Book Review – The Perfect Game, Tom Seaver and the Mets by Tom Seaver

It was a busy week in the writing house with marketing tasks for The Hard Way, but with a weekend off from work, I decided to squeeze in a little reading. With the Little League World Series Regional Finals on the TVs at our house, I was pretty excited to find a baseball book to read this time.

An autobiography is a book written by a person about themselves. I remember doing a writing unit in grade school and we wrote one. I’ll have to find it in the school papers my mom gave to me. I haven’t read very many autobiographies, but thought it would be fun to read this one. The book was published in 1970 and it was kind of cool to have an almost 50 year old in my hands.

There are many life lessons to be learned from the game of baseball. I’m glad that our kids get to play the game and experience some of those lessons first hand.

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Selma’s Book Review

Book Title

The Perfect Game, Tom Seaver and the Mets

Author

Tom Seaver

Type of Book

Autobiography about Tom Seaver’s baseball career focusing on game four of the 1969 World Series when the New York Mets played the Baltimore Orioles.

Background

Tom Seaver was a professional baseball pitcher. Most people remember him and his time playing for the New York Mets. He played in the Major Leagues for 19 years, 10 years for the Mets and 9 with multiple other teams. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1992.

Summary of the story

George Thomas Seaver (Tom) was a kid who always played baseball. He started in Little League and worked his way into high school and onto college ball. He played with legion and town teams until he was picked to play for the Mets on April 2, 1966. It wasn’t an easy path, but he worked hard to get there. One of the ultimate goals for a pitcher is to pitch the perfect game. Meaning they don’t give up any runs or hits to the other team throughout an entire game. This story talks about his drive to pitch the perfect game in that game four and the events that led up to that World Series game.

Reactions to the book

The references to other players and historical events of the time helped me to really enjoy the book. I collected baseball cards when I was a kid (to keep up with my brother and the other boys in the neighborhood) so I have heard of the players Seaver talks about. The references he makes to Vietnam and strained racial relations will help a reader understand the time when Seaver played baseball.

I struggled a little bit with how he told his story. Going back in the past and coming back to where his was in the game seemed to confuse the timeline for me sometimes. However, the tidbits from his past did help me to understand the life path he took to be pitching in that game.

The story showed me how much passion Seaver has for the game of baseball. I was also impressed at how he instilled confidence in his players, something which brought a team from the bottom of the division the previous year to a World Series Champion the next. Very inspirational story. I would definitely recommend it.

If you are interested in learning more about the author/baseball player, here is a link about him Tom Seaver – Hall of Fame

The book itself is out of print, but I did find a couple of copies on Amazon.com The Perfect Game, Tom Seaver and the Mets . Our copy had been given to us from a friend for the boys. It looks like it used to be a library copy taken out of circulation. Just like the one pictured above.

 

Black History Month 2016 – Jackie Robinson

Update: I talked about reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin last week. Well, I got it from the library and started reading it last Thursday night. In the introduction, they talk about the impact of Stowe’s book on society. Novels were written at that time to bring readers into current events through a relatable medium, if people were able to get them and read them. Along with gossip, these books were big topics of discussion when women got together with each other to do domestic things like quilting and cooking. I think novels and movies are written and produced for some of the same reasons now. It can be an easier way to understand things that happen, as long as the author writes a good story about it.

Baseball is a big sport in our house. So much so, we give up most of our summer of going to the cabin to be involved in it. Both of the boys play on high school teams in the spring and travelling teams in the summer. As we were getting them signed up this year, I saw a post about Jackie Robinson on Facebook. And, that’s where the inspiration for this week’s blog came from, continuing on the theme of Black History Month.

Jackie Robinson was born on January 31, 1919. He played football, basketball, baseball and track in high school and college. He had to drop out of college due to financial hardship, but started to play football outside of college. His football career was cut short when the US entered World War II. He served as a second lieutenant in the US Army, but he never saw combat. During boot camp in 1944 he was arrested and court martialed after refusing to give up his seat and move to the back of the bus. His reputation, help from the NAACP, and black newspapers brought what happened to light and he was acquitted of the charges and given an honorable discharge. His courage and moral objections in this case would be a precursor to how he would handle his experience in Major League Baseball.

After his discharge from the Army, Jackie started playing professional baseball. Due to segregation, the blacks played on different teams than the whites did. Robinson started out playing in the negro leagues until Branch Rickey gave him the chance to play for the Montreal Royals, the farm team for the Brooklyn Dodgers. After about a year on the farm club, he was moved up to play for the majors on April 15, 1947 at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn.

Even though Jackie was a good baseball player, he was still given a hard time because he was black. Not only by players and fans of the other teams, but from some of his own team mates. Rickey and Joe Durocher, the Dodger’s manager, wouldn’t tolerate that kind of treatment of Robinson on their team. They coached Robinson to be strong and not fight all of the hate people were showing him because of his color. His ability to do this, showed an inner strength that Robinson had about himself and the fact that he knew he was good enough to be there, regardless of what other people had to say.

The movie 42 gave us a look of what it was like for Robinson to break the color line and become the first black baseball player to play in the majors. We took Max and Mitch to see 42 in the theater when the movie originally came out. As we walked out of the theater afterwords, both of the boys commented how sad it was that everyone treated Robinson and other black players differently just because they were colored.

Other players like Curt Roberts, Ernie Banks and Willie Mays followed in his foot steps and continued to break down the color line in baseball. Curt Roberts was the first to play for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Branch Rickey signed him up for the team just like he did for Robinson. Rickey liked his calm personality and hoped that it would help him deal with the heckling that he would encounter. Roberts only made it for one year, as his batting average fell, he was cut the next year.

Ernie Banks said,

“I tried to get along with people who did not normally associate with blacks. I let them know there’s good and bad in every ethnic group.”

Robinson was also the first black player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1962. Banks was inducted in 2011 while Mays was inducted in 1979. When they asked Robinson what he would like his legacy to be, he replied,

“I’m not concerned with your liking or disliking me… All I ask is that you respect me as a human being.” – Robinson on his legacy.

Through the research that I have done this month into the lives of these black Americans, I have seen some very disturbing trends in how people in our country were treated. My Mom always said that we shouldn’t be mean to people because they are different from us. Didn’t we all hear that when we were younger? If we did, then why are we continuing to do it?

Robinson and other black baseball players broke the color line and played a game that was seen as all white before. Blacks and other races have had to break a color line to get to do many things that other people are able to do here in America. I think over time people have become more accepted, but they are still not truly respected by all.