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Pouring Six Beers at a Time: And Other Stories from a Lifetime in Baseball Hardcover – April 1, 2007

4.2 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

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 Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Triumph Books (April 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1572439319
  • ISBN-13: 978-1572439313
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,578,739 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Wonderful days relived from the past were beautifully and tenderly recreated by the words and pictures of Mr.Giles in his book. Bill was an fearless innovator and pioneer for much of the ballpark entertainment that fans take for granted in today's ballparks; and the fans in Houston and Philadelphia were the benficiaries. Bill's legacy will live for many years thanks to honesty, pathos and humor so beautifully portrayed in the prose this book. And most of all, he was a joy to work with and for.
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Format: Hardcover
Bill Giles has written a baseball autobiography that can speak to even non-baseball fans. When it comes to Marketing, this man is definitely an "out-of-the-box" thinker who was willing to (and did) try anything to put people into stadium seats. This book tells the tale of a boy who was basically raised in a baseball stadium and how his entire life has been devoted to America's greatest pasttime, eventually becoming the owner of the Philadelphia Phillies. It is also a loving tribute to his father, Warren Giles, former President of the Cincinnati Reds and also President of the National League). Bill was astute enough to realize early that his talents were not on the field; instead, his business knowledge and creative intuition helped make him a key player in the marketing and management of the Philadelphia Phillies. Along the way, Giles was instrumental in getting the Houston Astrodome built; one of the many interesting stories told here. Astroturf was in its infancy, and Giles relates how it was put on the map by its use at the Astrodome.

Giles is very frank and upfront in his opinions, but never stoops to a tabloid tell-all style. Some of my favorite sections of the book discuss the camaraderie of the Phillies and how they worked their way up to the World Series. There is also a section on the economics of the game, and how salaries and expenses have changed over the years, and what lead to superstar salaries.

For fans of the game, the book is filled with anecdotes about your favorite players (Pete Rose, Steve Carlton, Mike Schmidt), the Commissioners of Baseball (and Giles rates 'em like a report card!), and some of the more nailbiting games that the Phillies played throughout their checkered past.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book much more than I thought I would. Perhaps it is because of the diverse experiences that Bill Giles shares. Giles, former owner of the Philadelphia Phillies, spent more than 50 years in the game. The son of Warren Giles, former president of the Cincinnati Reds and the National League, Bill worked for the Reds, Astros and Phillies.

The first half of the book, particularly Giles' stint as the public relations director with the Houston Astros under owner Judge Hofheinz, was very interesting. I tended to forget how the Astrodome helped to change baseball and the features it introduced to the game. Baseball was much different when the Astrodome opened in 1965.

Although much of the second half of the book will be very familiar to Phillies fans, I thought Giles was fairly honest in his appraisal of players, trades, clubhouse atmosphere, and events. Phillies fans will enjoy Giles' account of the playoffs and World Series as well as his remembrance of players.

Giles says Mike Schmidt wouldn't have made a good manager; that he fired Phillies manager Pat Corrales because he hated all of his players; that releasing Steve Carlton was the toughest thing he ever had to do; and Astros manager Paul Richards had a questionable moral compass.
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Format: Paperback
This book could have been a lot better. But Giles' effort is wrecked by multiple factual errors and a heavy dose of hypocrisy.

Let's start with the good stuff. Giles' perspective on birth of the Astros and the 1970s era Phillies was stellar. Some great insight and information there, particular when it comes to his promotional efforts at Veterans Stadium. I also enjoyed the details on luring Pete Rose from Cincy to Philly. His suggestion that Paul Richards, while working for the Astros, was getting kickbacks on bonuses paid to amateurs, was eye opening.

But the book is weighed down by some dreadful fact checking. Here are a couple of examples:
1. Giles father worked for the Reds for many years and the younger Giles' grew up around Gabe Paul, one of his father's colleagues in Cincy. In talking about Gabe Paul successes, Giles' credits him with signing 'Negro League stars Frank Robinson and Vada Pinson.' Big problem - neither player played in the Negro Leagues.
2. After entering a game in a tough situation to face Tony Perez, Tug McGraw is credited with telling reporters that what happened against Perez won't matter in 10,000 years when the planet is a 'big ball of ice.' Giles claims that happened 'in the heat of the pennant race in 1980.' No it didn't. Perez was playing for the Red Sox in 1980 and didn't face McGraw all year since inter-league play had yet to be born.
3. There's a story about Turk Farrell's night time activities in which Giles states he saw Farrell leave the team's Philadelphia hotel at 2 AM on Saturday night and, after Farrell invited him to tag along, Giles' joined him. They got back to the hotel at 6 AM. Farrell, after answering a 9 AM wake up call, pitched a four hitter for a 4-1 win. Those details don't match up with any specific game.
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