Saturday, May 28, 2016

Review of "Home Game"

Happy Memorial Day to all who are observing the holiday weekend in the United States. Don't forget to take some time to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice so that we could enjoy this holiday weekend.

I picked up this book in the hopes of learning more about baseball's first family, the Boones. They were the first family to have three generations of big league players and while the book was mostly about the third generation, it was still a good read.  Here is my review of "Home Game."

“Home Game: Big-League Stories from My Life in Baseball’s First Family” by Bret Boone and Kevin Cook

Baseball, memoir, Mariners, Reds, Braves

Publish date:
May 10, 2016

272 pages

3 of 5 stars (okay)

Bret Boone made history when he was called up to the Major Leagues by the Seattle Mariners in the 1992 season.  His grandfather Ray Boone and his father Bob Boone also played in the Major Leagues, so his call-up made the Boones the first family to have three generations of players in the Major Leagues.  Bret shares his stories of his trip through the major leagues, some family memories and his life after playing baseball in this memoir.

It reads much like a typical sports memoir with early childhood memories, the adventures of high school, college and minor league baseball on the way to the majors, insight into the life of a major league player and what he has done after he had to make the painful decision that he could no longer play the game.  That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if a reader is looking to find out more information on this family that has produced three generations of big leaguers, it doesn’t contain a lot of stories on Ray or Bob Boone. There are a few, mainly what was passed down to Bret, but from the title, one might expect more about father and grandfather.

Instead, there is a lot of information about Bret that he shares. The style of writing is also typical of a sports memoir, complete with jock talk, some locker room hijinks and a lot of the confidence that Bret had in his quest to make it to the major leagues.  This isn’t to say that there is not much information on the family – in fact, one of my favorite lines comes when his younger brother Aaron is also called up to the majors, saying that in June 1997, “…the Reds promoted a skinny punk of a backup infielder, Aaron Boone, from Triple A to the majors.”  Sounds like some loving brotherly talk.

The book also sheds some insight from Bret Boone’s point of view about the rising use of statistical analysis in the game, performance enhancing drugs, the 1994 strike that wiped out that year’s World Series (Bret was very active in the player’s union) and some other historical moments.  One of the better baseball chapters was when he recalled the 2001 season for the Seattle Mariners.  He was a member of that team who set the current record for most wins during the regular season at 116.

Overall, this is a fun book to read and I admit I did try to find a reason not to enjoy it when I realized that it would be mostly about Bret and not very much about his father and grandfather.  Nonetheless, I did finish it and I am glad I did.  Recommended for readers who enjoy sports memoirs.

I wish to thank Crown Publishing for providing a copy of the book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Format Read:
E-book (Kindle)

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