This might not be a typical one from me, but I try to mix things up. Occasionally, Al runs a book review on a specific book, and they are worth reading. This is a veer off of that. This talks about a few books I’ve read somewhat recently. They aren’t especially Cubs books, but touch on them, a bit, by default. My hope is that you have a few baseball books (Cubs or not) to recommend that would be a bit more educational than entertainment, particularly on the fringe side. Here are three from my recent list.
Doug Harvey: “They Called Me God”
Harvey is one of the more famous MLB umpires of all-time, and his book walks you through the greater portion of his life. This might belong as a personal library piece in a proper baseball library. Harvey recounts plenty of vignettes, including stories on plenty of players and managers.
This takes a bit longer than the other two selections, and might be a bit dated for readers who are mainly current. However, it’s very educational on how umpires deal with being umpires. He references some current umpires, sometimes with some surprising assessments. Brew up a beverage, get your chair ready, and enjoy.
Eddie Dominguez: “Baseball Cop”
If the story was entirely how the Cuban-born Dominguez made it to Miami, and later Boston, it would be a solid read. Dominguez turned to a life of law-enforcement in the Boston-area. He was successful in a various number of specialties, and eventually reached the MLB angle of law-enforcement. From looking into birth dates in foreign countries, to examining cases (such as Biogenesis), you get a glance into how “cases” were “examined” in baseball.
Dominguez was in Boston during the Theo Epstein era, and the Cubs get a bit of a mention with a degree of respect. Conversely, Dominguez mentions of Bud Selig and Rob Manfred tended to be a bit less complimentary. This book is not particularly lengthy, and does a nice job covering the “Mitchell Report” era until the Biogenesis case.
Bill Denehy: “Rage”
A pitcher heading through the Mets system around the same time as Tom Seaver, things didn’t go as well for Bill Denehy. The Cubs get a mention partway through, as they made him a signing offer before the draft began. It wasn’t accepted. “Rage” looks at the medical angle of baseball in the 1960s into the 1970s.
Denehy rebounded a bit to have a degree of success on the development side. That, too, was thwarted. This isn’t a particularly long read, but I almost guarantee you’ll learn a few things. Don’t expect this to be any sort of a cheery book, but it’s worth the brief time investment.
On my list is “The MVP Machine,” which I should have already memorized. I’d really enjoy a nice book on Connie Mack, or maybe some old-time umpires. One from years ago I enjoyed was on Branch Rickey. As much as anything, I want you to contemplate reading something baseball off your beaten path. If you push me toward one that I was unaware of in the range of “obscure baseball” all the better. What have you been reading?