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Where Nobody Knows Your Name: Life In the Minor Leagues of Baseball
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Where Nobody Knows Your Name: Life In the Minor Leagues of Baseball

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  2,568 ratings  ·  387 reviews
From the acclaimed #1 bestsellingauthor . . . a riveting journey through the world of minor-league baseball

“No one grows up playing baseball pretending that they’re pitching or hitting in Triple-A.”—Chris Schwinden, Triple-A pitcher

“If you don’t like it here, do a better job.”—Ron Johnson, Triple-A manager

John Feinstein gave readers an unprecedented view of the PGA Tour in
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published February 25th 2014 by Doubleday (first published January 1st 2014)
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Average rating 3.82  · 
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Amy Moritz
Jun 04, 2014 rated it it was ok
I was excited to read this book. I mean really, John Feinstein is a fantastic, well-respected sports writer and he's tackling one of my favorite subjects in minor league baseball. I could not have been more disappointed.

Let's start with the factual inaccuracies. He takes pain to point out the difference between Coca-Cola Field (in Buffalo) and Coca-Cola Park (in Allentown) and then he proceeds to mix them up. Continually.

Then there's the part at the end where he writes: "The New York Mets had
Apr 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, circle

No one is better at providing an inside look at a sport than John Feinstein. He provides just the right mix of background, anecdotes and quotes. You can feel the pressure on these guys to perform, to make it to the BIGS, to THE SHOW. A lot a minor leaguers drop out relatively soon after starting; once it becomes apparent they will never make it, they decide it's time to stop playing a game and move on with their lives. This book is primarily about Triple A (AAA) minor
"If you don't like it here, do a better job." --Ron Johnson, Triple-A manager

"I'll never forget the words: 'This is your day.' I'm sure I was crying by the time he finished the sentence." --catcher J.C. Boscan, describing how it felt when the Atlanta Braves called him up to the major leagues

"That's the great thing about sports: it only takes one person to believe in you." --former phenom Zack Duke, shortly after he was given a minor-league contract

Bittersweet account of those who toil in
Steven Z.
Apr 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
At the outset it is my obligation to inform the reader that I am a baseball junkie! In fact as I look over my bucket list one of the prominent items is a cross country trip visiting minor league baseball parks as my wife and I transverse the continent. With that being said John Feinstein’s knew book WHERE NOBODY KNOWS YOUR NAME, a saga of the 2012 minor league baseball season is timely. I have been a Feinstein fan for many years and have enjoyed his numerous books. Whether writing about the ...more
Jun 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: baseball
Kudos to John Feinstein. An excellent read that follows select AAA minor league players, managers and umpires from 2012. Much more poignant and uplifting than I anticipated. The pace of the story transitions was about right for me. Some solid life lessons about success and failure in the stories of the older players and how to know when to call it quits.

While it helps to be a baseball fan to fully enjoy this book as there are a lot of names, there is not an overwhelming amount of statistics or
David West
May 16, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook, baseball
Pretty good writing and a lot of inside baseball stories.
Apr 30, 2014 rated it it was ok
I've always been fascinated by the minor leagues, and so I learned a lot from this book.

But I was disappointed by a few things. First of all, it really only talks about AAA. I would have liked to learn more about the lower levels, but perhaps they're not that interesting or require another book. And most of the players come from the same background: middle-class Americans, often with former MLB experience who are trying to get back in. I would have liked to hear more stories about a Latin
Brian Eshleman
May 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
The fifth star I gave to Roger Kahn on rereading Good Enough to Dream comes at the expense of this one. I didn't remember this one being five-star good, and it wasn't. Feinstein chose interesting subjects, especially including umpires and announcers in their pursuit of the major-league dream, but the book wasn't absolutely captivating.
May 10, 2018 rated it liked it
You should also know that this is not a "happy" book. It's a story about a bunch of careers ending, then starting up again, then reaching abrupt finality...before starting up again in the same place, with the same hopes, and the chance of seeing the same results. That being said, it was a wonderful insight into the lives of minor league baseball players, managers, umpires and even broadcasters.

I was not a fan of the way this book was structured. I felt like the flow was confusing and about as
Jul 31, 2014 rated it really liked it
Along with millions of other kids, I had aspirations of being a professional baseball player. I was fortunate to have played with and against some ball players that went as far as the big leagues, some only as far as the minor leagues. But what casual fans sometimes tend to forget is that even the minor leagues is considered professional baseball. To get that far is a feat unto itself. Unfortunately, my dream ended long before that level (and I do remember the exact moment I finally questioned ...more
May 02, 2014 rated it liked it
title notwithstanding, I did know a couple of the guys he follows through a triple-A season (Nate McLouth, Scott Podsednik). Intersperses chapters/vignettes of 8 or so main characters, mostly players but also announcer, manager, umpire. The stuff about the umpire, and the system by which they get evaluated for promotion to MLB, was maybe the most interesting.

The player stuff was a good reminder of the pressure they're under, the strange nature of minor leagues as a sports competition (if you're
Feb 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Where Nobody Knows Your Name: Life in the Minor Leagues of Baseball by John Feinstein.

The minors of baseball are for local fans a pleasant diversion, for those that follow the big league club, a source of hope and future stars. This book is about the human characters of one season in AAA baseball. Focusing on nine individuals at different stages of their career, including two managers and an umpire, the book follows one whole season, from spring training to the end of the season, with its hopes
Dave Moyer
Apr 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A phenomenal accounting of the heart of a ballplayer. Terrific sensitivity to the human element with sufficient detail of the practical realities of baseball and life--we all get old someday.
Colson Agnew
Dec 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The journey to the bigs.

Feinstein, a bestselling sports themed author, created an amazing book showing the journey of 9 players and coaches as they make their way from the minor leagues to the major leagues of baseball. This book perfectly captures the cut throat lifestyle of minor league baseball players, who earn less than minimum wage and life off of couch surfing and PB&J.

As a huge fan of baseball, especially minor league baseball this was a must read. I attend 20+ minor league
Sep 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Feinstein spent 2012 following a dozen or so older minor-league baseball players (and one umpire) to gather their stories about what it's like to hang around on the fringe of major-league baseball and wait for a promotion that will probably never come.

The details of these stories are compelling, and Feinstein has an easy style that drew me in to the lives of the different players (and umpire). There are no happy endings, which is sort of the point of the book and makes it a different kind of
Aug 11, 2019 rated it liked it
This book gives you a sense of the frustrating life of a journeyman baseball player, but it was difficult to keep the people and the teams straight. I had to create my own list of the AAA teams, their managers and which major league team they were affiliated with. I think Feinstein is polite and respectful to the players, managers, umpires, broadcaster who spoke with him, but I think this was at the expense of having a more colorful and memorable narrative.
Mar 28, 2018 rated it liked it
This book has some interesting stories about the minors. However, it is poorly written. The book has no flow and jumps all over the place. It's almost as though the author took each minor league story and just mashed them together.
Mar 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
5 of 5 stars (outstanding)

Triple-A baseball, one step below the major leagues, has its own unique culture and lifestyle. John Feinstein’s book “Where Nobody Knows Your Name” describes this through the eyes and stories of nine men: three position players (Scott Posednik, Nate McClouth, John Lindsey), three pitchers (Scott Elarton, Brett Tomko, Chris Schwinden), two managers (Charlie Montoyo, Ron Johnson) and one umpire (Mark Lollo). Their experience ranges from a young man hoping
Benjamin Kahn
Apr 11, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sports
A few good stories here, but the books a bit of a mess. Feinstein jumps back and forth between the different people that he's following, repeating stories, dropping threads and then picking them up, taking sidebars on people that just happen to be around. It's very disorganized. By the time he gets back to a player, I've often forgotten who the player's story and who this guy is - is he a pitcher? Hitter? Have we ever seen him before? A little organization would have gone a long way to making ...more
John Yingling
Apr 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Reading this book gave me hope that my former love of sports could possibly be rekindled. Amid all the multi-millionaire athletes we read about, there are far more who struggle to get by, as benchwarmers, third-stringers, or in this case, as minor league baseball players. There is nothing minor league about their hopes and ambitions, though, and their unabashed love of the game. John Feinstein does his usual excellent job of showing us people you want to sincerely care about; people who work at ...more
Steve Peifer
Jun 06, 2014 rated it liked it
I think it was when I read the Jamie Farr CHAPTER that my first thought on this disappointing book is that it was lazy writing. If you are a fan of Feinstein like me, nothing will prepare you for the repetition that serves not to refresh and remind the reader, but to illustrate that Feinstein has too many irons in the fire and can't be bothered to put in the effort to write a real book. The editing is so bad that I suspect that this book adopted Garfield's Jim Davis creative approach, where he ...more
Gerald Matzke
Apr 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book was a bit of a surprise. The title led me expect an account of the minor league players who hope to make it big some day. While it did address that, it was more about the frustration of players who were once in the majors and who are now struggling to get called back up. Most of the names were familiar. Some were very successful for a while but for a variety of reasons had lost the edge that would make them major league stars again. Feinstein does a great job of telling the stories of ...more
Scott L.
Mar 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sports, own-it
I found this to be a fascinating book about life in minor-league baseball. I admittedly never thought about the players that are perpetually entering and exiting the revolving door of the minor league teams; but this book brings those players to life and tells their stories. And not just the players, but the umpires and the broadcasters - even the grounds crews are represented here as people who desperately want to receive "the call" that they are going to Major League baseball. Feinstein has ...more
Apr 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Though I'm not as into baseball now as I used to be, this was still a very personal story for me and one that touched the boy inside me who dreamed of playing in the major leagues. It is a hard story in a lot of ways because it tells about men who were within sight of their dream, but for many different reasons, they just weren't able to grasp it and hold on. Some had been up there before, some got bounced back and forth, and some gave everything they had for that one shot. Though the love for ...more
Fred Forbes
Mar 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
My interest in this book was personal as my Godson (undrafted out of college) worked his way from the bottom of the minor leagues to play in the majors. While it was good reading for those of us with serious interest, many folks will find it repetitive, overly populated with characters and confusing as the various characters move between teams, leagues, etc. Probably the most interesting observation is that all those who make it to the highest level in the minors - AAA ball - don't want to be ...more
Mar 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: tbr-challenge, sports
This book reminded me how much I love the game of baseball. There's always a sense of history and mythology to the game, and Feinstein does a great job of bringing that out without ignoring the daily grind of minor league ball. He looks at every element of the game, not just players on the way up or the way down, but managers, coaches, and even the reviled umpires. (Did you know there's an umpire school? Really. Or you can study how to be a groundskeeper and maintain those glorious green ...more
John Schachter
Nov 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
(Probably more like 3.5 stars) I love baseball so I really liked this book. It truly is a lot of "inside baseball" (so to speak) so if you don't have much or any interest in the game and its players, this is not the book for you. I knew of many of the players mentioned so I found it interesting. I also like Feinstein's style, which some find too detailed and verbose. But I am a believer in if I like a topic then more is better.
Mar 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's an amazing, very well written account of several personalities making their way through the minor leagues of baseball. The stories are compelling and the outcomes are heartwarming. The only downside here is that this is very much a book catered to the die-hard baseball fan, and not the casual watcher.
Aubrey Lonsberry
May 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent read! I grew up going to minor league games and had no idea what these "nameless" players go through in order to get just a few precious innings up in the minor leagues. Highly recommend this book for any fan of baseball, especially for those of us who prefer the more intimate, cheaper setting of A, AA, and AAA parks!
Jun 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
I hate the term "must read" but for baseball fans, that's how you have to tag this book. You get so used to the super stars and regular players that you just don't realize how many guys struggle to make the easy life of the big leagues. Well written and thorough. There is some repetition, though every time a triple A manager tells the story of sending some one up, I got tears in my eyes.
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John Feinstein is one of the nation’s most successful and prolific sports authors who has written 24 books to date. His most recent work Are You Kidding Me? , written with Rocco Mediate, was released on May 18, 2009, and is presently on the shelf at bookstores everywhere. In addition, he is an award-winning columnist and regular contributor in both radio and television.

John Feinstein is a 1977
“You see,” Bouton wrote, “you spend a good piece of your life gripping a baseball and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time.” Truer words were never written.” 1 likes
“The term in baseball nowadays is a “walk-off home run.” It didn’t exist until Kirk Gibson hit his famous pinch-hit home run off Dennis Eckersley in game one of the 1988 World Series and Eckersley referred to it as “a walk-off,” meaning, quite simply, that when someone does what Gibson did to him in that game, there’s nothing left to do except walk off the mound into the dugout and then into the clubhouse.” 0 likes
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