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The Real McCoy: My Half Century with the Cincinnati Reds Paperback – March 16, 2015
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From the Inside Flap
In a near-unprecedented sportswriting career covering half a century (and more than 25,000 bylines), Hal McCoy crowns his own Hall of Fame career with a memoir of the Cincinnati Reds that is, by turns, brash, hilarious, and behind-the-scenes unusual. His is the storied franchise with an accent on the story. McCoy gives fans an inside-the-dugout look that never made the daily press: the politics, the personalities, the hi-jinks, the x-rated scenesall the classic ballpark happenings known only to those on the field. There's the dismantling of The Big Red Machineand what really happened to Sparky. There's George Foster's story of his Riverfront long ball off Cubs pitcher Willie Hernandez, which he described by saying, I hit that ball so hard that Willie moved to the American League and changed his name. The reader learns exactly where Pete Harnisch hid his toothbrush, visits the scene of Sweet Lou Piniella and his gumball machine, and suffers with Pokey Reese his worst day ever. In short, it's the complete scoop from a sportswriter who led a charmed life and, even when faced with his own failing eyesight, managed to keep his life intact and still see more than the rest of us. The Real McCoy is one of the most readableand revealingbooks about baseball ever written.
About the Author
Hal McCoy is a native of Akron, Ohio and an honors graduate from the Kent State University School of Journalism.He has been an award-winning sports journalist for 53 years and has covered major league baseball and the Cincinnati Reds for 43 years.McCoy has won 48 state and national writing awards and has been named Ohio sportswriter of the year 13 times by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association.He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. in 2002 and is the only non-Cincinnati resident who is a member of the Cincinnati Journalists Hall of Fame.McCoy lives with his wife, Nadine, and two dogs, Cooper and Paige, in Englewood, Ohio.
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Still, the book seems to contain a number of errors, really disappointing given how easy it is to check things on historical baseball web sites. Here is one glaring example. The book says “On May 12, 1985, Soto took a no-hitter into the ninth inning against the Cardinals in Riverfront Stadium. He retired the first two batters – one out from a no-hitter. Then George Hendrick hit a home run to ruin the no-hitter and the shutout. Fortunately for Soto, the Reds scored a run in the top of the ninth so he had a 2-0 lead when Hendrick homered and Soto still received a win..”
It is very easy to see that the book’s account is wrong. This was a Reds HOME game, but somehow they managed to score in the TOP of the ninth??? This is more than a typo, because the score never was 2-0. I found the box score and play by play on Retrosheet.org. What really happened was Hendrick’s home run tied the game 1-1. The Reds scored in the bottom of the ninth off future Hall of Fame closer Bruce Sutter when Concepcion singled, stole second, and scored on a single by Brad Gulden. Today, we would have called it a “walk off” hit. Soto still got the win.
One other little problem is that the game was played on May 12, 1984, not 1985.
Another bad error was that in the strike year of 1981, the book says that the Astros won the first half and the Dodgers the second half. In reality, it was the other way around. (Baseball-Reference.com)
I’d still recommend the book, because the stories are what the book is about. But readers need to know they shouldn’t count on all the details to be correct.