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Patch Book Club: 'The Teammates'

With the recent death of Red Sox legend Johnny Pesky, you can find out more about the man by reading David Halberstam's "The Teammates."

When you go to a bookstore, you can find "The Teammates" in the sports section, but the book about four Boston Red Sox could very easily be in the relationship aisle.

With the death of Johnny Pesky last week, Bobby Doerr is the last of the four great friends and teammates still alive today.

Doerr and Pesky were together at Fenway Park, both in wheelchairs, as the Red Sox celebrated the 100th anniversary of Fenway Park in April. Both Ted Williams and Dom DiMaggio proceeded their life-long friends in death.

But in the "The Teammates," they will be four young baseball players coming from humble roots on the West Coast to find fame on the East Coast, while wearing Boston Red Sox uniforms in the golden days of the 1930-40s.

If you want to know about Pesky and what he meant to the people and why he is a beloved figure in Boston sports, "The Teammates" is a good place to start.

When the journey to seeing a dying Williams one more time, Boston media personality Dick Flavin, a longtime admirer of the Sox of his youth, was in the drivers' seat with DiMaggio riding shot gun and Pesky having the backseat all to himself.

Doerr was unable to make the trip to Florida, because he had to stay home to take of his ailing wife, Monica, the love of his life, in Oregon.

That doesn't stop him from being the focus of his teammates' affections.
He wasn't on the trip, but the late author David Halberstam reported like he was sitting in the backseat with Pesky.

Halberstam heard the story of a road trip to Florida from Flavin, who drove the old teammates to Florida with a pit stop in Philadelphia to celebrate the old Philadelphia A's.

As each mile passed in the book, DiMaggio and Pesky shared stories of days when they were on the top of the game of life and how their relationships developed over the years through the good times and the bad.

As Halberstam illustrates the four friends, who met in the old Pacific Coast League before going to the major leagues, had each others' backs for a lifetime, never waving in their love and support for each.

Through the pages, you can feel the pain and sorrow DiMaggio and Pesky feel when they see a frail Williams in his home, far from the larger than life man of their youth.

While the hardcore baseball fans will enjoy hearing the names and games from the past, this is really a book about love, friendship and the bonds created by these four teammates.

With Pesky's death and the drama surrounding the 2012 Red Sox, "The Teammates" is an escape. While you go back in baseball history, you'll get a bonus lesson of what true friendship is.

Paul Abramowicz August 22, 2012 at 02:23 PM
Great book!! I was turned on to it by of all people a hated Yankee fan. That's how good the book is.
Paul Milner August 22, 2012 at 02:28 PM
I read the book when it first came out. As Les Masterson said above, "'The Teammates' is more than a baseball book." It's not only about friendship, mourning loss and the passage of time. It's also a book about when baseball was a game played by people who were committed to the success of the team for which they played many years. They didn't play for outrageous salaries with players jumping to the teams that will give them the most money. They played because they loved they game. What we see today is baseball as big business, not America's summer pastime. The "boys of summer" are long gone.
Janet Sroczynski August 22, 2012 at 07:23 PM
Another good read: "Baseball By the Beach" - A History of America's Pastime on Cape Cod by Christopher Price. Pre-owned copies available @Amazon.com for just a few dollars.
Christine August 23, 2012 at 02:09 AM
"TheTeammates" is a short read that will last long in your memory; a gem of a book by an author I truly miss.
Lauren Walsh October 14, 2012 at 03:42 PM
Lauren, I am reading a fascinating book, ironically by a resident of Westwood, entitled Night Runner. The hero of the book, Cliff Walker, sufferrs from depresion and agoraphobia, and is treated at Westwood Lodge, where his doctor tells him he needs to get out of the house at least once a day or night. He chooses the night and begins to rn around a park across from his project apartment in South Boston. He begins running amaxing times, which lead to the central theme of "Can an agoraphobia runner run the Boston Marathon. The race is just starting and you won'r want to miss it. It is on Amazn.com and an incredible read.

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