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Electric October: Seven World Series Games,…

Electric October: Seven World Series Games, Six Lives, Five Minutes of…

by Kevin Cook

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I am a sucker for baseball books, so this one was right up my alley. I loved it! Cook tells so much more than the story of the 1947 World Series. He tells the story of some of the men who played a part in it complete with their back-stories, the effects on their lives later, and the effects on their families. Cook takes all of these stories and seamlessly weaves them together into a narrative that would be interesting even if you aren't a baseball fan. It's a great book. ( )
  fuzzy_patters | Dec 27, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
"Electric October" is a delightful account of the 1947 World Series between the New York Yankees and the Brooklyn Dodgers as seen by six of its participants. The former are represented by manager Bucky Harris, infielder George Sternweiss and pitcher Bill Bevins, the latter by manager Burt Shotton, outfielder AL Gionfriddo and infielder Cookie Lavagetto. Author Kevin Cook offers a brief biography of each person with which we can see a long-ago America, an America of the late nineteenth- and early-twentieth century: kids growing up in small towns with dads who worked six (or seven) days a week, kids who had to drop out of school to work to help the family survive, kids whose only escape was playing baseball. Kids who beat all the odds and made it to the Big Leagues. Harris and Shotton and Lavagetto were (or became) baseball lifers, spending decades in the game as player, coach, manager, or executive, at all levels of the game. The others had the proverbial "cup of coffee," with two-three-four seasons at most at the highest level. But long tenure or short, all six men can truly be deemed as "lifers," the game never far from their heart and soul. Washington Post sportswriter Tom Boswell once memorably penned something to the effect that, at around age eight or nine, the game grabs hold of you and never lets go. As it did with these six. And their trials through life, from Pennsylvania to California, from broken homes and enduring tough times (imagine growing up in the Depression which was immediately followed by a world war), these six found themselves together in two of baseball's most fabled green cathedrals (Yankee Stadium and Ebbets Field) in baseball's greatest moment, the World Series. Mr Cook has written a very readable book, similar in vein to Halberstam's "October 1964" and Kahn's "Boys of Summer" but without attempting to wrench soul-searing drama from every moment. There is no lack of poignant moments, to be sure, but this work is not soap opera or docu-drama; rather, it is simply an excellent story, well told, of six guys who loved baseball, and who found themselves together for nine days one early October, seven decades ago. May that our descendants, seven decades from now, treat us as honestly and respectfully, and with such affection. ( )
1 vote bks1953 | Oct 27, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I read this book in two sittings. It is a gem of a book if you are interested in baseball history. Author Kevin Cook chose the very memorable 1947
World Series with six of the influential members who achieved fame, however fleeting, in this fall classic. Bill Bevens, Al Gionfriddo, Cookie Lavagetto, Snuffy Stirnweiss, Burt Shotten, and Bucky Harris are the featured individuals. Author Cook introduces each of the notables during their growing up years and the difficult childhood they experienced. The Christmas present of one of them was to take one shot out of a B B gun. We also learn how Bill Bevens received his nickname of "Bill." The fan in Ebbets Field who serenaded his favorite player, Cookie Lavagetto. Bucky Harris and Burt Shotton leaders of their respective teams and their players thoughts of each of them. Shotton had to suddenly step into the Dodgers job when Durocher was suspended and be a calming influence with the coming of Jackie Robinson onto the team. The regret of one of the featured players was that he signed the petition against Robinson playing on the Dodgers.

The book also includes a summary of each of the seven games of the 1947 World Series. I often find this to be difficult to get through in books but in this case the author made it interesting to me. We also get to know how different team members got along with one another. We are treated (?) to the bombastic roaring redhead, Larry MacPhail's drunken exit during the Yankees' celebration following their Series win.

The book concludes with a review of each of the featured individuals and their life following the 1947 Series. Some went on to longer careers in baseball as managers or coaches while others found the going to be difficult to remain in the game. The book contains sixteen pages of photos several of which I have not seen previously. If you enjoy baseball history this book belongs in your library. ( )
  Gregg72340 | Sep 5, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Electric October, the story of the 1947 World Series between the Yankees and the Dodgers provides a very human backdrop to the unfolding drama. Kevin Cook selected six individuals – ranging from role players, bench sitters and a former wunderkind manager to tell the story before, during, and after the seven-game series. Their stories are quite a contrast from those you might think of as the stars of the game – Joe DiMaggio and Jackie Robinson and the fact that this was the first World Series televised, although with an audience that primarily was limited to East Coast bars and taverns. Cook does a good job of interweaving the stories into a coherent accounting of the games. Although their fame was limited (only one made it to the baseball Hall of Fame and that was only after intense lobbying with the Veterans’ Committee), the six lives highlighted in the book are both fascinating and heartbreaking – pitching eight and two thirds inning of no-hit baseball and losing the game – make for a great way to live this history again. ( )
  sherman1951 | Aug 24, 2017 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Electric October is a book about baseball, and specifically the 1947 World Series. But more than that, it goes beyond the game to examine what happened to the participants in this most exciting series. Yankees Bill Bevens and Snuffy Stirnweiss, Dodgers Al Gionfriddo and Cookie Lavagetto, and the managers Bucky Harris and Burt Shotton, all played key roles in the seven gripping games. To some of us baseball fans, we do know those names (like Stirnweiss for winning the batting championship or Lavagetto for being the first manager of the Twins), but mostly this was their brief moment of glory, making this one of the most exciting Series. What happened to these six characters in the following years rounds out the full story detailed in this book. This is perhaps not a book for everyone, but for devoted fans of the game it will keep you absorbed throughout. ( )
  RickLA | Aug 6, 2017 |
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"The story of six ordinary ballplayers whose paths crossed in the 1947 World Series--and the ways that epic October changed their lives"--

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