Reviews

New York Baseball in 1951, while an interesting subject, is not a spectacularly well written book.  Written by an unrepentant Brooklyn Dodgers fan, the book sometimes seems far more interested in denouncing the Giants and particularly manager Leo Durocher than telling a compelling baseball story.

new_york_baseball_in_1951
Title: New York Baseball in 1951: The Dodgers, the Giants, the Yankees and the Telescope
Author: Rudy Marzano
Publisher: McFarland & Co. Inc
Pages: 202
And the story really seems to be about the telescope that the Giants used to steal signals and a pennant, but perhaps by necessity and paucity of detail, the story of the telescope isn't a very compelling one.  Yes, it does seem certain that it happened and that Bobby Thompson's shot heard 'round the world was helped because he knew what pitch was coming, but somehow author Rudy Marzano fails to make the story that compelling.

That probably has more to do with the scope of the book, which attempts to cover all three of the New York teams, rather than follow a single storyline leading to a morass of detail and far too much repetition.  It made the book a difficult, rather than a light, read.

I did greatly like some of the stories and anecdotes contained in the pages, as well as the interview details with a number of former players about the telescope, especially that with backup catcher Sal Ivers (who was the one actually sitting in the scoreboard with the telescope and signaling the pitches to the Giants dugout electronically), but those are the saving graces of book and are interesting enough that it salvaged my feelings towards the book.

This is a book that would have benefited from a better storyline layout, and the exclusion of the Yankees' story up until the World Series match-up with the Giants (which was given short shift in any case), which had nothing to do with the Dodgers-Giants pennant race.  As it is it's not much of a compelling read for anyone but Dodgers and Giants fans of the era.

If you are one of those go ahead and give it two balls (out of our score of four), but otherwise this is a half-ball book and one you can easily give a miss to.

AtHomePlate.com 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.