This fall there are three books that take a look at the American league Boston team in the World Series. One goes all the way back to 1912, the first “greatest” fall classic, as written by the NY Post’s Mike Vacarro. The other two are slightly more contemporary: the 1975 meeting of the Red Sox and the Big Red Machine. One, by Mark Frost, deconstructs a single contest in Game Six: Cincinnati, Boston, and the 1975 World Series: The Triumph of America’s Pastime.
The other, by Joe Posnanski — formerly a columnist for the Kansas City Star, now a senior writer for Sports Illustrated — takes a broader look at one of the most dominant ball clubs in The Machine: A Hot Team, a Legendary Season, and a Heart-stopping World Series: The Story of the 1975 Cincinnati Reds.
The title — as of this writing, it ranks #338 among all books on Amazon — is a mouthful, which is most appropriate because the Reds — starring Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, Tony Perez, and a host of others — were a handful, a collection of hard-playing, trash-talking, ego-driven stars under the iron fist of Hall of Famer manager Sparky Anderson.
Posnanski is one of the lucky journalists who have fallen victim to the hammers of the recession; he’s found a nice gig with a wider audience at SI, who have the chance to read what has heretofore been enjoyed by a smaller audience.
His previous baseball title, The Soul of Baseball: A Road Trip Through Buck O’Neil’s America, won Spitball Magazine’s Casey Award as the best baseball book of 2007.
Posnanski took a few minutes out of his trip to New York to discuss how time did or didn’t change the perception of his favorite team as a boy; the tricks of memory; the joys and difficulties of writing; and the mechanisms and challenges of producing a book in a modern-day publishing environment.