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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 (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #731,281 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
5 star
71%
4 star
25%
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See all 24 customer reviews
Great baseball book.
Robert Capen
Leo Durocher's autobiography is easily one of the top 5 baseball books ever written.
W. S. Capuano
This man truly had an entertaining ride through his baseball career.
Khalil Gibran

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful 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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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Randy Keehn VINE VOICE on October 13, 2003
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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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J. K. Kelley on October 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
Leo Durocher was one of those characters people either love or hate. A win-at-all-costs player and manager, he never really developed much tact, and he was definitely a product of his era. But I've never heard anyone say that he, or his teams, were boring.
What the Amazon entry for this book doesn't tell you is that it was written with Ed Linn, who sadly passed away not long ago. Linn had the unique gift of preserving the subject's style so perfectly that you'd be hard pressed to tell that there had been a co-author at all. What this means for the reader is that the book is much better than it would otherwise seem: you get treated to Leo's pungent, egotistical and judgmental style as though he was talking to you in person telling old stories. That's what makes it so much fun.
If you are a baseball fan, this belongs in your library and is well worth the search.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 28, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Durocher never shied away from controversy while he was manageing, nor did he back down when he wrote this book. Read his candid (and less than flattering) opinions of Ernie Banks, Milt Pappas, Joe Pepitone and many others. It would be nice to have Leo still around to deal with the players union today. Bet there wouldn't be the labour problems that the sport has been plagued with !!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Khalil Gibran on November 2, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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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