Six Decades of Baseball: A Book Review
- Updated: July 23, 2011
Author Bill Lewers has possibly lived a life many baseball fans would trade for. In his work, Six Decades of Baseball, Lewers chronicles his time surrounding the game of baseball across the nation. Lewers, a Red Sox fan who never lived near Boston, and actually grew up in New York City, presents a story of his life paralleled with baseball.
Lewers does a good job balancing his clear fandom towards the Red Sox, with his love for the game of baseball and its history. While there are certainly many chapters and anecdotes dedicated to Boston’s team, it my no means overwhelms the work.
Like many people, it is clear that without baseball in Lewers’ life, he may not have any clue what to do. Not only does he tell a story of his time at the part, but the work also chronicles how this has related to his relationship with many of his family members and friends over time.
Lewers’ memoir, or as he calls it, “A Personal Narrative,” will be unlike most anyone will read about baseball. This is because Lewers didn’t play, coach or even cover baseball, he just liked it. In a sense, that makes him no difference than you or me.
Essentially Lewers has taken every baseball memory he has had over his life, and put it on paper. Whether it has to do with visiting a park, meeting a player, or learning the wave, it Bill Lewers did it and it somehow relates to baseball, it is within these pages.
Perhaps most incredible about this is that there aren’t more works floating around like it. Somehow Lewers is the pioneer for the personal baseball narrative, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s hard to tell how Lewers prepared to write the book, as most would have to assume he was not taking notes as a child while his parents took him to a ball game. Rather, much of this is based on memory, and told throughout with pictures he, or one of his immediate family members, took.
On the surface, it does kind of sound boring. You may be wondering what you may be getting out of this book that you don’t already have from your own experiences. Then you get hit with the power of perspective. I have taken many of the same trips to ballparks as Lewers has and in many ways, our experiences are very different. This is driven by a number of things such as our fandom loyalties, the atmosphere at the parks that day and who we were with when we made those ventures, but if nothing else, his perspective made him rethink mine.
In some ways, Lewers’ work could also service as an instructional manual for seeing baseball, especially on the east coast. He hits most of the famed venues, including the Polo Grounds, and tells his experience like it was. Lewers doesn’t sugar coat anything in this book. If he was feeling sentimental about his journey, it is illustrated in these pages, but if he was expecting to and it didn’t happen, the reader will find this out as well.
Baseball and family seem to always be intertwined in books about the sport whether they are novels, memoirs or narratives. Lewers could have easily gotten carried away with this aspect of the book, but instead he uses it as a way to tie all of his experiences together, and not something that his experiences relied upon to exist.
In many ways Lewers is a do it all man. He wrote the book about his own experiences, took the pictures and even published the book. He also now serves as its publicist. Perhaps he is already working on the sequel to his book; it could be called, simply, “Decade 7.”
Overall Rating: 2.75/5