Here’s the Catch: A Memoir of the Miracle Mets and More by Ron Swoboda

Here’s the Catch: A Memoir of the Miracle Mets and More , by Ron Swoboda , is the story of the 1969 Miracle Mets , published in time for their 50th anniversary. We know most Mets fans will love the insightful memoir, but what happened when we asked Shaq to do a book review?

Here's the Catch: A Memoir of the Miracle Mets and More

RICK “SHAQ” GOLDSTEIN SAYS: SWOBODA SAYS THE STUPIDEST THING I EVER DID WAS NOT GET ALONG WITH MANAGER GIL HODGES .

Former New York Mets outfielder and one of the key heroes… of the 1969 “ MIRACLE METS ” World Series victory… at the age of seventy-five… looks back with a lifetime of wisdom and hindsight at his life and his career in this short (213 pages not counting the index)… introspective… relatively ego free… autobiography.

The first sign… that this is not the usual overblown egotistical salute to one’s own greatness… is before the reader even gets to the table of contents… where in a short nine- line salute to his parents… wife… and sons… the author’s final words are… (they) “MADE ME ONE OF THE MOST FORTUNATE SOULS WHO CAN SAY HE’S BEEN LOVED EVERY SECOND OF HIS LIFE.” That is such a straight from the heart… simplistic as far as quantity of words… but massive in the power of appreciation… from an athlete setting the ground rules of what’s important to him… before he even describes one pitch thrown or one batted ball hit.

It seems extremely important to the author from cover to cover.. that he believes the fame he did achieve… and the appreciation of fans… for a player… who other than his shining moment on baseball’s biggest 1969 World Series stage… the 1969 World Series … he probably wasn’t even an average player. But the Mets fans loved him… because he came across as an “everyman”. The author of course goes into great detail on the Series that included one of… if not the best… catches… surely… the most hallowed and remembered in Mets history … and besides residing for eternity in all true Mets ’ fans hearts… also will exist for eternity in a steel silhouette on the right-field entrance sign at Citi Field.

The storytelling follows Swoboda from Little League to high school to college to the minor leagues and the majors… and all the stops in between. And as entertaining as the stories about the “ Old Perfesser ” and legendary Hall of Fame manager Casey Stengel is… and just as interesting is his current sorrow… for how he didn’t fully appreciate manager Gil Hodges baseball genius when he had the chance… and lives with the personal disappointment… that in Ron’s own harsh words that… “he couldn’t deliver… by conducting himself like a mature adult and helping the team win games. Period. That’s all he wanted from me, and I couldn’t f*****g deliver it.” This failure on Swoboda’s part haunts him to this day.

His friendships with… and respect for the likes of “ Tom-Terrific ” Seaver… Ed Kranepool Art Shamsky … and the irrepressible Tug McGraw … among others are duly covered. But to be honest… the parts about his family life… were the most interesting and endearing to me. From his loving parents… to his “crazy” uncles who worked in a morgue… and among other things took the clothes off cadavers and either wore them themselves or gave them to Ron to wear. Their special morgue drinks… and lifestyle… were interesting and amusing. His Chinese Grandfather is another family story that is well received.

1969 New York Mets

I must also give credit to Ron’s ghost writer/author… (and if he didn’t use one… then I am shortchanging Swoboda’s literary talent)… who periodically pumped some pretty slick literary prose into what otherwise would have been ordinary sentences. There are also some short insider looks at baseball icons such as… “Big D”… Don Drysdale Sandy Koufax Juan Marichal Bob Gibson … and even a short reference to one of my family favorites… Sal “The Barber” Maglie . To share a well turned phrase or two… when he first was sent up to bat against “Big D”… “When things are cool, everybody is cool. I wasn’t cool, and I just hoped I wasn’t visibly shaking. Tense? If someone had slapped me, I would have shattered like a rose dipped in liquid nitrogen.” After a traumatic bus ride in Puerto Rico while playing in a winter league… he states… “IT WAS HARROWING. BECAUSE BASEBALL DOESN’T GET EASIER AFTER A NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCE.”

As I am an Honorably Discharged Viet Nam Era Veteran… I must admit that it bothered me when Ron went into detail on all the contortions he went through to keep from being drafted and serving in Viet Nam. Yet to his credit he later wound up volunteering as a ballplayer to make two USO trips to visit the troops in Nam. And he also took time to give much deserved credit to a true patriot entertainer AND full-bird Army Reserve… and registered nurse specializing in field surgery… Martha Raye … movie star… singer… comedienne… who served in battle zones, treating the wounded. “SHE EARNED A PURPLE HEART FOR WOUNDS RECEIVED UNDER FIRE, WHICH SHE MADE LIGHT OF. TOTALLY WORTHY, FAR MORE THAN A USO ENTERTAINER, SHE IS THE ONLY WOMAN BURIED IN THE GREEN BERET CEMETARY AT FORT BRAGG.”

A totally class act by the author to make such magnanimous mention of this true hero.

To summarize the catch he made… and this book’s title references… he quotes poet Robert Browning:

“A man’s reach should exceed his grasp, /Or what’s a heaven for?”

Amazon : Here’s the Catch: A Memoir of the Miracle Mets and More

Reviewer : Rick “Shaq” Goldstein

Four Stars

If You Like This Post, Please Share Below:

Leave a Reply

Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac30m
OTD1966, Sandy Koufax, aka The Left Arm of God, announced his retirement - less than a month after winning his thir… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac17 Nov
You know about these two, but do you know who Halle Berry, Mia Hamm, Faith Hill, Kate Upton, Chuck Yeager, and DOZE… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac16 Nov
RIP😢: Jim Coates [baseball-almanac.com/players/player…]. Played #MLB from 1956, 1959-1963, 1965-1967 with #Yankees, #Senators,… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac14 Nov
Iron Man: Joe McGinnity [baseball-almanac.com/players/player…] pitched 30+ CGs in a season 7x, won 25+ games 6x, in 1903, pitche… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac11 Nov
Best leg kick ever? Today, #BaseballAlmanac added an incredible new Hal Newhouser biography [… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac09 Nov
THE BEST Defensive Player in #MLB, aka Platinum Glove Award [baseball-almanac.com/awards/Platinu…] originated in 2011, and was u… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac09 Nov
NEW RESEARCH: The Baker Bowl. DYK Babe Ruth played his last baseball game here? A fire burnt it badly in 1894, the… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac08 Nov
1⃣8⃣ Silver Slugger Awards were announced, each recognizing the best offensive player at each position in each Leag… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac08 Nov
Putsy Caballero (#Phillies / #WhizKids): Received cemetery. Updated it. Added a GREAT quote from an excellent Norma… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac07 Nov
In 2012, we added the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Award [baseball-almanac.com/awards/Wilson_…] hours after 1st set of… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac07 Nov
One-of-a-thousand reasons why #BaseballAlmanac ❤️⚾️ - if you do too, RT to your followers, and 🙏 comment why. We’d… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac07 Nov
ICYMI: TV ratings for 2019 World Series have been published on #BaseballAlmanac [baseball-almanac.com/ws/wstv.shtml]. This yea… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac07 Nov
All necessary SABR Biographical Research Committee Data added to The Ballplayers. (baseball-almanac.com/players/ballpl…). ❤️⚾️ https://t.co/CJR6NvD2oP
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac06 Nov
RIP😢: Cecil Butler [baseball-almanac.com/players/player…]. RHP, blistering fastball, #Milwaukee #Braves (1962, 1964 | 2-0, 24 Ks… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac05 Nov
Did you know more than 50 #MLB players have served time in prison? The full set of original research is on… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac04 Nov
Dick Groat. Made #MLB debut in 1952, SAME YEAR, made #NBA debut! It’s on his #BaseballAlmanac page [… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac04 Nov
#Trivia: One #MLB HR, a walk-off dinger in the #SkyDome. Wore #21. Played only 38 games total, but was on 25-man ro… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Baseball Almanac@BaseballAlmanac04 Nov
What to do when a fan sends #BaseballAlmanac a scanned-in ticket to a game from 1925, that his parents attended on… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
Desktop Version