The next in my book reviews feature specifically deals with the Philadelphia Phillies and the 133-year history of the ball club.

 

No one alive today is more qualified to dig through that history and present it to the fans than the man who has been around to see more of it first-hand than anyone else, the former head of the Phillies’ public relations team, Larry ‘the Baron’ Shenk.

In his second book on the team, “The Fightin’ Phillies: 100 Years of Philadelphia Baseball from the Whiz Kids to the Misfits“, Shenk delivers by presenting story after story that will hold the interest of any true Phils fan.

Shenk has been a Phillies fan since his youth in the early 1950’s, when Baseball Hall of Famers Richie Ashburn and Robin Roberts were leading the club in the post-Whiz Kids years.

Shenk first applied for a public relations job with the team in the same year that I was born, 1961, and eventually landed that position a couple of years later. We’ll explore more of his background in a separate interview piece coming soon.

The Fightin’ Phillies” is broken down into eight sections, with a foreword written by Phillies broadcaster Larry Andersen in which the former player briefly covers his own career in the game, including the Phillies 1993 NL Champions.

The first section, “Historic Performances”, covers everything from the very first Phillies game in history on May 1st, 1883, a 4-3 loss to the Providence Grays at Recreation Park, on through Cole Hamels‘ final Phillies start, the lefty’s no-hitter last season against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.

In between there are stops along the way at ‘Grover Cleveland’ Pete Alexander‘s 16 shutouts in the 1916 season, Jim Konstanty‘s 1950 NL MVP campaign, Jim Bunning‘s 1964 Father’s Day perfect game, Pete Rose breaking Stan Musial‘s NL career hits record in 1981, Jim Thome‘s 400th career homer in Citizens Bank Park’s first season of 2004.

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