Award-winning Associated Press sports writer Hal Bock brings us a fascinating history of the players, coaches and more barred from baseball's ranks, from Shoeless Joe Jackson to Jenrry Mejia.
"Banned: Baseball's Blacklist of All-Stars and Also-Rans" weaves together tales of lesser-known characters from baseball's early years with infamous outlaws who have endured throughout the decades. Featuring stories of players like Eddie "The Only" Nolan, Cozy Dolan, Leo Durocher, and Pete Rose who have been expelled or suspended from the sport, Bock's chronicle delves deep into baseball's colorful history. For those who follow the current corporate era of businessmen players and billionaire owners, this book serves as a reminder that America's Pastime evolved from the days when gamblers filled the stands and influenced poorly paid scoundrels on the diamond.
In his over 40-year career, Hal Bock has covered every major event on the sports calendar, including 30 World Series, 30 Super Bowls and 11 Olympic Games, making him the perfect storyteller for this retrospective. Featuring an introduction by John Thorn, the Official Historian of Major League Baseball, and more than 25 photographs from the Associated Press archives, "Banned" is a must-read for any fan of the game.
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Many players, managers, umpires, executives and even a team doctor have been banned from baseball over the history of the office of the commissioner of baseball. From the first commissioner, Judge Kennesaw Mountain Landis to the current commissioner, Rob Manfred, each one has acted in what he believe would preserve the integrity of the game. The stories of some of those who faced suspension or expulsion are told in this book by Hal Bock. Well-known stories such as those of the eight players from the 1919 Chicago White Sox, the suspension of Alex Rodriguez for the 2014 season and Pete Rose are covered, but so are the suspensions of others who were not as well know. Jimmy O’Connell and coach Cozy Dolan of the New York Giants who were suspended for a failed bribe attempt. In 1946, the second commissioner of the game, Happy Chandler, stated that any player who left for the brand new Mexican League would be suspended from Major League Baseball for five years. Suspensions of owners like George Steinbrenner and Marge Schott are covered and even the brief expulsion of Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle for accepting promotional jobs for casinos. No matter who the subject of the suspension was, each one is covered by a brief story that explains the behavior that warranted the suspension and the commissioner’s reasoning. That may or may not be something the reader will agree with, but each story is structured in this manner and makes for quick reading for each chapter. None of these chapters fully describe the entire story, especially those of the 1919 White Sox or Rose, as there are other publications that delve much deeper into those topics. However, if the reader is looking for a quick and informative book on each of the persons who have been punished by a baseball commissioner, then this book will fulfill that need. I wish to thank Diversion Books for providing a copy of the book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.