Tagged: Books

Quick Question: Billy Martin

It seems that no reader of my blog has read a book about Billy Martin, but I desperately want to. Since no one can make a recommendation on a book perhaps someone can help recommend an author.

I’ve narrowed my choices down to:

******* Yankee: The Billy Martin Story
Maury Allen

The Last Yankee: The Trurbulent LIfe of Billy Martin
David Falkner

Wild, High and Tight: The Life and Death of Billy Martin
Peter Golenbock

Any input on these authors would be great. I’ve skimmed parts of the Allen book co-written by DiMaggio, and was… unenthused, so I’m thinking that is not the best choice. If you have EVER read anything by these three authors I’d really appreciate your opinion. Thanks.

All I Want For Christmas…

is a book about Joe Dimaggio being a "good guy" off the field.

Every book I read about the man that I look up to tarnishes his presence. I realized this in my early days of Dimaggio research, but now that I have also started reading about Williams I see just how bad it is. Williams was no friend to the press, or the fans at Fenway, but at least people like John Underwood (who Williams was smart enough to befriend) will give him credit where credit is due.

I understand that Dimaggio would have never given his World Series revenue share to the clubhouse boy. I know that he would have never demanded a cut in pay. I see that he refused to sign his contract so many times, because of money.

But wasn’t Dimaggio worth it? He won four rings in his first four years. He brought New York money. He played through bone spurs. He was as Ted himself put it "the greatest all-around player [Williams] ever saw. His career cannot be summed up in numbers and awards. It might sound corny, but he had a profound and lasting impact on the country." According to an essay in the anthology Joltin’ Joe Dimaggio, Dimaggio is a large reason that Italians were not treated the same way the Japanese were during World War Two. And yes, I have read the Richard Ben Cramer novel, I see that people were upset that Dimaggio didn’t enlist right away. But he united the country. According to Cramer people would tune in to listen to see if Dimaggio had reached base in another consecutive game.

And part of Dimaggio’s allure is that he was such a priavte figure. So perhaps that is why now, after his death, there aren’t kind words written about him. Sure he was friendly enough with the press, but he didn’t befriend anyone. Thats the problem.

I suppose it is true, to sound extraordinarily cliche "ignorance is bliss." If my search for knowledge about one of the greatest baseball players of all time hadn’t gotten the best of me I would have been forever naive to Dimaggio’s greedy ways. It’s not that Joe didn’t love Marilyn, or Dorthy Arnold for that matter. And its not that he wasn’t always there for her. But I wish that someone would focus on the postive things this man did off the field. It is depressing to hear about how Dimaggio had few friends, and those who he was friends with were New Jersey gangsters.

And in all honesty its not as though Dimaggio was responsible for what I think. Why should he have lived his life a way he didn’t want to just so that someone 60 years later could approve? But it would just be nice.

“The Bronx Is Burning”

While I was attempting to read about the march on Selma for my History Final, I stumbled upon a new ESPN show to debut in 2007. "The Bronx is Burning" is apparently based on the book entitled "Ladies and Gentlemen the Bronx is Burning." Until now I had never heard of the aforementioned book, would anyone recomend it? Or not recomend it for that mater? Your input would be appreciated.

Don’t ask how studying race and ethnicity lead to the 1977 World Series. Baseball always gets me off track.