The Soul of Baseball has a very simple premise: sportswriter Joe Posnanski travelled around the country with Buck O’Neil for a year and listened to his stories. But when your travelling companion is the 94 year old O’Neil (who passed away the following year), former player, ambassador for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, and the first African-American coach in Major League history, there are a lot of good–and important–stories to be told. What results is an engaging combination of baseball history (with the emphasis on race and the Negro Leagues), biography, and inspirational self-help from a man who experienced a lot but held no bitterness.
My sons were lucky enough to meet Buck O’Neil at a kids’ clinic at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, during Induction Weekend in 2005. Wearing a cap from his old team, the Kansas City Monarchs, and with the joy and enthusiasm of someone much younger, he encouraged the young players, told stories and jokes, and led everyone–including the parents–in a singalong. This book captures his wonderful spirit perfectly.
Rating: ****Very, very good
Reviewed by: stc
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