While I usually do not make requests for review copies of older books, I did so for this one when I was reading some of the author's Facebook postings about baseball in the 1970s and 1980s and remembered him pitching for the Dodgers. His stories are fun to read and the entire collection is put together well in the book. Here is my review of Jerry Reuss's memoir.
Title/Author: "Bring In the Right-Hander! My Twenty-Two Years in the Major Leagues” by Jerry Reuss
Rating: 4 of 5 stars (excellent)
Review: Only 29 baseball players have played in in the major leagues in four different decades. One member of that exclusive club is left-handed pitcher Jerry Reuss, who was a key member of the 1981 World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers. After beginning his career with his hometown St. Louis Cardinals and then finding success with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Reuss enjoyed his best years with the Dodgers. After the Dodgers released him in 1986, he bounced around with other clubs just trying to stay in the game. After stints with the California Angels, Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago White Sox (twice), he finished with the Pirates in 1990. Along the way, Reuss accumulated many stories and memories that he shares with the readers in this fast paced and easy read.
This memoir concentrates on Reuss’s time in the major leagues. There are some stories about his youth, his decision to sign with the Cardinals instead of accepting a baseball college scholarship and his time in the minor leagues, but the bulk of his stories are about his time in the majors. He tells them with the perfect blend of seriousness and humor in order to both inform and entertain readers. Reuss also shares his experiences in baseball, both good and bad, with excellent clarity as he did many interviews with those who were important to his career, be they teammates, coaches, managers or anyone else.
If a reader is looking for a serious book with crisp writing and a lot of detail about the game, this is not that book. But if a reader just wants to settle back with a light, entertaining book on baseball – especially during the off-season when a fan is anxiously awaiting the start of spring training – then this is a very good choice. There isn’t one characteristic of this book that makes it stand out about above other baseball memoirs, so it didn’t receive this rating for being that type of book. Instead, it merits consideration as a good memoir for being the type of book in which the reader can picture Reuss sitting in the same room with him or her and just relieving his good, long career in the game.
I wish to thank University of Nebraska Press for providing a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.