“Macho Row: The 1993 Phillies and Baseball’s Unwritten Code” by William C. Kashatus
Baseball, professional, Phillies ,history
March 1, 2017
4 of 5 stars (very good)
During the 1993 baseball season, the Philadelphia Phillies were considered the surprise team. Not only because they unexpectedly won the National League pennant and took the defending champion Toronto Blue Jays to six games in the World Series, but also because of their image of being a rag-tag collection of misfits and outlaws. This book by William C. Kashatus shows that this image was well-deserved as he examines that season and the six men who played the biggest roles in projecting that image and also for playing good baseball.
The six players on which the book focuses are Lenny Dykstra, Mitch Williams, John Kruk, Pete Icavigulia, Dave Hollins and Darren Daulton. To understand the team, one must understand these six players, their personalities and what “the Code” (the unwritten rules of baseball) meant to them. That is the strength of this book as the reader will learn a lot about these six men. Kashatus writes about each one’s personality, what drove them on the field and how they loved being part of a team of misfits that was beloved by a city known to be hard on its sports teams.
There is plenty of writing about the baseball played on the field as well as the reader relieves many of the key moments of the season, including all of the games of the National League Championship Series and the World Series. The former was the biggest surprise of that season as the Phillies defeated the heavily favored Atlanta Braves and it was in this section where I felt the best baseball writing was done in the book as it felt like I was at old Veterans Stadium celebrating along with the six members of “Macho Row.”
While the attention to detail is very good, at times that made the book a bit difficult to follow as the reader may have to refer back to understand a point made. Also, at times I felt there were contradictions in the opinions made by the author, such as how he felt about one of the players, Lenny Dykstra. On one hand, I thought he really liked Dykstra because of his hard-nosed play and the joy the author felt when he and his teammates later became winners. On the other hand, when the subject of performance enhancing drugs is discussed, the author makes his feelings clear that those who used them were cheaters. Because Dykstra’s use of PED’s is documented throughout the book, I wasn’t sure how the author truly felt about this key member of the team.
Nonetheless, this is a book that was as fun to read as was the lifestyle after games that “Macho Row” lived. Phillies fans will especially enjoy this book as it is one that should certainly be added to their bookcase.
I wish to thank University of Nebraska Press for providing a copy of the book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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