Book Review: October 1964 by David Halberstam.

(I read a crapload of baseball books. I’ll try and write a review for the non-baseball-nut.)


I enjoyed the hell out of this book. It’s written in a readable, light novel style that has compelling characters and plot. It takes you through the 1964 season, which was the end of the greatest of the Yankees dynasties. Made me think of the currently collapsing Yankees dynasty.

There are 4 things I really liked about this book, and 1 thing I loved.

4 Things I liked:

  • Mickey Mantle once hit a home run that was 595 feet – which is actually TWO home runs in many parks. His entire career he wanted to hit one out of Yankees stadium (he once came close – which is unimaginable).
  • The dozens of ingenious ways Whitey Ford would cheat to scuff up the ball.
  • The awesome, dark rage of Bob Gibson (who I think is the best pitcher in history). Imagine the angriest person you’ve ever worked with in the worst mood possible. That was Bob Gibson pitching to you.
  • Learning about Buck O’Neil (first black scout in major leagues – I’ll probably write a blog just about this guy). Someone really worth looking up to. I handed up this section of the book to my leadership team at work.

But the thing I loved most: This is a perfect gift for my father-in-law — and picking gifts for him is hard.

Here’s the deal – my father-in-law is a real-deal baseball fan. He grew up in St. Louis and legitimately roots for the Cardinals. We went to a game last summer together, which was terrific.

So I figure this can supplement his baseball facts.

He’s  SUPER smart. He’s a Phd Biologist who headed up a lab involved in the human genome project. He wrote some of the foundational computer programs for gene mapping. It’s crazy when you google the man.

This book is something he’ll really enjoy reading. He’ll love a story of his Cardinals triumphing over my Yanks. Plus it will help him a little in the Cardinals fact department too.