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BOOK REVIEW- A Trip Down Dodger Memory Lane PDF Print E-mail
Written by San Fernando Valley Sun   
Thursday, 03 May 2012 02:02

"High Fives, Pennant Drives, And Fernandomania: A Fan's History of the Los Angeles Dodgers' Glory Years 1977-81,"

With the Los Angeles Dodgers off to a sizzling start in the 2012 season, a book that has nothing to do with ownership and parking lots and everything to do with winning pennants and a World Series could not be timelier.

"High Fives, Pennant Drives, And Fernandomania: A Fan's History of the Los Angeles Dodgers' Glory Years 1977-81," is such a book to take into the coming summer months.

Whether an accidental historian or hobbyist bordering on the extreme, author Paul Haddad – who never played little league – became an über Dodgers fan after the Yankees' Reggie Jackson crushed three home runs in Game Six of the 1977 World Series to beat the Boys In Blue for the championship.

Haddad, who is a television writer and producer, had started listening to Dodger baseball games in 1977. In 1978, he began recording them, using a cassette recorder with a built-in radio and microphone (and later recording televised games). At first, he wanted to record and save the team's best moments from each game – especially home runs – but decided that was too limiting. He eventually included defensive plays, big comebacks, and even great moments from opposing players. His love for baseball and the Dodgers would grow along with his taped collection.

In doing his recording and collecting, Haddad said he discovered the biggest Dodger treasure of all – announcer Vin Scully. And he gleefully shares some of Scully's finest word pictures of that five-year stretch, including Jerry Reuss' no-hitter against the Giants in 1980, and several moments from Fernando Valenzuela's superb 1981 rookie season. But Haddad also gives the other broadcasters of that era, Jerry Doggett and Ross Porter, their time to shine. And he takes unabashed joy in the perceived agony of ABC broadcaster Howard Cosell having to watch and talk about the Dodgers clinching the 1981 World Series against those hated Yankees in Yankee Stadium.

Along the way, Haddad also drops various dollops of knowledge for the more casual fan. Such as a stadium concessions manager coming up with the term "Dodger Dogs" in the 1960s. Or that catcher Mike Scioscia (now the Angels manager) never had a season in his 13-year playing career where he struck out more than he walked.

He also reminds us of when postseason games, including the World Series, were played in the daytime. Where the time-honored tradition of sneaking a transistor radio into class to keep track of the game, was only frowned upon by the hardest of hard-hearted teachers and principals.

Let's be honest – the tome will appeal more to Dodgers fans than baseball scholars. But is appealing, nonetheless. It will invoke warm nostalgia among those who were present, and it is a purposeful guide to others who may not realize how dominant radio broadcasts were now that we live in a time when you can purchase and watch the entire baseball season on your television, computer, phone, even a watch.

Dodgers' lovers will say Haddad has hit one out of the park. Others may see it as a line drive back up the middle. Either way, "High Fives, Pennant Drives, And Fernandomania" is a hit.

– Mike Terry