Frommers interviewed 69 former big leaguers from Dwight
"Red" Adams who played just eight games in the majors, to Don Zimmer who
seems like he's been in baseball so long he could have been Abner
Doubleday's bench coach. The book records the stories of former kids
who made it to the major leagues, most of whom started out playing
catch and games for hours, sometimes dreaming of bigger fields and far
away places. It's an oral history, so the ballplayers' stories are
told in their own words, sometimes pedestrian, sometimes poingnant.
They concentrate on the journey to the big leagues from the backyard
games of catch to the first major league game. This is a book for
baseball junkies. It's readable and light.
OF SPORTS, August 20, 2001,
SURE YOU GET THIS BOOK!!! The Frommers,a father-son team, cover all
the bases. This book is a rich and varied montage of so many aspects
of the national pastime - a job, a book well done. "
BOOKS IN PRINT, October 15, 2001,
Contains a rich & varied montage of memories
from baseball players & fans across generations & cultures.
FRED WALLIN, SPORTS BIZ/TALK SHOW Los Angeles,
October 9, 2001,
"Harvey Frommer, who has written 'a million
baseball books' and his son Frederic, who has written his first one,
have written the oral history - - GROWING UP BASEBALL. I enjoyed it.
The book underscores the old Roy Campanella quote: 'To play this game,
you've got to have a lot of little boy in you.' If you love the game
of baseball, pick up this book, GROWING UP BASEBALL."
IRV KAZE on SPORTS/KRLA , Sports Show Host,
September 24, 2001,
Very exciting reading in this oral history of some
70 players ranging in reputation and era. How they got started on the
road to the majors is told in detail with emotion and impact. The book
is great reading. Oral histories come from such as Dom DiMaggio, Jim
Palmer, Nolan Ryan, Keith Hernandez,Bob Feller, Don Zimmer,Todd Zeile,
Ron Santo, Billy Williams, Bobby Brown, Scott Brosius, etc. A first
for the father and son writing team of prolific author Harvey Frommer
and his son Frederic.
What little boy hasn't dreamed of making it to the major leagues! How
many fathers hope to see their sons play for teams such as the Yankees
or the Red Sox? There are hundreds of books about the game, but Growing
Up Baseball is the first oral history that reveals the dreams of a
select few who actually made it to the major leagues. In their own
words, players like Nolan Ryan, Bob Feller, "Sparky"
Anderson, Jim Palmer, and Bob Tewksbury share their early memories of
playing catch with their dads or baseball with their brothers in the
neighborhood or on the farm. These experiences ignited the dream and
indelibly shaped the futures of the sixty-nine players highlighted in
this book authored by father and son, Harvey and Frederic Frommer.
During their first-hand interviews, the authors discovered such
interesting facts as:
Dom DiMaggio polished his fielding skills playing catch with brother
Joe on the steep hills of San Francisco
Bob Feller was lucky to have a father who built him a complete
baseball field in a pasture on their Des Moines, Iowa far m in
1930-the first "Field of Dreams."
Keith Hernandez started at age five to catch and hit tennis balls
thrown to him by his minor league infielder father.
Monte Irvin played many years in the Negro Leagues until his dream of
making it to the majors came true at age 51.
Bob Tewksbury still has memories of wet baseballs from playing in the
early spring snows of New Hampshire.
From baseball's greatest players to those less frequently remembered,
the heart-warming stories in Growing Up Baseball are a reminder that
there is a time in a player's career when everything seems possible.
"In the great tradition
of Lawrence Ritter's Glory of their Times and Donald Honig's Baseball
When the Grass Was Real, Mr. Frommer and his son, Frederic, offer an
oral history with a narrowed and fascinating
focus: players' personal stories of the role baseball played in their
youths. Everyone will have his or her favorite players in the bunch,
especially since the wide variety includes old-timers and current
players, stars and scrubs, blacks, Latinos, Jews (Al Rosen and Shawn
Green), and sons (Dale Berra) and brothers (Ken Brett ) of superstars.
Everyone's represented and, as in Mr. Ritter's book, they please us by
having loved the game as we'd have hoped and by pretty uniformly
looking back fondly on their experiences.
There's a minor but representative moment when Joey Amalfitano is
about to sign his first contract and has to go get his father off of a
fishing boat where he works:
He was in his working clothes. I introduced him to the two scouts, Ebo
and Dutch. We sat in the living room. He signed the contract.
Then they got up, and my father said to me in Italian, "Take me back
to the boat."
So I drove him back. My father asked, "What did you sign
for?"--meaning what kind of money did you sign for.
I said, "$35,000."
He said, "America is a great country."
In both these books we get to see, once again, how baseball knits
together generations of Americans, gives us memories we share first
with brothers, fathers and grandfathers and then with sons and
grandsons. So, I never got to see Ralph Kiner play, but as a Mets
announcer he explained games to me for thirty years, and now, thanks
to the Frommers, here he is again sharing stories of his youth and of
the game he loves and that he helped me and my brother learn to love.
And so his growing up baseball melds into ours. America really is a
great country and baseball its great game."
Arnold Dean, WTIC,
interesting. The wonderful oral histories humazines the players so
by Amy Cohen
1/07/2002 @ baseballologu.com
"The title and premise intrigued me. A series of mini-bios
told in the first person by men who had actually made it to the "Big
Leagues". I was looking for an answer, into my own psyche perhaps as
to why the game is so compelling. Why do I stay up late for Opening
Day and to watch every possible minute of the World Series? Why is
Opening Day for my home team so important that I consider it a
national holiday and have not missed an opening day game most of my
adult life, even traveling over 300 miles to be there.
Why are celebrities like Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon, Kevin Kostner
and Billy Crystal so obviously obsessed with the game. Even presidents
are drawn to the game, our current president owned a team, Bill
Clinton is said to be "bonkers about baseball". It is not just America
that is taken with the game. The Japanese passion is well documented
as well as Cuba and the Dominican Republic. I thought if I could hear
in their own words what brought many major leaguers to the game I
could find a commonality and understand why I am so gripped by the
In Growing Up Baseball players from the past and present, ones who had
afleeting time in the major leagues to ones who are icons- discuss
their intimate childhood memories of the game. Players who grew up
with and without TV and /or in areas where there was no access to
major or minor league teams and areas where cities have several major
league teams all have the same passion for the game.
Chuck Stevens - Played three years for the St. Louis Browns. Grew up
occasionally hearing games on the radio and reading ticker tape
reports of World Series games. But spent 23 years in the Browns
Scott Brosius - NY Yankees third baseman, knew he wanted to be a major
leaguer from age three, but never saw a major league game until he was
drafted by the Oakland A's at 22-years old.
Jose Cardenal -Native of Cuba whose whole family's life was devoted to
baseball. His father played, his older brother played for the Army
League, his cousin is Bert "Campy" Campaneris and his sister was the
only female official scorer in Cuba. Signed by the Giants but couldn't
get very much playing time due to the existing outfield of Mays,
McCovey and the Alou brothers, was later traded and played 18 years in
The stories recount tales of parents who encouraged, parents who
discouraged. Idols who became mentors. Boys who became men.
While Growing Up Baseball was not able to give me insight into my own
obsession it does give intimate details and takes a peak into the
childhood of majors leaguers who we love so much and always wanted to
From Society For
American Baseball Research
"This is a collection of
interviews creating the first oral history of the "growing up years"
of some of baseball's greatest heroes. The book presents unique and
personal memories from legends like Bob Feller, Sparky Anderson, Dom
DiMaggio, Keith Hernandez and others. The players recall their
journeys, joys and struggles from childhood play to major league
The Book Shelf/Purebaseball.com
"Growing Up Baseball is
another type of oral history, one which encompasses a common theme. In
this case, as the title indicates, current and former major leaguers
relate their introduction to the game. Most, as tradition might
dictate, learned at the feet of dad, the pastoral image of fathers and
sons playing catch. Some praise the help of a little league, high
school or college coach as pointing them in the right direction. Those
who share their experiences run the gamut from all-time legends such
as Bob Feller and Ralph Kiner to today's role players like Darryl
Hamilton and Adam Kennedy. It also spans the decades, from Elden Auker,
who first pitched for the Tigers in 1933 to players currently plying
their trade. It's eye-opening to see the differences between the
childhood experiences of a Feller and the modern player: the
advantages of the latter (and not just financially) makes one wonder
why the quality isn't better. Frommer, with the help of his son, does
his usual excellent job, whether the topic is New York City baseball,
Joe Jackson or photographic compilations."
Growing Up Baseball/Boy of Summer.com
"Harvey Frommer and his son Frederick must have
had a fantastic time writing Growing Up Baseball (Taylor Trade
Publishing, Hardcover $23.95). Together this tandem collected dozens
of stories of major leaguers for this unique piece of literature. From
A to Zeile, from Hall-of-Famers like Jim Palmer and Ralph Kiner to
relative nobodies like Ed Yarnall and
Lazaro Ramon Gonzalo "Cholly" Naranjo, there
is something for everybody here.
interesting little tidbits of information here, like that Dale Berra's
dad never really played catch with him, "That's what you've got
brothers for." Even more surprising is that this reality did not turn
young Dale off to baseball. Dom DiMaggio used to hide his coke-bottle
glasses whenever scouts would come around, so as not to bias their
opinions of him. Think how good he could have been if he could see!
What This Book Is:
A collection of charming little vignettes about growing up as a
baseball fan and/or a baseball player. Some of your favorite baseball
personalities relating how they managed to grasp a small slice of the
American Dream. Easily read and comprehended pieces of times gone by,
and some fairly recent memories, related so comfortably that you can
almost see the succession of men in your own living room, taking their
turns in your easy chair and telling their own stories.
Perhaps the most
engaging aspect of this book is that it really isn't written by Harvey
and Frederick Frommer as much as it was dictated to them by the
individuals featured in the book. Each little (Fred Lynn's is not so
little) story is told in the first person as they dictated it to the
authors, so you can almost hear Nolan Ryan's Texas drawl or Manny
Mota's Dominican accent as you read, and you can tell from his speech
that Bobby Brown is quite an educated man, even before he tells you
that he was a cardiologist and spent a great deal of time as President
of the American League.
What This Book Is
Well, it's not really a book that lends itself to being read straight
through. There are almost seventy mini-chapters here, and many of them
relate similar details: Several of these men were accomplished
athletes during their youths, often in sports other than baseball as
well. Many of them had to work hard at another occupation, or grew up
in relatively meager circumstances before striking it rich in the
You're better off
taking this slowly, reading a story or two at a time, in your leisure.
Savor these stories. Enjoy them, instead of trying to wolf them all
down in order to get a timely review written, like I did.
You'll thank me
later. When you grow up."
SANTA CRUZ SENTINEL
"A new book is out
that takes an original approach to baseball. "Growing up baseball, an
oral history," lets players tell their stories in their own words.
Among those who
write about their childhood baseball memories: Mark Grace, Bob Feller,
Dom DiMaggio, Sam McDowell, Don Larsen and Mike Scioscia, manager of
the Anaheim Angels, who vanquished the Giants in the World Series.
By Harvey and
Frederic Frommer, the book is a quick and satisfying read about the
innocent youth of baseball stars."
From the Inside
"Growing Up Baseball An
Oral History What little boy hasn't dreamed of making it to the major
leagues! How many fathers hope to see their sons play for teams such
as the Yankees or the Red Sox? There are hundreds of books about the
game, but Growing Up Baseball is the first oral history that reveals
the dreams of a select few who actually made it to the major leagues.
In their own words, players like Nolan Ryan, Bob Feller, "Sparky"
Anderson, Jim Palmer, and Bob Tewksbury share their early..."
Noted oral historian
Harvey Frommer joins his son Frederic in collecting interviews and
published commentary together with photos to create the first thorough
oral history of the "growing up" years of baseball's greatest heroes.