2005-07-29 / Sports

Dodgers 50th Anniversary Brings Focus To Brooklyn

By Joe McDonald Sports Columnist Brooklyn Remembered

By Joe McDonald
Sports Columnist
Brooklyn Remembered – A Review

With so many books on the Brooklyn Dodgers, there has never been one on their ultimate victory.

And with only 11 members of the 1955 “Boys of Summer” still alive for this historic 50th anniversary of their championship season, a new book by veteran sportswriter Maury Allen becomes a welcome addition to any Dodger collection.

In Brooklyn Remembered: The 1955 Days Of The Dodgers [Sports Publishing, LLC, 213 pgs, $24.95], Allen tracks down the remaining members of that championship team to get their thoughts on the borough’s only World Series victory.

Allen tells his story in a journalistic style and the chapters read as vignettes rather than a narrative of the season. Through the pages, the reader will be able to experience the thoughts of Duke Snider, Carl Erskine, Don Newcombe, Rachel Robinson and other principle characters in the 1955 tale.

He lets the interviews tell the story, but does add some commentary in it. Allen acts as a ringmaster as he introduces the players and they tell their stories. With many of them in their late 70s, it allows the Dodgers to reminisce of times gone by. It may not break new ground, but it does give a reader a compact edition of longer works. The writing is easy to read and can be completed in one sitting.

The author also adds some spice at the end by telling the tale of the championship banner and how a few sportswriters with a little to drink decided to liberate it. Brooklyn Remembered is a nice journalistic piece of the 1955 season. which will give the reader something to enjoy throughout this historic summer.

Praying for Gil Hodges – A Review

They were “The Boys of Summer” and truly America’s Team. And for a team that only won one World Series, there have been many works over the years about Brooklyn Dodgers. These books have come in many varieties and describe all aspects of the fabled organization.

With 2005 marking the 50th anniversary of the Dodgers’ victory, a new set of stories has been released. Boston Globe columnist and author Thomas Oliphant penned one of the better offerings with his new book, Praying For Gil Hodges: A Memoir Of The 1955 World Series And One Family’s Love Of The Brooklyn Dodgers [Thomas Dunne Books, 278 pgs, $24.95].

The book is more of a personal recollection of the author’s childhood, when he grew up rooting for the team in New York. Oliphant uses his own experiences as a microcosm for what the Dodgers meant to the Brooklyn community and why they were so important to the American fabric of the 1950s. By using his memories, the reader gets a sense of what it was like to be a Brooklyn fan, rather than the historic views that have come out in other publications.

But, Oliphant does go into detail of Brooklyn Dodger history throughout the book. He gives an overview of the players and how the 1955 team was built. The author paints that picture with a broad stroke -allowing the story to flow- while weaving the memoirs of his family into the chapters.

Praying does gives considerable time to what life was like in Brooklyn. With descriptive accounts of the borough’s makeup, Oliphant connects the puzzle and solves what made “The Boys of Summer” one of the more beloved teams in history and what it meant to the country, the city, the borough, and one young man’s life.

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