The first book to draw back the veil on the Hall of Fame, combining an insider’s history of the Hall and its players with a consideration of baseball’s place in culture.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame is the holiest institution in American sports. It’s not just a place to honor great athletes. It’s where America’s pastime announces to the world what it is and what it wants to be. It’s not just a sports museum; it’s a mirror of American culture. As Zev Chafets points out, it’s no coincidence that the first black Hall of Famer, Jackie Robinson, was inducted in 1962, at the height of the civil rights movement. Or that the Hall is now planning a wing to honor Latino players. For 100 years, the story of the Hall of Fame has been deeply tied up with the story of America.
For the first time, this book shows the inner workings of the Hall: the politics, the players, and the people who own and preserve it. From the history of the founding Clark family to a day on the town with the newly inducted Goose Gossage, from the battle over steroids to the economics of induction and secret campaigns by aspiring players, this is a highly irreverent and highly entertaining tour through the life of an American institution. For anyone who cares about baseball, this is essential listening.
The good: the story and opinions are good - not great. Be aware that it is not as much about the rogues IN the hall of fame (of which there are many) but the rogues OF the hall. It is great info that is not elsewhere but maybe not as riveting to some.
The bad: the story is incomplete and is more of a singular opinion on many things and does not fully develop both sides of many of the arguments.
The ugly: the narrators voice intonations were horrible. Listening at 1.25 speed made it easier to listen too. I do not know what he was doing, the inflections were just wrong - dramatic inflections maybe but oddly placed and very repetitive. I'll avoid in the future.