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Brothers in Arms: Koufax, Kershaw, and the Dodgers’ Extraordinary Pitching Tradition Paperback – May 1, 2018
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About the Author
Joe Davis is the play-by-play broadcast announcer for the Los Angeles Dodgers on SportsNet LA. He also broadcasts college football, college basketball, and Major League Baseball on Fox Sports.
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Jon starts us off with the legends of the early Brooklyn pitchers, and while it was interesting, he didn’t really grab my attention until he got to Ralph Branca. The Boys of Summer. I had read all about these hurlers back when I was 10 – 15 and knew every name quite well but a boy of 10 didn’t know jack about innings pitched, and as I read how each of these hurlers were slogged by their respective managers, I will have to admit that admiration and anger were the emotions that played around in my mind. I know now, that all pitchers of that generation were used and discarded at the whim of management, but to see the numbers they put up still staggered me. Jon made a great point to show that for every infamous defeat, you could almost always point to how the pitcher was pitching on guts alone.
Jon hits almost all the pitchers I was interested in reading about. One problem with being a Dodger fan as long as I have, you don’t get surprised but for those fans who are new to baseball, or simply were Dodger fans but not crazy fans, these chapters should enlighten anyone about the arms who build the great Dodger pitching legacy. As much as I already knew about these pitchers, Jon found new information that was always a pleasant surprise.
Even the casual fan knows about Koufax, Drysdale, Sutton, Fernando, Orel, and Kershaw, but if they were just learning about Johnny Podres, Claude Osteen, Bill Singer, Burt Hooton and Jerry Ruess there is no better guide than Jon Weisman.
Jon had the massive task of trying to fit every notable Dodger hurler into this book and for the most part he succeeded. He did a nice trick called “Moment in the Sun” where if you didn’t make the cut for a full chapter you at least got several notes on why you were part of the Dodger pitching legacy. I would have liked to have seen a few more hurlers have their moment in the sun such as Joe Moeller, Erv Palica, Jose Lima, and Vincente Padilla and I’m anxious to ask him how he decided who got a Moment and who didn’t. Doug Rau got a moment in the sun, I would have liked a full chapter and I expect he wrote one but it didn’t make the editors cut. Chad Billingsley got his moment in the sun, and again, I would have liked a chapter.
Which is a good thing when you want more and not less. I’ll be using this book for reference over and over which is where I hope the kindle search function comes in handy.
This is a stat-filled book as Jon uses these stats to show why these pitchers got their own chapter but within each chapter is beautiful writing. Each paragraph that starts a chapter can be savored.
Okay, I’ll leave you with one. Jon starts the Bob Welch chapter with this:
"Bob Welch is the greatest starting pitcher in Dodger history who is remembered for basically nothing he did as a Dodger starting pitcher. Because he did so much more."
Do yourself a favor and buy this book, you'll find out things you never knew and the next time you see Tommy John on TV, you won't be so angry he left the Dodgers for the New York Yankees.
There were so many games mentioned in the book that I have actual personal connections with that at times I felt I was reading about my own journey as a Dodger fan. It started with Don Sutton/Bill Singer and is right now in the throes of Clayton Kershaw and Jon hit all the right notes in this symphony to the Dodger hurlers that have touched all of us