Tuesday, April 20, 2004
This is a good book, but baseball in the 1940s is very different from modern game: very little base-stealing for one thing. It was a very station-to-station game. The players were different: as I recall from the book, Jerry Coleman, the Yankees second baseman, sold suits in the offseason to make ends meet. Hard to believe there actually was an era when the players weren't that different from you & I. Halberstam's October 1964 is a more modern book because it deals with how players changed with the advent of television and increased money. The '49 season was one of the last of the old era.
Alas, the book pretty much focuses on the 1949 American League Yankees - Red Sox pennant race, which the Yankees won by a game when they swept the Red Sox in the season-ending series. Halberstam devotes a chapter to the 1949 Yankees - Dodgers World Series, but mentions of National League baseball (the Phillies) are few and infrequent.
Not as good as October 1964. But still good.
(Halberstam recently wrote a book called The Teamates which deals a little with Williams and his Red Sox teamates: I guess it is a sequel of sorts to Summer of '49.)