Lip: A Biography of Leo Durocher

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Leo the Lip, perhaps best remembered for his quip ``Nice guys finish last,'' began his baseball career in 1925 as a player for the Hartford, Conn., team in the Eastern League, and left the sport in 1973, when he resigned as manager of the Houston Astros. During those years he played for the Yankees of the Ruth-Gehrig era, the Cincinnati Reds, the Cardinals of Gas House Gang fame and the Brooklyn Dodgers; he managed the Dodgers, Giants and Cubs, leading his teams to three pennants. From a rough background in West Springfield, Mass., as a teenager Durocher was a pool hustler and a gambler (gambling remained an addiction) and developed an abrasive, confrontational personality. As an infielder, he may have been the best of his time, unexcelled with the glove, but he was only a mediocre hitter. As a manager, some players thought him great, while he alienated others. In a book that is primarily a thinly disguised pitch for the election of Durocher, who died in 1991 at age 86, to the Hall of Fame, New York Times sports reporter Eskenazi does not write about Durocher's well-known disagreeable proclivities, such as his jealousy or downright hatred of great hitters from Babe Ruth to Ernie Banks. Photos not seen by PW. (Mar.)
Library Journal
Durocher's tumultuous career in baseball as a manager, player, coach, and commentator spanned nearly five decades. His greatest success came as a manager, though his brash behavior kept him in constant trouble with the game's authorities. The author recalls announcer Red Barber's apt remark that ``Leo didn't make any mistakes on the field. All the mistakes Leo made were off the field.'' All those incidents are chronicled here, including ones that went unreported in Durocher's autobiography, Nice Guys Finish Last ( LJ 4/15/75). Altogether, this is a thorough examination of a man who had an immeasurable impact on the game. Recommended for popular sports collections.-- William H. Hoffman, Ft. Myers-Lee Cty. P.L., Fla.
Wes Lukowsky
Leo Durocher was the Peck's Bad Boy of baseball for almost 50 years. As a rookie player, he was a teammate of Babe Ruth; then he moved on to St. Louis as a charter member of the infamous Gas House Gang. But Leo's link to baseball immortality came not as a player but as a manager. He managed 26 seasons in the majors, winning three pennants and one World Series in the process. Along the way, he engineered one of the greatest comebacks in history, leading the 1951 New York Giants from out of the race to the pennant on the season's final day; on the other hand, he also presided over a colossal collapse, in 1969, when the Chicago Cubs blew a huge lead in the final weeks. Leo made as many headlines off the field as on: he was suspended for associating with gamblers; he married movie stars; and he once referred to Frank Sinatra as "next of kin." Eskenazi, for 30 years a "New York Times" sports reporter, interviewed dozens of Durocher intimates and combines those personal recollections with research material. The Leo who emerges is an oil-and-water mix of street pug and aspiring socialite. It seems the wrong side of his personality would spill into the most inappropriate venues. Leo was a lot of things but never dull. Eskenazi does him justice.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780688118952
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/1/1993
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 336

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