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on November 21, 1999
Pennant Race and its companion book, The Long Season, are the best baseball books ever written. I enjoyed Ball Four, written ten years after The Long Season, but it is a pale imitation. Brosnan's style and perspective are unique; his blend of candor and cynicism unmatched; his writing subtleties are brilliant. I have read hundreds of baseball books, and these two, which I basically consider one volume, are unequaled.
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on April 11, 2005
In his second player diary, pitcher Jim Brosnan describes his day-to-day participation as a member of the pennant-winning 1961 Cincinnati Reds. Brosnan writes with the same wit and amused irreverence he used two years earlier in his superb initial diary, THE LONG SEASON. Here we get an insider's view of star teammates like Frank Robinson (that year's MVP), Vada Pinson, Jim Maloney, manager Fred Hutchinson, etc. Readers will enjoy hearing about now-forgotten players in long-gone ballparks like Crosley Field, Shibe Park, Forbes Field, etc. We also get the tension and thrill of a pennant race. Unfortunately, the author omits spring training, and he ends the diary on the last day of the regular season, before the Reds played the Yankees in that year's World Series - thus I gave the book just four stars instead of five.

Brosnan was a college-educated player who gained recognition (and notoriety) for his writing. PENNANT RACE is as readable and charming as its predecessor, and once again landed Brosnan in some hot water with baseball's establishment.
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on August 26, 1999
Although most of the players from the 1961 Cincinnati Reds are forgotten now (exception: right fielder and National League MVP Frank Robinson), this book remains current due to the good humor and insider's view it affords the reader. Nearly 40 years old now, it shows how timeless the game of baseball is.
I'm a lifelong NY Yankees fan, but this remains one of my favorite books on any subject.
One note: this is one of the only baseball books that was _really_ written by the named author. Brosnan had no ghostwriter.
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on July 27, 2009
Pennant Race by Jim Brosnan is the second of his baseball diary memiors this
time gently drawing back the curtain of privacy on the 1961 Cincinnati Reds National League Championship team.

In what was the last of the 154 game schedule, eight team National League season, this was a historic and gruelling pennant race for the participants who had no idea what lay in store for Major League Baseball in the seasons ahead. Although if the NLers had paid attention to what was going on in the American League in 1961 they would have had a pretty good clue.

That year in the AL, like most years then, the Yankees steamrolled their way to yet another AL Championship but this time with a historic home run race between Mantle and Maris as well as prodigious hitting by many of the other junior circuit clubs. But in 1961 the Al expanded to ten teams which meant
at least two pitching staffs that were just a little below big league skill
levels. Which certainly must have helped all those sluggers hit those dingers.

Meanwhile, back in the old fashioned NL, the Reds defeated last years World Champion Pittsburgh Pirates for the NL pennant and a shot at the powerful Yankees in the World Series. You can read all about it in Brosnan's 1961
diary except for the World Series which was not included in in Pennant Race possibly because Mr.Brosnan wanted to end the book on a triumphant note. BTW, the Yankees won four out of five games against the Reds in the 1961 World Series.

Pennant Race is perhaps the most entertaining sports book that I have ever read, there are several laugh out loud sections and it is extrememly interesting to hear Brosanan's on field contemporaries' reactions to his first book, The Long Season. Pennant Race, despite the fact that the 1961 World Series is not covered, is without a doubt one of the finest, pioneering sports books of our time.
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on August 18, 2011
This is a very entertaining book that will appeal to all baseball and/or Cincinnati Reds fans. It's a day to day diary of events in Cincinnati's 1961 pennant winning season prepared by relief pitcher Jim Brosnan. It's easy to read, and you'll enjoy Brosnan's humor. Additionally, it gives great insight into the personalities of the star and every day players of the time.
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on June 26, 2016
I grew up a National League kid in Pittsburgh in the sixties. I latched on to baseball at just the right time in 1960 at the age of seven to watch our Pirates win the World Series over the Yankees dynasty team. In 1961 I was sure the Pirates would repeat, but had my eight year old heart broken when the Buccos tanked and the Cincinnatti Reds put together a miracle season of their own. This book is a great account of that year and brought back a lot of memories of the Frank Robinson, Vada Pinson, Jim O Toole Reds of the early sixties. It was a much different time and it needs to be read by the younger generation that is used to multi million dollar contracts and large endorsement deals.
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on August 23, 2006
Jim Brosnan's second book is also a diary, this one on his 1961 season spent with the eventual National League champion Cincinnati Reds. Brosnan's wit, cynicism, and wry observations on the game of baseball make this an entertaining read. He enjoys interacting with his teammates (most of the time) and one conversation in particular involving Brosnan getting on a teammate for his grammar is priceless. It would have been nice had Brosnan included his spring training experience and the Reds' involvement in the World Series that year. Despite lacking those two elements, "Pennant Race" is an easy recommendation. It's not as good as "The Long Season", but it's still a very good read.
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on August 9, 2014
one of the classics of baseball literature. No thinking baseball fan's library should be without "Pennant Race" or "The Long Season". We recently lost the Prof..too bad he didn't leave more of his work
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on October 24, 2013
I am a Red's fan from that time period. Wonderful tale of hope and success at a past time. Fun to see the young men grow and figure out they are good enough to actually win!
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on September 9, 2013
For anyone who likes to read about baseball past. It puts in the bullpen, and and the mind of a pitcher. Shows you how baseball has changed. I great read for a Red's fan.
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