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Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite
LUCKY 13: Mort Cooper and the Jinx That Led to a MVP Season by Michael Murphy is a breezy and enjoyable read for sports fans. A compelling story that centers on the superstition in sports. From the very start, the author notes that superstition has been part of many cultures and sportsmen are not exempt. "Superstition about the number 13 is as commonplace in professional sports as it is in everyday life. Most players avoid the number, fearing it will bring them the worst of all possible luck."
This is what Mort Cooper, a strapping 6’2,” 210 lb. right-handed pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals in the late 1930s and early 1940s, had to experience and this memoir captures the story with vivid images and scenes. Known as the 'workhorse,' Cooper threw over two hundred innings five times. He was tough, enduring, and had the ability to overcome any obstacle. Having worn the # 13 proudly, he began to question the impact of the number after failing to win his fourteenth game twice. When he changed jerseys, he won 22 games, leading the Cardinals to the National League pennant and to a World Series Championship.
The book is well written and I enjoyed the way Michael Murphy explores the dynamics of the sports, the challenges that the protagonist encountered in his career, and the role that superstitious beliefs play in the game. The writing is excellent and it is punctuated by pictures that tell a lot of the experiences of Mort Cooper. While this is an interesting story of one player's successful career, it also captures a mindset that has a lot of impact on a player's performance. LUCKY 13: Mort Cooper and the Jinx That Led to a MVP Season is a story that many readers can relate to. I found it to be entertaining and informative, a narrative with strong psychological implications.