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For a while now I've been threatening the other Box writers that I was going to do this, and now I'm going to do this. Every month I'll pick out a different book from the library of Toronto-Blue-Jays-related literature, and write about it. The '...In a Box' concept is totally stolen from Bill James.

To kick things off, here's a book I had never read before.

Title: Paul Molitor: Good Timing
Published: ECW Press, 1994, or the year after Molitor won World Series MVP
# Pages: 205
Availability: seems to have it in stock

Author: Stuart Broomer
Who Is: the 'About the Author' part says that he was a college-and-university-level English teacher in the Toronto area. He's written other stuff too, magazine articles and things, but I couldn't tell you what. There seems to be a jazz musician and writer of the same name; I'm assuming it's not the same guy

What It's About: It's about how great Paul Molitor is
Secret Hero: This book doesnít have enough moving parts to have a secret anything. Itís all Molitor.
How's The Writing? It'll do. The big problem is with what's being written. This is not the typical baseball 'as told to' "auto"biography; it seems to be strictly Broomer's project. After having read the book, I couldn't tell you if Molitor even knew Broomer was writing it, or, for that matter, if anyone else did. It seems to have been compiled almost entirely from newspaper articles, and if Broomer spoke to another human being to gather material for the book, I missed it.
As a result, there's not a lot of insight in the book. How could there be? It's a competent chronicle of facts.
It's also an example of a book about an athlete written before that athlete's career ended. Molitor still had five major league seasons to go, in which he played for the team he was a fan of when he was a kid, and his three-thousandth hit and Hall of Fame induction were also still ahead of him. 'Good timing', indeed.
I won't be rereading it.

Sabremetric Corner: the summary of Molitor's seasonal and lifetime stats at the end of the book lists batting average, games, at bats, runs, hits, doubles, triples, home runs, RBI and stolen bases. No walks, no caught-stealing, no OBP, no slugging.

Anecdote: when Molitor's big hitting streak was stopped, he was on-deck when teammate Rick Manning hit a game-winning and game-ending single. For his pains, Manning got booed by his own hometown crowd.
Also. Remember the '93 Jays? The best organization in baseball? Highest payroll (at 50 million)? Team Briefcase? Had more cellular phones than the Phillies did? Professional, businesslike? Man, times have changed. When did the Jays *stop* being considered the best organization in baseball? Was it when Gillick retired?


I wonder what book I'll do next month. I guarantee I've got one or two here you've never heard of. I hope I'll be able to come up with more material about them. I suspect it's proportional to how interesting the book is...

04/08 Blue Jays Library In A Box: Paul Molitor: Good Timing | 5 comments | Create New Account
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Mick Doherty - Thursday, April 10 2008 @ 10:09 PM EDT (#182497) #
How much did it get into the substance abuse theme? At all? Or is it a Valentine to Molly?

And shouldn't your headline be "... in Da Box"??

Matthew E - Friday, April 11 2008 @ 07:43 PM EDT (#182577) #
It's a valentine. The substance abuse was mentioned briefly when it happened, and then again when it surfaced as an issue around the '93 Series.
daryn - Saturday, April 12 2008 @ 08:27 AM EDT (#182591) #
I like "Jays Library in Da Box"

There are some books I'd be interested in your review of,
maybe Alomar's story in "Second to None" (exists)
or George Bell's thoughts on life in "Purple in Blue"  (doesn't)

But  there's a lot of bad books written in a given year... try not to review them all
I think I can pass on,
"A Professional Career in 13 At-Bats, the story of John-Ford Friffin by Jim Shaky Hunt
"Locked in the Pen, the life of Darwin Cubillan, as told to Peter Mansbridge"

Dave Till - Saturday, April 12 2008 @ 05:48 PM EDT (#182615) #
Cool idea.

When was the last time anybody published a quickie biography about a Blue Jay? They were all the rage back in the day. Off the top of my head, I recall reading biographies about Dave Stieb ("Tomorrow, I'll Be Perfect"), Roberto Alomar ("Second To None"), Kelly Gruber (I think this was "At Home On Third"), Ernie Whitt ("Catch" - probably the best of the lot, as Whitt is more blunt than the others), and George Bell (I don't remember the title of his bio).

And Buck Martinez wrote his own books - "From Worst To First" and "The Last Out".

It's a shame there isn't a market for these any more. Homer Bush's life would probably have made a good story: didn't he grow up in East St. Louis? And I would love to read a biography about Damaso Garcia - reading about going from burning his uniform in the Jays' clubhouse to surviving a brain tumour would be a heck of a story, except that it would probably be a horrible intrusion on his privacy to write it. According to Wikipedia, he's running a baseball camp for sick children in the Dominican Republic now.

The turning point for the Jays, as I recall, when they stopped being the Best Franchise In Baseball was probably the day that they realized that Duane Ward's arm had gone sproing, never to come back again. (It was originally diagnosed as "tendinitis".) I think the 1994 Jays were in the process of getting old anyway, but that was probably the point at which they realized that they were no longer invincible.

And the strike was a big factor - I still know people who haven't returned to baseball fandom because of it.

Matthew E - Sunday, April 13 2008 @ 07:48 AM EDT (#182624) #
There are a lot of Jays-related books out there, and I think I can get to them all (including all the 'real' ones you guys mentioned). As I figure it right now, doing one a month will give me a little more than two years of material. Of course, if the Jays win the Series this year, there'll be a lot more books added to the pile.
04/08 Blue Jays Library In A Box: Paul Molitor: Good Timing | 5 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.