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Publisher's Summary

The philosopher Jacques Barzun thought that "whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball". And whoever wants to know baseball had better learn about umpires. As Larry Gerlach points out in The Men in Blue, these arbiters transform competitive chaos into organized sport. They make it possible to "play ball", but nobody loves them.Considering the abuse meted out by fans and players, why would any sane person want to be an umpire? Many reasons emerge in conversations with a dozen former major-league arbiters. While nobody loves them, they love the game. Gerlach has elicited entertaining stories from these figures under fire - about their lonely travels, their dealings with umpire baiters, battles for unionization, breaking through the color line, and much more. From Beans Reardon, who came up to the National League in 1926, to Ed Sudol, who retired in 1977, here is a witty and telling portrait of baseball from the boisterous Golden Age to the Jet Age of Instant Replay.
©1980 Larry R. Gerlach (P)2014 Audible Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Steven on 06-02-16

A Classic Sports Book

I have been an Audible user for around 4 years, lately I have not been listening to a ton of audio books. This book was the perfect choice to get me listening again. This book has so much heart, I love what the umpires talk about and what was important to them at that time. I think this book is a snapshot of what an umpire's life was like and it gives you an appreciation of the job they do and the role they play in baseball. The narration is absolutely perfect, James Patrick Cronin does a great job capturing the feel of the words. If you like sports books and are worried about getting a tired run of the mill book that has no fire, worry not. This book is wonderful.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Tony E. on 09-14-14

Autobiographies of the Most Hated Men In Baseball

Would you consider the audio edition of The Men in Blue to be better than the print version?

Yes. It's like you are sitting down with each of these men and listening to them recollect their times in the show.

What other book might you compare The Men in Blue to and why?

They Call Me God by Doug Harvey. Another story of an umpire and their life in the MLB.

Which character – as performed by James Patrick Cronin – was your favorite?

John "Beans" Reardon. He is the first umpire interviewed in the book and perhaps the most pictured umpire in history (as the home plate umpire in Norman Rockwell's famous painting.) His story is heartfelt as he tells of goods times from being a young umpire in the local sand lots to being the most respected umpire in baseball.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

The stories shared by the umpires make you realize their humanity and their extreme skills in their jobs.

Any additional comments?

This is the autobiography of 12 different umpires from the 1920's through the 1970's. Through their stories you see the growth of the game of baseball and the country from the hard nosed dangerous days of fans throwing bottles on the field through integration of both the players ranks and the umpires.
This is not a book on how to be an umpire but each umpire gives their opinion on what makes a good umpire and you can't help but take their advice to heart if you are an umpire at any level. This is required reading for anyone who steps behind the mask, who watches the game of baseball or who loves to jeer at the men in blue.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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