Red Sox Century

Glenn Stout, Author, Richard A. Johnson, Joint Author
Glenn Stout, Author, Richard A. Johnson, Joint Author Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $40 (480p) ISBN 978-0-395-88417-1
Hardcover - 464 pages - 978-0-618-09454-7
Paperback - 501 pages - 978-0-618-42319-4
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In this richly illustrated history, sports writers Stout and Johnson argue that the Boston Red Sox are the most interesting franchise to have played the game of baseball, an ambitious and somewhat far-fetched thesis since the team has not won a World Series title in almost 82 years. As evidence, the authors offer up the most comprehensive chronicle of the team's life to date, from its creation in 1901 and its glory days in the teens to its thrilling but exasperating losses in the World Series of 1946, 1975 and 1986. Cy Young, Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Roger Clemens and even Pedro Martinez are all colorfully profiled, as are the men who have owned and managed the team over the years. Of special interest are the fans themselves, who, the authors argue, are unique in their fatalistic, frequently bitter, but doggedly loyal devotion to their team. But as reverent toward the Red Sox as Stout and Johnson may be, they eschew the sentimentality and nostalgia so prevalent in baseball writing today. They provide a revisionist account of the legendary sale of Babe Ruth to the Yankees in 1920, and boil down the mythical ""Curse of the Bambino,"" which is thought to have resulted from that transaction, to nothing more than a ""convenient excuse."" Stout and Johnson's book is honest, well written and rigorously researched, which will make it accessible to fans of any ball club. Their contention that Boston's is the most interesting team, however, will be a tough sell to anyone living beyond the borders of Massachusetts. 225 b&w photos. (Sept.)
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