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Molina: An Unlikely Baseball Dynasty

Molina: The Story of the Father Who Raised an Unlikely Baseball Dynasty Baseball BooksBengie Molina is the oldest of three brothers: himself, Jose, and Yadier. Depending how big of a baseball follower you are, it might be common sense that they are all current or former big league catchers. Bengie took it upon himself to construct a memoir that centered not only on himself but also on the man who raised three future Major Leaguers. Benjamin Molina is the inspiration for Molina: The Story of the Father Who Raised an Unlikely Baseball Dynasty.

I listened to the audio book version of this memoir, and I think it made the book even better. I have read parts of the soft cover and it isn’t as inspirational as hearing the words being spoken out loud. Henry Leyva is the narrator, and he does an excellent job with pronunciation and tone of voice throughout the book. The pace of the reading is what makes it stand out, as opposed to reading certain sections too fast and missing the emotion and feeling that is being conveyed.

My first impression of Molina was that I wouldn’t be able to relate much outside of the baseball anecdotes. Bengie Molina was the oldest of three brothers; I am the youngest with two sisters. Bengie grew up in Puerto Rico where top pro prospects are signed at 16; I live in Florida and spent five years on a collegiate baseball team. The outside details might have been different, but the experiences and feelings are what led to a real connection with the memoir. I couldn’t see myself in his shoes for the baseball aspects, but the family values are what brought the book to light. Even though the book says it is about his father, I still was caught off guard when Bengie quit talking about himself.

Baseball is what the Molina family is known for, and rightfully so. Each of the brothers has played in and won the World Series. They have a stash of Gold Gloves (mostly by Yadier). The brothers are famous for playing and coaching with the Puerto Rican team in the World Baseball Classic. They live, sleep, and breathe baseball. Just like their father did. Except Benjamin Molina had a regular day job away from baseball and was relegated to the diamond after working in a factory all day.

Molina: The Story of the Father Who Raised an Unlikely Baseball Dynasty Baseball Books

Bengie, Jose, and Yadier Molina

There was reluctance for me to listen to this book at first because I was looking for something about baseball. I had listened to a few baseball books in a row (Ahead of the Curve, The Only Rule is it has to Work, and The Phenomenon) and was anxious for another one. Molina was not at the top of my list because of the above reasons and it just didn’t feel like a baseball book compared to the others. But once I started listening, I couldn’t stop. I was upset when it was over because it was such good storytelling. There are reviews of the book that say the wording is not great, but to hear the words read really gives it a different feel.

My favorite part of the book was the comparison of how Benjamin Molina treated his three sons. Bengie got the strictest treatment being the oldest followed by Jose. Yadier did not have as hard a time from his father, according to Bengie. This was probably because he was younger by six years and their father was focused on the futures of his sons.

The most sentimental part of the book has to be at the end, when Bengie discusses the passing of his father and the funeral arrangements in Puerto Rico. Much like the services for former pitcher Yordano Ventura, the description of a baseball field filled with grieving is hard to imagine. Benjamin Molina impacted so many people, and it is apparent from the details of the days following his death.

Molina: The Story of the Father Who Raised an Unlikely Baseball Dynasty Baseball BooksI was very pleased with the decision to listen to this book. It wasn’t completely different from what I thought it would be, but it was completely different from what I expected from it. There was baseball throughout from Bengie’s youth to college and the minors and Majors. But the amount of family discussion and the impact it had on the rest of the book was outstanding. There are numerous players who write memoirs, and there are countless players who struggle to make it before getting a career in MLB. All of these players have their own stories but many are the same experiences.

Bengie Molina takes his personal experiences and expands on them in a way to honor the man who made it possible: his father. Many athletes come out with a book for a few bucks or to get their name in the papers, but I believe Bengie Molina wrote his book as a way to honor his father’s memory in the best way possible by sharing his story with the rest of the world.

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