By Fred Claire / Steve Springer / Orel Hershiser
Review by Brent S. Gambill
If you watched baseball in the 1980's and 1990's, you probably remember Fred Claire as Mr. Dodger. He was the figure of class and dignity that became the face of the Dodgers. From pre-Curt Flood to post 1994 strike and beyond, Claire was a part of the Dodgers organization.
The book details how Claire got his start in baseball. He began working as a beat writer before taking the position of Director of Publicity with the Dodgers. In 1987, long-time general manager Al Campanis's gave some unfortunate remarks on ABC's Nightline. Within days, Campanis's handpicked successor was Claire. The book gives many fascinating details about long-time Dodger managers Walt Alston and Tommy Lasorda. There are a couple great sections on trades and free agent signings by the Dodgers during Claire's tenure.
The one thing I noticed throughout the book was how Claire handled every situation good or bad with class. Things ran smoothly for many years in the Dodgers organization. Trade and contract negotiations were held behind closed doors instead of in the media. From the man who drove Claire to the airport to Mr. O'Malley, everyone was treated the same.
The latter fourth of the book details the events leading up to Claire's dismissal from the new Fox Los Angeles Dodgers. The Mike Piazza trade and his final trade involving Hideo Nomo. From working as a beat reporter to General Manager of the Dodgers to working for the new Dodger owners Fox. Claire handled every situation with humility and grace.
Claire's story is a must read for anyone looking to get into the game or simply wanting to know more about the inner workings of a Major League Baseball team. By the end of the book, you will feel like you know Fred Claire.
Republished by permission