Books — Exploring The End Of The Curse

 

Exploring The End Of The Curse

By Lisa Parsons

Believe it: Amazing Red Sox: World Champions, by The Boston Globe, Triumph Books, 2004, 126 pages.

Finally: Red Sox Are The Champions After 86 Years, by The Boston Globe, Triumph Books, 2004, 112 pages.

The Red Sox did what? If it still doesn’t seem real to you, smack yourself over the head with these books—available via www.triumphbooks.com.

Finally is a 112-page softcover. Believe it is the same book in hardcover with an additional 14 pages at the end

Either one provides a reverse-chronological look at the 2004 Red Sox season. First the World Series, game by game. Then the league and division playoffs. Then the regular season. And then profiles of the players.

Thick glossy pages showcase color photos showing players on and off the field—Damon eyeing his grand-slam ball sailing up and away; play-by-play stills of A-Rod slapping the ball out of Bronson Arroyo’s glove in ALCS Game 6; various tags, outs, slides, and windups; Theo Epstein playing golf. Fans get their photographic due as well—particularly poignant is the close-up of Red Sox fans in the stands for that 19-8 loss to the Yankees in ALCS Game 3

The flip side of the photos is the writing. Here are the Globe’s sports journalists at their finest, showing the players as human beings. Folks who never read the sports section of the newspaper might be pleasantly surprised at how engaging these articles are.

And neatly set aside in the margins, unobtrusively, are all the relevant statistics, presented in tables big enough so you don’t need a magnifying glass to read them.

The extra pages in the longer book comprise profiles of Manny Ramirez, Pedro Martinez, Johnny Damon and Theo Epstein.

So much easier and sleeker than saving a season’s worth of newspapers, these books—with their photos in crisp color—are, as they say, keepers.

For The Love of the Red Sox: An A-to-Z Primer for Red Sox Fans of All Ages, by Frederick C. Klein, illustrated by Mark W. Anderson, Triumph Books, 2004.

This one was written before the World Series. Not that it would have been any different afterward.

For the Love of the Red Sox pays tribute to Red Sox past and present, 26 greats as determined by—well, partly by their baseball performances, and maybe partly by how easy it was to fit their names into verse.

“‘A’ is for Alexander,” the book starts out—Dale Alexander, that is, who did his great baseball things in 1929—”who came in a trade, won a league batting crown, then started to fade.” And beneath the verse is a paragraph encapsulating Alexander’s career in six sentences.

And so it continues. F is for Fisk (Carlton); G is for Nomar, R is for Manny Ramirez. T is for Luis Tiant and Y is for the Yaz.

The verses are accompanied by color cartoon caricatures—Babe Ruth sticking pins in a Red Sox voodoo doll, for instance.

The text is written by Frederick C. Klein of the Wall Street Journal’s “On Sports” column, and illustrations are by Mark Anderson, who’s drawn for various newspapers and magazines. The two have also produced For the Love of the Yankees (2003), For the Love of the Cubs (2003) and For the Love of Baseball (2004).

For the Love... makes a good start for a personal Red Sox 101 course. Use it to brush up before your next cocktail party.

- Lisa Parsons

 
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