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The Team That Forever Changed Baseball and America: The 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers (Memorable Teams in Baseball History) Paperback – April 1, 2012
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As a born and raised Brooklyn Dodger fan... with parents that made the lovable "Bums" part of my everyday life... and whom to this day I say that my Mother (let alone my Father) knew more about the Dodgers and baseball than anyone else in my neighborhood. I bought this book about seven months ago and never finished it completely till now. During this period I did read and complete about twenty other books. Why you may ask? Aaah... well here's why I addressed the problem of describing this as more of an encyclopedia than a book. First of all for an old-time-old-school... not only Brooklyn Dodger... but an any team old-school-baseball fanatic... as interesting as each short biographical story was on each player... each player's story ended much like an extra-large baseball card might end. In other words... it ended... and then another player with no continuing story or saga tied to the end of the prior player began. So in essence that's why I have gone to the detail I have to give it a separate rating as a book AND as an encyclopedia. And I feel I'm not alone in stating that a normal person wouldn't sit down and start reading an encyclopedia from start to finish. So I read other books during the time period I read more and more of this encyclopedia.
If that's understood... let me now tell you about this encyclopedia of the 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers. The author's should be highly complimented on their research. The detail from birth to death (if now deceased) is amazing! The author's include every single Dodger that even played one game during this historical season. It also is very sad in a way... because as you get to know even the mostly unknown members of this team... due to 1947 being so long ago... most of the player's story end with their death. So just after getting to know them intimately... you literally have to say goodbye to them... as the old saying goes "We hardly knew ye".
There are also almost daily update summary pages of the season... and detailed reporting on the 1947 World Series... reviews of all the major awards for the season including MVP... Rookie Of The Year... Top Pitcher... stories on the Dodger broadcasters, advertisers and owners.
The quotes regarding some of the greats... not so greats... and hanger-on's... are priceless. There are so many... so it's hard to pick one or two to tempt a potential reader... but two that I'd love to share with you are regarding "Pistol Pete" Reiser... who might have been the greatest player to ever grace a ball field. Unfortunately **PISTOL-PETE-NEVER-MET-A-WALL-HE-DIDN'T-LIKE!**
Why would I say he may have been the greatest player who ever played? "Before his multitude of injuries, "teammate (and future Hall Of Famer) Billy Herman-who had played with hall Of Famers Chuck Klein and Hack Wilson-said Pete Reiser was the greatest player he had ever seen on a baseball field." If that isn't enough for you... how about Hall Of Fame Manager Leo Durocher who also managed a pretty good ballplayer by the name of Willie Mays who said: "Pete Reiser might have been the best ballplayer I ever saw." In addition to Reiser once having last rites performed on him while he lay on the field. Here is a quote from this encyclopedia about Reiser's injuries in his career:
"THERE IS NO OFFICIAL COUNT OF Reiser's baseball injuries, but the best guess reads something like a dozen collisions with unpadded fences, five skull fractures (though he claimed only four), a chronically dislocated shoulder, two broken ankles, damaged knee cartilage, torn muscles in his left leg, and two beaning's in the days before batting helmets. As a player HE WAS CARRIED OFF THE FIELD ON A STRETCHER ELEVEN TIMES-SIX TIMES CONSCIOUS, FIVE TIMES NOT."
This is the type of priceless anecdotes that pepper this wonderful encyclopedia. If you get it... take your time and enjoy it!