesting characters and events one man could've hoped to experience: ranging from playing with Babe Ruth, Louh Gehrig, the Gas House Gang, managing the Dodgers, managing Jackie Robinson, managing the Giants during Bobby Thomson's famed home run, managing Willie Mays to so many other events. This man truly had an entertaining ride through his baseball career. I do echo another commenter who said having prior baseball historical knowledge would help your enjoyment of the book. I thoroughly enjoyed the chapters that covered persons or events that I was familiar with, but some that have lost significance over time (culturally speaking) were not as easily accessible to me. Causing me to enjoy those portions less.

My only critique is the last couple of chapters devolve into the rantings of any old person crying about how things used to be so much better back in his day. He complains about overpaid athletes, poor umpiring, Marvin Miller, etc. I felt like the only thing that had to be added in was him yelling at kids to get off his lawn.

However, regardless of that critique, the first 400 or so odd pages of the book are great. I recommend this highly.
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