Season for the Books

We live in a literary world here in Red Sox Nation, so of course we are going to have books written about a championship team.

Johnny Pesky has one out now that every big fan would probably want for Christmas. MLB.com contributor Maureen Mullen wrote it with him. It looks like a great read. It’s called Diary of a Red Sox Season .

NIck Cafardo from the Boston Globe also has a book out, one of those coffee-table style books with great pictures and descriptive stories taking Sox fans through the Years. It’s called  Red Sox Yesterday and Today.

And today, a big announcement on WEEI-850 AM. Rob Bradford of Boston Herald Fame is ghostwriting the autobiography of World Series MVP Mike Lowell. Mike and Rob are a heck of a team. They are both honest, straightforward people who know how to tell a story with the words to fit the occasion. Mike’s story is one that will motivate just about anybody. Expect this book to hit the stores sometime before Father’s Day and you know this one is going to fly off the shelves.

OK, since we are on the topic of books, I might as well give my own book a shameless plug. I’ve written a book not with Daisuke Matsuzaka, but about him, chronicling his first Major League season. There are chapters about Dice-K’s heroics in high school, and in Japanese Pro Ball, as well as the eventful quest by the Red Sox in closing the deal. But the meat of the book is the 2007 season, chronicling Dice-K’s ups and downs. The book is already out in Japan, but not available in the United States and in the English language until probably March. Here is the pre-order link.

There are also Red Sox movies to be seen over the holidays. Everyone should have the two-DVD set Rooters. This is the story about Red Sox fans, tracing back to the late 19th century and weaving all the way through the years. It is wonderfully done and narrated by Mike Adams.

And, I’d also give high recommendations to the The 2007 World Series Film, and NESN’s comprehensive look at the ’07 season called Champions Again. And if you order it here, it comes with a free copy of Faith Rewarded, the chronicle of epic 2004.

I hope that helps everyone’s Christmas shopping just a little. Happy Holidays.

Ian.

20 Comments

For fiction, you’ve also now got two pretty good offerings of short stories (edited by Adam Pachter) Fenway Fiction and Further Fenway Fiction.
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1579401430/matthanlon-20

and http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1579401430/matthanlon-20

Well, it’s Christmas and I hope Santa is good to all of you. Merry Christmas everyone! Here’s hoping the new year brings all of you good health and prosperity and to Red Sox Nation, another world series championship.

Please think about our men and women in the armed services, many of whom will not be home with their families this holiday season as they stand watch over our great country to ensure we enjoy the freedom and all the other good things we have. Thanks!

Great thoughts gsm..
I would like for our young men and women to be home, all of them!! I think they deserve to be doing things that all young people need to do. Date, have fun, pursue their academic hopes,but they each made a choice to put their dreams and hopes on hold in order to protect all of us and our freedoms. I feel really petty right now about the views that I some times have and the way that I express them. But I feel very grateful that someone is out there protecting my privelege to have to my view. (SORRY JEFF REGARDING MY LATEST OUTBURST) I want all of us in the Nation to be a family. And I know that we all feel that everyone should be home for the Holidays. It’s times like these that make us realize that while we are here discussing the not so very important issues that we discuss daily, there is a reason that we can do so. It’s because we have our “People” (men and women) over THERE fighting a war to make sure that no one comes over here and takes that “privelege” (I know we see it as one of our rights) from us.

THANK YOU TO ALL OF OUR ARMED FORCES. WE AS THE REDSOX NATION WANT YOU ALL HOME AS SOON AS POSSIBLE. Please be careful and STAY SAFE. .. AND THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR THE JOB YOU ALL DO EVERDAY, ESPECIALLY AT CHRISTMAS.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone in the RedSox Nation!!

Well said, gsm, Ellen. There’s nothing I can add to that. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone.

I read the article and watched the video regarding Clemens. I find it troubling that his attorney has to “personally” know that Clemens is innocent and telling the truth. Also the fact that they are “leaning closer towards filing suit” also has me thinking. If it were me in this alleged trouble, if my lawyer didn’t believe me, I’d find one that did. I would go to the absolute ends of the earth if I were innocent of all charges. Roger says he’s granted an interview to Mike Wallace at 60 minutes: BIG DEAL!! Palmiero was before Congress and pointedly, with pointed finger, said he’s never done steroids!!!,and we know what came about there!!! Just because it’s 60 minutes, (and I am a huge fan of the show) doesn’t lend any more credibility to his denial. Sue for liable, defamation of character,and anything else that is feasible. When he clears his name, then I’ll believe him.
…and the Yankee fans are consistently pointing the finger at Nolan Ryan, he didn’t have “bad years” before he was 35 to my knowledge. He had consistent seasons throughout his career. I would try to defend one of our guys too, but you ought to go over to Bryan Hoch’s blog, it’s like the freaking Pope has been defamed!!!

It’s time to move on. Let the ones who were “outed” defend themselves or not, as they see fit, come up with a more advanced and accurate testing method, and get back to the game we all love, BASEBALL.

dear santa (& theo). all i want for christmas is for johan santana to be a member of the red sox! gsm, well said. merry christmas everybody!

ellen

Supposedly, there’s congressional committee meetings in January. If Clemens, or any of the rest in denial, want to clear their name, they should appear before the committee and testify under oath-right after the committee hears McNamee testimony.

Anything else is simply noise

Hope you all had a great Christmas. My girlfriend loaded me up with Red Sox and Patriots stuff. She’s a smart lady, can’t go wrong with that.

You’re right gsumner, if Clemens is clean, he has nothing to fear. Personally, I hope he is.

Re slander, libel, etc.

While Schill is right that an innocent player should be pushing to go after Mitchell, et al if falsely named, the real big thing is going to be the Congressional hearings.

Congress has subpoena power and ding people for perjury.

And God help the using players if the drugs are linked to organized crime.

Re Jim Rice’s quest for the HOF:

Rob Neyer wrote in an ESPN headline yesterday: “Rice Doesn’t Belong in the Hall” but, in my opinion, it is definitely a misguided prejudicial opinion: another ESPN colunist a few years ago said: “And you essentially have to vote on him as a hitter only, because he DH-ed extensively. He gave you no speed, no Gold Gloves, no off-the-field “character-and-integrity” points.”

1. He did DH a lot, but he was the most feared hitter of his time (without the steroid cloud over him)….check out the total base and slugging percentage stats….talk to the pitchers of the era. Also, he ended his career as the #3 assist leader among outfielders in Red Sox history….not bad.

2. He may not have been the fastest, but he did lead the league in triples for a few years, so he must have had some speed.

3. As to off the field points: Jim Rice was, and is, as fine a gentleman as you would want to meet. How about the time the child was struck by a bat in Fenway and Jim jumped into the stands and rushed the child down into the Red Sox clubhouse for immediate first aid? Shouldn’t that be rewarded off the field points???

4. Compare these stats with recent Hall of Famers (and you can add Cepeda and Yount as well):

Rice Perez Fisk

Games 2089 2777 2499

Bat Ave 0.298 0.297 0.269

Runs 1249 1272 1276

Runs per Game 0.5979 0.458048 0.510604

RBI 1451 1652 1330

RBI per Game 0.6946 0.594887 0.532213

HR 382 379 376

HR per Game 0.1829 0.136478 0.15046

Hits 2452 2732 2356

Hits per Game 1.1738 0.983795 0.942777

Further:

“To me, the No. 1 player who fell short in the voting was Jim Rice. He was “the man” in the American League for at least 10 years. When I was in the National League, I read his box scores every day. He was so consistent, with hits, home runs and RBI. I can’t believe he hasn’t received more support, but playing in Boston may have hurt his publicity. “ Quote from Joe Morgan.

There is no question, in most unbiased observers opinion, that Jim Rice belongs in the Hall. My opinion is that the writers who don’t vote for him, still harbor a prejudice against him because he was not a publicity seeking hound like Reggie Jackson and mostly avoided the press.

Jim Rice should be voted in on his merits.

I don’t think Rice’s personality has anything to do with him getting left off.

Dan Shaughnessy ( most negative sportswriter ever ) is one of the strong supporters of Rice. Shaughnessy was critical of Rice during his playing days. Shaughnessy and Rice didn’t see eye to eye at all.

Rice to me is very one dimensional. A very good player but not a “great” player. Too many good players are getting in. He wouldn’t get my vote!!!

Joe Morgan may be the greatest second basemen to ever play, but his opinion isn’t always logical. Rice isn’t quite there in my opinion.

http://statisticianmagician.mlblogs.com/

Congratulations to the New England Patriots (16-0) and to Tom (Yankee Fan)Brady and Randy Moss! Three more wins to go!

While I always get nervous agreeing with bosoxbrian (LOL), I have to agree with him about Jim Rice. I liked Rice as much as anyone. I remember when he came up with Freddie Lynn, who was both ROY and MVP in 1975, and many commentators said, Rice will be better, and he was. I remember one incredible show of Rice’s strength in a televised at bat during which Rice checked his swing with such force that he broke his bat and the barrel end went flying over the 3B’men’s head. After being called up late in 1974, he played 14 full seasons and part of 1989, really not long enough to amass the kind of hitter’s numbers that entry into HoF typically requires. He only hit more than 40 HR’s once (his MVP season – 1978), and only hit 30+ in 3 other seasons. Maybe, if the Sox had won the Bucky Dent game and gone on to win the WS, with Rice having a phenomenal hitting series, maybe then he would be getting in. He was a very good hitter, but his career did not produce the numbers or the auspicious circumstances that get one voted into the HoF.

I’m sure there are a number of HoF players who one could compare Rice to and ask, “then why not.” Take, for instance, Carlton Fisk and Tony Perez, used as examples in a blog entry above.

Fisk didn’t go in as a hitter essentially, he went in as a catcher, and the hitting numbers required of most HoF catcher candidates are not as substantial as other, non-pitching positions. Besides that, Fisk had a magical moment in Game 6 of the 1975 WS that all but guaranteed his admission.

I agree that Perez’s numbers are similar to Rice’s, but I’m not sure the analysis there says Rice should get in, maybe it says that Perez’s admission was marginal. Once again, however, Perez was part of the “Big Red Machine” and I suspect that helped him get in along with Morgan and Johnny Bench (and Pete Rose but for his personal problems).

When I look at Curt Schilling and Pedro Martinez, I see a similar disparity. Their number of wins are about equal, Martinez has won 3 CY’s while Schilling has not won any. However, if I were to wager today as to which player is more likely to get into HoF, I would clearly choose Schilling, and not Pedro. The number of wins standard for admission is significantly higher than the 200+ each has (I do recognize that if Martinez, at 36+ can recover from his injuries well enough to amass another 50-75 injuries in the next 5 years, my thought would change. However, given his injuries, I don’t think that’s going to happen).

Schilling was on 3 WS winners (thus far) was co-MVP in one, had that inspiring performance in 2004, and had a post-season performance in 2007 that was highly improbable given his performance during the season.

To me, its similar to the “Sandy Koufax” phenomenon — a short career which doesn’t approach normally expected career numbers (Koufax only won 165 games), but was totally remarkable for a relatively short duration.

Fisk with his home run, Perez as a part of the “Big Red Machine”, and Schilling with his bloody sock, all have a portion of the Koufax phenomenon. Unfortunately, I don’t believe Rice is there, and I don’t think he would get into HoF without at least another 75-125 home runs.

Hey bosoxbrian — my family and I are spending a few days in a resort in Mobile Bay. Even though we are 165 miles away from New Orleans, I can feel the “Buckeye Magic” from here. Go Bucks!!

dbenjamin,

I think Pedro is a first ballot hall of famer. Pitched in the steroid era and dominated. I think Schilling will get in. I also think Jack Morris should and Goose Gossage as well.

They’re not playing that B.C.S. Championship game for another week. I forget who’s playing in that title game, lol…

If Ohio State can run the football they will have a great chance. If they can’t run the ball, they are in BIG TROUBLE. Almost a home game for L.S.U., alot of speed for L.S.U. out there.

Agreeing with me, you need help now for sure, lol….

dbenjamin, first, agreeing with Brian lends serious doubts to your credibility and maybe even your sanity! LOL!

You make some valid points about Rice. You think Pedro should be in the HOF, and I agree, yet he faces the same dilemma as Rice. He, along with Sandy Koufax, are probably the two best and most dominant pitchers I have ever seen. However, both were dominant for a relatively short period of time. Rice is no different. During his era, there was no more dominant or feared hitter.

From 1975 to 1985, Jim Rice was second in the major leagues to Mike Schmidt in home runs; he led the major leagues in RBIs, and was second in the majors to George Brett in hits. He also led the major leagues in total bases during that time frame. Surprisingly, Dwight Evans was third in the majors in home runs during that era.

There are a lot of inequities in who is and who is not in the Hall of Fame. There are an awful lot of .260 hitters in there because they did something else that was special. I think of Ozzie Smith and Luis Aparicio and wonder how Dave Concepcion can be left out? You mention Curt Schilling …. how can Burt Blyleven not be there? The list of comparisons between people who are there and people of equal or better talent and/or longevity who are not is endless.

Jim Rice was not very flamboyant and did not bring a lot of attention to himself. He simply showed up at the ball park every day and went to work. In an era when 40 home runs was the exception and not the rule, he was the most powerful and feared hitter in baseball. There are no standards for entry to the HOF. Players are selected for entry largely by people who never played the game and there is a lot of wiggle room for subjectivity. If I had a vote, Jim Rice would get it, a long time before a lot of people who got in ahead of him.

Happy New Year to everyone!

Hi, All:

Hope everyone has a happy new year! Congrats to the Patriots on completing the regular season unbeaten. I think they will have to win the Super Bowl to be considered the greatest team ever, but 16-0 is certainly a tremendous accomplishment. Perhaps my 10-6 Steelers will get a rematch.

I firmly believe that Jim Rice belongs in the Hall of Fame, along with Rich Gossage and Bert Blyleven. I hope that all three receive enough votes for 2008. Rice was one of the most consistent dominant hitters of any era. He was every bit as good as Perez, Fisk and many other Hall of Fame players of his era.

As for Schilling and Pedro, I think that Schilling is in because of what he did in the 2001, 2004 and 2007 post-seasons. It helps to have a significant role in three World Series championships. Pedro has one. Is that enough? I’m not sure. He was the game’s most dominant starter for a period of time. I would not object if he was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Regarding Ohio State, the lone team that I root for from my home state, I think they will avenge last year’s embarrassment. I’m not impressed with LSU. They’re good, but not title game good.

I’m ecstatic about the Celtics. They keep on winning, and not just because of Garnett, Ray Allen and Pierce. They are getting significant contributions from nine players (The Big Three, plus Rondo, Perkins, Posey, Tony Allen, Eddie House and Glen Davis), and they have room on the roster to sign a veteran backup point guard and a veteran backup big man. With the Sox and Celtics, it will be an interesting spring.

Happy new year to everyone!

Jeff

http://www.soxandpinstripes.com

I’d love to see that World Series video. I’ll have to pick it up some time.

Ethan Michaels

http://modernrooters.blogspot.com/

there is a really intersting debate on rice and his HOF worthyness on espn.com. interesting read. he was the best all around hitter in the game for 10 yrs. and over that span was 2nd in MLB in outfield assists. when you look at people who are there he def deserves it IMO. plus i think in his career he actually broke 2 bats due to the torque he created n a check swing. that alone should get him in!

“GSM”

There is no question Pedro is a first ballot hall of famer and he isn’t really in the same category as Rice, even given the situation. Pedro has the highest Adjusted ERA of all time, and it isn’t even close right now. Rice is tied for 173rd among hitters, actually tied with JD Drew right now. Pedro may very well be the most dominant pitcher ever, Rice was a good hitter, but is borderline hall worthy.

http://statisticianmagician.mlblogs.com/

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