Friday, October 07, 2005

Book Review: Cy Young: A Baseball Life

Cy Young: A Baseball Life by Reed Browning

This book is incredibly informative and well-researched, detailing Cy Young's life and career. To be fair, I didn't know much at all about him before reading this, and I felt I learned a lot. The 1890's really are a fascinating time in the history of baseball to read about.

Problem is, Cy Young didn't leave behind a lot of his own thoughts or quotes on anything. Browning's done a great job of assembling what remains of the man, but after a while, it gets frustrating to have every chapter digress into "This is the part we know for sure, and here's the part where I make some educated guesses to fill in the cracks". I realize the book would be horribly empty without the guesses, and he does do a great job of making a story out of things like the pennant races of the 1890's, and the triumphs of the early Boston Americans/Pilgrims/whatever, and setting up Cy Young as a gentleman of the same good character as Christy Mathewson or Walter Johnson, from what we do know of him, and the accounts others have left behind.

On the other hand, I found the book itself fairly dry to read. I'd get through a couple pages per bus ride, and sometimes I wouldn't even feel like getting the book out at all, and as such, it took me three whole weeks to finish reading it. For me, this is an incredibly long time. I am glad to be done reading it and to know more about the man for whom we name our most prestigious pitching award, but I wish it had been a more driving book.

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