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Shut Out: A Story of Race and Baseball in Boston Paperback – September 2, 2003
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"One of the best baseball books I have ever read, and in fact one of the best non-fiction books I have read in years. To simply call it a baseball book is to do it a disservice, in that people interested in American history, race relations in America, and simply human nature might not read it, which would be their loss." —Lisa Winston, USA Today's Sports Weekly
"Shut Out...is the first book detailing and analyzing the racial problems of the Red Sox...it is required reading for anyone who cares about the history of racial prejudice and the game of baseball." —Louis P. Masur, The Nation
About the Author
- Item Weight : 0.035 ounces
- Paperback : 320 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0807009792
- ISBN-13 : 978-0807009796
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.75 x 9 inches
- Publisher : Beacon Press; Reprint edition (September 2, 2003)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #176,163 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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A great book.
I'm a lifelong Red Sox fan, with the first season I remember being 1986 at age 10. So I grew up with the late years of Jim Rice's career, then players like Ellis Burks and Mo Vaughn, all of whom get prominent mention. I knew there was a stigma surrounding the Red Sox regarding race even as a kid, but I didn't know great details or have any idea just how deep it ran until I read this book. Needless to say, it was unsettling to learn about.
Bryant breaks down how the Red Sox were the last team in Major League Baseball to integrate, then how life was for black players who were part of the organization. He talks about the difficulty Reggie Smith had playing despite immense talent, the friendship Pumpsie Green and Bill Russell had and Russell's frustration with Boston, the career of Jim Rice, Ellis Burks' experience before he went on to become a slugger elsewhere, and what Mo Vaughn meant to the franchise. Even though I grew up knowing about Rice, Burks and Vaughn, this book shed a lot of new light on their experience.
But through it all, Bryant also shows how the media and the city played a role in all of this. He talked about the emergence of the Boston Globe at a time when the city had more newspapers than it does today, and the role personalities like Will McDonough, Peter Gammons, Larry Whiteside and Mike Barnicle played in reflecting and shaping attitudes on race as they concerned the team and the city. He goes into detail on how the tryout for Jackie Robinson was arranged in 1945. He illustrates how the Red Sox often reflected the city, and oddly enough, how in 1975 the Red Sox came to be a bright light for a time during the era of busing. He goes through the Stuart case and even had an interesting note about Rice's days growing up in South Carolina and how his talents were exploited by local politicians. It was also quite interesting to learn about how Boston's neighborhoods have changed over time; for example, I wasn't aware that Mattapan was once almost all Jewish.
Bryant has written a winner. Having read a lot of his columns before, I knew what he was capable of, and that's why I bought the book. I wasn't disappointed, and as I got further along I couldn't put the book down and had to finish it. I was glad I did.