Book Review: The Miracle Has Landed (Part II)November 24, 2009
Below is Part II of my book review for: The Miracle Has Landed: The Amazin’ Story of How the 1969 Mets Shocked the World. This is an email interview I did with one of the books editors Matthew Silverman. This is a two part interview (I will post the second part tomorrow).
Matt is a big time Mets fan and has authored, co-authored and edited a number of baseball and sports related books and publications. Please check out the interview below and leave a comment! Also remember, if interested in the book it can be purchased here.
Question: A little background on you and your role in the book?
Answer: I’ve worked on some books on the Mets (Mets Essential, 100 Things Mets Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die, Maple Street Press Mets Annual, Mets by the Numbers with Jon Springer, and Shea Goodbye with Keith Hernandez). I grew up in White Plains in the 1970s and got to see a couple of years of Tom Seaver, Jerry Grote, Jerry Koosman, Wayne Garrett, and Bud Harrelson before they were scattered across the earth by the narrow-minded and clueless front office. I can’t even begin to tell you how unpopular the Mets were then (though there’s an epilogue in the book by Jason Kanarek that does a good job of it). My role for The Miracle Has Landed was as editor–Ken Samelson was in charge of proofing with help from Len Levin and Bill Nowlin–and we coordinated biographies on every Met who played on the 1969 team, plus coaches, the owner, GM, chairman of the board, and of course, the announcing crew of Kiner, Murphy, and Nelson, written by the leading writer in the field, Curt Smith. Even if they pitched two innings (as Jesse Hudson did), a full bio is included and their baseball card. I wrote a lot of smaller pieces as well as biographies of Tug McGraw, Don Cardwell, and Cal Koonce and helped out with a couple of others. My Q&A with Ralph Kiner about broadcasting in 1969 is also in there.
Question: How did the idea of the book come about?
Answer: The Society of Baseball Research (SABR) has commissioned several books on different championship teams–including two teams that preceded the ’69 Mets in the World Series: the 1967 Red Sox and 1968 Tigers. SABR is an organization with a few thousand members and there was no shortage of people who wanted to help. It’s a volunteer project, so the people were really into and did a great job. Maple Street Press served as publisher and they made the ideas work on paper.
Question: Beginning to end, how long did the book take to come together?
Answer: I was first contacted in March 2007 and I saw the last page proof just as the 2009 season ended…so that’s two and a half years. It was done piecemeal at times and the publisher and I agreed to put it out in the fall because there would be less competition, it would be in stores for the holidays, and the extra time allowed us to get in some of the festivities they had for the 40th anniversary in 2009.
Question: You have Authored, Co-Authored and been Editor in numerous other baseball books. What was the one thing that stands out or was most enjoyable about this book?
Answer: I started in newspapers and the aspect of being a sports editor I miss most is laying out art and text and figuring out how to present things on a page. I got to write a lot of the sidebars that appear at the end of many bios and essays–snippets of stuff that wouldn’t fit in a longer piece–and it let me play around with subjects like the ’68 Jets and ’70 Knicks, who won world championships before and after the Mets, plus what the Yankees were doing in ’69 (finishing fifth–that felt therapeutic), where the Mets were for the Moon landing, future Mets born in 1969, the ’69 Mets Vegas lounge act, and about 30 other subjects.
Tomorrow I will post Part III of this book review which will be a continuation of this interview.