Monday, April 12, 2021

Review of "Real Grass, Real Heroes," by Dom DiMagio and Bill Gilbert

 Review of

Real Grass, Real Heroes, by Dom DiMagio and Bill Gilbert

Five out of five stars

A magical season written by one who knows

 The major league baseball season was memorable for two primary reasons. The first is that there were two outstanding performances that may never be equaled. They are the 56 game hitting streak by Joe DiMaggio and the 0.406 batting average by Ted Williams. The second is that it was the last season before the United States entered World War II. Major league baseball was changed after the war, much of which reflected changes in the country.

Dom DiMaggio is uniquely qualified to tell this story, he is the brother of Joe DiMaggio and played in the Boston Red Sox outfield alongside Ted Williams. Joe played for the New York Yankees, so they often played against each other during the course of the season.

 Dom provides a brief background on the DiMaggio family, including his brother Vince that also played in the major leagues. His portrayal of the often volatile Ted Williams is very soft, he defends Williams in pointing out that he was such a natural athlete and his stride was so smooth that it did not seem that he was running at full speed. Dom also defends Williams’ skill as a fielder, noting that his bad rap was often slanted because he was such a natural hitter.

 Dom also is honest about how the owners treated players back then, specifically in the area of pay. It was incredibly low and sometimes players faced a pay cut even after a very good year. From that, one can see how there was a pent-up bitterness among the players about the extent of their exploitation.

 This is a look back at what was a golden time for baseball and the country. In 1941, America understood the stakes of the war in Europe, yet the population simply didn’t want to be bothered. Baseball was a national obsession and in 1941, there was a lot to be obsessed about.

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