Friday, February 6, 2015

Review of "Who's On Worst?" - audio book

While still recovering from the Super Bowl and the parties, and also working through a long novel on a football team (no spoilers - review to come soon!), I also wanted to listen to a book on my commute to work.  Since it's almost time for pitchers and catchers, why not get back into the baseball mood with a baseball audio book?  This one was entertaining and whether one reads it or listens to it, laughs will be emitted.  Here is my review of "Who's On Worst?"


Who's on Worst?: The Lousiest Players, Biggest Cheaters, Saddest Goats and Other Antiheroes in Baseball History" by Filip Bondy, narrated by Scott Brick

Baseball, history, lists

Publish date:
March 26, 2013

272 pages

4 of 5 stars (very good)

There are many sports books, especially baseball books, which are lists or compilations of the best or greatest of a certain topic.  One may find something about the greatest baseball teams of all time or the top hitters or pitchers.  New York sportswriter Filip Bondy decided to look at the other end of the spectrum by listing the worst players, managers and owners in the game.  Not just with statistics either – he ranks the worst cheaters and users of performance enhancing drugs as well. 

Each chapter is devoted to the worst of some type of category.  There are the worst hitters of all time; the worst fielders; the worst pitchers and so on. The section on overpaid players was separated into two chapters: "Most overpaid Yankees" and "...outside the Bronx." There are other categories as well, such as cheaters, worst managers and worst owners.  Even managers who were good as the skipper but not so good as a player, such as Tommy Lasorda and Sparky Anderson, had their own chapter. 

Because Bondy is a New York sportswriter, there is a tendency to lean toward New York stories which may make some readers question his objectivity.  The above referenced chapters on overpaid players are one example, but it is explained that because the New York Yankees have signed so many highly paid players over the years, they have their own “worst” list in this category. 

Most of the stories told are for players, teams and owners after 1970, so most readers will have heard of the subjects or maybe even heard the stories in the past.  Nonetheless, they are entertaining, and if one listens to the audio book as I did, that person will enjoy the voice of Scott Brook telling the stories of bad teammates, poor performances and bad behavior.

Like any book of lists, whether the best or the worst, a reader may not agree with the ten subjects listed.  For example, I would like to know why Tom Kelly, long-time manager for the Minnesota Twins who lead the team to two World Series victories, did not make the list for bad players who became good managers, as Kelly appeared in only 22 major league games as a player and hit less than .200.  But then, that is what a good book of lists does – it starts a debate. This was an entertaining book that a baseball fan, especially one who enjoys reading about recent baseball history, will enjoy reading or hearing. 

Pace of the book: 
Very good as Brick’s smooth delivery never got boring.  It was easy to follow and listen and Brick also delivered the humorous segments in a dry manner that made them even funnier.

Do I recommend? 
Baseball fans who love to have those debates at the bar or in the den with other fans about who’s the best or worst will want to read this one to give those discussions a new twist.

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