Tim McCarver is currently in Philadelphia to cover the Dodgers Phillies Saturday game for Fox. While in town he took some time to pitch his latest book "Diamond Gems" at the center city Barnes & Noble Location. The audience consisted of about 30 baseball fans mostly middle aged perhaps slightly older. It was obvious that there were supporters of not just the Phillies but also the Mets, Bosox, Cardinals, and Yankees.
“Diamond Gems” is book culled from interviews of more than 70 current and former major leaguers on “The Tim McCarver Show”. The subjects are grouped by position and include such greats as Larry Doby, Cal Ripken Jr, Willie Mays, Mike Schmidt, Jim Palmer, Lou Piniella, Yogi Berra, Sandy Koufax and many others.
McCarver chose not to read any passages from his book co-authored by Jim Moskovitz and Danny Peary. Instead he read from a forward written by George Will. According to McCarver, Will returned the forward a mere three hours after the request was made. Immediately following this brief reading McCarver monitored about an hour of Q&A. By my estimate 7 of 10 questions were more like statements that the audience wanted McCarver to validate. Regardess of question or statement McCarver attempted to address the subject with some illuminating information. The topics covered included McCarver’s playing days with both the Cardinals and the Phillies, The Cardinals World Series Teams of the 70’s, Free Agency and Curt Flood, Steroid Use, the current Phillies team, Bob Gibson and Steve Carlton, The 2004 ALCS (Bosox comeback v Yanks), The Yankees and Hank Steinbrenner, and issues regarding the state of the game today.
Among the opinions that McCarver was most vociferous about were that Manny Ramirez, also in Philadelphia for the Dodgers series this weekend, has committed the equivalent of “baseball extortion” by not playing to his potential to orchestrate a trade out of Boston. McCarver stated that there is a dearth of good catching in the league and that many Latin players are moved to catcher in order to rush them to the major leagues. He also believes that pitchers do not pitch enough and that team practice needs to be emphasized more, specifically outfield practice. He backed up the later statistically by stating that outfield assists are at their lowest level in decades. He also defended Alex Rodriquez, noting that in a critical situation he would prefer A-Rod to bat over Derek Jeter.
One of the best questions asked of McCarver was regarding a previous book “The Perfect Season: Why 1998 was Baseball’s Greatest Year”. The 1998 season was the year that McGwire broke Roger Maris single season Home-Run Record along with Sammy Sosa. Obviously one would not consider that season perfect anymore. McCarver said that he and the rest of the baseball media are at least partially culpable for ignoring the signs that players were using steroids. He also went on to mention that there are great stories from that season other than steroid inflated Home Run numbers. That was the season the Yankees won a then record 114 games en route to what would be their first of three consecutive World Series championships.
Following the Q&A McCarver signed books and was also gracious enough to autograph memorabilia and have his picture taken with fans. He took the time to talk with each fan personally and made it a point to remember each person and refer to them by name.
It was a fun and entertaining night and if Fox’s “A” team is in your town covering a game I would encourage you to check to see if an area bookseller is hosting a McCarver signing.
Here are the cards that Mr. McCarver was good enough to sign for me.