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Men at Work: The Craft of Baseball Paperback – Bargain Price, April 24, 1991
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George may have strong political opinions, but he lets the players speak for themselves
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Admirably, I found Will's train of thought easy to follow throughout, which I cannot routinely say about his regular columns.
I found Will's book, "A Nice Little Place on the North Side" much more enjoyable. That book focuses on Wrigley Field and the Chicago Cubs.
"Men at Work" appears on more than one top 20 or 25 baseball books lists. If you prefer intense immersion in baseball techniques, history, and statistics to reading a good nonfiction baseball book, then "Men at Work" will find a place on your top 25 list as well. I've probably read 20-25 nonfiction baseball books, and it would fall into the bottom 20% for me. Still, I'm glad I read it, because I learned so much.
Will looks at the day to day preparation of each of these athletes, and how they approach their sport 162 days a year.
He has chosen fine models for his investigation. Gwynn had a cerebral and focussed hitting approach that was so thoughtful, and so advanced, that he could have come from several decades in the future. Ripken set a standard for high level consistency that may never be challenged. And Hershiser, like Ron Guidry before him, may never be a Hall of Famer, but soared to heights for a few a seasons that few have ascended.
Tony LaRussa, as of this writing is still an active manager, and is still in the elite of baseball dugout management.
This is a highbrow look at professional baseball, and is a precursor to Michael Lewis' excellent book, "Moneyball."
Will has a passion for baseball, and I am glad he shared this book. It is a highly worthwhile read.
George Will quoted Wes Westrum in this book - "Baseball is like church. Many attend, but few understand." This book increased my understanding of the game and as a result has added to my enjoyment of baseball. I see things I didn't see before I read this book - the nuances of the game have become more clear.
I did not believe I could love the game more, but after reading this book, I do! I would highly recommend this book to both students of the game and to newcomers looking to understand the game.