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Mookie: Life, Baseball, and the '86 Mets

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  • Posted June 9, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    The sub-title of this book says it all: Almost everything one w

    The sub-title of this book says it all: Almost everything one would want to know about this iconic baseball player, the sport which was the passion of his life, and the fabulous 1986 team that won it all. From the first pages: a terrific brief Forward by Keith Hernandez, continuing with an equally brief Preface by Mookie wherein he states, among other things: “It is my hope that this book is really going to let people know that I have a life outside of baseball and that I am more than just another pretty face,” followed in turn by a brief Introduction by his co-author, Erik Sherman, stating the incontrovertible fact that “Mookie Wilson is the most beloved Mets player in the history of the franchise,” the book goes on to make all of that abundantly clear, and tells us that the man is “an accomplished chef, a fisherman, a licensed securities trader, a soon-to-be ordained Christian minister, and a truck driver who goes by the nickname Night Rider.” The introduction includes the fact that Mookie “never forgot where he came from . . . growing up black and poor in the then racially divided South of the sixties and seventies.” His father was a hard-working sharecropper “who supported a family of fourteen on a $25 a week salary.”

    The first chapter, appropriately, describes in detail the tenth inning of Game Six of the 1986 World Series, when that miraculous team came from behind to win the game and go on to the championship, propelled by the ten-pitch at bat that ended with the slow roller that went between the legs of Bill Buckner (called by some “the greatest single at-bat in World Series history,” and Mookie did “what I always did, which was run as hard as I could. That was the only way I knew how to play the game.” This chapter, and the ones in the ensuing pages describing other games, felt like listening to a play-by-play account, especially the 16-inning Game 6 of the NLCS in Houston (which Mookie describes as “The Greatest Game Ever Played”) that led to that wonderful World Series.

    Mookie is never less than candid about his teammates, pulling no punches, at the same time unstinting in his praise for many of those supremely talented men with whom he played. As a devoted baseball fan since the days of the Brooklyn Dodgers, and an ardent Mets fan ever since that phenomenal season, and team, of 1986, I have often been asked who is my favorite Mets player. There is only one answer to that: It could only be Mookie Wilson. This is a terrific and heart-warming book, and it is highly recommended, for baseball fans and others alike, but especially for baseball fans.

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