Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyA leader of Cincinnati's Big Red Machine of the 1970s, twice named the National League's Most Valuable Player and recently elected to the Hall of Fame, second baseman Morgan is one of the outstanding players of the last half-century. Raised in a middle-class family in Texas and California, he began his career with the Houston Astros in 1965, played for the Reds from 1972 to 1979 and ended his playing days with stints in other cities. Although Morgan was admired as a team player and enjoyed the respect and affection of his colleagues, his memoirs, written with Falkner ( LT ), are not pollyanna-ish. Morgan is very specific about the people he didn't like and is outspoken about racism, which he believes pervades the sport. The resulting book is among the most candid and interesting of its genre. Photos not seen by PW. (Apr.)
Library JournalA good sports autobiography usually features a prominent subject who is a former member of at least one successful team, along with the subject's interesting, enlightening, or humorous recollections. This work fulfills the above criteria and, in addition, is the first adult work on Morgan. Morgan, twice winner of the Most Valuable Player Award while playing second base for the Cincinnati Reds, made four World Series appearances and competed in numerous playoff and pennant races with four other teams over a 20-year career. Falkner is the author or coauthor of a number of well-regarded sports books, including biographies of Billy Martin ( The Last Yankee , S. & S., 1992), Sadaharu Oh ( Sadaharu Oh: A Zen Way of Baseball , LJ 6/1/84), and Lawrence Taylor ( LT: Living on the Edge , Times Bks., 1987). Here, the authors offer a lively book that not only recounts Morgan's career and life but also addresses the major problems currently facing professional baseball: economics, racism, drugs, and the overall quality of the game. Recommended for most sports collections.-- John Maxymuk, Rutgers Univ. Lib., Camden, N.J.
Wes LukowskyThe Cincinnati Reds, who dominated baseball in the mid-1970s, were known as the Big Red Machine. The machine was powered by the little engine that could, Joe Morgan. A recent selection for the Hall of Fame, Morgan was the epitome of the all-around player. He hit for average with good power, drove in runs, stole bases, and was a fine fielder. He was also a good influence on young players and a positive role model within the community. With an able assist from veteran sports coauthor Falkner, Morgan recalls his California youth, his rapid entree into the big leagues, and his stellar career with the Reds, Phillies, Giants, A's, and Astros. Though Morgan is diplomatic in his assessment of former teammates, he offers objective critiques of Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, and others, both as people and as players. He also includes observations on current players, whom he analyzes regularly as part of ESPN's baseball broadcast team. Pleasant if predictable reading for baseball fans.
Kirkus ReviewsAcutely intelligent baseball memoir by retired second-baseman Morgan, now a commentator for ESPN, and freelance baseball writer Falkner (The Short Season, 1986). Although a pipsqueak by baseball standards, at 5'7" Morgan still towered at the plate and on the field: two consecutive MVPs, 2518 career hits, a Hall-of-Famer during his first year of eligibility. He spearheaded Cincinnati's Big Red Machine, one of the greatest teams ever assembled, playing alongside Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, and Tony Perez. Morgan covers all the anticipated highlightsmeteoric rise through the minors; early seasons with the hapless Colt 45s; the great years with the Reds, including the legendary 1975 World Series against Boston (in which five games were each decided by one run); the gentle decline. Morgan enthuses about his fellow players with opinions both delightful and curious (picking Mays rather than Ruth as "the greatest player who ever lived"; calling Pete Rose "smart as a fox"). His anecdotes sparkle, and often display an admirable humility, as in his first at-bat against legendary pitcher Sandy Koufax: "It was one of those defining moments when one part of my life seemed to slip away while another suddenly settled into place: that is, until Koufax threw his first pitch. I never saw it. I literally heard it go by me." But for all this gravy, the meat lies in Morgan's astute analysis of baseball's current woes. One is racism, and Morgan (who is black) talks sharply about bias in the game before urging, as one possible solution, black ownership of teams. Another is the level of play, which Morgan believes has slipped badly in the last 20 years. He calls for more tutoring of rookies byvets, and for the creation of a new executive position, a "roving ambassador" who will mend rifts between players, management, and the commissioner's office. Morgan doesn't say it, but there's little doubt that he's the man for the job. A winner all the way. (Photographs)
- Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- 1st ed
- Product dimensions:
- 9.47(w) x 5.81(h) x 1.09(d)
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