Monday, January 6, 2020

Review of "The Game of Baseball," by Gil Hodges

Review of

The Game of Baseball, by Gil Hodges 

Four out of five stars

 In the 1968 season, the record of the New York Mets was 73-89 and they finished ninth in the ten-team National League, twenty-four games behind the pennant winning St. Louis Cardinals. Gil Hodges was in his first year as the manager and it was the best record in the history of the club. Most of this book was written at the end of that season.

 The next year their regular season record was 100-62 and they won their division, swept the division series with the Atlanta Braves and then defeated the Baltimore Orioles four games to one in the World Series. A fifteen-page addendum was added after their victory in the World Series.

 While there is some autobiography and recollection of events in Hodges’ baseball career, most of the text is used to describe his philosophy regarding playing baseball. It is sound advice and it must be kept in mind that when it was written Hodges had just completed his first season as manager of a ninth-place team. Given what happened the next year, what may have sounded questionable at the time then came across as the words of a baseball genius. Few teams have improved 27 games from one season to another.

 Hodges was the main architect of one of the most amazing teams in baseball history and his thoughts expressed in this book should still be taken seriously.

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