Saturday, July 26, 2008

Trader Crack's Book Club: The Soul of Baseball

Oprah has her book club. I want mine.

It's been a while since I read a good, old-fashioned baseball book. Moneyball was probably the last one.While waiting for a couple of hours at the airport in Seattle I grabbed The Soul of Baseball: A Road Trip Through Buck O'Neil's America and read it very quickly.

It combines Tuesdays With Morrie, with a biography of Buck O'Neill, an autobiographical perspective from author Joe Posnanski and a historical account of the Negro Leagues. The Soul of Baseball is a must-read - seriously. Posnanski recounts a year he spent with O'Neil at the end of the former Negro League's player and manager crisscrossing America celebrating the game of baseball.

The Soul of Baseball not only sheds light on O'Neil's view of the Negro Leagues, but it's also a joyful look at baseball as a game rather than the business that we often see it as now. There's plenty of insight in the book's anecdotes and wise quotes from O'Neil. It's a light and breezy read, although I couldn't help but get choked up a few times.

And after reading about O'Neil's passion for baseball and the legacy he left behind, why isn't he a member of the Hall of Fame yet? Okay, they just unveiled a statue honouring him, but where's the plaque? It might be a late for O'Neil himself to get his moment in the spotlight he deserves as an ambassador for the game, but there's still his family and the thousands he touched during his long and exciting life that can still celebrate.

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