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Posted March 24, 2007
Memories of Baseball
Tom Oliphant transports us back to October 4, 1955. Duke Snider and Yogi Berra at the plate. Bullet Bob Turley and Johnny Podres on the mound. Vin Scully, in his youth, at the microphone. What seemed like the fate of the world -- or at least the city -- on the line. As the story unfolds, we are offered an intimate portrait of Oliphant as a boy, and of his parents. We can almost smell the coal smoke of mid-50's New York City. We sit with the Brooklyn faithful, at Ebbets Field and Yankee Stadium, gathered around televisions, and grouped by their radios to hang on every pitch of that fateful game. We can experience, with the author, the exquisite joy of long-suffering fans finally granted the ecstasy of victory. For New Yorkers -- especially Brooklynites -- for baseball fans, and most especially for fans of the Brooklyn Dodgers, this is a must read book.
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Posted April 12, 2009
A Writer's Baseball Biography
Expecting a story about Gil Hodges, I was a bit surprised when Praying for Gil Hodges turned into a short autobiography of the author Thomas Oliphant growing up in the 1950s.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
I'm a few years younger than Oliphant but can testify, as he does, to the Dodgers fan's disappointment year after year, as my father was a fan, and I was one by birth. I vividly remember one game at Ebbets Field where our seats were so close to third base that I saw the beard on Johnny Antonelli as he warmed up for the Giants.
Following a style used by others by placing their story in the context of a baseball season or a single game, Oliphant paints a portrait of growing up with an ill father and a breadwinner mother who doted on him from the confines of their small Tudor City apartment. At the same time, he's provided with a private school education based on his aptitude, and his musical and vocal talents do not go unnoticed.
I was a bit disappointed that the title was misleading and it serves me right for not reading the editor's notes more carefully.
I found a lot of repetitiveness in the story telling, as well as several glaring typographical errors in the text. What happened to the proofreading?
Posted March 16, 2009
Praying for Gil Hidges
This is an account of a family's and community's relationships seen from the perspective of a young child growing up in Brooklyn, all of which relates to community and individual feelings about the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Dodgers' World Series victory in 1955. I felt I learned a lot about the Dodgers of that era, and was moved by how the team's repeated failures against the Yankees in the Series (and eventual victory over the Yankees in '55) affected this family who had been through World War II and worked to learn from that experience to build a better world.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
I had read Doris Kearnes Goodwin's Wait Until Next Year, and found this book a valuable continuation of my understanding of the Dodgers and of Brooklyn, though I confess Oliphant's writing doesn't live up to Goodwin's phenomenal prose.
Posted January 16, 2011
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