"...one of the most heart-felt baseball books to come out in the last few months, written not by a journalist with nice advancement but by a simple fan who put up his own money, got it self published, and got himself heard." - Tom Hoffarth, columnist for the Los Angeles Daily News
"His take on some of baseballs major events and personalities are refreshingly different from the conventional wisdom of baseball insiders." - Jeffrey Stuart, author of Twilight Teams
"...the purest fan memoir Ive yet read...Lewers is...everyfan USA." - Nicholas Croston, Lit Bases
"...Lewers book reminds us why we love the game so much." - Matt ODonnell, Fenway West
"Every fan has his or her memories, but not everyone can express them as well as Lewers has." - Ron Kaplan, Ron Kaplans Baseball Bookshelf
"...Lewers is the pioneer for the personal baseball narrative." - Bill Jordan, Baseballreflections.com
"Covering a broad sweep of personal and baseball history, Lewers democratically recognizes many unsung heroes and ventures some refreshingly candid opinions." - Judy Johnson, Watching the Game
There is no shortage of books written by baseball insiders players, managers, and writers. What seems to be lacking are books by ordinary fans. Six Decades of Baseball will not put you on the field or in the dugout. Rather it will put you in the cheap seats of the upper deck where baseball can be viewed through lens of Bill Lewers.
This book is not just a recitation of baseball history (although a lot of baseball history is included). Rather it is a narrative of a relationship between a fan and a game a relationship that has evolved through the years. Bill has been hooked on baseball ever since his first outing at the Polo Grounds in 1951. Not content with the three local choices offered by his native New York, Bill decided at a very early age that he would root for the Boston Red Sox. Much of what follows in this decade-by-decade narrative is a consequence of that monumental choice.
The book starts in the 1950s with Bills formative years as he grew up in the awesome shadow of the New York Yankees and experienced Five oclock Lightning first hand. A healthy amount of Red Sox minutiae is presented not because these were things that Bill memorized but rather that they were the reality that he lived. Greats like Ted Williams and Mickey Mantle are remembered but also recounted are tales of the more obscure including the Red Sox Youth Movement of the early 1950s, the Never-Never-Boys, and the Fastest Man in the Majors. There is even an all too brief encounter with the Boys of Summer at Ebbets Field.
As the narrative moves to the 1960s the new team in town, the New York Mets enters the picture and those special early days at the Polo Grounds are recalled. So too are visits to Bostons Fenway Park at a time when tickets were $1.50 and attendance was frequently below 10,000. All this changed with the 1967 Impossible Dream which Bill recalls from the vantage point of a New Yorker. The decade ends with a baseball adventure gone amuck and the tragic end of one of the mainstays of Bills Red Sox youth.
The 1970s sees changes as Bill moves to Maryland and encounters a new home team, the highly successful Baltimore Orioles. Both Boston and Baltimore heroes are recalled as well as both the Red Sox triumph of 1975 and collapse of 1978.
Much of the 1980s revolve around the Red Sox almost World Championship of 1986. A young buck achieves dominance even as an aging superstar makes his last stand. Bill also examines the managerial decision that may have cost the Red Sox the championship (its not the one you think).
The 1990s sees the unveiling of an exciting new ballpark as