We Would Have Played for Nothing: Baseball Stars of the 1950s and 1960s Talk about the Game They Loved

Fay Vincent, Author
Fay Vincent, Author Simon & Schuster $25 (327p) ISBN 978-1-4165-5342-7
Reviewed on: 03/31/2008
Release date: 04/01/2008
Open Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-4165-6531-4
Paperback - 327 pages - 978-1-4165-5343-4
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Vincent's second volume of interviews with ballplayers hearkens to a time when kids played baseball all day (with only a break for lunch), annual salaries for professional players rarely reached six figures and the color barrier was only recently broken by Jackie Robinson. Robinson's legacy looms large in the 11 accounts featured here; in one of the book's more touching passages, late New York Giants shortstop Bill Rigney laments failing to introduce himself after the Brooklyn Dodger slugged his first big-league home run against the Giants in 1947. Elsewhere, Duke Snider recalls playing in the final game at Ebbets Field before the Dodgers moved west, and Carl Erskine reveals that players back then didn't bother to read their contracts. Author and former baseball commissioner Vincent records verbatim his subjects' comments, preserving each player's characteristic mannerisms but encouraging digression; that said, everybody questioned has remarkably detailed memories and plenty of opinions on today's game. This is a vivid, entertaining read for anyone old enough to remember Whitey Ford, Lew Burdette and Billy Williams, and an informative insider's history for a new generation of fans.
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