John R. Nordell, Jr.'s account of the Dodgers' last year in Brooklyn, Brooklyn Dodgers: The Last Great Pennant Drive, 1957, could have been an exciting baseball book. It isn't.
At the All-Star break in 1957, the Brooklyn Dodgers were in fifth place in the National League, five games out of first. At the time, there were only eight teams in the National League. At one point in the season, the Dodgers were in second place, only one game out. That drive should have been an exciting story in this book. It isn't.
Instead, this book is a dry chronicle of game after game, with no suspense. It just plods along, with very little personal details about the players or the games. There were four interesting paragraphs in the book, the intimate opening to chapter 4 in which Nordell's family goes to a game at Ebbets Field. Other than that short section, this book just plods along.
The National League was comprised of all-time greats in 1957. Gil Hodges, Roy Campanella, Johnny Podres, Duke Snyder, Don Drysdale and Don Newcombe played for Manager Walter Alston and the Dodgers. Vin Scully was the announcer. Other National League players included Stan Musial, Hank Aaron playing for the Milwaukee Braves, Frank Robinson, Willie Mays, and Warren Spahn. It was the Dodgers last year in Brooklyn, and there was an exciting pennant race. It's just a shame this book fails to capture the drama of 1957.
Brooklyn Dodgers: The Last Great Pennant Drive, 1957 by John R. Nordell, Jr. Tribute Books, ©2007. ISBN 978-0-9765072-9-1 (paperback), 103p.