Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Ex MLB Commissioner Gets Candid

Ex MLB commissioner Fay Vincent has a new book, and a lot of opinions. Those two ideas may or may not be related. Vincent who was baseball’s commissioner from 1989-1993 has written a book entitled We Would Have Played for Nothing. The premise of the book is actually really interesting to those die hard baseball fans. Basically what Vincent has done is conduct a series of long (he claims 4 hours a piece) interviews with ex ball players as part of an oral history project for the Baseball Hall of Fame. All the interviews were filmed and submitted to the hall to preserve stories and accounts for generations of future fans. The book consists of excerpts from these interviews. This is the second installment of his project, the first of which was entitled The Only Game in Town. The first volume consisted of 10 interviews with players who were active during the 30’s and 40’s. We Would Have Played for Nothing takes accounts from 14 players active during the 50’s and 60’s. Some of the notable players taking part in the project include Whitey Ford, Brooks Robinson, Harmon Killebrew, Billy Williams, Robin Roberts. If that alone doesn’t sell you, then I highly recommend you try to catch some of the interviews that Vincent is conducting as part of his publicity circuit for the book. In terms of saying things that can either be seen as senile, not exactly politically correct, or just brutally honest he has become one of my favorite old timers since Bob Feller. I say that because around the beginning of the Baseball Opener Feller joined Hershiesher in the Baseball Tonight booth for a little diamond talk and insight. During their talk Feller explained that in his prime his fastball hit around 114 mph. He was serious. Now I have Fay Vincent looking a little past his prime telling Jim Rome that the famous “Shot Heard Round the World” was really a spygate style situation. He would go on to say that everyone knew that the Giants cheated, and that they didn’t deserve to win that game. Speaking in a tone that made it seem like it was common knowledge he claims that the New York Giants had someone in centerfield with a telescope that relayed back to the dugout the pitch calls. This would allow Bobby Thomson to know a fastball was coming and subsequently hit a three run walk off homer to clinch the 51’ NL Pennant. If there are any other tidbits of wisdom, or conspiracy in this book it is more than worth its cover price. Also, all proceeds go to the Hall of Fame and its preservation efforts so it’s a win win situation any way you look at it.

4Real Out….