Friday, May 29, 2020

Baseball Book Review - From Ghetto to Glory by Bob Gibson

I set a goal this year to read 52 books, one per week.  I have done this in past years with some success and some failure.  I noticed the last couple years I hadn't read too many books despite enjoying reading a lot.  To me it is a great way to take my mind off everything else that is going on in my life and around me and just immerse myself in a story.

I read all kinds of books.  I believe this is my 15th book review on the blog so obviously sports books are in the rotation.  I actually have a pretty nice sports book collection, maybe I will share it some day with a video or some photos.  I also like non-fiction books, with my favorites being biographies/autobiographies and historical fiction.  I have read quite a few presidential bios.  I also read quite a bit of fiction with Stephen King, John Grisham, Tom Clancy and Jonathan Kellerman being among my favorites.

This week I finished up my 14th book of the year - From Ghetto to Glory, The Story of Bob Gibson by Bob Gibson and Phil Pepe.  Since we are 21 weeks into the year my goal is probably not going to happen.  You would think the pandemic would have helped out but it actually cut into my reading quite a bit.  All work travel was cancelled and I typically read at airports, on airplanes and in hotel rooms.  My TV rarely gets turned on in a hotel, it is either a book or Netflix on the iPad.

I picked up From Ghetto to Glory at a garage sale last year.  While Royals fans are definitely the majority here in the KC area, the Cards have quite a few fans just playing across the state of Missouri from KC.  I didn't own a book on Gibson nor had a read one so when I saw it for $1 it was a pretty easy decision to pick it up.  I am glad I did, it was a really good read.

This book was written right after the Cardinals won the 1967 World Series which was also right before Bob Gibson's dominant 1968 season - some argue the best season ever.  A quick Amazon search shows he also wrote an autobiography in 1994 which obviously would cover all of his career and more of his life but I am very happy to have read this book.

Gibson shares some first hand accounts of what it was like to grow up in the era that he did as an African-American, sharing stories of hardships in his life.  I have heard accounts talking about his level of bitterness and some reviews show that may have come through in his more recent biography. I found his stories in From Ghetto to Glory informative, lacking anger and sharing some interesting context about how society existed in this time prior to my birth.  I learned and better understand what our country and baseball was like in the 1960s.

There is great baseball content in here as well.  He talks in detail about how he approached pitching and went through a pretty long list of NL hitters and shared how he approached them. It is cool to think that he had some much talent and confidence that he didn't care to outline his game plan in writing in the middle of his career.

The writing style is easy to read and at 200 pages it isn't a long one but it was very enjoyable.  Something else I really liked about this book were the photographs that were inserted throughout the book.  They are all in black and white and just really cool pictures.  I will share a few - my pictures aren't the best from my phone but you should still be able to see how nice they are.

Showing off how he grips different pitches

Celebrating a World Series Title

Facing Off Against Future Teammate Roger Maris in the World Series
I would strongly recommend this book if you can get your hands on a copy.  It is a pretty quick read, very entertaining and educational and the pictures are the icing on the cake. 


  1. I like it. I probably won't get the opportunity, but if I do, I wll grab this one.

  2. Great review. Reading helps me take my mind off of things as well... except I tend to read card blogs instead. I do hope to eventually graduate up to books at some point in my life. I have a nice stack of them when that actually happens.