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Red Sox Century: The Definitive History of Baseball's Most Storied Franchise, Expanded and Updated Hardcover – October 19, 2005

4.4 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Oh, to be a Red Sox fan. It is a mark of the singular angst that attends the territory that the four retired numbers--9 (Ted Williams), 4 (Joe Cronin), 1 (Bobby Doerr), and 8 (Carl Yastrzemski)--taunt the faithful every game from their perch on Fenway's right-field facade; they precisely correspond to the date--September 4, 1918--that the Sox won their last World Series title. Less than two years later, owner Harry Frazee would sell his star pitcher and outfielder, Babe Ruth, to the Yankees, and the curse of the Bambino would take hold of Boston hearts.

From Cy Young to Cy Young award winner Pedro Martinez, this is a franchise full of myth and history--the first to win a World Series and the last to cross the color line--and, contend authors Glenn Stout, the series editor of the annual Best American Sportswriting volume, and Richard A. Johnson, curator of the Sports Museum of New England, the most interesting franchise in the history of the game. Their splendid, fully illustrated chronicle, rich with anecdotes, of the club from 1901 to the present makes it hard to argue with the assessment. The Sox have always been interesting--as well as frustrating, enigmatic, contradictory, and thrilling, and Red Sox Century touches all of those bases. This is an exhaustively researched history, but it's also a fan's book, filled with affection and exasperation. Stout and Johnson effectively pepper their narrative with personal reflections and observations from writers such as Peter Gammons, Dan Shaughnessy, and Elizabeth Dooley. They also pick a Red Sox all-century team, make a fine case for Pedro's '99 season as the best ever for a pitcher, compile some requisite stats, and assemble the most complete Sox bibliography ever. About the only thing they don't supply is a good parking place near Fenway. --Jeff Silverman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

In this richly illustrated history, sports writers Stout and Johnson argue that the Boston Red Sox are the most interesting franchise to have played the game of baseball, an ambitious and somewhat far-fetched thesis since the team has not won a World Series title in almost 82 years. As evidence, the authors offer up the most comprehensive chronicle of the team's life to date, from its creation in 1901 and its glory days in the teens to its thrilling but exasperating losses in the World Series of 1946, 1975 and 1986. Cy Young, Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Roger Clemens and even Pedro Martinez are all colorfully profiled, as are the men who have owned and managed the team over the years. Of special interest are the fans themselves, who, the authors argue, are unique in their fatalistic, frequently bitter, but doggedly loyal devotion to their team. But as reverent toward the Red Sox as Stout and Johnson may be, they eschew the sentimentality and nostalgia so prevalent in baseball writing today. They provide a revisionist account of the legendary sale of Babe Ruth to the Yankees in 1920, and boil down the mythical "Curse of the Bambino," which is thought to have resulted from that transaction, to nothing more than a "convenient excuse." Stout and Johnson's book is honest, well written and rigorously researched, which will make it accessible to fans of any ball club. Their contention that Boston's is the most interesting team, however, will be a tough sell to anyone living beyond the borders of Massachusetts. 225 b&w photos. (Sept.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Expanded ed. edition (October 19, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618622268
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618622269
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 1.3 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #924,120 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on October 4, 2000
Format: Hardcover
For fans wanting some reading during the next 6 months, I can recommend the brand new title RED SOX CENTURY. There have been a lot books over the years which were histories of the Red Sox, but I believe this one is clearly the best. It's a hefty 473 large pages, and very comprehensive. Exhaustive, even.
There are a lot of photographs included. The book is written by Glenn Stout and Dick Johnson, noted for their collaborations on books about Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio and Jackie Robinson. This will be my standard reference book, but it's also a book with opinions.
RED SOX CENTURY questions a few long-held beliefs, and fears not treading on sacred Yawkey toes. It goes further than any other book to suggest that Tom Yawkey, more than any other person, held the team back from success. Yawkey ownership clearly dominated Red Sox history, spanning from 1934 until the present, in one form or another. Noting that the Red Sox have so very often been one or two players short, the competition (frequently the Yankees) rarely are. The ultimate goal is, of course, a world championship. The "commitment of the franchise to this goal has not matched the devotion of their fans."
Tom Yawkey was one of the wealthiest men of his time, far wealthier than I had ever realized (the authors calculate the money he inherited in 1933 as being equivalent to somewhere between 4 1/2 and 7 billion dollars today.) His lineage is traced back to Johann Georg Jaky, who came to the new world from Germany in 1736. From time to time, Tom Yawkey paid a lot of money for specific players. The purchase price for Joe Cronin was an unheard of $250,000. Sounds like a lot, but Stout and Johnson translate that into 1999 dollars and the equivalent today would be a staggering $37.5 million!
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Format: Hardcover
It is May, and the Red Sox Nation finds her beloved Sox in their annual pennant chase, taking on the Blue Jays and those hated Yankees. With every win, we celebrate- but not too hard..for tomorrow is another day. With every loss, we squabble, fret, point fingers, await the inevitable collapse..such is Red Sox Nation. Like in 1986, 78, 75, & 67, the Sox have the talent, but will they break the Curse of the Bambino?! Or will both the Babe and Harry Frazee pull the puppeteers' strings and foil us again?
These questions are the same ones asked every year by the faithful Red Sox Nation. The Babe and his curse has dominated the Red Sox since his leaving Boston for the Apple. "Red Sox Century" dives into all things Red Sox, from the glory years between 1901-1918, when the Sox dominated baseball, to the Babe's going to New York, and all the sorrow that has followed it. From Harry Hooper to Teddy Ballgame, Yaz, Dewey, El Tiante, the Rocket, Nomar and Pedro. The heroes, like Fisk in 75, or Yaz's Triple Crown in 67, to the unlucky- Torrez in 78 or Buckner in 86. All are covered in this fascinating book.
"Red Sox Century" is one of the most complete books I've ever seen written on my Carmine Hosed Heroes. The story, like an opera, is compelling, with twists and turns unlike any other franchise in sports. Few teams in any sport offer more drama on any given day than the Red Sox do. Peter Gammons, Dan Shaughnessy, and the authors do a remarkable job bringing the impossible stories to life.
While hard to swollow at times (re-opening old scars), Red Sox fans and fans of baseball alike will find much to marvel at in this book. Great pictures, painstakingly accurate history, a storied franchise. Baseball and the Red Sox are one and the same, and this book covers both marvelously.
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Format: Hardcover
What a sensational book. I have read Red Sox books in the past, and nothing seemed to capture the essence of the ball club's trials and tribulations than Red Sox Century. This book is as tragic as any classic story and examines 100 years of "what ifs." This book leaves no stone unturned and gives fans the ability to learn and love the former players of seasons past. It is the best Red Sox book I have ever read and will give one a deeper appreciation for the organization and it's tragic history. A futher note of excellence for this book are the points the authors make in putting to rest, the "cursed" theory and many other false misconceptions of the organization. It is a tremendous book and is a must read for any diehard Red Sox fan. Hell, it's a must read for anyone who wants to read a good tearjerker...
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Format: Hardcover
I won't go on and on - the other reviews have said it all. I just want to add another voice to the opinion that this book is phenomenal. And it is phenomenal because it is not all just roses. I am a die hard Red Sox fan and would have thought I knew close to all there was to know, but I can't tell you how much I learned and how this book helped me to evolve my sense of a sports team that has been so important to me. This book is just terrific!
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Format: Hardcover
Stout and Johnson do a remarkable job of chronicaling the most interesting, tragic and misunderstood franchise in baseball history. I have only been a baseball fan since the early 60's but, if the entire book is written with the authenticity of the text covering that era, I can imagine what it must have been like to live through the Williams years, the championships of the teens etc. The authors hit on all the significant exhiliarating and controversial moments of the Bosox with complete candor and truth. This is easily the best book I have ever read concerning the history of a Boston sports team.
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