File Size: 12830 KB
Print Length: 334 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; 1 edition (March 21, 2017)
Publication Date: March 21, 2017
The book takes a look at Durocher's life from his birth (he was born as French Canadian--his name would have been pronounced De-rochay) to his death. In between, a lot of things happened! A brouhaha with Girl Ruth over a watch (did Durocher steal it from the Babe or not? ), acrobatic fielding as a shortstop--and a rather weak stick (career batting average=. 247), represented his league in the All-Star game as a player, time as a player-manager (as his playing career wound down). He was a scrappy player who could get under other players' skin with his bench jockeying and extreme performance.
Like a manager, he was no less scrappy and aggressive. As one reads the book, one is struck by how many games he was thrown from and his suspensions for being a " hooligan. " Arguments with umpires were the stuff of legends, with kicking dirt on them, screaming at them, sometimes hitting them. He would fight to the very edge of the rules to win a game (and could have gone across the line a time roughly! ). He was hard on his players, and there were occasional revolts against his manner (Dodgers and Cubs). He could rip players to shreds (it is almost shocking to learn of him trying to ride Ernie Banks (Mr. Cub) out of baseball. Although he won a whole lot of games, he could screw it up, too. His performance as manager with the Cubs is often looked at as a not so great job--overplaying the team in the miserable hot summers in Illinois, burning them out perhaps? He was also an early supporter of allowing African-Americans play mlb.
We also learn of his personal life--his four marriages, his friendship with George Raft, his heavy involvement in gambling, his involvement with a Showmanship Crowd, including Frank Sinatra.
All in all, a level handed look at Durocher, warts and all. The reader gets a sense of the best and the worst of the man., An extremely well-balanced portrayal of a man who had his evident strengths -- and weaknesses. My initial thought was that Durocher was already in the Hall of Fame. At a point that point was brought upward as Durocher's career lengthened. It was probably reasonable to him and the game that he didn't live to take the honor as his moral standing in the game was always in question. Obviously (and under-appreciated by me) he was a superb fielding shortstop, good enough to man the position on many achieved Major League teams. I actually didn't think I would enjoy reading about his profession, but Dickson's research and fine writing managed to get " a keeper. ", This particular is a very well written account of the life of Leo Durocher, a man who was not universally loved but who could not be ignored due to his forceful personality. The writer succeeds in giving us all a picture of the inner Durocher, as well as presenting us with a factual narrative of his life. He was a complex man with theatrical skills to make themselves noticed, even when his baseball career had not been going well. He was one of the pioneers of racial integration in the major leagues but, after taking Robinson in, did not treat him well.
Still, together with Casey Stengel, Durocher is one of the most colorful characters of baseball and reading this article volume is a good way to get know the man in his multiple facets., Interesting stories and tales about Leo Durocher that I actually never knew. Book would probably appeal more to those of the age group that may remember the 1950 era of baseball. However your young baseball lover could read how many papers were in living and how many writers were assigned to cover a significant league team., I actually was born in Brooklyn to a Dodger adoring family. The ten holes before they'd children my parents were at Ebbets Field rooting for our “Beloved-Bums” almost every weekend. Our family actually moved from Ny to Los Angeles the same year as the Dodgers. Leo “The Lip’s” exploits with Brooklyn were before I was born… but along with stories of Jackie Robinson… from the time I could understand… there were just as many stories about “The Lips” antics handed down to me from my Father AND Mother. From the minute I could read… I read everything printed about not only the Dodgers but the whole historical past of baseball. I discovered pretty quickly about the hatred… the bean balls… the flying spikes and fists between my heroes and the crosstown competitor Giants. Though I’ve read other Durocher biographies on the years… this new one by Paul Dickson… (though… perhaps… time has dulled some of the details of prior author’s work… as the last one was over a ten years ago) seems to flow the smoothest… covers all the bases… and brings back thrilling memories of old-school-baseball. AND I IMPLY OLD-SCHOOL!
I remember like it was yesterday… when my Dad was instilling in me… the need to win in every game. One of our favorite Durocher quotes I was raised on… is certain enough right on page 5: “IF I WAS PLAYING THIRD BASE AND THE MOTHER WAS ROUNDING 3 RD USING THE RUN THAT WAS GOING TO BEAT US, I’D TRIP HER! ” Even my dear- old -Mom loved that certain! Plus of course “Nice fellas finish last! ” The author’s writing style is silky smooth. Happily… he doesn’t resort to the repetitive repertoire that too many authors rely on when writing about historical sports events such as… “He recalled”…. Etc. Every ball game event is written in a fresh vein even if it was from eighty-years in the past. From his youth in Massachusetts… to playing ball with the Murderer’s Row Yankees… with his “buddy” Babe Ruth (and of course… they were anything but “buddy’s… whether you believe Leo actually stole the Babe’s watch or not. And the writer also offers the intimate details when years later when Ruth was a coach on the Brooklyn Dodgers… and in a personal clubhouse meeting… Leo knocked Ruth against a locker)… his time on the World Champion “Gashouse Gang” St . Paillette Cardinals… and of course when he became the player-manager for the Brooklyn Dodgers. I’m sure many young fans don’t realize Durocher not only made the All-Star team multiple times… but he was also considered one of the biggest fielding shortstops of the era. Whenever he went from the Yankees to the Reds… despite all his unsettling problems… the then operator of the Reds Sidney Weil became one of the biggest friends in Leo’s life.
Away from the field his personal travails with marriage… money… gambling… mobsters… and other undesirables is covered from A-Z and integrated as seamlessly as a 6-4-3 double play with his ball playing. Leo’s moves from the Dodger dugout to the Giants’ dugout to the Cubs to the Astros… along with many front row… and clubhouse confidential… titillating incidents… are reported in a truly enjoyable non-stop obstruction by the author..
“The Lip’s” relationship with all the greats from Ruth to the Dean Brothers… Frankie Frisch to the “People’s Cherce”… to Jackie… to the “Say Hey Kid”… to Ernie… Ron… and Billy… and everybody in between… are shown with precise detail regardless how long ago it took place. His link with not only big name artists and “undesirables”… but also with guys named Memphis Engleberg… Connie Immerman… and you can’t forget “Sleep-Outside”.
The fights on the field… in the runway… in the clubhouse… in a ally… with players… fans… umpires… and reporters… offer an absolute old-school-baseball-fans dream come true. Books like this don’t just turn up like the sun on a new day. For me… this is like eating candy… delicious… enjoyable… addicting. Right now there were fights on the field that got small suspensions and fines… today there would have been perhaps lifetime bans… (of course that’s on top of his season long ban in 1947 for hanging around with the wrong people… and dropping that season… deprived him or her the historical chance to control Jackie Robinson’s rookie year)… but could you picture the suspensions in nowadays game for pushing an umpire after being thrown refusing to leave the field… and throwing a wet towel in the umpire’s face???
“Leo the Lip” “was baseball’s problem child, ” “he regularly attracted adjectives for aggressiveness: combative, fierce, feisty, bellicose, pugnacious, cheeky, contentious, truculent and scrappy. ” “He was one of the fiercest bench jockeys of all time. ”
Plus everywhere he went…. The attendance rose! I miss you Leo.
P. H. Here’s a couple of my Leo Durocher souvenirs from over SEVENTY-FIVE-YEARS-AGO!
G. S. S. When my youngest granddaughter BROOKLYN was going through a ranting raving stage between one and two-years-old… I used to lovingly call her “LEO-THE-LIP”!
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