Saturday, April 16, 2016

Review of "Impact Player"

I went to my first baseball game of the season today and when take the train to a game, I like to also take a book on the sport I am going to see. Since it was a Yankees game I went to, I decided to pull this one out of the bag of book I bought at our library's book sale last year and read it on the train trip.  Finished it just before pulling into the station, so it was just the right length for today.  Here is my review of Bobby Richardson's memoir, "Impact Player."

“Impact Player” by Bobby Richardson

Baseball, memoir, autobiography, Yankees

Publish date:
September 1, 2012

304 pages

4 of 5 stars (very good)

The great New York Yankee teams of the late 1950’s and early 1960’s had many legendary players such as Whitey Ford, Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris. While his statistics may not be quite as impressive as these Hall of Fame player, Bobby Richardson was an important member of these teams as well as the second baseman for several years before he retired after the 1966 season. He writes about his life on the Yankees and also about his Christian faith in this breezy memoir.

The book is an easy read and Richardson concentrates on his years with the Yankees in the bulk of the text.  While his faith is important for all aspects of his life, he never writes too much about it until the end when his teammate Mickey Mantle made the decision to become a Christian just before his death in 1995. That is the closest the book comes to being more about faith than baseball.  Otherwise, Richardson writes in the same way he spoke about his faith while a Yankee. He “…shared my faith in simplicity as a friend. That’s exactly what I always hoped to do.”  Without him overtly stating it, the reader will realize how much Richardson’s faith affected his family life and his baseball career.

I felt that his stories about his teammates and his experiences with the Yankees were very good. There isn’t a lot of great detail in any particular teammate or season, but enough to be informative and entertaining.  I enjoyed his account of his famous catch of Willie McCovey’s line drive to end game 7 of the 1962 World Series. It has gone through many different versions over the years, but in Richardson’s mind, it was a simple catch of a sharply hit line drive. That is just one of the many great Yankee stories in the book that fans of baseball in that era, especially Yankee fans, will enjoy in this book.  It can easily be read in one sitting and will leave the reader smiling when he or she closes the cover. 

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