Sunday, October 16, 2016

Review of "Miracle at Fenway"

Since it is that time of year when baseball fans are concentrating on postseason action, it was only appropriate that a book about one of the most memorable postseasons in recent memory was next on my mountain of books to read.  Red Sox fans will especially love this one.  Here is my review of "Miracle at Fenway."

“Miracle at Fenway: The Inside Story of the Boston Red Sox 2004 Championship Season” by Saul Wisnia

Baseball, professional, history, Red Sox

Publish date:
July 15, 2014

295 pages

4 of 5 stars (Very Good)

Even the most casual of baseball fans can recall many of the details of the 2004 postseason. That was the year that the Boston Red Sox accomplished two historical feats – they became the first baseball team to win a seven game series after losing the first three games and they won their first championship in 86 years, breaking the mythical “curse” that had been attached to the franchise.

There were many published writings about that team soon after the last out of the Red Sox World Series sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals was completed, but this book by Saul Wisnia, written ten years later, was a different take on the story.  Wisnia, a self-proclaimed Sox fan and writer of other books on the team, provided some information from different sources.  Stories from players such as Dave Roberts, whose stolen base in game 4 of the American League Championship Series is credited by many to be the turning point of that series, makes this a little different than many other writings that get information from star players like David Ortiz.  There are also passages in which ownership, fans and employees of the team share their thoughts on not only the championship season but about their beloved team.

That is important to note because book does not concentrate solely on the 2004 season – it really gets going when the Red Sox new ownership team took over in 2000.  Wisnia writes about the steps taken to revitalize Fenway Park and save it from demolition (something hard to fathom now), the hiring of Theo Epstein as general manger to bring the team into the world of statistical analysis and “Moneyball” scouting, and also of field manager Terry Francona whose leadership proved crucial.  There is a lot of material on the 2003 season as well and the heartbreaking end.  Even though this wasn’t the focus of the book, it was my favorite section to read as I learned a lot more about that season and how important it was in setting up the success of the following campaign.

While Red Sox fans will probably know most of the material written already, it is one that they should add to their library if they have not already done so.   Fans of other teams (with the exception of possibly Yankee fans) will also enjoy this fresh look back at one of the most historical seasons in recent baseball history.

I wish to thank St. Martin’s Griffin Press for providing a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

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