100 Things Dodgers Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die, written by Jon Weisman, is a wonderful book that no Dodger fan should be without. Not only is the book chock full of facts, anecdotes, tidbits, and trivia about Dodger history -- both Brooklyn and Los Angeles -- but the wonderful writing of Weisman gives this book a broad appeal, to hardcore and casual fans alike.
Weisman has written about the Dodgers for almost seven years on Dodger Thoughts, and has set a high standard of writing his readers -- myself included -- come to expect. This book did not disappoint. His writing is clever, witty, humorous, and is written in such a comfortable, conversational tone that the reader feels invited, if not compelled, to read further.
Phil Gurnee called Weisman a poet, and at times he was. While Phil was moved by the chapter on Kirk Gibson's homer, and rightfully so, here are a few of my favorite parts of the book:
- Dodger history is so full of moments, narrowing them down to only 100 seems near impossible. Weisman worked around this with the occasional sidebar, including a very informative one analyzing Tommy Lasorda's decision to pitch to Jack Clark in Game 6 of the 1985 NLCS
- About the Mike Piazza trade in 1998, Weisman eloquently wrote: "It wasn't that the Dodgers were robbed of talent. Sheffield was a tremendous hitter. It was that the Dodgers were robbed of half of a great novel. They got the War without the Peace."
- I particularly enjoyed the chapters on Don Newcombe, Peter O'Malley, and the now outdated Wes Parker Cycle
- I laughed out loud when, writing about Dodger Dogs, Weisman noted, "Dodger Dogs are controversial, and not for Upton Sinclair The Jungle reasons."
I really can't say enough about this book. I have a pretty good grasp of Dodger history, but this book not only taught me new things but also expanded upon subjects I thought I knew all about. Even though I have read the book once, the 100 chapters make this a perfect reference book to refer to and reread over and over again.
Weisman mentioned that there isn't a definitive book about Don Newcome, and that if he didn't write it someone should. Well, if Weisman can write a book about Newcombe half as good as "100 Things," I'll be the first in line to buy it.
I would like to add a 101st item for Dodger fans to do before they die: buy this book.