A fine piece of research. Most minor leagues failed in the 1950s; we need more people examining why specific leagues succeeded.
Well-executed but nonetheless fairly typical tourist-oriented ballpark guide. A few of the ballyards are not currently involved in anything resembling an organized league.
Emails often made my day. I heard from fans, from past and present players, from team radio voices, from former and would-be player girlfriends, from executives, from prospective team owners, from newspaper reporters. Over the years I received thousands of notes on a vast array of topics. A Danville fan told me about watching Butch McCord. One writer told about his mother boarding black players in Decatur. Another filled me in on a former player’s troubled life after baseball. A batboy told about his continuing friendships with players who’d shared the Dubuque dugout. Pat Neshek wrote me a delightful note after his MWL summer. Bob Sprout thanked me for writing up his remarkable season, as did Bob Lawrence; both were reminded of lost friends. In the best email I ever received, a kind lady from Williamsport, Pennsylvania, told me in detail how her family became unintentional hosts to a gentle giant named Juan Salazar, and fell in love.
Nineteen largely-independent chapters, of varying quality on varying topics. The best are those on Jim Bunning, booze, and winter baseball.
The Fodor book is better, though the coverage is less complete. Some of the older, similar, books are far better.
The team name was going to be the Braves, the 1969 affiliation would be a Tigers-dominated co-op, the 1970 affiliation would be with Cleveland, and owner Mike Kelegian would likely move the team to Rockford for the 1970 season. None of these things happened.
This is a powerful and frustrating memoir of Pat Jordan’s three summers pitching in the low minor leagues, written when the author was in his thirties. At heart, it’s an exploration of why he failed, and that story is pretty brutal: Much of the problem was immaturity; he comes off as a cocky kid, with obvious talent but no ability to put the talent to use. Except for a Winter Instructionals interlude, the path is ever downward, and the ending inevitable.
Good, solid overview of the history of the Millers. Wish Stew would do a similar book on the Saints.
In the major leagues, American Legion, and NCAA they play the game. In the minor leagues they teach the game. Even as they live it, breathe it, do it, and talk it on-call twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, from March till September.