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Review: Whatever Happened to Super Joe?

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Whatever Happened to "Super Joe"? (2006)

By Russell Schneider

Schneider, who had the unfortunate luck to cover the Indians through the worst years in franchise history (1964-1993), has compiled short profiles on 45 players from that era, from the famous (Chris Chambliss, James "Mudcat" Grant) to the infamous (Wayne Garland). To someone who lived only through the final years of the "Bad Old Days", this book is a great resource, fleshing out the stories of players before only guessed at through statistics and a rare paragraph. And for its information on players who had only fleeting careers in baseball, the book is doubly welcome.

The book is at its best when the players talk for themselves, giving us their perspectives on the game, the Indians, and life after baseball. The style is straightforward, sometimes to the point of repetition. It's probably better to skip around from profile to profile rather than reading it through.

But the book's usefulness outweighs any of its other shortcomings. For those who lived through those players, poring through the book will seem like catching up with old friends. And for someone who'd like to know who exactly Gomer Hodge or Tito Francona were, this book is a great place to start.