Book Review: "The Game From Where I Stand"

Outfielder Doug Glanville of the Chicago Cubs watches his game-winning triple that scored teammate Kenny Lofton against the Florida Marlins in game three of the 2003 National League Championship Series. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

The photo above is from one of the highlights of Doug Glanville's career -- the game-winning triple he hit in Miami in Game Three of the 2003 NLCS, scoring Kenny Lofton with what would prove to be the winning run in extra innings.

As it turned out, that was the last hit Glanville had in a Cubs uniform; he describes that scene and quite a bit of the rest of his Cubs career in "The Game From Where I Stand", the book he wrote about his life in baseball that I bought (and had signed by him) at Rangers Ballpark when I was there in May, and just this past week got around to reading. (Incidentally, Glanville seems like a good guy -- chatted with him briefly during the signing.)

Many of you are familiar with Glanville's columns in the New York Times, where he opined thoughtfully on baseball topics of the day. This book is written just as well, but it has a different style. It's a personal memoir of Glanville's time in the game, from his high school days in New Jersey, through his days as an Ivy Leaguer at Penn, and his minor league career with the Cubs organization, as well as his major league days.

But it's also a journey through how any ballplayer takes his time as a pro. Glanville, who was a good major league regular for a few years and a backup for several others, posting 1100 career hits, tells of how he had to fight stereotypes all his life -- both negative and positive. He talks about the difficulties a ballplayer faces when he's traded and has to pack up his entire life in the course of a couple of days and go to a new city -- even when, in his case, he was traded from the Rangers to the Cubs, a city he had played in before.

You'll learn about his unique family background -- his father an immigrant from Trinidad and Tobago, his mother from North Carolina -- and how that shaped his worldview, as well as his baseball career.

Since he played in the Cubs minor leagues and with the major league Cubs for so long, many of the players and situations in this book will be familiar to you. But Glanville puts a personal and insider's look at it that will have you thinking about the major league lifestyle in a different way. And -- how's this for a teaser -- you will learn the specific reason that Glanville, who barely played for the 2003 Cubs (and not well when he did), was placed on the postseason roster by Dusty Baker and got that game-winning triple.

I particularly enjoyed this quote, which finished the first chapter of the book, regarding Glanville's views about Opening Day:

This day that begins the new baseball season is more than just the start of something special. It is the renewal of the soul of the game. Looking back at his Opening Days, a player can mark all the stages of his life. The day also continues the journey of a life in baseball, with players reaffirming their vow to play the game with everything they have, while living a dream and enjoying a passion.

And judging from the faces of the fans I saw for so many years on Opening Day, I got the feeling it meant the same thing to them.

Amen, Doug. Go buy this book. It will pleasantly fill the hours until this year's Opening Day.

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