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The Teammates: A Portrait of a Friendship Paperback – April 28, 2004
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"This account of good people living full lives...will move people the same way that "Tuesdays with Morrie did."
About the Author
David Halberstam (1934-2007) was the author of twenty-two books, including fifteen bestsellers. Born in
Jane Leavy is the author of the New York Times bestsellers The Last Boy, Sandy Koufax: A Lefty's Legacy, and the comic novel Squeeze Play. She has written for many publications, including the New York Times, Newsweek, and Sports Illustrated. A native New Yorker, she attended Barnard College and Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, where she wrote her master's thesis on a childhood hero, Red Smith, the late sports columnist for the New York Times; this was later published in essay form by the Village Voice. Leavy lives in Washington, DC, and Massachusetts.
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This is the story of Ted Williams, Johnny Pesky, Bobby Doerr and Dom DiMaggio. All four served in WW2, but they were Red Sox teammates before and after the war. Williams died in 2002 - the first of the quartet to go. Mr. Halberstam heard about a road trip that DiMaggio and Pesky took with another man from Boston to Florida to visit Williams in the fall of 2001 when he was dying. That led to this book, which is a beautiful story of baseball and a lifelong friendships. Williams was the best player and the most flawed - Halberstam clearly admires him but also shows us his warts. The other men had successful marriages and post-baseball careers. As in his other sports books, Halberstam conducted a number of interviews to put this together - the quotes and stories are excellent.
Most significantly, I can't compliment Halberstam's writing style enough. He is informative, funny at times, once in a while throws in a personal anecdote, and painstaking in his research. His language is sparse - he doesn't weigh the reader down with rhetorical flourishes. As a result, you can read this quite quickly yet absorb a great deal. This is clearly the result of his being a journalist.
The Teammates is a small 218 page book very well written by David Halberstam. David won a Pulitzer for his reporting in Vietnam and is the author of 13 best sellers, so I knew he was a great author. The Teammates is a fast paced book, with no boring parts that I read in one day. I couldn't put it down. It has some nice B/W pictures too.
We see the great Ted Williams dieing in a wheel chair with a leaking valve in his heart and other serious medical problems. Two of three old teammate best friends decide to drive over a thousand miles to see him for the last time before he passes away. Dick Flavin an ultra fan goes too. Bobby Doerr (RedSox Hall of Fame) can't make it as his elderly wife has had two stokes and he must be near her side helping her. The great Dom DiMaggio ( Yankee Joe DiMaggio brother) goes even though he had been fighting a severe crippling bone disease. The legendary contact hitter Johnny Pesky makes it too as well as the ultra fan Dick Flavin. The trip by car from Marion to Hernando took 3 days.
We see the baseball stories from all these great players and their history.
I really empathised with these men, now all old in their 80s when the book was wrote. This IS NOT just a baseball book. The reader is blessed reading a true friendship book and seeing that the great loud demanding " got to be the best in life" Ted Williams really needed the steady even tempered soft spoken Bobby Doerr to counter his life style. Also Dom, he called him Dommy, was his best friend he loved so much. Williams cant understand why he never was elected in the Hall of Fame. Little Johnny Presky a superb contact hitter with little power was nicknamed "The Needle" because of his long hooked nose on such a small frame. Together these great ball players were the core of the RedSox in the Redsox glory days.
You don't have to be a baseball fan to like this book. The emotions of these men toward each other are great. True friendship. Plus lots of baseball statistics and stories. I really liked this book 4 1/3 stars.
Ted Williams, Bobby Doerr, Dom DiMaggio, and Johnny Pesky were all members of the famed 1940's Boston Red Sox. Their careers led the Red Sox to a pennant championship and ensured the men a place in sports history.
David Halberstam, had followed the members of the 1949 championship Boston Red Sox team for years, especially Williams, Doerr, DiMaggio, and Pesky. He met up with the fellas and learned about their friendship and their trip. He knew he wanted to write about it. David Halberstam gives us an inside look at how these four teammates became friends, and how that friendship thrived for more than 60 years.
The book opens with Johnny Pesky, Dom DiMaggio and , Dick Flavin a friend, on a 1300-mile car trip travelling to see the ailing Ted Williams in Florida. It's the last time they will see him. The journey is filled with nostalgia and memories, but seeing Ted is a shock. The most physically dominating of the four friends, Ted now weighs only 130 pounds and is hunched over in a wheelchair. Dom, without even thinking about it, starts to sing opera and old songs like "Me and My Shadow" to his friend.They had a short memorable time with Ted,and it was worth it. Every morning until the day Ted Williams died, Dom would call him with an update of the Sox.
"This book is filled with stories of their wonderful days with the Boston Red Sox, memories of plays and players, and the reaction of the remaining three to Ted Williams' death. The Teammates offers us a glimpse into the lives of these Red Sox men. and great insight into the nature of loyalty and friendship. The book tries not to dwell on the imposing power, problems, and slugging achievements of Ted Williams or reveal new sensational material or revelations. Halberstam focuses on the teammates' shared attributes: their desire to compete and succeed in baseball, their willingness to learn how to use physical/mental talents, how to provide for post-depression families yet display genuine appreciation and gratitude for each other's contributions and careers." David Johnson
For any Red Sox fan, baseball fan and David Halberstam fan this book is a must. A book of love of fellow man and baseball. It is a rare book that fills the reader with hope for the future of baseball.
Highly Recommended. prisrob 5-09-07