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: indigo.com 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?
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...