The Miraculous History of New York’s Most Beloved Baseball Team
Written by: Peter Golenbock
Published By: St. Martin's Press
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
I recently wrote an article about Baseball’s Opening Day in which I discussed how much that blessed event means to me. As a kid, I was such a baseball fan that I constantly searched the local library’s book shelves for every book I could find about the players of the sport. I read countless books about Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson, Brooks Robinson and the boys of summer. Nowadays, having a hobby such as reading books about baseball can be a daunting, wallet-depleting task. There are just so many books out there; I couldn’t possibly read them all. Thus, I am selective, seeking out books only about my favorite players or teams. When a co-worker walked in with a monster-sized book about my favorite team, the New York Mets, I knew I just had to have it!
Amazin’: The Miraculous History of New York’s Most Beloved Baseball Team is a gem of a book written by Peter Golenbock, author of such baseball histories as Bums, Dynasty, Wild, High and Tight: The Life and Death of Billy Martin, Wrigleyville, The Bronx Zoo (with Sparky Lyle), and more. Its size gives any reader pause. The book is 654 pages long, but contains roughly about 626 pages worth of information and photos – the rest are notes and index pages. The book celebrates the life and times of the New York Mets, from just prior to the ball club’s inception until the end of their bid for the World Series in the year 2000.
The book begins with a discussion of the original New York Metropolitans, a team that made its debut in the late 1800s and folded only a few years later. It then goes on to discuss New York’s love of baseball and its staple teams, the New York Yankees, New York Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers. It’s interesting to discover how the New York Mets came into being in the year 1962. The beloved New York National League teams, the Giants and the Dodgers, moved their franchises west, leaving New York bereft of a National League franchise. New York-based fans of the Giants and the Dodgers longed for a National League ball club in their area. Hard work and perseverance by New York City Mayor Robert Wagner and lawyer Bill Shea brought about the creation of a new National League team known to all as the New York Mets. Golenbock goes on to discuss the hard knock ball club that would eventually win the 1969 and 1986 World Series, play in the 1973 and 2000 World Series, and the ups and downs, highs and lows in between.
Amazin': The Miraculous History of New York's Most Beloved Baseball Team is a plethora of information perfect for any Met fan. As a huge fan of the franchise, I was surprised to discover how much I didn’t know, such as how the team’s stadium got its name or how a team like the 1962 Mets evolved into the 1969 World Series Champions. Having fallen in love with the 1986 team as a teenager, I had thought I knew everything about them, but I stand corrected after reading this book. Golenbock has done his homework, providing readers with full accounts of the Mets history, both what occurred in public and what happened behind the scenes. Perhaps the most enjoyable aspect of the book is that Golenbock doesn’t just bombard the reader with facts. He provides us with quotes from sports writers, players, owners and fans, all in an effort to give the reader a well-rounded view of the team and its history.
Though I did find a few flaws in the book – typing errors and the fact that there were a couple of incidents in the club’s history that were missing from the 1986 section - Amazin’: The Miraculous History of New York’s Most Beloved Baseball Team is a highly informative and fun read. The writing is well-done and easily understood. The 600-plus pages whiz by in no time. Whether an avid fan of the New York Mets franchise or just a fan of baseball in general, you won’t want to skip over Amazin’: The Miraculous History of New York’s Most Beloved Baseball Team at your local Barnes and Noble. It’s well worth the price ($18.95 U.S.)!