08 February 2012

Book Review: The Baggy Green - The pride, passion and history of Australia's sporting icon

Authors: Mike Coward and Michael Fahey
Publisher: The Cricket Publishing Company
First Published: March 2008, Reprinted December 2009
ISBN: 0 97756331 1 1
Pages: 136

To buy a copy of the book go to www.thebaggygreen.com.au
or email Michael Fahey directly at: michael@sportsmem.com.au

Michael Fahey, the Co-author of the "The Baggy Green - The pride, passion and history of Australia's sporting icon", contacted me last year to read and review the book.
How could I refuse?

This supporters blog is inspired by that very icon and has become the identity for my writing and connection to Australian cricket. The legacy and symbolism is something I have a strong interest within so this book was right up my alley.

Upon receiving the book it was immediately appealing with the cover art.
The colours reflect the cap, the artwork is simple and eye-catching, while the presentation is neat and elegant.
Turning the cover over to the back page the reader will see a photo of a younger Michael Clarke and a short testimonial of his responsibility he feels for what the cap stands for in the modern day context of Australian cricket.
It is quite fitting given he is now the Captain of this great team with such a rich history.

I have the ultimate respect for the cap, and if I have any input into the next generation I will see that the tradition continues.” - Michael Clarke (Australian Test and ODI Captain)

The book itself is extremely well researched and over 50 former and current Test players were involved in the process, including interviews to understand their experiences, emotions and opinions regarding their duties when playing for Australian cricket, and where their levels of value rested for the Baggy Green cap.
What is interesting to read is how the perception gradually changed over the years with the respect for the cap to become the iconic Test cricket item it is today.

Surprisingly it is not that long a read and it will accommodate the historians, the modern day fanatic and of course the memorabilia watcher.

1 - The Pride of the Baggy Green
2 - Captivated
3 - The Road to the Baggy Green
4 - The Gum-Tree Green and Gold
5 - Collectors
6 - Values
7 - The Ultimate Baggy Green
8 - Variations and Oddities

After the foreword written by Mark Taylor, the reader will be given the early history of the cap, the gradual change of the cap from its days of more notable recognition, statements from players who disregard the hype of the cap to those who played under or alongside Allan Border and Steve Waugh where, ultimately, the symbolism, pride and respect of the cap came to be.

From being tossed around the change room (makes you jump doesn’t it!), handed out without care (strongly regretted by some), to the belief of the cap being something mystical (Justin Langer and Steve Waugh), it really was an insightful part of the book as to how this cap came to be one of the most valued sporting items, which I strongly believe plays a massive role into the formation of pride to play for Australia and the self-belief in belonging to an elite group of players.

The cap is an identity, the cap is a testament to the journey of a professional cricketer, and the cap is a reminder to respect your job as an Australian cricketer.

The sports memorabilia fanatics will love the financials which have been gathered through outstanding research and cost analysis regarding the trends as to how the increase in cap value is significantly related to the changes in symbolism and culture of Australian cricket.

Auctions of individual caps and average values are presented just to show not only the intangible value of the cap to players and supporters but in actual fact the monetary value of the cap!
Having a fair bit of sport memorabilia I found this section fascinating.

Any Baggy Green fanatic must, without a doubt, grab a copy of this book!
Don’t hesitate to read it in order to gain further insight into understanding that pride you feel when a player receives this cap on debut, or the sadness you feel when a player hangs it up upon retirement.
You will also realise both the symbolic and monetary value placed upon The Baggy Green in the modern day game.

To watch the launch of the book, I have embedded a Youtube video below, with the permission of Michael Fahey of Sports Memorabilia Australia.

To buy a copy of the book go to www.thebaggygreen.com.au
or email Michael Fahey directly at: michael@sportsmem.com.au

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Thanks for reading this article written by Ian.
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Anonymous said...

Without a doubt, a great tradition and it is really really hard earned. Well these days you are seeing 6 or 7 debutants in tests for Australia in an year but I can recall the 90s and the 00s where one had to be exceptional in the Sheffield Sheild to get a call into the Aussie test team and earn the Baggy green. Hussey and Gilchrist getting them when they were almost 30 tells you a story. And who else you want other than Tugga to uphold tradition of Baggy green. The rugged baggy green and the red hanky...trademark of Tugga.. :)


Ian said...

Hey Baiju.

Yeah mate, that was where the real ethos of the team came about.
Despite the hype the old players dismiss, I do believe this pride in the SYMBOLISM of the Baggy Green is what created a strong sense of harmony from the players to the supporters.