Any words I add to this will only be repeating what I wrote in this review. An outstanding book on an outstanding baseball player and person. Enjoy this review and by all means, go out and get this book. Whether you buy books, get them from a library, or collect them - this one is a must read.
“The Soul of Baseball: A Road Trip Through Buck O’Neil’s America” by Joe Posnanski
Baseball, Negro Leagues, history, biography
October 13, 2009
5 of 5 stars (Outstanding)
Baseball is supposed to be a fun game. Many people will complain about it’s all about the money now, that performance enhancing drugs have ruined the game and other similar maladies. But for those of us who can overlook all of that and just enjoy the GAME itself for what it is, then this is a book that is required reading. Buck O’Neil, even in his nineties, still enjoyed the game as much as a kid.
That enthusiasm also extended to life itself, as the stories he told in this book by Joe Posanski show that he still enjoyed the simple pleasures in life as well. He would hug every lady that approached him for an autograph or chat. He would greet familiar faces, such as sons of former teammates with infectious laughter and cheer.
But what really set these stories apart for me was that O’Neil was never bitter or angry about his life or the circumstances. There were several instances in the book, including an interview on a radio show, where it seemed like someone was trying to make O’Neil angry or tells about how wrong life was for black ballplayers before Jackie Robinson. But it never worked – O’Neil repeatedly stated that his life was blessed and that he wouldn’t have traded it in for anything else.
This type of attitude was reflected in other stories as well. The chapter that told of Buck attending a regular game in Houston was one of the best in the book. In it, he talks about Roger Clemens as a power pitcher, enthusiastically cheering a diving catch in right field, talking about what runners at first would do in his day…in other words, it was all about BASEBALL. Nothing else. Of course, he would get requests for autographs and stories from passing fans, and he would accommodate them. Buck O’Neil was simply the type of baseball player that is the closed thing to the type of player kids will idolize. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book on his later stages of life.
Did I skim?
Pace of the book:
There is never a boring moment in this book. I read it a little slower than my usual reading pace as I did not want to miss anything.
Do I recommend?
Yes. Baseball fans and historians alike will be thoroughly entertained by O’Neil’s stories, his love for the game so many years after he played and Posanski’s great commentary as well.
Book Format Read: