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Stan Musial: An American Life [Hardcover] Unknown Binding – May 31, 2011

4.1 out of 5 stars 142 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Unknown Binding
  • Publisher: ESPN Video+ (May 31, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0050Z9UCE
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (142 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,318,802 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By WryGuy2 TOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I first started following professional baseball as a boy in 1969, six years after Stan Musial, Cardinal outfielder, first baseman, and hitter extraordinare, retired from the game. But as I listened to Pirate games on the radio, the Pirate announcers would still occasionally talk about Stan Musial whenever the Bucs would play the Cardinals, in respectful ... almost reverential tones. As I continued to learn about the game and some of its past heroes, Stan Musial, in my young mind, achieved near-mythical status, similar to Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Honus Wagner, and others. It also didn't hurt that he was also from Pennsylvania, only an hour or so from where I grew up.

As such, he's always been one of those ballplayers that I wanted to know more about. I knew about his statistics ... 3630 hits, .331 lifetime batting average, 475 home runs (in an era when 400 home runs really meant something), 3 Most Valuable Player awards, and so on, but I wanted to learn more than just the stats. So, I was happy to see this biography, "Stan Musial, An American Life", by George Vescey (a well known New York sportswriter, and the older brother of NBA analyst and sportswriter Peter Vescey).

The book isn't quite what I was expecting. It fully covers Stan's life from birth until today, and is full of anecdotes from his friends, families, and quotes from Stan, and attempts, with great success, to show how the boy he was developed into the man he is, warts (surprisingly few) and all. Where the book differed from my expectations is that while baseball is a central theme in the book, there is surprisingly little descriptive baseball in it.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Growing up as a very young child in New York in the 50s and early 60s, I was taught by my father, grandfather and aunts and uncles about the great baseball teams in New York at that time. Most of the family were Yankee fans. I grew up with talk of Gehrig, Rush, Dimaggio, Dickey and then current Yankees such as Mantle, Skowron, Ford, Martin, Bauer and Berra. When talk turned to other teams, it was usually the Giants or the Dodgers. I learned about Mays, Snider, Reese, Hodges, Robinson, Sal "the Barber" Maglie and greats like Ott, McGraw and Matthewson. The only other ballplayers I ever heard about were Feller (my dad saw him no-hit the Yankees), Ted Williams and Stan Musial.

Feller was respected (although I do not remember seeing him play) as was Williams. Williams was considered aloof and worst of all - a member of the Boston Red Sox. This is a biography of Stan Musial by New York sportswriter George Vecsey. He (Musial) was universally loved by my family and respected - for his play and his demeanor.

This book covers Stan from his modest childhood in Donora, PA. to his receiving the Medal Of Freedom from President Obama in February of this year. It obviously covers Stan's great career with the St. Louis Cardinals (one of the best in baseball history) and is full of non-baseball anecdotes which entertained and also educated me. Stan's business ventures are covered as well - and while I knew of the feud with another famous ballplayer - I now know why.

I had no idea what the "Donora Death Fog" was until this book. How hundreds became ill and over a dozen died in industrial smog in 1948. Stan's home town.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I really wanted to love this book. Though Stan Musial's playing days were long over when I began to learn about and love baseball, he was one of those greats whom I heard about when reading baseball histories and biographies. I especially wanted to like this book because the author, George Vecsey, has an obvious love and respect for his subject, Stan the Man, the Donora Greyhound. Unfortunately, Vecsey's writing leaves much to be desired. It is a times hokey, disjointed, and hardly what one would expect from a celebrated New York Times Sports Columnist. The biography flits around a bit too much as well. There are long chapters followed by one page chapters. If you are looking for a literary biography of Musial akin to When Pride Still Mattered: Lombardi, you will be sorely disappointed. This book has more of the flavor of a bunch of various anecdotes strung together. There isn't a wholeness to this book or integration like Maraniss' seminal biography of Lombardi. Certainly, I came away with a deeper appreciation for Musial and all he was and stood for but, simply put, the writing just is not that good. I pushed through less because the book engrossed me and more because I felt I needed to finish it to give a fair review. I will say that my overall assessment of the book was slightly better at the end than it was about a third of the way into the book. But that being said, if I could do half-stars I would give this a 2.5 rather than 3. Obviously, my assessment differs from most of the other Vine Reviewers, so take it with a grain of salt. But I still am convinced that this book is a disappointment.
5 Comments 52 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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