Third Base Is My Home, Brooks Robinson, as told to Jack Tobin
(Word Books, 1974), hb, 202 pp.
This is an out of print book I stumbled upon and read over one weekend. I did not read it to my boys. I read it myself, but thought along the way that this will be a good book to give them to read on their own. It is probably best suited for a boy around 10 years old.
I was really taken off guard by the “niceness” of the book. I did not expect anything bad, but the tenor of the book certainly took me back to a different day in professional athletics. Robinson was presented to me as a model by my dad when I came up playing third base. His defensive skill was held in high esteem and he was known baseball’s “Mr. Nice Guy.” So I was thrilled to find this book so interesting and so wholesome.
It reads like a fireside chat with Robinson, I assume as a result that it arises from Robinson recounting his story to Tobin. Robinson often pauses to encourage young players in mechanics as well as life lessons. There are many points of encouragement for hard work, discipline, perseverance, humility and the value of family. I have already recounted a story from the book to my boys to encourage them to more diligence in their school work.
Robinson also discusses his Christian faith in the book, which was an aspect I did not know about. This is good, though he also discusses his decision to become a Catholic in order to join his wife in her church. On the one hand this is a bit disappointing since significant theological issues are shrugged off. On the other hand, one ought not expect to get theology in a sport bio.
In reading this book I did find myself longing for a different day in professional sports. I am glad though to have a nice book I can give to my son who is particularly interested in baseball. Now some would not favor this book because it is not high literature. However, my wife and I see the value of a wide range of literature. My son’s reading of this book will not endanger his appreciation of The Chronicles of Narnia, for example. We do not mind giving them good reading as well as excellent reading.