Monday, April 28, 2014

Book Review: Bring in the Right-Hander!

I was graciously delivered a copy of Bring in the Right-Hander! My Twenty-Two Years in the Major Leagues authored by Jerry Reuss.  Full Discloser: The book was sent to me for free (did happen) and they put me up in the Presidential Suite with all the food that I could eat (Did not happen, but wish it did).  This book must be good, because dear old dad had something great to say about it on the back cover.   The front cover is great, with Lasorda walking to the mound and a defiant Ruess looking right back at him. I really didn't know that Ruess is on the limited list of players that have played in four decades, including Carlton Fisk, Nolan Ryan, Rick Dempsey, and Bill Buckner.  Amazing.  I guess after 22 years in the major leagues, you have some stories to tell, and Ruess writes them with humility and humor.  I remember watching the lanky left hander throw off the Dodger Stadium mound.  What I didn't know was that Ruess was such a jokester.  Seems like he enjoyed pranking other players and managers, especially Tommy Lasorda.  He also respected the game and the traditions.  One of the passages in the book is entitled "When Vin Speaks, Los Angeles Listens."
I pitched in six games at Dodger Stadium as a member of the Astros.  If the crowd was around twenty thousand and was quiet, I could hear the radios from around the ballpark when standing on the mound.  I couldn't clearly make out the words, but I could tell from Vin's cadence where he was in the broadcast.  One night while staring at the catcher's signs, I noticed Vin was in midstory.  As a courtesy to the best in the business, I stepped off the rubber, grabbed the rosin bag, gave it a shake, and threw it behind the mound.  By this time Vin delivered his punch line, the crowd had its laugh, and I was back on the rubber, getting the sign from the catcher. Vin, ever the professional, never missed a beat.  "Ruess winds and the pitch on the way..."
There are many other stories that capture the essence of the Dodger culture in the 80's, including Ruess' no hitter and winning the world series.  If you are a Dodger fan, then you should definitely pick up a copy for an enjoyable read.  Thanks to the publisher and Brener Zwikel and Associates for sending us a copy.

Other book reviews at SoSG: