“This Side of Cooperstown rekindles all the old memories of the game of baseball as it was played in the best of times. The book is an education, a must-read for anyone who wants to know where today's game came from and what it can become once again.”—Mel Allen, announcer for the New York Yankees
“Larry Moffi stirs the memory pot with his fascinating interviews. If names like Marion, Trucks, Parnell, and Sievers mean something to you, This Side of Cooperstown will put you in a happy reverie.”—William B. Mead, author of Baseball Goes to War and Two Spectacular Seasons
“…the book still is great fun. It is filled with nostalgia and behind-the-scenes anecdotes that provide glimpses of baseball's colorful history.”—New York Times Book Review
Baseball players are storytellers, and this book is a collection of stories about the game told by players from the 1950s. These are not tales told by the Mickey Mantles or Hank Aarons of the era but the words of excellent ballplayers nevertheless, men like Virgil Trucks, Gene Woodling, Carl Erskine, Vic Power, Frank Thomas, and a dozen other notable players who loved the game and played it very well for many seasons, although not accumulating statistics that would enshrine them in the bronze of Cooperstown.
The players' voices reach back with clarity and affection to describe the game as it was in baseball's golden age, an era of transition for baseball and for America: more than three hundred farm teams, train travel, segregation, offseasons of holding down jobs in sales or construction to make ends meet. But the book is more than memories of the ball field. Larry Moffi has transcribed and orchestrated the voices of men who played the game day after day, year after year—the good and the nearly great—who have nothing to hide and little to lose by giving us their generous recollections. These are the players who seemed, to the average fan, somehow more human than the superstars and who today—when the lives and events of Hall of Famers are common knowledge—speak to us with confidence and insight, providing a perspective of the game in its entirety.
Inspired by and continuing in the tradition of Lawrence Ritter's The Glory of Their Time, this book honors the skills, the passion, and the love for the game that in the 1950s were synonymous with the term “major leaguer.”