The book's name might not be politically correct, but Thad Mumau's "An Indian Summer: The 1957 Milwaukee Braves, Champions of Baseball" does a thorough, accurate job of detailing the championship season.
Starting with a chapter called, "From Beaneaters to Braves," Mumau chronicles the winning streaks and tough stretches of the season, and comments on key transactions and costly injuries.
With the fine details of an excellent researcher and the writing of a veteran sportswriter, the author also recalls unforgettable players, such as Bob "Hurricane" Hazle, and events such as the shoe polish incident, that have become part of baseball lore.
Mumau also spend time detailing the careers and contributions of some of the great Braves players -- Warren Spahn, Hank Aaron, Eddie Mathews, Lew Burdette and others.
A freelance writer whose work has appeared in the Fayetteville (North Carolina) Observer for more than 35 years and in the Atlantic Coast Conference Sports Journal for 22, Mumau became a Braves fan at the age of 8. He starts his preface by recalling going to a Braves-Pirates game at Forbes Field in 1957, a couple days after his 11th birthday.
"My dad was a Pirates fan, but for some reason I had pulled hard for the Braves since I was eight," Mumau writes. "Seeing Spahn, Aaron, Mathews, and those guys in person was a treat. Following them through that '57 season was great, especially when they won the World Series."
Via e-mail, Mumau wrote, "Growing up, I loved baseball, and the Milwaukee Braves were my favorite team. There were not many games on TV, so most of what I knew about the team I read in newspapers and magazines.
"I was fascinated by Spahn's windup, Mathews' raw power and Aaron's whip-like wrists. I was 11 in 1957, and our local newspaper did not carry much baseball news. So it was fun to research the Braves and find more than I knew back then about the team, while also refreshing old memories.
"I feel the 1950s and 60s were the Golden Age of baseball, and all of the big-league names from that era interest me. So going back and digging out some of that history as well as going day-by-day through the season of what I consider to be one of the greatest teams ever was just a joy.
"Before writing this book, I did not fully appreciate the love the city and people of Milwaukee had for their Braves. Learning about that was heartwarming and gave me a feel for what Eddie Mathews talked about in describing his love affair with Milwaukee and its fans."
About the only thing missing in this book is the emotion in the community of Milwaukee during the 1957 season, and through most of the Braves' years in town. Being from out-of-town, Mumau had a disadvantage that Bob Buege, who wrote, "The Milwaukee Braves: A Baseball Eulogy," and myself, who wrote, "Down in the Valley: The History of Milwaukee County Stadium," did not have.
Buege and I were able to ride the rollercoaster as kids a lot closer to the actual action. And, the love affair between the Braves and Milwaukee, the entire state for that matter, was a big part of the 1957 story.
But, through his thorough research, and obvious long-distance love for the Braves, Mumau has more than made up for the geographic disadvantage. An interview with Commissioner Bud Selig, who always gets emotional about the Braves, also captures some of the intangibles about the great season.
This book, which sells for $29.95 in softcover, is a great read and a must for any Milwaukee Braves fan. You soon will be able to get it at bookstores in the Milwaukee area and through the publisher, McFarland & Company, www.mcfarlandpub.com.