BUMS: An Oral History of the Brooklyn Dodgers by Peter Golenbock

BUMS: An Oral History of the Brooklyn Dodgers

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The Boys of Summer reminisce--along with some fans, sportswriters, and front-office types. Golenbock (who has fished in the turbulent waters of Yankee Stadium and hauled in such popular items as The Bronx Zoo and Balls) can't match Roger Kahn for clean, Limber narrative or lyrical Élan--and his own (heavy) contribution to this corporate chronicle is fairly pedestrian. But Golenbock tells a longer story (starting with old Charley Ebbetts back in 1883) with a much larger cast (Clyde Sukeforth, Kirby Higbe, Harold Parrott, Clem Labine); and it's crammed with so many memories that no Brooklyn Dodger fan could resist it. Dodger history being what it was, the nostalgia is sharply flavored with painful might-have-beens: if only Mickey Owen hadn't let that third strike get away in the 1941 series, if only Pete Reiser hadn't crashed into the center-field wall in 1942, if only Cal Abrams hadn't been thrown out at the plate in the last game of the 1950 season, if only Ralph Branca hadn't served up that home-run ball to Bobby Thompson in 1951, if only the Dodger pitching staff hadn't been under a curse (Rex Barney lost his control, Don Newcombe took to the bottle, Joe Black fell apart. . .), and if only Walter O'Malley hadn't stabbed Brooklyn in the back by taking his team to L.A. (and pulling Horace Stoneham's Giants along with him). Still, there were some glory days, and Golenbock's chorus joyfully recalls them: from the late '40s to the mid-'50s when Reese, Robinson, Snider, Hodges, and Campanella tore up the National League and finally nailed down the team's first (and last) World Series in '55; the fielding of Billy Cox and the rifle-armed Carl Furillo, Carl Erskine's curve-ball and Preacher Roe's spitball; and, above all, Jackie Robinson's epochal breaking of the color barrier. It's a grand modern saga, messily but vigorously told, with more than a few touches of absurdity (Yankee and Dodger fans gunning one another down), and not to be missed by anyone who can remember--without prompting--Red Barber's announcing, Gladys Gooding's organ-playing, and Happy Felton's Knothole Gang.

Pub Date: Oct. 8th, 1984
ISBN: 0486477355
Publisher: Putnam