Crazy ’08

Wonderful book.

Every Christmas, my mom asks me to make out a Christmas list. Every year, it gets smaller and smaller. I genuinely don’t know what to ask for, and it takes me hours to scour the internet looking for something. This Christmas, I remembered hearing about a book called Crazy ’08, so I put it on my list. Not surprisingly, I got it, but I was busy doing other things right after Christmas and hadn’t gotten around to it until this past week.

I’m glad I did. Cait Murphy does an excellent job of guiding the reader through the 1908 season, from the end of the 1907 season and the subsequent off-season through the end of the anti-climatic World Series. She recounts the stories of mayhem, drinking, fighting, and the Cubs not being lovable losers. It’s interesting to think about baseball in such a different world. The media at the time refused to print stories about the vices, but today, the media searches for and sometimes makes up stories about players. Then, to think about fans throwing bottles at umpires and players fighting umpires, teammates, and fans is pretty amazing. Just goes to show how things change, and Murphy does a fantastic job of leading you through it, pointing out the stories.

It’s a pretty easy read, but there is a lot there. It took me longer to read that than it normally does for a book, but it wasn’t because I was bored. There’s simply a lot to think about and absorb. The “Timeouts” are the only thing I didn’t like, but they’re such a small part that it doesn’t do much to the book. I also wished she talked a bit more about the relationship between major-league and minor-league teams, but that wasn’t the point of her book.

Overall, if you’re a baseball and history fan, it’s a no-brainer to read the book. You won’t be sorry, and you’ll be more educated.

Next up: Rob Neyer’s Big Book of Baseball Blunders

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