Bob Feller’s Little Black Book of Baseball Wisdom

Ever want extra advice from a respected elderly gentleman? Well, if that’s the case, look no further. Head to your nearest bookstore and pick up a copy of Bob Feller’s Little Black Book of Baseball Wisdom. This book is comprised of a selection of advice from Feller on a variety of topics. It will no doubt remind you of speaking with your grandfather.

Written with Burton Rocks, the small book is only 142 pages and an extremely fast read. Its compact size makes it a perfect book to bring along on a short trip. The book is divided into four parts. The first part, called “Good Foundations,” focuses on Feller’s youth and upbringing. A few of the stories found in this section consist of: My Mom Was Always There for Me, Backyard Games I Played with My Dad, The Importance of Manual Labor, Signing My Pro Contract at Sixteen and Family Values. The reader gets to know Feller fairly quickly in this section. The repetitive tones that are present throughout the book are easy to pick up on even this early in the reading.

The second part of the book is entitled, “My Baseball Days: The Game, The People, The Glory.” This is the section that most baseball fans of Feller would be interested in. Some of the experiences he talks about in this part of the book include: The Day I Struck Out Eighteen Batters, The Motorcycle Test, Three No-Hitters, Pitchers Who Could Hit Well and My Love of Flying Planes. Also featured in this section are Feller’s takes on some of the players of this time. Those featured include: Yogi Berra, Joe DiMaggio, Larry Doby, Mel Harder and Jackie Robinson. It is interesting to see Feller’s perspective on some of the greats in the game. If you’re looking for a hot take, you won’t find it here as Feller is generally kind in his analysis of pretty much everyone.

In the third section of the book, Feller gives his advice on how to become a good ball player, titling the section “Building Good Players.” Among other topics, Feller spends time discussing the following in this section: How to Be a Successful Pitcher, The Things Pitchers Should Know, Trial and Error Method, The Importance of Holding Men on Base and Recipe for a Good Life in Baseball. There isn’t a whole lot of groundbreaking insight in this section that will lead to an “ah-ha” moment for someone looking to become a better player, but again, it is always good to learn a Hall of Famer’s take on a common topic.

In the last section of the book, Feller’s focus turns to his philosophies on baseball and life. If you weren’t feeling like you were talking to the old fellar at the local diner by the time to get to this section, you will by the time you’re finished. Feller spends time talking about: What the Handshake Used to Mean, My Millennium Wish List for Kids, How to Life to Be a Hundred, Why Ballplayers Adore the Game of Golf and The Creation of the Baseball Players Pension. The topics listed are just a very few of those Feller touches on in the book. Touches is the right way to describe the thoughts because in order to fit so many topics into such a small book, he clearly couldn’t have expanded too much on any given one.

The book was published in 2001 by Contemporary Books and the hard cover copy retails for $16.95.

Baseball Reflections Rating: 3/5

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