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Friday, February 14, 2020

Baseball as Workplace Documentary

Recently I reread Jim Bouton’s Ball Four (after nearly 50 years!). Then I read Jim Brosnan’s The Long Season, because I had heard several times that Brosnan’s book was the best (and first) book ever written by a major league baseball player.

First, perhaps. But certainly not the best. Ball Four is better by the distance of a Mickey Mantle home run. The New York Public Library thought so too. In 1996 it named Ball Four one of its best books of the preceding century. Think of that. When Bouton died last year, his obituaries praised the work, which I hadn’t recalled as being so rich.

If Rotten Tomatoes rated literature, Ball Four would score 98. More about that later. First a little about Brosnan’s The Long Season: The Classic Inside Account of a Baseball Year, 1959 (available on Amazon in paperback, for $9.99 before shipping).

Jim Brosnan wanted to be a writer more than he wanted to be a baseball player. Because he grew to 6-foot-4, he was pushed into sports, and he turned out to be good enough to pitch in the major leagues. He lasted nine seasons and was above average at that level (55 wins, 47 losses, a career ERA of 3.54, 68 career saves), but marginal enough to get traded three times in an era when better players tended to spend most of their careers with a single team. The Long Season is his diary of a season pitching for the St. Louis Cardinals and then the Cincinnati Reds.

A consideration of two books on baseball- would you agree with the assessments of them offered here?

QLE Posted: February 14, 2020 at 01:15 AM | 16 comment(s)
  Beats: ball four, jim bouton, jim brosnan, literature, the long season

 

 

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