Synopses & Reviews
From 2004 to 2011, Terry Francona managed the Boston Red Sox, perhaps the most scrutinized team in all of sports. During that time, every home game was a sellout. Every play, call, word, gestureand#8212;on the field and offand#8212;was analyzed by thousands. And every decision was either genius, or disastrous. In those eight years, the Red Sox were transformed from a cursed franchise to one of the most successful and profitable in baseball historyand#8212;only to fall back to last place as soon as Francona was gone. Now, in Francona: The Red Sox Years
, the decorated manager opens up for the first time about his tenure in Boston, unspooling the narrative of how this world-class organization reached such incredible highs and dipped to equally incredible lows. But through it all, there was always baseball, that beautiful game of which Francona never lost sight.
As no book has ever quite done before, Francona escorts readers into the rarefied world of a twenty-first-century clubhouse, revealing the mercurial dynamic of the national pastime from the inside out. From his unique vantage point, Francona chronicles an epic era, from 2004, his first year as the Sox skipper, when they won their first championship in 86 years, through another win in 2007, to the controversial September collapse just four years later. He recounts the tightrope walk of managing unpredictable personalities such as Pedro Martinez and Manny Ramirez and working with Theo Epstein, the general managing phenom, and his statistics-driven executives. It was a job that meant balancing their voluminous data with the emotions of a 25-man roster. It was a job that also meant trying to meet the expectations of three owners with often wildly differing opinions. Along the way, readers are treated to never-before-told stories about their favorite players, moments, losses, and wins.
Ultimately, when for the Red Sox it became less about winning and more about making money, Francona contends they lost their way. But it was an unforgettable, endlessly entertaining, and instructive time in baseball history, one that is documented and celebrated in Francona, a book that examines like no other the art of managing in todayand#8217;s game.
“Madden provides a definitive and captivating biography of ‘The Boss.” Kirkus Reviews
“Definitive, indispensible.... A vivid and entertaining portrait.” Sports Illustrated
"Surprisingand#8230;brutally honestand#8230;Franconaand#8217;s tenure included the highest-high, the first Red Sox title in 86 years and the lowest-low when a collapse kept the team from the playoffs that led to the manager's ouster." and#8211; USA Today
"The long-awaited memoirand#8230;Itand#8217;s not often that baseball aficionados and gossip gluttons can plunk down on a shared portion of outfield grass with the same book for an afternoon of readerly delight, but Francona
can bridge those kinds of differences." and#8211; Boston Globe
"Terry Francona's new book is not only a must read, but it is a fascinating and entertaining look into the daily life on Yawkey Way during that memorable time period...full of surprising and fun anecdotesand#8230;There are glimpses of his relationships with the players and#8211; good and badand#8230;and in most cases Shaughnessyand#8217;s thorough reporting includes perspective from the players, executives and owners." and#8211; MLB.com "A scorched-earth memoir and#8230;[that] touches fleetingly on steroid use, sabermetrics and Michael Jordanand#8217;s stint in the minor leaguesand#8230;but saves is heaviest artillery for the ownersand#8230;[and] Theo Epstein backs him up." and#8211; New York Times Book Review
"A good read, well worth it for any Red Sox fan or anyone interested in the last decade of baseball. Francona and Shaughnessy tell how the Red Sox became champions and also how it all fell apart." and#8211; CBSSports.com "A great readand#8230;good fun and dishy." and#8211; NBCSports.com "A bombshell." and#8211; Comcast Sports "Francona: The Red Sox Years
is a compelling behind-the-scenes depictionand#8230;of an eight-year period that witnessed both the most spectacular successes in franchise history as well as some of the most devastating failures." and#8211; WEEI.com "An exhilarating and torturous recounting of Francona's eight-year run as the Red Sox managerand#8230;He knows how the game is supposed to be played, and how the players are supposed to actand#8230;Francona gets it. That's what the book reveals most." and#8211; The News Herald
"An often hilarious but never salacious peek behind clubhouse doorsand#8230;much of the bookand#8217;s advance buzz has focused on managementand#8217;s backward emphasis on sizzleand#8230;but itand#8217;s the candor, often delivered with deft humor, about the players that will appeal to Red Sox fans. " and#8211; Chad Finn, Boston Globe
"Reveals [Franconaand#8217;s] favorite highs from his historic stint with the team, and how he dealt with the crushing lows." and#8211; Menand#8217;s Health
"A fascinating and detailed look at how a franchise so desperate to win big and attract huge television ratings can lose its soul in the process." and#8211; Terry Pluto, Cleveland Plain Dealer
"Franconaand#8217;s depiction of the Boston organizationand#8230;provides insightand#8230;[and] cements every perception we have of a dysfunctional Red Sox hierarchyand#8230;internal proof that the Red Sox were forcing business wants on their baseball needs purely in the name of greed." and#8211; Tony Massarotti, Boston.com "You donand#8217;t have to like the Red Sox to enjoy this book. Francona: The Red Sox Years
shows the managerand#8217;s true grit. Francona
puts the reader behind the scenes in the often fiery, turbulent, never dull world of the Red Soxand#8230;It is vintage Francona, earthy blunt, comical and disarmingand#8230; Francona and Shaughnessy together tell the story of a gritty baseball lifer who brought untold joy to Red Sox Nation, and Shaughnessy has captured Francona, warts and all." and#8211; Tampa Bay Tribune
"Revenge is a dish best served cold? So is a tell-all book, even if it doesnand#8217;t tell all. But Terry Francona tells enough in his new book with longtime Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaughnessy to take us into places with the Red Sox that the camera never goesand#8230;.through the deft hands of the very accomplished Shaughnessy, Francona
is also very insightful into and#8230; the pressures of managing in a white-hot media market like Boston." and#8211; Providence Journal
"Even Yankees fans are going to want to read this Red Sox book." and#8211; NY Daily News
"There are terrific anecdotesand#8230;the language is course and the opinions unfiltered. But for fans who want more than the team-approved version of events, itand#8217;s a fun read. Just how much Francona loves baseball and the people in the game comes through. For years, you had to wonder what Francona really thought. Weand#8217;ll probably never know 100 percent, but this book gets you very close. My thoughts after finishing the book? Good luck to John Farrell." and#8211; Peter Abraham, Boston Globe
"A searing indictment of Red Sox ownershipand#8230;.Red Sox Nation is eating up this new bookand#8230; Franconaand#8217;s account of big shots screwing up is exquisite off-season sport." and#8211; Publishers Weekly
"A 349-page firebombing." and#8211; Gerry Callahan, Boston Herald
"The hottest sports book on the market." and#8211; Steve Buckley, BostonHerald.com
"This is the best book looking inside the mind of a big-league manager I have ever read, because Francona is sharp and loves the game, because Shaughnessy is eloquent and a dazzling storyteller." - Philadelphia Inquirer
andquot;Energetically reported and skillfully written, the book is enormously entertaining. Without pretension, it explores the question whether a baseball lifer can actually be a tragic figure in the classic senseandmdash;a man destroyed by the very qualities than made him great.andquot;
andmdash;The Wall Street Journal
andldquo;Through interviews with Martinandrsquo;s long-silent widow, his son and others who knew and played with and for him, we get a complete picture andmdash; womanizing, drinking, fighting and the rest.andrdquo;and#160;
andmdash;New York Postand#160;andldquo;Sprawlingandhellip;thorough research.andrdquo;and#160;
andmdash;Chicago Tribuneand#160;andldquo;Itand#39;s all here, copiously reported, including interviews with more than 200 people, many of whom have since died, making this a one-of-a-kind work.andrdquo;and#160;
andquot;All the notable moments are here...Baseball (and Yankees) fans will devour this like ballpark popcorn, and all will muse about the many what-ifs of Martinand#39;s motley life.andquot;and#160;
andmdash;Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEWand#160;
andquot;Martinandrsquo;s life was a rollicking one, and as with the life, so with the book. Penningtonandrsquo;s take is great fun, and the authorandrsquo;s drive to talk to everyone who may have known Martinandmdash;from the most arrogant star to the humblest bartenderandmdash;is impressive.andquot;and#160;
andquot;A motley cast of baseball Hall of Famers, including Casey Stengel, Mickey Mantle, Rod Carew, Ricky Henderson, Reggie Jackson, Tommy Lasorda, and Earl Weaver, make appearances in this must-read for fans of the great American pastime.andquot;and#160;
andquot;[Pennington] provides what is likely to be the definitive profile, which, as such, belongs in most library sports collections, especially those where Yankee fans cluster.andquot;
andmdash;Mark Levine, Booklistand#160;
and#160;andquot;His study of Martin is comprehensive and detailed, offering the reader rich details on his early years and his time as a player for several teams...Pennington expertly combines material from his subjectandrsquo;s personal and professional life, leaving the impression of a complicated and flawed but unforgettable man.andquot;and#160;
andldquo;Two words of advice: read this. Bill Pennington not only writes the sprawling, brawling, no-punches-pulled narrative Martin deserves, but also deftly illuminates the humanity of one of baseballand#39;s epic characters.andrdquo;
andmdash;Tom Verducci, bestselling author of THE YANKEE YEARS (with Joe Torre)
andquot;The hair on my forearms was standing up by the end of the fifth paragraph of this bookand#39;s introduction. I knew Billy Martin. I covered Billy Martin. But I never knew him like this. Congrats to Bill Pennington for the definitive work on baseballand#39;s flawed genius.and#39;and#39;
andmdash;Dan Shaughnessy, Boston Globe columnist and bestselling author of FRANCONA (with Terry Francona) and SENIOR YEAR
andldquo;Billy Martin has been dead for 25 years? Wow. That means thereand#39;s a generation or two that know nothing about this character of baseball characters, this incandescent ballplayer/manager/jerk/sweetheart, this irrepressible brawler with a grand mind for the game. Bill Pennington cures all that and#160;with and#39;Billy Martin, Baseballand#39;s Flawed Genius.and#39; This is a terrific tale about a roller coaster life. Pour yourself a cocktail and enjoy. The descriptions of the fistfights alone are worth the price of admission.andrdquo;
andmdash;Leigh Montville, bestselling author of TED WILLIAMS, THE BIG BAM and EVEL
andldquo;It has been easy to think of Billy Martin as a cartoon--one created by the media and abetted by the man himself. But he was a great American, as important to understanding our game, and our nation, as Ted Williams or Joe DiMaggio. Youand#39;ll never think of Billy Martin in the same way again, thanks to Bill Penningtonand#39;s masterpiece of a biography.andrdquo;
andmdash;John Thorn, Official Historian, Major League Baseball
No owner has changed the landscape of sports more than New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. From the moment he bought the team in 1973 for $10 million, Steinbrenner's monomaniacal pursuit was to restore the most fabled franchise in baseball history to its former glory. Today the New York Yankees are worth more than $1 billion and are once again world champions.
Award-winning sportswriter Bill Madden traces Steinbrenner from his early days in Cleveland through his years as a shipping magnate, a Nixon fund-raiser, and a champion horse breeder to the fateful moment when he bought the Yankees, even though his father disparaged George's desire to own a professional sports team as a "hobby." Over the next four decades, Steinbrenner's tumultuous reign included his epic battles with Billy Martin, Reggie Jackson, Dave Winfield, even beloved Yankee captain Derek Jeter. His ruthless and free-spending tactics made him a lightning rod for controversy but they also paid off: Steinbrenner's Yankees have won seven championships and remain the gold standard in all sports. In the last few years, with his health declining, the Boss ceded control of the team to his sons, but not before lording over the team's historic transition from the House That Ruth Built to the House That George Built.
Throughout his three decades of covering the Yankees, Bill Madden has cultivated hundreds of sources at every level in the organization, from the many managers and front-office personnel Steinbrenner has fired to the bat boys who are ever present in the locker room. All of them have colorful stories about the man with whom they have enjoyed a love-hate relationship, but it is the Boss himself whose voice rises above the rest. And when Steinbrenner decided to give his final print interview, he spoke to Madden to set the record straight on his extraordinary life and career.
If you love the New York Yankees, arguably the most storied franchise in all of sports—or even if youre just a fan of baseball history, or big business bios—this biography of the larger-than-life team owner for the past four decades is a must for your bookshelf. For more than 30 years Bill Madden has covered the Yankees and Major League Baseball for the New York Daily News, and he brings all his insights and inside connections to Steinbrenner: the definitive biography of one of New Yorks most intriguing and long-standing sports figures, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner.
An insightful, honest, and entertaining narrative of Terry Francona's tenure with the Red Sox franchise, during which time he managed two teams to World Series victories (including their first inand#160;eighty-six years) and oversaw some of the most iconic and colorful players in the game.
From an award-winning New York Times sports columnist, the definitive biography of one of baseball's most celebrated, mercurial, and misunderstood figuresand#8212;legendary manager and baseball genius, Billy Martin
The definitive biography of one of baseballandrsquo;s most celebrated, mercurial, and misunderstood figuresand#160;
Billy Martin is a story of contrasts. He was the clutch second baseman for the dominant New York Yankees of the 1950s. He then spent sixteen seasons managing in the big leagues, and is considered by anyone who knows baseball to have been a true baseball genius, a field manager without peer. Yet heandrsquo;s remembered more for his habit of kicking dirt on umpires, for being hired and fired by George Steinbrenner five times, and for his rabble rousing and public brawls. He was combative, fiery, intimidating, and controversial, yet beloved by the everyday fan. He was hard on his players and even harder on himself. He knew how to turn around a losing team like no one elseandmdash;and how to entertain us every step of the way.
Now, with his definitive biography Billy Martin, Pennington finally erases the caricature of Martin. Drawing on exhaustive interviews with friends, family, teammates, and countless adversaries, Pennington paints an indelible portrait of a man who never backed down for the game he loved. From his shantytown upbringing in a broken home; to his days playing for the Yankees when he almost always helped his team find a way to win; through sixteen years of managing, including his tenure in New York in the crosshairs of Steinbrenner and Reggie Jackson, Billy Martin made sure no one ever ignored him. And indeed no one could. He was the hero, the antihero, and the alter egoandmdash;or some combination of all threeandmdash;for his short sixty-one years among us.
About the Author
Terry "Tito" Francona was a first baseman and outfielder in the majors from 1981 to 1990. After retiring as a player, he managed several minor league teams in the 1990s before managing the Philadelphia Phillies for four seasons. In 2004, Francona was hired to manage the Boston Red Sox, and that year he led the team to its first World Series championship since 1918. He won another World Series with Boston in 2007 and continued to manage the team until the end of the 2011 season. He is now a commentator for ESPN, joining in on their Sunday Night Baseball telecast and contributing to ESPN.com.Dan Shaughnessy is an award-winning columnist for the Boston Globe and the author of several sports books, including The Curse of the Bambino, a best-selling classic. Seven times Shaughnessy has been voted one of Americaand#8217;s top ten sports columnists by Associated Press Sports Editors and named Massachusetts Sportswriter of the Year. He has appeared on Good Morning America, The Today Show, The Early Show, CNN, Nightline, NPR, Imus in the Morning, ESPN, HBO, and many others. He lives in Newton, Massachusetts.