Despite his subtitle, Willie's book is all baseball and almost no personal history. It's one of the best sports books in years in that Willie is immune to sports-writers' copy, which he sees through like so much cheesecloth, and that he has a genius for annualizing the subjective aspects of the game. Few fans will ever have met quite such a good mind at work on the logic of this sport. For all is not what it appears to be on the field and Willie strips the illusions away. He recalls famous catches he made that were actually pedestrian--except for their context in the game. His best catches are unremembered ones. He tells about the year that he was so far ahead that he was going to bust Ruth's homerun record; then Durocher told him to quit hitting homers and stay within the fence. His batting average rose 30 points on these safe hits, but the record evaporated. Now manager of the San Francisco Giants and the highest paid player in baseball at 34, his last two seasons average out to his peak performance. He's not bad on the tape-recorder either.