“The Bad Guys Won!” by Jeff Pearlman
Baseball, professional, history, Mets, championship
October 13, 2009
5 of 5 stars (outstanding)
Plenty has been written about the 1986 New York Mets, one of the most colorful teams to win a World Series in the past few decades. Just HOW colorful they were is captured in this terrific book by award winning author Jeff Pearlman.
Because that particular team had so much talent, the belief was that they were going to win many championships. Why they failed to do so as been discussed in many of the aforementioned books, but instead, Pearlman writes about the character (and characters) of the team instead of analyzing them. This is what sets this book apart from other books about this team.
It didn’t matter whether a player was a tough guy from a rough place (Kevin Mitchell) or a nice guy (Mookie Wilson), a superstar (Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden) or a bench player (Ed Hearn, Tim Teufel), no Mets player goes unnoticed by Pearlman. While the title may seem to imply that there will be a lot of critical stories about the players and the team, the material is presented in a fair manner to all mentioned. This material is also very entertaining and that makes the book a joy to read.
Whether the topic is the “Scum Bunch” of Jessie Orosco, Doug Sisk and Danny Heep having drinking contests, manager Davey Johnson running the team as he sees fit no matter what General Manager Frank Cashen and the press think, or George Foster becoming an outcast (something that wasn’t easy to do on that team, according to the author), the reader will either learn something new about this team or be thoroughly entertained by the story.
The baseball sections are written just as well. The National League Championship Series against the Houston Astros is covered in great depth, with a lot of space devoted to the Mets’ fear of facing Astros ace Mike Scott. Many times, teams will psych themselves out of a win when doing that, but the Mets were able to avoid facing Scott for a game 7 in that series. Then the writing about the World Series against the Boston Red Sox is just as good. Everything from Jim Rice NOT scoring on a double in the first inning of the fateful game 6 to the elation when Orosco threw his glove in the air after the final out of game 7, the Series is covered in great detail. The culmination of all those drunken parties and incidents is reached with a championship for the Mets and the reader feels like he or she is there in person.
Mets fans will especially enjoy this account of that magical season, but readers who are interested in learning about that team and its place in history will also want to add this book to their reading collection.
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