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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » Bottom of the Ninth: Branch Rickey, Casey Stengel, and the Daring Scheme to Save Baseball from Itself » User review

Historic Baseball Moments

  • Jan 22, 2009
is a baseball fan's dream. The book is filled to the top with historical moments, lore, and characters that shaped America's national pastime. The books spans several years in one of baseball's defining moments in history.

This book is not for everyone, as it is loaded with players, managers, political figures, prominent city people, cities, states, and their little (or big) stories and motivations. With the sheer volume of stuff going on in this book it is hard to keep track, but the mastery of the writing is almost magical. The author, Michael Shapiro keeps dumping data, quotes, stories, and reports, and accounts but it never gets lost or overpowering because the way it is all integrated into the story and the chapters. Reading this book is truly like reminiscing about the good old days of baseball, which is further supported because most of the people involved in the main two story arcs aren't even big name baseball players! It's like sitting around a bar listening to people talk about the phenomenal game of baseball in the Micky Mantle era.

Bottom of the Ninth is a tale of a sport (and the men and women associated with it) defining themselves for the next several decades. I learned so much from this book that I am amazed. I never knew that there was serious consideration for the development of a third baseball league, the Continental League. There is so much history about politics and baseball cities. The stories of Casey Stengel are classic. His personality and the way the players and public viewed him is captured perfectly. Reading the pages you can feel the disgust, contempt, and appreciation that various people felt at any given moment.

This is a wonderful tale about the people of baseball in the 50s. There are enough play-by-play of classic great games that any baseball fan, no matter how die-hard, will enjoy this book. If you get chills from hearing "Take Me Out To The Ball Game" you will enjoy this book more than others. If you just like baseball, then you may be discouraged by the massive amount of information conveyed in each chapter.


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More Bottom of the Ninth: Branch Ri... reviews
review by . January 25, 2009
Shapiro hinges his tale of Major League baseball's gradual but seemingly unstoppable descent to second-rate fan-dom around the most momentous home run in baseball history.    I was 18 months old and a future Pittsburgh Pirate fan when Bill Mazeroski sent his home run out of Forbes Field and stunned the perennially-powerful New York Yankees in 1960. Baseball in my lifetime has been a tale of bitter strikes, backroom scheming, and drug-driven scandals, which have left the game …
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About this book


In 1958, after the Dodgers and Giants had both left New York for California, a group of investors sought to bring the city a new baseball franchise, and their proposal was a bold one. Led by former Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey, they sought to create an entire new major league. Meanwhile, as the advocates for the would-be Continental League tried to make their case before the existing major league owners, New York Yankees manager Casey Stengel struggled to keep America's most popular team in championship form. Shapiro (The Last Good Season) parallels these two stories, arguing that they represent a hinge point when team owners could have taken radical steps to reclaim the sport's hold on the public imagination, but chose instead to cling tightly to their near-monopoly, paving the way for other sports, like football, to rise in popularity. The history, filled with colorful personalities, is told in a straightforward manner. While its two halves don't always fit together neatly, they offer a lively perspective on backstage dealings that almost changed the course of professional sports in America. 8 pages of b&w photos not seen byPW.(June)
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ISBN-10: 0805082476
ISBN-13: 978-0805082470
Author: Michael Shapiro
Publisher: Times Books

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