HOTSHOTS BASEBALL

GREATS OF THE GAME WHEN THEY WERE KIDS

A ramble through baseball history, focusing on the youths of players from Babe Ruth to Jim (``I try to remember that I didn't get here single-handedly'') Abbott. These players come from many backgrounds. Some were baseball hotshots from the outset: Satchel Paige was pitching at ten, the age when Tom Seaver won his one and only perfect game. Others, such as Sandy Koufax and Bo Jackson, excelled in many sports and took their time choosing careers. Despite an occasional homily and a fondness for neatly wrapped stories (Roberto Clemente is first seen organizing his classmates to clean up a play area, and dies years later while running a relief effort), the author's style and selection of material are always lively. She finishes each portrait with career highlights and includes a chapter on brothers and father-son combinations (mentioning the Griffeys but not the fact that they now play on the same team). Large photos (several of them baby pictures), mostly in black and white, are brightened by colorful borders and caption boxes. The last part of this will age rapidly, since it deals with active players; the book as a whole may entice readers into picking up classics such as Ritter's The Story of Baseball (rev. ed., 1990). (Biography. 10-13)

Pub Date: May 1, 1991

ISBN: 0-316-79853-3

Page Count: 116

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1991

STRANGER TO THE GAME

One of the great pitchers in baseball history (and one of the most outspoken and disagreeable), Gibson recalls his storied career with the capable help of Wheeler (I Had a Hammer, not reviewed) and shows he's not done being ``difficult.'' A ferocious competitor who made his living pitching high and tight, Gibson had a reputation throughout his 17 years with the St. Louis Cardinals for being just as uncompromising and angry off the field, especially concerning racial matters. Gibson was raised in an Omaha, Nebr., housing project, where his older brother was hero, mentor, and coach. After college, Gibson, who claims that he was better at basketball than baseball, signed a contract with both the Cardinals and the Harlem Globetrotters, playing one year for the latter. He calls his first professional baseball manager, Johnny Keane, ``the closest thing to a saint that I came across in baseball.'' When Keane replaced Solly Hemus (whom Gibson despised) in 1961, it turned the Cardinals', and Gibson's, fortunes around. Known for his extraordinary performances in the postseason, Gibson had a World Series record of 7-2, with a 1.89 ERA and an incredible 92 strikeouts over 81 innings. He won 20 games in five different seasons and in 1968 posted a 1.12 ERA in 305 innings. Gibson offers some fun and insightful recollections of big games, friends, and teammates such as Tim McCarver, Joe Torre, and Bob Uecker, and legendary matchups with Juan Marichal (``the best pitcher of my generation''), Sandy Koufax, and Don Drysdale. Despite his Hall of Fame credentials, Gibson claims he's been ostracized from the game and hasn't held a baseball job since 1984. Though he grouses a lot about being slighted by major league baseball and rehashes all-too-familiar racial difficulties, it is refreshing to get the fiery Gibson's take on the grand old game. (8 pages b&w photos, not seen) (First printing of 75,000; $75,000 ad/promo; author tour)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1994

ISBN: 0-670-84794-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1994

PIT BULL

LESSONS FROM WALL STREET'S CHAMPION TRADER

A Wall Street trader exercises a rich man’s prerogative and offers financial advice and his life story. “See how much money I made!” is the message. “I’m pretty smart and damned tough, too.” To be sure, Schwartz (“Buzzy” to his pals) is the prototypical hard driver, a truly successful day trader, buying and selling in lightning strokes for his own account. His is a talent for exquisite market timing, a tricky game for even the most proficient professionals. His specialty is S&P futures, a technique using the marvel of leverage to greatly multiply the chances for gain—or loss—on each tick. It requires an inordinate amount of research as well as stamina, acumen, and nerve, but it can be worth millions every year. The alternative, as Buzzy frets, is “going tapioca.” Buzzy dearly wanted his kids to say, “ ‘My daddy’s the Champion Trader!’ That was all I cared about,” he admits. With success came Lutäce lunches, expensive artworks, Armani suits, Bally alligator shoes, and other trophies. Schwartz essays a little false humility, but the book’s evasive charm is based on chutzpah. In an effort to leverage with OPM (other people’s money), the author established his own hedge funds until investors (the bastards) pestered him about their money. Don’t be surprised to learn the result was heart disease. Now in Florida, trading again for himself, the quondam Champion Trader reveals, with some repetition, his story. It moves nicely, though, with a certain egomaniacal verve. An appendix gives the author’s daily schedule (e.g, “7:20-7:30 Clean out the plumbing”). His investment methodology is also appended, but only the most devoted professional will utilize this rigorous lesson. An archetypal text, true to life on the Street, destined to be discussed over drinks at trader hangouts after the market closes—and better than going tapioca. (Author tour; radio satellite tour)

Pub Date: April 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-88-730876-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1998

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