It took a few months but I finally finished it. This book was mainly chosen due to the fact it was available on kindle ($9.99). I must say, the book does meet the claims written upon it's cover. It contains stories, statistics, facts, figures, anecdotes, trivia, and more. It contains everything you need to know to be a real fan.
The foreward to the book was absolutely amazing. It's written by Tony Gwynn. The cover of the book didn't lie about that part either. There is a sad part where Tony admits to growing up a Dodgers fan. He quickly redeems himself by telling about his college days where he would watch the padres for $0.50. Soon after he fell in love with the city and became a Padres fan.
As the title suggests, it's essential information. Unfortunately for me, that means it's practically all content that I was already privy to. I think the book would be best suited as a gift for someone who has only been a fan for a handful of years. Additionally, some people like it, but it could get pretty dry at times listing statistics and who got a better deal from a trade.
I will now simply list a few of my favorite anecdotes:
- There's a story in there about clinching the NL West in 1984. The players had gathered at Goose Gossage's home to watch the Astro's game on TV. Joan Kroc was there in an "exquisite gown". Somehow during the celebrating she ended up in the pool. It's never been quite clear as to if she jumped in or Gossage pulled her in.
- Somewhat well known is the story about Tony Gwynn only being a single away from the cycle. Riggleman pulled Gwynn since the team was leading by a good 9 runs. Riggleman was unaware that Tony was so close. Tony didn't mention it because there had been some clubhouse feuding involving some players who thought Tony was "selfish" with his batting average. Anyways, Riggleman got blasted by the fans and media for pulling him, and Tony felt sorry he didn't speak up. Poor Tony was screwed either way.
- Trevor Hoffman has a good story about being hated when he first came into town. Lots of people were upset to see Gary Sheffield go. Hoffy came up with a fake profession so he wouldn't be noticed around town. His fake profession? Trevor Hoffman the cookie maker.
In short, the book delivers what it promises. But like I said, I didn't really gain any new knowledge. Also, at times it can be pretty raw with statistics. I give it 3 out of 5 stars (hanging stars of course)