Reviews

Rob Neyer’s Big Book of Baseball Legends
The Truth, the Lies, and Everything Else.
By Rob Neyer
Published by Simon and Schuster, 2008, 331 pages

Buy this book at Amazon


There always has been a bit of exaggeration in the telling of a great sports tale. So much so that great stories aren’t always quite what really happened. Sometimes that’s a little poetic license on the part of the athlete, or a simple “misremembering” (intentionally or not) of facts, like if that great home run came in the 7th or 9th inning.

In days gone by this poetic license might have been done on the part of the journalist back in the day when a writer was more of an entertainer (often a humorist) than an objective journalist. Some tales thus were little more than fiction such as the story of Rube Waddell and the shower of burning Boston baked beans, while others definitely are well rooted in the truth.

Noted ESPN baseball analyst Rob Neyer decided to take a deeper look at some of baseball’s legends and the kind of quirky stories which have captivated audiences for years or even decades. One by one he slices, dices and dissects some of baseball’s greatest stories - such as Babe Ruth’s called shot but the majority of stories which Neyer looks at are stories that the average fan has never heard - but will greatly enjoy.

Some are true, some are great tales, and some are downright unbelievable and Rob Neyer through historical research, analysis and looks from other perspectives helps determine which is which. Strangely enough that doesn’t detract from the tales themselves but makes them far more intriguing and perhaps gives you insight into either the baseball psyche or the human psyche.

Now even Neyer admits he’s not infallible, and some of these stories do defy full analysis due to lack of records, incomplete box scores or just poor memory, so some of them are inconclusive but that never stops the reader from enjoying the tales.

While readers will not know most of the tales, they’ll recognized the flavor and remember it’s the little things like these that made this sport America’s pastime.

This is a fun little book which is easily digestible (the longest story and analysis is about 8-10 pages and most chapters are 2-4 pages) making it fun bedtime or now and again reading.

Give this one a solid 3 balls and savor it. It’s a great in season read.

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Our Rating System is based on a four ball system as follows:
One Ball: Average. It has something to say but is nothing special.
Two Balls: Something men usually have - also means its a cut above average, and worth reading/owning.
Three Balls: Stands out from its peers and is highly recommended.
Four Balls: More than just what two men have when hanging out together, it means it is an exceptional book that truly earns a walk - straight to the local book store to get a copy.