Given the fact that Terry Francona had very few negative things to say about the Red Sox during his eight year tenure as skipper of the team, I wasn’t sure how interesting his book would be. Any potential unseen disputes came with the possibility that co-author Dan Shaughnessy had manufactured them. Despite this, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the book.
Francona: The Red Sox years covers quite a bit of ground. In addition to the 8 years, Francona’s early career and hiring is covered in depth. Having read many books on Francona’s life as well as the 2004 World Series season, I could have used without such a heavy emphasis on what is practically common knowledge.
Of the eight years covered in the book, half receive decent coverage. 04, 07, 08, and 11 were the more interesting years so it’s not too surprising to see them featured more prominently. The problems lie with depth.
We know that Francona loved playing cribbage, Manny was difficult, Schilling was a hot head, and Larry Lucchino breathed heavily down Theo Epstein’s neck. The book covers these events quite well, but it fails to go to places where we haven’t been before.
The events of September 2011 will remain infamous in Red Sox history for good reason. Many people feel that Francona was scapegoated for actions committed by many players and personnel. This book was a chance for Francona to defend/explain himself, but he passes up the opportunity.
While I enjoyed Francona: The Red Sox Years, I don’t really feel like I learned anything new. It was nice stroll down memory lane. If that kind of fluff is appealing to you, you’ll probably like the book. It’s hardly essential reading for Red Sox Nation and that’s a shame.