In 1884, a baseball team known as the Brooklyn Atlantics was conceived.  No one attending their inaugural game could have imagined the Atlantics evolving into the Dodgers and becoming one of baseballs’ most successful and beloved franchises.  

This is just one of the many tasty bits of trivia packed into Steven Travers’ treatment of the Dodgers franchise.  Travers has written similar tomes covering the Cubs and Cardinals.  Packed with memorable photographs covering all eras of franchise history, the book is a casual read for fans of all ages.  Rather than attempting to spin his yarn chronologically, Travers divided the book into chapters, each addressing a specific aspect of club history.  Segments I found appealing included “Dodger Dynasties,” “Breaking Barriers,” and “The Dodger-Giant Rivalry.”  While I applaud Travers’ novel approach to organizing his book, I found it challenging at times tracing the evolution of the franchise while navigating back and forth between eras.  Also, the “Breaking Barriers” chapter devoted a single page to Jackie Robinson’s dramatic arrival in the major leagues.  Given his historical importance to baseball generally and the Dodgers especially, a chapter devoted to Robinson would have been appropriate.  That way, Travers could have reflected at length about Robinson’s enormous legacy and his impact on future players wearing Dodger blue. 

Nothing succeeds like success and the Dodgers are certainly no strangers to it, having captured a record 21 National League titles and six World Series championships.  Covering the exploits of dozens of Hall-of-Famers and containing a wealth of historical images, Dodgers Past & Present would be a welcome addition for any fan of Dodgers lore.  Los Angeles Dodgers fans, however, may be disappointed by the under representation of the franchise’s half century West Coast experience.

AHP Rating: 2.0 Balls writes its book reviews with the following rating scale in mind:
Four Balls: An exceptional book that truly earns a walk straight to the local book store to get a copy.
Three Balls: This book stands out from its peers and is highly recommended.
Two Balls: A book worth reading/owning and is usually above average.
One Ball: This book has something to say but is nothing special.