Now available: At long last I’m happy to announce the official release of my latest book, Hank Greenberg in 1938: Hatred and Home Runs in the Shadow of War. Support your local  local bookstore and tell your friends!

Merci.

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Shameless self-promotion alert: Happy to announce that Hank Greenberg in 1938: Hatred and Home Runs in the Shadow of War officially launched at midnight.

I’ll be posting links to events, interviews, and reviews (both favorable and un-; already received one of the latter from someone who was disappointed that a) it wasn’t a full biography although I think that should be pretty much obvious from the title; and b) there weren’t enough pages).

Here’s an essay I contributed to the Jewish Baseball News site about the unfortunate timeliness of the subject matter.

A reminder: I will be at the Bergino Baseball Clubhouse next Wednesday, May 3, at 7 p.m. Click here for more details and to RSVP.

Bergino Baseball Clubhouse

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Image result for dan schlossbergDan Schlossberg has written thousands of articles and a number of books on the national pastime, including a couple of my personal favorites on which he collaborated as co-author, Al Clark‘s Called Out but Safe: A Baseball Umpire’s Journey and Designated Hebrew: The Ron Blomberg Story.

Schlossberg’s latest is also one of his oldest. He first released The Baseball Catalog in 1980. In 2002, it morphed into The Baseball Almanac and now, it’s The New Baseball Bible: Notes, Nuggets, Lists, and Legends from Our National Pastime. The name may have changed but the concept is still the same: hundreds of pages of fun facts designed to entertain and bring a smile to the face or a shake of the head.

I spoke with Schlossberg recently about how the baseball publishing world has changed over the last quarter-plus century.

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NOTE: I have been posting these things long enough now that a few have commented that the introductory section isn’t necessary anymore. But I’m leaving it in because, to paraphrase Joe DiMaggio when asked why he played so hard all the time, there may be people who’ve never read the best-seller entries before. So on with the show…

Caveat 1: Print editions only (at least for now); because I’m old school.

Caveat 2: Since the rankings are updated every hour, these lists might not longer be 100 percent accurate by the time you read them. But it’ll be close enough for government work.

Caveat 3: Sometimes they’ll try to pull one over on you and include a book within a category that doesn’t belong. I’m using my discretion to eliminate such titles from my list. For example, for some reason a recent listing included Tarnished Heels: How Unethical Actions and Deliberate Deceit at the University of North Carolina Ended the “The Carolina Way,” which, far as I can tell, is not at all about baseball, at least not in the main.

    1. The Phenomenon: Pressure, the Yips, and the Pitch that Changed My Life, by Rick Ankiel with Tim Brown

Image result for my cubs a love story

  1. The Cubs Way: The Zen of Building the Best Team in Baseball and Breaking the Curse, by Tom Verducci
  2. Ballplayer, by Chipper Jones with Carroll Rogers Walton
  3. 42 Faith: The Rest of the Jackie Robinson Story, by Ed Henry
  4. Teammate: My Journey in Baseball and a World Series for the Ages, by David Ross with Don Yeager
  5. Smart Baseball: The Story Behind the Old Stats That Are Ruining the Game, the New Ones That Are Running It, and the Right Way to Think About Baseball, by Keith Law
  6. The Plan: Epstein, Maddon, and the Audacious Blueprint for a Cubs Dynasty, by David Kaplan
  7. Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, by Michael Lewis
  8. Catapult Loading System: How To Teach 100-Pound Hitters To Consistently Drive The Ball 300-Feet, by Joey Myers
  9. My Cubs: A Love Story, by Scott Simon

MORE lists: Amazon has started a couple of new ones, including “Hot New Releases” and “Most Wished For.” A look at the top three in each, which have remained the same since last week:

Hot New Releases

  1. The Phenomenon
  2. Cubs Way
  3. Ballplayer

Most Wished For

  1. Cubs Way
  2. The Phenomenon
  3. Ballplayer

NY Times monthly sports best-seller list: No baseball books in the April rolls. The Cubs Way ranks #12 (#6) for the “week” of April 30.

Not on either the Amazon or Times‘ lists? 501 Baseball Books Fans Must Read before They Die. Today: 1,145,651; last week: 626,269. Whaaaa? My forthcoming Hank Greenberg in 1938: Hatred and Home Runs in the Shadow of War (which is scheduled for release on April 25) currently ranks 232,446, up from last week at 326,217. It had been as high as 39,000 earlier in the week which I attribute to a couple of interviews I did on Wednesday.

If you have read 501, thanks, hope you enjoyed it, and please consider writing a review for the Amazon page; it’s never too late. There haven’t been any in awhile. Doesn’t have to be long (or even complimentary, if you didn’t like it), but anything would be appreciated. And thanks to those who have.

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https://verdun2.files.wordpress.com/2012/01/imagescawuwwr9.jpgThe New York Times obituary says the late actor was best known for his role as a southern sheriff in a couple of James Bond movies. Not for me. For me, Clifton was best known for his role as the penurious Charles A. Comiskey, owner of the Chicago White Sox, in Eight Men Out (which is not even mentioned by the Times.) Clifton James was 96.

I’m not sure how they make these decisions, but James was the second-listed actor in the IMDB credits for EMO.

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Pleased to be making a second trip to the Bergino Baseball Clubhouse in Manhattan.

I’ll be there on Wednesday, May 3, at 7.p.m., to discuss Hank Greenberg in 1938: Hatred and Home Runs in the Shadow of War, with Bergino proprietor and friend to authors Jay Goldberg.

I’d love to see you there. Please visit here to RSVP for guaranteed seating in this intimate setting.

http://www.ronkaplansbaseballbookshelf.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/B2.jpg

 

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For the second week in a row, I’m pleased to note that as I post my Bookshelf Conversation — this one with NPR’s Scott Simon for his new baseball book, My Cubs: A Love Story — I am once again a guest on another podcast that just went up: The Stuph Files, hosted by Peter Anthony Holder of Montreal.

The interview — the first for my newest book, Hank Greenberg in 1938: Hatred and Home Runs in the Shadow of Warhas an additional special meaning because Montreal has always been my home away from home, the birthplace of my maternal side and the holder of many warm memories. It was a pleasure to discuss the city and, of course, the Expos, with Holder.

You can listen to the program here. Our conversation comes in at about the 9:30 mark.

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Image result for scott simon, cubsImage result for scott simon cubs

Don’t get me wrong. I love all my guests. But once in a while I get to chat with someone outside the usual baseball literary mainstream. That was the case with Scott Simon, host of NPR’s Weekend Edition.

Yes, Simon, a lifetime Cubs fan, had previously published two books on baseball among his oeuvre: Home and Away: Memoir of a Fan (2000) and Jackie Robinson and the Integration of Baseball (2007) and as I’m recording this it is the 70th anniversary of Robinson’s debut in the Majors. But My Cubs: A Love Story, the latest in a long line of titles that burst on the scene following last year’s World Series — is the one Simon has been waiting a looong time to write.

Simon has a natural storyteller’s voice, but he’s usually telling other people’s stories. In My Cubs, he gets to express what the team has meant to him, his family (which includes former Cubs’ announcer Jack Brickhouse and player/manager “Jolly Cholly” Grimm), and the extended family of fellow fans through thick and thin over the years.

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NOTE: I have been posting these things long enough now that a few have commented that the introductory section isn’t necessary anymore. But I’m leaving it in because, to paraphrase Joe DiMaggio when asked why he played so hard all the time, there may be people who’ve never read the best-seller entries before. So on with the show…

Caveat 1: Print editions only (at least for now); because I’m old school.

Caveat 2: Since the rankings are updated every hour, these lists might not longer be 100 percent accurate by the time you read them. But it’ll be close enough for government work.

Caveat 3: Sometimes they’ll try to pull one over on you and include a book within a category that doesn’t belong. I’m using my discretion to eliminate such titles from my list. For example, for some reason a recent listing included Tarnished Heels: How Unethical Actions and Deliberate Deceit at the University of North Carolina Ended the “The Carolina Way,” which, far as I can tell, is not at all about baseball, at least not in the main.

  1. Image result for my cubs a love storyThe Cubs Way: The Zen of Building the Best Team in Baseball and Breaking the Curse, by Tom Verducci
  2. Ballplayer, by Chipper Jones with Carroll Rogers Walton
  3. 42 Faith: The Rest of the Jackie Robinson Story, by Ed Henry
  4. Teammate: My Journey in Baseball and a World Series for the Ages, by David Ross with Don Yeager
  5. The Plan: Epstein, Maddon, and the Audacious Blueprint for a Cubs Dynasty, by David Kaplan
  6. The Phenomenon: Pressure, the Yips, and the Pitch that Changed My Life, by Rick Ankiel with Tim Brown
  7. My Cubs: A Love Story, by Scott Simon
  8. Casey Stengel: Baseball’s Greatest Character, by Marty Appel
  9. The Science of Hitting, by Ted Williams with John Underwood
  10. Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, by Michael Lewis

With the exception of My Cubs, the list is almost identical to last week’s. It’s the third baseball title for National Public Radio host Scott Simon, following Home and Away: Memoir of a Fan in 2000 and Jackie Robinson and the Integration of Baseball in 2007. Look for a “Bookshelf Conversation” with him next week.

Just realized: in addition to four books focusing on the Cubs, four of these top tens were written by ballplayers.

MORE lists: Amazon has started a couple of new ones, including “Hot New Releases” and “Most Wished For.” A look at the top three in each, which have remained the same since last week:

Hot New Releases

  1. Cubs Way
  2. Ballplayer
  3. Faith 42

Most Wished For

  1. Cubs Way
  2. Ballplayer
  3. Teammate

NY Times monthly sports best-seller list: No baseball books in the March rolls. Ballplayer made its debut (#6) for the “week” of April 23. Haven’t read it yet, but it must be some book, given all the high rankings.

Not on either the Amazon or Times‘ lists? 501 Baseball Books Fans Must Read before They Die. Today: 626,269; last week: 1,181,637. My forthcoming Hank Greenberg in 1938: Hatred and Home Runs in the Shadow of War (which is scheduled for release on April 25) currently ranks 326,217, down from last week at 234,732.

If you have read 501, thanks, hope you enjoyed it, and please consider writing a review for the Amazon page; it’s never too late. There haven’t been any in awhile. Doesn’t have to be long (or even complimentary, if you didn’t like it), but anything would be appreciated. And thanks to those who have.

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(WTF, right? Kids, ask your parents.)

Image result for Baseball Life Advice: Loving the Game That Saved MeFrom The Hardball Times website, this on Stacey May FowlesBaseball Life Advice: Loving the Game That Saved Me. Upshot: “Every day in baseball brings a chance for something new and exciting, an occurrence to talk about and focus on, to share and enjoy…. Fowles’ latest book…offers exactly that.”

New York Times best-selling author Leigh Montville will give a lecture on his book, Ted Williams: The Biography of an American Hero on Thursday, April 20, at Wolfeboro Town Hall’s Great Hall at 86 South Main St., Wolfeboro, New Hampshire. The lecture will run from 7 to 8 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m. Admission is free for Museum members and $8 for non-members. Call 603-569-8161 for more information.

Also on April 20, sportswriter Mark Feinsand will discuss his new book, The New York Yankees Fans’ Bucket List, at the Bergino Baseball Clubhouse in Manhattan at 7 p.m. RSVP required; click here for more information.

Al Yellon at BleedingCubbieBlue offers this review of Lost Ballparks by Dennis Evanosky and Eric J. Kos.

The Winston Salem Journal published this piece about Chipper Jones, author of a memoir, Ballplayer. The Daily Caller also carried a story on Jones.

Image result for hard to gripThe Desert News focuses on one chapter in Josh Pahagian‘s new book The Amazing Baseball Adventure: Ballpark Wonders from the Bushes to the Show : the one that focuses on Smith’s Ballpark, which hosts Utah’s minor league baseball team, the Salt Lake Bees.

Come on, admit it: you thought Urban Shocker was the name of a rap star. But no, he was a pretty good pitcher in the first quarter of the 20th century and now the subject of a biography by Steve Steinberg. Here’s a review from NYSportsday.com.

The Washington Times printed this review of Paul Dickson‘s latest, Leo Durocher: Baseball’s Prodigal Son.

Austin360 wants its readers to “Celebrate Opening Day with seven terrific baseball books.” FYI, these are not new titles.

This one slipped under my radar but the Bless You Boys site posted this review on Hard To Grip: A Memoir of Youth, Baseball, and Chronic Illness, by Emil DeAndreis, a former college prospect who was unable to live his dream.

The Montreal Gazette ran this one on local hero Tim Raines’ Rock Solid: My Life in Baseball’s Fast Lane.

Baseball Reflections posted a review of Frank Deford‘s novel, The Entitled, originally published in 2007.

 

 

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NOTE: I have been posting these things long enough now that a few have commented that the introductory section isn’t necessary anymore. But I’m leaving it in because, to paraphrase Joe DiMaggio when asked why he played so hard all the time, there may be people who’ve never read the best-seller entries before. So on with the show…

Caveat 1: Print editions only (at least for now); because I’m old school.

Caveat 2: Since the rankings are updated every hour, these lists might not longer be 100 percent accurate by the time you read them. But it’ll be close enough for government work.

Caveat 3: Sometimes they’ll try to pull one over on you and include a book within a category that doesn’t belong. I’m using my discretion to eliminate such titles from my list. For example, for some reason a recent listing included Tarnished Heels: How Unethical Actions and Deliberate Deceit at the University of North Carolina Ended the “The Carolina Way,” which, far as I can tell, is not at all about baseball, at least not in the main.

  1. Ballplayer, by Chipper Jones with Carroll Rogers WaltonImage result for stengel, appel
  2. The Cubs Way: The Zen of Building the Best Team in Baseball and Breaking the Curse, by Tom Verducci
  3. 42 Faith: The Rest of the Jackie Robinson Story, by Ed Henry
  4. Teammate: My Journey in Baseball and a World Series for the Ages, by David Ross with Don Yeager
  5. The Plan: Epstein, Maddon, and the Audacious Blueprint for a Cubs Dynasty, by David Kaplan
  6. Casey Stengel: Baseball’s Greatest Character, by Marty Appel
  7. Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty, by Charles Leerhsen
  8. The Science of Hitting, by Ted Williams with John Underwood
  9. Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, by Michael Lewis
  10. Smart Baseball: The Story Behind the Old Stats That Are Ruining the Game, the New Ones That Are Running It, and the Right Way to Think About Baseball, by Keith Law

The books normally used to compile fantasy teams are missing this week. Guess everyone got their rosters in to their various leagues. Back are some old standards, including The Science of Hitting.

MORE lists: Amazon has started a couple of new ones, including “Hot New Releases” and “Most Wished For.” A look at the top three in each, which have remained the same since last week:

Hot New Releases

  1. Ballplayer
  2. Cubs Way
  3. Faith 42

Most Wished For

  1. Cubs Way
  2. Ballplayer
  3. Teammate

NY Times monthly sports best-seller list: No baseball books in the March rolls. Cubs Way lands at #5 on the list for the “week” of April 16. Still don’t understand how the plan these things.

Not on either the Amazon or Times‘ lists? 501 Baseball Books Fans Must Read before They Die. Today: 1,181,637; last week: 796,684. My forthcoming Hank Greenberg in 1938: Hatred and Home Runs in the Shadow of War currently ranks 234,732 in Books, up slightly from last week at 289,978.

If you have read 501, thanks, hope you enjoyed it, and please consider writing a review for the Amazon page; it’s never too late. There haven’t been any in awhile. Doesn’t have to be long (or even complimentary, if you didn’t like it), but anything would be appreciated. And thanks to those who have.

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The acerbic comedian died today at the age of 90.

A hardcore fan, he was frequently seen at those celebrity games as chronicled in Joe Siegman’s book, Bats, Balls, and Hollywood Stars: Hollywood’s Love Affair with Baseball, released in 2014.

Rickles enjoyed talking about the game. Here he speaks with David Letterman in 1998. And here he talks about the legendary Vin Scully.

So long, Mr. Potato Head.

 

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Listicles R us

2017 Title

Sorry, don’t know how to make a backwards “R.” People love lists, so websites and blogs give the people what they want.  Sometimes the lists come in one long page, other times you have to scroll through slide shows, thereby increasing your time on the site which helps their analytics. Don’t get me started on […]

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Pretext for a preview: Sports Illustrated vs. ESPN

"Annuals"

It’s time again for that annual tradition: a comparison of the baseball preview issues published by Sports Illustrated, that old war horse, and ESPN The Magazine, that (relatively) new upstart. One has to bear in mind that ESPN is a biweekly. As such, the material they print of necessity has to be more featurey and […]

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See a podcast, take a podcast

2013 title

So is this like a day/night doubleheader? I posted a Bookshelf Conversation with Marty Appel today and I was the guest on Baseball By the Book, hosted by Justin McGuire to talk about my first project. Who says Mondays are blue?

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The Bookshelf Conversation: Marty Appel

"Bookshelf Conversations"

It seems only fitting that I should follow up last week’s chat with Paul Dickson, author of Leo Durocher: Baseball’s Prodigal Son, with Marty Appel, author of Casey Stengel: Baseball’s Greatest Character. Both books tell the stories of men who enjoyed a lifetime connection with the national pastime. Appel, a former PR director for the NY […]

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Hey, kids, do you know what time it is?

Annoucements

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Baseball Best-Sellers, March 31, 2017

2016 title

NOTE: I have been posting these things long enough now that a few have commented that the introductory section isn’t necessary anymore. But I’m leaving it in because, to paraphrase Joe DiMaggio when asked why he played so hard all the time, there may be people who’ve never read the best-seller entries before. So on […]

Read the full article →

Durocher and Stengel: A couple of characters

2017 Title

It strikes me as a happy coincidence that this year offers biographies of two of the most iconic characters in baseball history: Casey Stengel and Leo Durocher. They were both baseball “lifers,” enjoying careers that spanned 50 years, starting as players and continuing as World Championship managers. And both books are brought to you by […]

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The Bookshelf Conversation: Paul Dickson

2017 Title

In recent days, I’ve notice that a number of new baseball titles have “updated” nostalgia. By that I mean the subjects of these books are more recent than they used to be. Case in point, Scott Turbow’s Dynastic, Bombastic, Fantastic: Reggie, Rollie, Catfish, and Charlie Finley’s Swingin’ A’s. When did the 1970s become the “new” […]

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