From Publishers Weekly
It's no surprise that Giles grew up in ballparks; his father, Warren, was president of the Cincinnati Reds and later the entire National League, and his godfather, Branch Rickey, was best known for signing Jackie Robinson to the majors. Beginning at Cincinnati's Crosley Field, Giles grows up to play a number of backstage positions in pro ball, among them a key role in the birth of indoor baseball at Houston's Astrodome, and later, as owner of the Phillies, a leading force behind efforts to bring an old-style ballpark to Philadelphia in 2004. In addition to his personal story, Giles and co-author Myers (Essential Cubs) recount 70 years of vignettes and anecdotes in a folksy, often overstated style that some readers will find welcoming, but will strike others as amateurish. Giles has a tendency to skimp on behind-the-scenes details, but can recount any number of intricate plays from 25-year-old games, and doesn't shy away from shop talk in the book's last third, addressing the economic realities of today's game. Among the players, commissioners and owners Giles chronicles, readers will find a knowledgeable consideration of baseball's past, present and even its future-in which Giles sees a great potential MLB commissioner in a former Texas Rangers owner by the name of George W. Bush.
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There may be someone better equipped than Bill Giles to bring alive the last 70 years of baseball history, but it seems unlikely. Giles' father, Warren, was the National League president in the 1950s, and his godfather was the legendary Branch Rickey. Giles himself made his mark with the Houston Astros (he was instrumental in the construction of the Astrodome) and, later, with the Philadelphia Phillies, which he currently owns. His memoir, written with coauthor Myers, tells the story of growing up in a baseball family, detailing how some now mostly forgotten people helped make the game great--people like Gabe Paul, Joe Cowley, Judge Roy Hofheinz, and Ernie Lombardi. Young Giles once borrowed Cincinnati Reds catcher Lombardi's bat, only to have his father, thinking it had been stolen, call in the FBI. Giles writes with an enthusiasm that is downright contagious, and he delivers a wild ride through baseball history. David PittCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved