JOHNNY BENCH: The Little General by Bill Libby

JOHNNY BENCH: The Little General

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The Little General has ""been smothered in praise since he burst into the big-league scene,"" and the present volume is unlikely to have any corrective effect. Beginning melodramatically with a school bus crash the intrepid Johnny survived (he knew one should hit the deck in an emergency), Libby goes on to speculate about his less fortunate companions -- would they have become big league stars too if they had lived? While it's evident that the author has done his research and, unlike many sports biographers, actually interviewed his subject, the endless succession of adulatory quotes soon exceeds the boundaries of good taste. Neither does Johnny endear himself as he protests his indifference to fame and fortune once or twice too often, though he likes to have a pretty girl on his arm as ""I have a standard to maintain because of who I am"" and feels sympathy for the rest of us -- ""I am shook sometimes when I think how many people never get to be anything in their lives, never gel to hear any cheers or see their faces on magazine covers, never have any real money or real joy."" And there's not even a photograph.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1972
Publisher: Putnam