Friday, October 9, 2015

When Boston Won the World Series by Bob Ryan

The Year was 1903. The upstart American league, just two years old at the time, was starting to make a real name for itself. The elder National League was beginning to take notice. As the season reached a conclusion, an idea was proposed. A post season series between the winners of the two leagues, to determine the champions of the known baseball world. Fans took to the new idea immediately. Crowds were immense right from the start. It was then that the World Series was born.

The first thing I noticed when I started reading this book was the dedication. (Yes, I read them first.) This book came out in 2003. The dedication reads "To Connor, Jack, and Amelia: Let's hope they win one in your lifetime." The emphasis on "your" was his. Clearly he had given up hope on them ever winning one in his lifetime. Bet he never would have guessed that they'd win at least three.

From there, the book went off to tell the wonderful story of that first World Series. There's a natural tendency to compare this book to Mike Vaccaro's fine book The First Fall Classic about the 1912 World Series. This book felt slightly different. Where as Vaccaro invented some conversations to make you feel immersed in the story, Ryan stuck to the research. Ryan's writing style was very casual, as it always is. He would make comments to the reader about events that happened in 1903, and how they might have happened differently in 2003. That back and forth added to the feeling that this book was a retelling as opposed to Vaccaro's recreation.

But, different can be good. This book did a great job of presenting the details both of the series itself, and the events leading up to it. I was able to understand what went into creating the championship, and how the people of the time must have felt about it. I was able to see how the different era created a different game. It was a wonderful trip back in time, where I learned several things I did t know before. Not to mention that any book that ends *spoiler alert* with a Red Sox World Championship is a great read in my book.

Rating: 3 bases

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