Monday, April 12, 2010
BOOK REVIEW: RED SOX BY THE NUMBERS
I've been sent books to review by publishers in the past. And often I refrain from reviewing them because it wouldn't be very polite. But this book was different.
It was a pleasure to read this. There's been a tidal wave of of Sox literature since 2003, but this book truly stands out. It was easy to read yet still involved and interesting. You can pick it up and open to any random page, or speed through it cover to cover as I did. Even the Red Sox fan that thinks they know everything will learn something new from Red Sox by the Numbers. As the introduction states: "The idea of the book is to have a little fun and learn something about your team you never knew. Or forgot."
It's formatted in a very accessible way. Each chapter represents a uniform number. There's a list of all the players to don each number. Then the chapter itself details some of more interesting owners of the number. Chapter 17, for instance, discusses Mel Parnell, Dick Radatz, Marty Barrett, Cecil Cooper, Bret Saberhagen, Herb Pennock, Manny Delcarmen, and a few more guys.
At the end of each chapter, there's a "Most Obscure Red Sox Player to Wear #x" stub. Example: Pitcher Harley Hisner wore #24 in one game at the end of the '51 season. He gave up Joe DiMaggio's last career hit, struck out Mickey Mantle, and got a basehit himself. It was his first and last Major League game.
There's a ridiculous amount of interesting data. The authors did the hard work of researching these facts (Doug Mirabelli has worn #28 the longest. That number's been issued to 58 different players/coaches). I had no idea that Gene Conley played for both the Red Sox and the Celtics until I read this book, or that Darren Lewis played 2,410 innings before making his first error.
This book seems perfect for any level of Sox fan. For the newb who wants to dive right in. For the casual fan looking to be entertained by the oddities and nuances of the game. For the lifer looking to bolster their arsenal of obscure and interesting facts. There are several people on my Christmas list who'll be receiving copies of this book in a few months.
Red Sox by the Numbers
A Complete Team History of the Boston Red Sox By Uniform Number
By Bill Nowlin and Matthew Silverman
Skyhorse Publishing Paperback Original
On Sale: March 1, 2010