Wednesday, January 13, 2010
BOOK: "Out of the Park" by Ed Mickelson
I love any book about baseball. I must admit, some are better than others. I won't mention a book if it did not impress me. I really enjoy it when guys who played decades ago put a book out, especially one that is mostly about their days in the minors.
Ed Mickelson has put out a great book about his playing career. This is a fun, honest book, that doesn't seem too fake, or too over the top. I would recommend this book to any young fan for a good read. I think any old fan will enjoy reading about Ed and other ball players back in the late 40s through the late 50s.
In a personal way, Ed constructs a bridge for me to a time I haven't been able to get a hold of in the past. My first memories of Major League ball- first hand- are from the mid to late 80s. I do remember being a little kid watching the 86 World Series. I remember the big news in those days about Pete Rose, Dwight Gooden, etc. Even though I wasn't around at the time, I can visualize the 70s and 60s, through those decades connections to the 80s. Gary Carter, a favorite of mine at the time, had his rookie card come out in 75. Rose in the 60s. I could still connect to those teams in those times. Ed makes his decade or so appear more vivid in my personal baseball timeline memory.
I love the old pictures in the book, and the illustrations by Ron Joyner make the book feel like an old Topps baseball card. Remember the cartoons on the back of the old cards sometimes? They were usually cute caricatures of the players with a caption about the player (an anecdote from school, a nickname, etc.). Ed has a lot of these type of illustrations in the book, which gives the book an Innocent feel. As I read the book, I sort of visualized Ron Joyner drawn figures in my mind acting out the scenes.
I won't give away any of Ed's stories, but I will mention some things in general that I really like about his book. The book avoids the chest beating and bragging about sexual exploits that many other books written by athletes have. Ed talks a lot about his wife, and missing her on the road. The only questionable activity he mentions is something called "bird dogging" which, by today's standards, was a pretty tame activity. Oh, I think he may have mentioned drinking a beer or two. Again, this is a book the whole family can feel comfortable reading.
Ed Mickelson didn't write this book to put down any other player, or to complain about not getting more of a shot in the majors. In fact, pretty much any time another players name is mentioned, Ed talks about them in a positive light, mentioning how they helped him along the way. I hope other former players who decide to write a book in the future take note of Ed's blueprint. He had fun in baseball, so he wrote a fun book, with fun stories.
Hunt down a copy of Ed's book (I bought mine signed directly from him). Its over 200 full pages of real baseball stories from half a century ago.