Wednesday, December 23, 2009

There were a lot of books written about the 2004 Red Sox (I believe approximately 1.8 million, at last count). I read a fair number of them, of course. One I remember seeing, but not picking up, was Leigh Montville's Why Not Us?

It turns out that not reading this book earlier was a mistake.

I probably should have known better. Montville wrote wonderful biographies of Ted Williams and Babe Ruth. Why wouldn't this book be good?

A few weeks ago, we met the other three Boston-area families who traveled to Korea with us for lunch at a Korean restaurant in Burlington. Next to the restaurant was a used book store. We browsed the store after lunch and I found a number of copies of Why Not Us? remaindered there for $1. So, I bought a copy and started reading it last week.

The book tells about numerous Red Sox fans and their stories leading up to the comeback over the Yankees and the sweep of the Cardinals. It goes from older fans, who remember the disappointments of the 1946 World Series, the 1948 playoff game and the 2 game sweep in Yankee Stadium in 1949. Other fans in my age range tell stories of the 1967 Impossible Dream team, the 1975 World Series and Bucky Bleeping Dent.

A recurring theme is the crushing defeat in game 6 in 1986. Many people tell stories of parents, grandparents and other friends and relatives who passed on between '86 and '04, never seeing the Red Sox win it all.

Even younger fans, who had gotten their baptism of fire into Red Sox Nation with Grady Little and Aaron Boone's home run in 2003 were well represented in the book.

The stories come many sources: the author's own memories, personal interviews, posts on the Sons of Sam Horn Web site.

Almost any Red Sox fan will recognize themselves, or someone they know, in this book. The stories are touching, funny, sad, triumphant, glorious.

So, if you made my mistake and didn't read this book when it came out, go track down a copy and read it through. You'll love it.


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