Monday, March 7, 2022

Review of "Baseball Fathers, Baseball Sons," by Dick Wimmer

 Review of

Baseball Fathers, Baseball Sons, by Dick Wimmer ISBN 0688076343

Five out of five stars

What a fantasy come true!

The events recounted in this book are a fantasy come true for any child or young adult that is into baseball. The author loaded up his two sons and took them to spring training in Florida. It is a time for instruction, so some of the all-time retired greats go to spring training to give the young players personalized instruction. It is the one place where you can find the old stars and since it is pre-season practice, the players don’t have the mid-season intensity.

 The author and his sons meet greats such as Ted Williams, Sandy Koufax, Stan Musial, Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra and Wade Boggs. An even greater thrill is that the boys are given some personalized instruction. It is amazing to think that Ted Williams gave pointers on how to stand, hold the bat, stride and generate the perfect swing. Furthermore, imagine being given personal pitching instruction by Sandy Koufax.

 However, the author had another agenda. He interviewed the baseball stars in order to get some idea regarding how much their fathers encouraged and helped them as they rose to stardom. His data was quite interesting. Many biographies of baseball stars such as Bob Feller and Mickey Mantle describe how their fathers worked with and encouraged them as they developed into stars at an early age.

 Yet, something like 40% of the players interviewed had absent or essentially neglectful fathers. Even though they have been stars for years and quite famous, these players were sometimes still trying to get some form of approval from their fathers.

 This is a great book in many ways. One of the best is the rendition of how nearly all the baseball players that the family of three encountered were very kind and considerate. Some of those players had reputations of being detached, aloof and at times nasty to fans. There was almost none of that in this book. It is nice to learn that these greats were willing to take a little bit of time to talk to an author and interact with his sons that at times were in awe of the men they were encountering.

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