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Ron Swoboda played right field for the Mets from 1965 to 1970, the Expos in 1971, and the Yankees from 1971 to 1973. Afterward, he was a TV sportscaster in New York City, Milwaukee, and New Orleans, as well as a color commentator for telecasts of the Marlins' AAA club. He currently lives in New vis mere Orleans with his family. vis mindre

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Wow! The very rare athlete autobiography that combines intelligence and emotional honesty. I was very impressed, quite possibly one of the best athlete autobiography’s I’ve read. (And I’m not just saying that because he was a Met) Very enjoyable and a great read.
MrMet | 2 andre anmeldelser | Apr 28, 2023 |
Ron Swoboda was no more than an average outfielder for the New York Mets in the 1960s, but comprising that median were memorable deeds at both ends of the spectrum. He burst onto the scene his rookie year in 1965 hitting home runs at a remarkable clip early, only to tail off dramatically in the second half of the season. Still, he led the team in homers that year with 19, but would never match that output for the remainder of his career. In 1969 he struck out five times in a game against St. Louis Cardinals ace Steve Carlton, but later that season, in a game in which Carlton struck out 19 Mets, setting a single game record at the time, Swoboda cracked two 2-run homers to give New York a 4-3 victory. His fielding was always an adventure. He often seemed unsteady in the outfield during his first few seasons. In 1965 he committed 11 outfield errors, second most in the National League. But he had a good arm, and in 1968 he totaled 14 outfield assists, third most in the league. And in in Game One of the 1969 World Series, Don Buford led off for the Baltimore Orioles, and hit a fly ball to right field. Swoboda staggered back towards the fence, unsure of himself every step of the way. He made an ill-timed leap and collapsed in a heap as the ball sailed just over the fence to give the Orioles an early lead. But Swoboda redeemed himself in Game Four with perhaps the greatest and most improbable catch in World Series history, a moment he describes as “that white space where time, and thought and sound disappear.”

In Here’s the Catch: A Memoir of the Miracle Mets and More, Swoboda chronicles the ups and downs of career with candor and good humor, unspooling stories and anecdotes that run the gamut from poignant to cringeworthy. The acme of his career is of course “The Catch,” and he goes into some detail about that play, its impact and legacy, the one moment for which he will be remembered in baseball lore. Swoboda explains how he had worked at improving his defense, with Mets coach Eddie Yost hitting countless fungos at him in practice to improve his fielding and reaction time to get a better jump on the ball. And all that hard work came to fruition at that one critical moment to help the Mets win it all in that magical season.

Swoboda contextualizes the story of his baseball career with references to the events and popular culture of those years. Most notably, he expounds on the Vietnam War, focusing on the country’s growing anti-war sentiment as well as his two USO trips to Vietnam. We also learn that Swoboda, fascinated by space exploration since childhood, closely followed the exploits of the NASA space program and the Apollo 11 moon landing.

In this memoir we get a clear picture of Swoboda: an Everyman whose struggles were wholly relatable, his ongoing popularity due in large part to that persona. We see failure and triumph, exuberance, determination, frustration, and hardheadedness which led to some unfortunate errors in judgment. A career of ups and downs. He wasn’t nicknamed Rocky for nothing.
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ghr4 | 2 andre anmeldelser | Jun 22, 2019 |
Ron Swoboda is an affable everyman who found success in baseball but remained very accessible throughout his life and in HERE'S THE CATCH, he writes about his life and how blessed he has been. Swoboda explains the infamous catch in the World Series (the picture on the cover of the book) and how he probably shouldn't have taken that much of a risk to catch the ball because of how badly it could have ended up had he missed. His humble attitude and matter-of-fact perception carries throughout the whole book and it feels like the reader is hearing stories from their uncle Ron at a family barbeque.
Swoboda takes the reader back to a different time in baseball, a time where players weren't celebrities, or if they were, you could still see them living in your neighborhood. Swoboda's book reminds the reader that being a baseball player was special and unique, but at the same time it is was a job and that comes with frustrations and challenges right along with the happiness. Swoboda also describes family life when a parent is a professional baseball player and those unique obstacles that families must overcome. He describes all of that very straight forward without call for concern or celebration and within the same book tells some great stories about men he played and many of their quirks and fallacies. The balance in those approaches lead to a truly endearing memoir. Swoboda also spend a good amount of time describing life after being a player and how he will forvever be entwined in America's favorite pastime.
HERE'S THE CATCH does what few sports memoirs do: it tells great stories, has a lot of heart, and pays homage to the game gave the writer his success. At the end of the book, Swoboda talks about the 1969 New York Mets team gathering again to remember the past, but the neatest part is he describes in detail how the wives of the 1969 team had there own reunion. Swoboda is a class act and a good writer and I'm glad I came across his book.
Thank you to Thomas Dunne Books, Ron Swoboda, and Netgalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!
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EHoward29 | 2 andre anmeldelser | Jun 3, 2019 |


½ 4.7