I hope you’re enjoying catching up on your offseason reading! Last week I wrote about the TwinsCentric Offseason GM Handbook.
The next Puckett’s Pond book review selection is 162-0: The Greatest Wins in Twins History. As the name suggests, it’s a book full of recaps of Twins wins from 1961 through 2009, when it was published. The back of the book boasts that “162-0 is an irresistable, must-have addition to any Twins fan’s baseball library.” That turned out to be true in my case; once I heard about the very clever concept, I could not resist buying it.
162-0 earns a 3.5 on the esteemed TC Bear rating scale.
AUTHOR: Dave Wright is a sports journalist and Minnesota-based high school play by play announcer. This book appears to be part of a larger series published by Triumph Books. I don’t know if there is one for every single team, but I found similar versions of the same book for the Phillies, Red Sox, Mets, Yankees, and Cubs on Amazon.
OVERVIEW: The idea behind this book is to take 162 of the most memorable wins in Twins history and compile them into one “season” where the Twins win every single game. For each game, there’s a one to two page recap. The box score is printed for some of them, but not all. The first game featured is the Twins’ 8-6 victory over the Royals on 4/1/2002. From there we read about a 16-7 win over Detroit on 4/3/06 and a 7-4 win over Cleveland on 4/5/04, and so on, with one game for almost every date through October.
The book should really be called 163-0 because the last regular season game in the book is the Game 163 victory over Detroit from 2009. There’s a bonus section of four World Series victories as well, so Minnesota was 167-0 by the end of the book (no ALCS or ALDS games were included).
HIGHLIGHTS: You get to read about some of the best games in team history. There are the individual performances: no-hitters by Scott Erickson, Jack Kralick, and Eric Milton, and Dean Chance, as well as the August 1, 1986 game where Kirby Puckett hit for the cycle and Bert Blyleven struck out his 3,000th career batter. And there are the team performances, like the World Series clinchers in 1987 and 1991. Wright does a very good job of mixing those games we all remember with some of the obscure ones we’d never think about otherwise, like a 9-2 victory over the Senators on June 14, 1964.
NEGATIVES: 162-0 isn’t really a great choice if you want to sit and read something for an extended period of time. The format is pretty repetitive, so your eyes start to glaze over once you’ve read 10 or 20 game recaps and box scores in a row. Also, I’m not entirely sure why they only printed the box scores for some games but left it off for most of them. It would have been more interesting to be able to look at all the different starting lineups for all of the Twins wins (maybe it’s just me, but I like looking at old box scores). Finally, I wish they’d have included some ALDS or ALCS games at the end. The Twins had some postseason wins over Detroit, Toronto, Oakland, and New York that could have filled four more pages.
CONCLUSION: This book is worth buying, but I don’t recommend it as a way to kill an afternoon. You should put it on a coffee table, or carry it with you if you know you’ll have about 10 minutes at a time to spend reading – possibly while waiting at the dentist or for a bus or something (or you could keep it in the bathroom, if you enjoy reading there).