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Posted August 11, 2004
There are several books out that chronicle the history of California baseball. But most of them do it from the standpoint of the various leagues and professional teams that have played in the golden state. This book shows the history of California baseball by tracing the stories of the people who played the game, from the superstars like Joe DiMaggio, Harry Hooper, Willie Stargell, and Joe Morgan to the players of semipro teams (like the numerous Asian-American teams) or the black baseball leagues. There are a few historical points, but I enjoyed the way Nelson tells his history, as it might have been viewed from the eyes of the players, and management themselves. The chapter about Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio, and Jackie Robinson for example tells how all three of them made it to majors, and how their individual stories differed. There's also the story of the bond between Casey Stengel and Billy Martin, who three decades after Martin first played for Stengel still spoke fondly of him. There's also stories about the PCL 'glory days' and about the Dodgers and Giants' move west. Nelson clearly did a lot of research into writing this book and as you read it, you might even be taken back to the 'days of old,' when baseball and California were much younger. While this history technically ends in 1969, there are some footnotes about California-born players who found their way to the 'Show' by the 80s and 90s. Even recent HOF inductee Dennis Eckersley is mentioned here. A highly entertaining and fun book to read, I found this to be an enjoyable way of finding out even more about California's rich baseball history.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted July 9, 2004
Truly A Classic
This books is a beautiful blend of history and baseball, filled with great stories of the early days in California, when Gold Rush hopefuls brought the game to the state, through the building of the transcontinental railroad and how the first group to visit was a baseball team, on to the advent of the Big Leagues in California and the amazing era of Robinson, Williams and DiMaggio (I had no idea that they all grew up in California at the same time). This is a great gift.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.