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Incisive, personal reporting that covers the five most recent baseball seasons and such events as Reggie Jackson's three World Series home runs, the triumph of the Phillies, and the bitter ordeal of the 1981 players' strike.
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Late Innings: A Baseball Companion based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Dated, but wonderfully written. Actually it should be outdated and obscure; instead it's considered a classic. Angell does quite a bit in one book. He spends a lot of time capturing the atmosphere of spring training, runs off nostalgic season summaries (1977-1981), fills the pages with excellent interviews of players, journalists, fans, general managers, & covers major and minor stories of the time, notably early free agency & the 1981 strike. His stories also cover woman sports journalists, semi-pro leagues, and, most memorably, hall-of-fame pitcher Bob Gibson.I can't compliment enough his interviews. He captures players really talking seriously to him about what they do, their personalities coming out as the talk about their ideas on pitching, hitting, free agency etc. Players like Tom Seaver, Reggie Jackson, Pete Rose and Ted Simmons really come alive. For me personally, the time period covered was an unexpected blessing. Although the time is before I started watching baseball, the 1977 to 1981 seasons, and although I never saw these guys play, at least not until they were much older, I know the names, and I know some things about their futures. So Angell, in a way filled in a gap for me, covering major players just as they are getting started, some still in college. This is fascinating. There is a very graceful overall structure, or at least I think there is, in the mixture of really nice baseball stories and the themes that underlie and connect the stories. He builds up to the 1981 strike, it's a book-wide theme, maybe the purpose of the book. But, the book does not get lost in there. Instead it's a side story, part to Tom Seaver's or Pete Rose's interview. The focus is a love a baseball. And, when the strike comes, the book doesn't end. Angell breaks off into interesting side stories, mixing college prospects with aging legends and, even following some sem-pro leagues. Baseball has history, and a future and it infiltrates so much of our culture, and Angell gets it all in there. The sequences of interviews seem to have a purpose too - the pitching themes come early and peak with Bob Gibson. The hitting stories really spin off much later in the book."Pitching is a beautiful thing. It's an art - it's a work of art when done right. It's like ballet or the theatre. And, like any work of art, you have to have it in your head first - the idea of it, a vision of what it should be. And then you have to perform. You try to make your hand and body come up to that vision."(Tom Seaver, probably 1977, quoted on p 30).¿Well, hitting is a physical art, and that¿s never easy to explain,¿ he said. ¿And it¿s hard. It¿s one hard way to make a living if you¿re not good at it. Hitting is mostly a matter of feel, and it¿s abstract as hell¿(Ted Simmons, probably 1981, quoted on p 344).
A must for any fan of late seventies to early eighties baseball. Covers everything from the pennant races, to the first femal reporters allowed in the lockeroom.A compliation of various stories, so you don't have to read it straight through. I did though and it was quite enjoyable. I would definately read other titles written by this author.