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Shut Out is the compelling story of Boston's racial divide viewed through the lens of one of the city's greatest institutions - its baseball team, and told from the perspective of Boston native and noted sports writer Howard Bryant. This well written and poignant work contains striking interviews in which blacks who played for the Red Sox speak for the first time about their experiences in Boston, as well as groundbreaking chapter that details Jackie Robinson's ill-fated tryout with the Boston Red Sox and the humiliation that followed.
Posted August 2, 2003
This book is a good idea maddeningly flawed. It is filled with misspellings, inconsistencies and factual errors. Cases in point: Expos GM is Omar Minaya, not Mineya. Harold Washington was first elected to the mayorship of Chicago in 1983, not 1987. And the late rapper is The Notorious B.I.G., not Notorious B.I.G. Ken 'Hawk' Harrelson and Jim Rice were never teammates, as mentioned in the book. There is at least 1 sentence in the book that is not a sentence. Such errors embarrass the author and the publisher. The book is diligently researched and readable, but its credibility is thrown into question when such mistakes are allowed past the publishing stage. An opportunity missed.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted November 15, 2002
The publication of Shut Out occurs at a time when the Boston Red Sox have just finished their first season of a new era. An era promising to right every wrong of the past 101 seasons. The sad part is that in reading this book we come away with the feeling that there is more to the antidote than simply John Henry, new seats at Fenway, and the mere promise of final racial equality for the team. Howard Bryant, while publicly a journalist covering the rival New York Yankees, is also a black man who grew up in the city of Boston during its most turbulent period for blacks- the school busing crisis of the early 1970s. Bryant's journalistic talents shine brightly throughout this well-written expose. He begins the story with a good deal of Boston history entirely unrelated to baseball. He examines early 19th century Boston when it was known to blacks as home to the abolitionist movement. Tracing Boston's slow move away from perceived abolitionist leanings and into political rivalries among various groups, he shows a city ripe with prejudice. The Boston Red Sox of the early Tom Yawkey era was very much a club. Yawkey surrounded himself with cronies who thought very much the way he did. While never publicly speaking out against the idea of integrated baseball, others in his organization did. From the eloquent dodging of the question by General Manager Eddie Collins to the very public racist comments of Manager Pinky Higgins we learn how a team who could have been the first in baseball to integrate, became the absolute last. A good deal of time is given to the story of Jackie Robinson's Fenway Park tryout- predetermined to failure and ignored by all from Joe Cronin on the field to the top ranks of the organization. Two years later, Robinson would break the color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers. In similar fashion we see the refusal of a Red Sox talent scout to even watch the young Willie Mays, another Hall of Famer who was Boston's for the taking, but would instead break in with the New York Giants. The thought of Robinson and Mays playing on the field with Ted Williams is enough to give any Sox fan chills. When in 1959 the Red Sox finally do break the color barrier with Elijah "Pumpsie" Green, it is Ted Williams who shows the most solidarity with the black rookie. On a personal note, as a lifelong Red Sox fan growing up in the 1970s, the realization of just how few black players have made the team is disheartening. We learn of the struggles of more recent players from Reggie Smith, to Jim Rice, to Ellis Burks, to Mo Vaughn- playing and living in Boston. Now that the past has been publicly stated, perhaps things could change for the future of the franchise. Let's just hope the city doesn't hold them back for they are truly New England's team. -Jonathan ColcordWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.