An excerpt of my sports book roundup for the Chicago Tribune’s Printers Row book section.
Pudge: The Biography of Carlton Fisk by Doug Wilson, Thomas Dunne, 358 pages, $26.99
Carlton Fisk takes center stage every fall. During baseball’s postseason, there are multiple replays of his iconic homer in the sixth game of the 1975 World Series. It ranks as one of the game’s most memorable blows and was Fisk’s defining moment. Yet there was much more to Fisk’s Hall of Fame career. Doug Wilson’s book details how the catcher seemed to defy age, still squatting behind the plate at 46. He writes how it started with an old-school New England work ethic that he brought to the Midwest when he came to the Chicago White Sox in 1981. As was the case with Fisk’s career, the book is essentially split into two parts: his 11 years with the Boston Red Sox and his 13 years with the White Sox. In both places, Wilson writes, Fisk not only battled opposing players but also management. Wilson makes a strong case that, for a player of his caliber, he never seemed to garner the respect he deserved. Yet Fisk persevered, playing in the 1991 All-Star Game at the age of 43. Wilson did not get to interview Fisk, forcing him to rely on old quotes. However, he does to talk to old teammates and managers in painting a mostly reverential portrait of him. His years in Boston laid the foundation for his career, but White Sox fans will be interested in the inside details of his years in Chicago.