Denny Mcclain & other good baseball texts

It’s a saturday night, and all my drink buddies were tied down. With the wifey in Punta Cana for a week+, I was wondering what to do with my night. I headed to Barnes & Noble booksellers to catch up on my baseball reading. I think it’s time I offer my thoughts and reviews of what I found.

A book I could not help but pick up was Denny Mcclain’s “I told you I wasn’t perfect”. I wanted to see what it had to offer because I have heard exploits of how bad of a screw-up Mcclain was, as well as he’s had some very strange connections in a life thats involved him in a million stories. Here’s what I found noteworthy during my 30 minutes browsing the book:

  • Mcclain’s first chapter is devoted to his oldest daughter, who was killed in an unlikely car wreck at the age of 26. This hit home a bit for me due to that happening to a family member of me, and served as an opening chapter that Mcclain’s life hasn’t always been a bed of roses. If just a few inches had gone differently, his daughter would have been fine, instead she wound up dead.
  • His father beat him with a leather belt until he was basically a grown man.
  • His ties with John Gotti, and the chapter ‘Gotti’ in general were pretty interesting. Mcclain also had ties with Anthony “The Ant” Spilotro. If you’ve seen the movie Casino, Nicky Santuro’s character is a portrayal of Spilotro.
  • Through Gotti, Mcclain had ties with a guy that is responsible for starting Scores stripclub in New York City (and other places around the world).
  • The man who got Scores off the ground had inside information on Mickey Rourke, Demi Moore, Madonna, and for the baseball fans: David Cone, Barry Bonds, and Bobby Bonilla. Aparently David Cone was an unreal drinker and got pretty wound up on a regular basis at Scores. Cone would throw empty beer glasses at the girls on stage naked after tying one on. Mcclain said he couldn’t understand how he (Cone) could be so together on the mound while being such a drunk away from the ballpark. Mentions Bonds and Bonilla being first class pricks, along with Mike Tyson.
  • Looked like a great read overall, I would have bought it, but it was $25.

This past week, took a look at Baseball Prospectus and the book I wanted to get, which was my reason for going to Barnes & Noble tonight. Unfortunately a copy of Who’s Who in Baseball was nowhere to be found. I did get a look at the often well publicsized Baseball Prospectus for 2007, glancing over my favorite players and teams. Is it just me or does it seem like Bill James is getting more run time for this each and every year? I’ve heard an awful lot about it this year, perhaps more than ever before. Here’s my thoughts on BP:

  • Overall if you’re a stat head, it’s a must have for you.
  • It reminded me of a fantasy baseball magazine in text book format. Goes into managers and role players more than a fantasy guide would.
  • There are four % categories for every player: % chance of breakout, collapse, improvement, or another category for % to miss some time in upcoming season.

I read up on a few actual fantasy baseball magazines for the upcoming draft, and I think I found my next buy other then the Denny Mcclain book. There’s a feature book on the Indians by Akron Beacon reporter Terry Pluto (who didn’t respond to interview requests by us I might add), but it talks about the trades that have helped rebuild the Indians, from acquiring Hafner from Texas to the Bartolo Colon trade that landed Brandon Phillips, Cliff Lee, and Grady Sizemore. Lots of good info on current Indians GM, Mark Shapiro and the way he thinks. He will eventually make Billy Beane look like a C+ student in my opinion, but time shall tell.