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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: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.3 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: #2,849,808 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Educational, entertaining and enthusiastic. This book is unusual in that it is an interesting, baseball executive's view. So, it gives a side of things that is different than most baseball books. For example, the description of Bowie Kuhn shows a side of him that I've never come across in other books. The book is also a lot of fun. It provides hilarious anecdotes about a Flag Day promotion in Houston, the "Broad Street Bellies", a Dave Thomas look-alike contest and fried squirrel. Franklin P. Jones said, "An autobiography usually reveals nothing bad about its writer except his memory." This memoir may partake of that weakness to a small degree. The author has obvious affection for the 1993 Phillies team (America's Most Wanted Team), but seems to ignore or wink at some of their more questionable aspects. For example, the issue of steroids is largely ignored. Also, he seems to overstate the virtues of the 1993 players by overstating the limitations of others. He says that John Olerud was not fun to watch and had no flair. Finally, the author describes some events as basically positive that might not be. He describes some occasions when he put people in unnecessary danger or was less than truthful as basically him being charming or clever. He describes Bud Selig's political machinations as genius and essentially positive, when they sound kind of creepy. Perhaps, these are mainly just limitations of the autobiography form. Overall, the book was fun and informative.
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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 Verified Purchase
Bill Giles has seen it all, from early on w/Dad (Warren Giles, NL President) to helping to start expansion franchise (Houston Astros) to bringing longtime struggling franchise (Philadelphia Phillies) into new era (then the 1970s) with new ballpark (Veterans Stadium). I had pleasure of going to school w/one of his son's and always met him few times growing up, nothing but a gentleman.

Giles wrote this and wished he parted more info on his insight. He played it safe as I figured, not doling out any real/dicey stuff on players, coaches or owners. I always felt Giles was incredibly under-appreciated by hometown of Philly. No, he didn't always make the right or popular decisions but he has always felt passionate about "his" Phillies and is tremendously respected. I think he eventually over the years understood his forte wasn't player personnel decisions as much as he GOOD he's always been at marketing the product. When he first came to the Phillies they'd suffered many years of bad play (and attendance). Many (then) thought his ideas like Kiteman and the Great Wallenda were desparate and crazy for traditionalist mentality (back then) but they were actually quite innovate for their times.

I'd give the book a 6.5 or 7 out of 10 for one of the GREAT Philly front office guys of my time (diehard fan since 1970). Wanted it to be better but oh well. It definitely has some great insight/perspective from Giles but I felt overall he played it "safe" not wanting to give any exciting diss on former players...certainly knows it but better person then that I guess. Good book if you can get inexpensively.
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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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