Major League Dads: Baseball’s Best Players Reflect on the Fathers Who Inspired Them to Love the Game

Kevin Neary and Leigh A. Tobin, foreword by Terry Francona. Running Press, $20 (256p) ISBN 978-0-7624-4452-6
A perfect Father’s Day gift for baseball-loving dads, Neary and Tobin’s collection of 137 reminiscences from current and former professional baseball players who each had their fathers as their early (and sometimes pro) coaches is clearly a labor of love. Both authors spent many tears working for the Philadelphia Phillies, and both share the belief that “[b]aseball is truly a game of tradition, heritage, and that of honoring excellence.” But the book is more that a typical sports book—it’s “less a book about baseball and more about the relationships between fathers and their sons.” All the stories are positive, and almost all the players describe their youth using some version of the sentiment expressed by current Tampa Bay Rays’ infielder Ben Zobrist: “Probably the greatest lesson my dad taught me was to work hard.” But what is also remarkable is that almost all players comment on how their father-son bonds have sustained and deepened over time. As five-time Gold Glove-winning pitcher Kenny Rogers (who also pitched the 14th perfect game in the history of major league baseball) says, “[I]t’s not so much about how to hit or how to throw or about baseball technique anymore. It’s just talk, father and son.” (July)
Reviewed on: 05/21/2012
Release date: 04/01/2012
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