Last month, I heard a  fascinating episode of The Leonard Lopate Show about what we “see” when we read. The guest was Peter Mendelsund, whose primary occupation is that of a book cover designer. You can listen to the segment here:

August was a busy month for Mendelsund. Not only did he publish the aforementioned What We See When We Read, bur also Cover, about the creative process and all the thinking that goes into coming up with the most appropriate book art.

Bernard Malamud’s classic novel of fall and redemption has been around since 1952. Over the decades, it has been wrapped by a number of wildly varying covers. I wonder how the discussions went for some of those designs?

I tried put these covers in guestimated order of publishing (except for the Robert Redford movie tie-in). If anyone has specific information abut the various editions, please let me know.

 TheNaturalFirstEdition1952 The-Natural-Book-Cover-3
TheNatural6 TheNatural1964
TheNatural10 TheNatural5
TheNatural7 TheNatural1967
TheNatural4 TheNatural1973
TheNatural11 TheNaturalBritish2002
TheNaturalAustralia TheNatural8

Just a few observations:

  • Some of the covers are downright dull, leaving me to wonder what the book might be about (in particular the “pinstriped” version with the script font). But the Dell paperback is just the kind of pulp design we’ve come to love from that era, full of sexual tension in a PG-13 manner.
  • I know I’ve seen that drawing of the runner sliding into home plate before, but can’t recall the details.
  • The Yankee on the left of the cover is Ron Blomberg but who are the other two? I’m wondering if that’s Bernie Allen on the right.
  • The book on the left of the middle row strikes me as coming from the late-60s, early-70s, with a kind of psychedelic/horror flavor.
  • The book on the right of the next-to-last row was published in England; the one on the left of the bottom row, Australia.

tHEnATURALpROOFSUPDATE: Facebook friend James Meier pointed me to where I found a few more cover versions and interesting tidbits.

A first edition, signed by the author, is available for $15,000.

You can also get a set of uncorrected proofs — the kind often sent to reviewers before the actual book is released — from the United Kingdom for $155. This was produced in 1963 and contains “an afterword by Malamud and a 10-page glossary of baseball terms not found in the American edition.”

In addition, Meier notes a strong similarity between the cover of the Penguin edition and an illustration by Dick Perez.

TheNatural1952-155 TheNatural17UK1987
The Natural16 1966 The Natural 1952
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{ 0 comments },0,214,317_AL_.jpgJust found out about 108 Stitches on a Facebook post. I could have done without it.

When Roger Clemens blurbs the movie with “If Animal House, Bull Durham and Major League had a threesome, 108 Stitches would be its kid,” you know you’re looking at real art. Of course, that’s assuming that Clemens really did come up with that line. I guess that’s what passes for humor for him. Yuk yuk. (By the way, Clemens appears as himself in this, so it’s hardly an unbiased opinion.)

Here’s the plot summary from IMDB

With baseball being the last thing on these player’s minds, and dealing with one of the longest losing streaks in college history, the team of misfits comes to the realization that the school, led by the corrupt and unethical President of the University, has plans to disband the entire program. Hilarity ensues as they have one afternoon to execute a plan to fill the stadium, sign the top recruit on the planet, and help send their coach out with a bang.

And the trailer

This is actually being shown in theaters? I’ll pretty much watch anything as long as it’s got baseball as a main component, but here’s where I draw the line. This review from the LA Times pretty much expresses my feelings just from the trailer. I’m sensing bad writing and bad acting. They even got Kate Vernon, daughter of the late John Vernon who played Dean Wormer in Animal House, to play the role of the president. Her name? Jennine Wormer Pratt. Homage or precious bullshi*?

No, not even gonna wait for the third strike. Game over, get home safe.



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Once in a while it’s good to remember that the Baseball Bookshelf is not just about books, but about movies, magazines, collectibles, and illustrations, all of which can also find a spot there on.

So here’s baseball artist Graig Kreindler, whom I first “met” seven years ago when I did a profile on him for the New Jersey Jewish News. I say “met” because until last Thursday, at an exhibit at the Yogi Berra Museum marking the 75th anniversary of Lou Gehrig’s “Luckiest Man” speech, in fact I had only known Kreindler through emails, Facebook messages, and the very occasional phone call.

So after spending  good deal of time that evening chatting with Kreindler and his charming wife, Sarvanez, I decided a Conversation was long overdue.


Kreindler at developing stages of his depiction of the 1927 Yankees, which the artist says is still a work in progress.



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Note: Just like Chuck Lorre’s “vanity cards” at the end of The Big Bang Theory, you should read these list stories to their conclusion; the end is always changing, even though the theme is basically the same, finishing up with a self-promotional message.

On with the show…

Here are the top ten baseball books as per, as of this posting.

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. For the sake of brevity, I will be omitting the subtitles, which have become ridiculously long in in some cases in recent years, also at my discretion.

  1. Derek Jeter: Born to be a YankeeNY Post
  2. Moneyball, by Michael Lewis
  3. The Closer, by Mariano Rivera with Wayne Coffey. ( review)
  4. Where Nobody Knows Your Name, by John Feinstein ( review and Bookshelf Conversation)
  5. The Science of Hitting, by Ted Williams
  6. The Mental Game of Baseball, by H.A. Dorfman
  7. The Captain: The Journey of Derek Jeter, by Ian O’Connor
  8. The Natural, by Bernard Malamud
  9. The Life You Imagine: Life Lessons for Achieving Your Dreams, by Derek Jeter
  10. Up, Up and Away, by Jonah Keri (Bookshelf conversation)

Jeter’s impending retirement are giving his titles an extra nudge, with three titles currently in the top 10.

Although there’s no baseball book, per se, on this week’s NY Times‘ best-seller list, it’s worth noting that Charles Krauthammer’s Things That Matter (#21)  includes several essays regarding his love for the national pastime in general and the Washington Nationals in particular.

Not on this list? 501 Baseball Books Fans Must Read before They Die. Still can’t understand how things work on the Amazon rankings. Last week I wrote how dejected I felt after seeing it fell under (over?) the one million mark in the rankings. On Wednesday it have moved up to 189,000+; right now it’s an even 536,700. Point is, there’s still a long way to go to get it into the top 10, so ya’ll are gonna do something about that, right? Only 10 copies left on Amazon.

And if you have read it, thanks, hope you enjoyed it, and please consider writing a review for the Amazon page. 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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Here’s the dope on the upcoming film festival hosted at the Baseball Hall of Fame from Sept. 19-21. The following events all take place in the Grandstand Theater. Blurbs come from the Hall of Fame press release.

Following a reception at 5 p.m., The festival gets under way with an introductory discussion and opening film– as yet to be determined — at 6:30.

Saturday, September 20

Session 1 — 10 a.m.

Heading for Home
On 16th Street in Indianapolis, Indiana, stands the once proud Bush Stadium, former home to the Indianapolis Indians. Its beautiful art-deco facade has seen its share of history, including the early Negro leagues and eve n a Hollywood film.
When the team moved downtown in 1995, the stadium and field were left vacant and falling into disrepair. Despite the efforts of smaller companies and local government, the stadium was set for demolition again and again. In 2012, a plan was proposed to adapt the stadium for a modern use: housing. So began the first adaptive reuse of a sports facility for housing in American history. Heading for Home tells the story of the stadium and the historical significance of the site for the city of Indianapolis.

Stealing Home
To the bankrupt City of Detroit, it’s a nine-acre abandoned lot. But to generations of baseball fans, it still feels like home. After Tiger Stadium was demolished in 2009, blight sprung up. But a small group of passionate fans stepped up to the plate, chopping down weeds and restoring the field where more than 200 Hall of Famers played our National Pastime. It sounds like a true feel-good story, but city officials want to sell the land. They view these volunteers as trespassers; police have ordered them to leave. But the grounds crew keeps working, tirelessly spending time, energy, and money to preserve the ball field –– and with it, Detroit’s history. Can they save the field? Or will they be thrown out stealing home?

Session 2 — 1:30 p.m.

An E:60 production from ESPN, Perfect explores the history of the 23 perfect games in major league history, headlined by those taking place since 1956. Filled with highlights of the perfect games from the television era, the film includes current interviews with a wide range of well-known hurlers, from Don Larsen to Randy Johnson to David Cone, and takes the viewer inside the mind of the pitcher as he tries to achieve baseball immortality.

Session 3 — 3:30 p.m.

A Ballpark Story
A Ballpark Story follows the behind-the-scenes story of what happens at a major-league ballpark, from the final pitch of one game to the first pitch of the next. Hosted by youth correspondent Meggie Zahneis, the film offers a glimpse of what goes into the process of running Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, everything from cleaning the stadium to the dedication of a statue of Hall of Famer Joe Morgan.

Havana Curveball
Thirteen-year-old Mica is studying for his Bar Mitzvah, the Jewish coming of age rite. He takes to heart his Rabbi’s requirement for the adult responsibility to help “heal the world.” Remembering how his grandfather once escaped Nazi persecution and found refuge in Cuba, the boy launches a grand plan to send sports equipment to the poor but baseball-crazed Communist country. When he has assembled a sufficient number of goods, he learns of the U.S. embargo on Cuba, which endangers his dream. During the course of this documentary film, Mica learns that being an adult also means having to fight for one’s dreams. (My note: Here’s a piece I did on the project for the NJ Jewish News a few years ago.)

Session 4 — 7 p.m.

No No: A Dockumentary
On June 12, 1970, Dock Ellis of the Pittsburgh Pirates threw a no-hitter. In 137 years of organized baseball, it’s the only no-hitter tossed by a pitcher under the influence of LSD. While baseball hadn’t fully embraced racial equality, the controversial Ellis was an outspoken leader who lived the expression ‘Black and Beautiful!’ His fearlessness enabled him to become a trailblazer for a new wave of civil rights. After retiring, Dock became just as outspoken about his career-long drug abuse problems. He spent decades as a counselor, helping other addicts in their recoveries. Through intimate stories and a trove of archival footage, No No: A Dockumentary brings Dock’s vibrant life to light, burnishing the legend and revealing the man behind it.

Sunday, September 21

Session 5 — 10 p.m.

Wrigley 100: A Century Celebration
For 100 years, Wrigley Field has showcased the game’s greatest players in America’s most beautiful ballpark. An homage to the beloved ballpark, Wrigley 100 showcases the stories behind the great moments on Chicago’s North Side, as told by the men who made those memories, including Hall of Famers Ernie Banks, Fergie Jenkins, Billy Williams, Ryne Sandberg, Andre Dawson, Ron Santo, Hank Aaron, Mike Schmidt, and many more. Over the course of its history, Wrigley Field has provided a wonderful mix of history, fun, passion and beauty.

Session 6 — 1 p.m.

Leaving Traces
Inspired by the 25th anniversary of Bull Durham, a team of artists converged on the Durham Bulls Athletic Park to document the legendary minor league team’s 2013 season. Leaving Traces follows the documentarians — including renowned photographers Alec Soth, Hiroshi Watanabe, Hank Willis Thomas, Kate Joyce, Frank Hunter, Leah Sobsey, and Alex Harris, and writer Adam Sobsey — as they confront the challenges of finding something new in a minor league ballpark. While techniques and output vary, this diverse group is united by baseball’s (and photography’s) unique experience with time. The slow, measured movements often hide the roiling drama beneath. By interweaving stories about process and craft, Leaving Traces evokes baseball’s atmosphere and captures the struggle to make the unseen visible.

Session 7 — 3 p.m.

5 Outs
A historical documentary that profiles the journey of the 2003 Cubs, 5 Outs examines the team from start to finish and explores the franchise’s failure to win its first World Series title in 95 years. The 2003 Championship Series saw the Cubs holding a 3-0 lead in the 8th inning of Game 6, when chaos broke lose, ignited by an infamous foul ball incident. The incident changed the landscape of Chicago baseball forever, affecting those in and outside of the baseball community. Voiced by Golden Globe and Emmy nominee William Petersen, the documentary features interviews with players who had never before spoken about the topic. Among others, Moises Alou, Dusty Baker, and Kerry Wood explore the impact the team had on a city thirsting for a world championship.

Festival Wrap-Up
4:30 p.m.

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Because some people eat across while others “rotate.”

I host a blog about Jews and sports as part of my day job as sports editor for the NJ Jewish News. One of the daily routines is to scan the box scores to see how the Jewish ballplayers fared, but obviously you can do this for your favorites as well. My source of choice is the ESPN coverage, which is a pretty standard layout.

The first thing I do is make sure a player got into the game. After that I check out his line. How many times did he come to bat? How many runs did he score, hits did he make, and runs did he drive in? If I see a line like Lind’s, the next thing I do is see if the hit was a home run, accounting for all three numbers. In this case, it wasn’t.

Then I look to see if any of the hits went for extra bases. In this cases, the two highlighted players are Kevin Pillar and Danny Valencia, two of the dozen Jews currently on Major League rosters. Both of them doubled.

If there are fewer at bats than seem appropriate, compared with the lineup round the batter, I look to see if he walked or was hit by a pitch to account for the discrepancy. Then I look to see the baserunning section: did he steal and or get caught or picked off?

If the batter didn’t get any hits or walks/HBP, what did he do with his plate appearances? This is where I click on ESPN’s play-by play section where I can find out if his outs were productive (did he move the baserunner along where he might score on a subsequent at bat?)

Infrequently, though, I look to see the fielding portion: any errors? The Oakland As outfielder Sam Fuld is known for his defensive prowess; did he have any assists?

It’s the same for pitchers. I’ve long said that a pitching line might not accurate reflect performance. For example, here’s what Craig Breslow did on Sept. 10 against the Baltimore Orioles:

Now at first glance, this seems pretty crappy. But when you go into the play-by-play, you see Breslow threw a perfect fourth inning, striking out two then retired the first two batters in the fifth before allowing a double and a home run. The third hit came on an infield single. Doesn’t seem to terrible now, does it?

Many years ago, I’m thinking in the mid-1990s, the Washington Post ran a piece in their science section (!) in which the challenge was to answer questions based just on the box score. If anyone has that or knows how to find it, I’d be obliged. It was a lot of fun as I recall.

There have been several good books about keeping score; here are a couple of my favorites:

* The Joy of Keeping Score: How Scoring the Game Has Influenced and Enhanced the History of Baseball, by Paul Dickson

* Baseball Scorekeeping: A Practical Guide to the Rules, by Andres Wirkmaa

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“Reality” TV

September 11, 2014 · 0 comments

Is something I’ve never been into. I find very little “real” about it.

And I don’t mean to keep on picking on Brandon Steiner (see here and here), but I accidentally came on his eponymous SNY show, The Hookup with Brandon Steiner, last night. I say “accidentally” because my on-air TV guide said it was supposed to be the Yankees-Rays game. But even when I saw what it was, I could not look away.

Having never seen The Hookup before, and not wanting to do any, you know, research, my impression was that this is supposed to be a feel-good program where someone writes in with a sad situation and the memorabilia mogul “hooks them up” by setting up a meeting a sports celebrity or bestowing gifts, etc. In yesterday’s show, one of the scenarios was a kid with ADHD who was, duh, a big Yankees fan. So Steiner and company went to the lad’s home and redid his room with an all-Yankee/Derek Jeter theme as a surprise, with the bonus that the kid go to spend a day at the Stadium that included a meet-and-greet with his hero (show only in still photos, not videotape for some reason).

In theory, this all seems like a wonderful idea, but in the hands of Steiner, to my opinionated mind, it just comes across as self-congratulatory. At the end of that segment, Steiner (did I mention he hosts the show?) chats with former Yankee David Cone, asking him “Was that a great hook up or what?” That strikes me as falling outside Maimonides’ Eight Levels of Charity.

Since it’s Steiner’s show — I’m guessing he pays for everything, not the Yankees’ network (again, no research) — he can do what he wants, including running numerous commercials for his memorabilia empire. Even when he’s on the show encouraging viewers to send in their inquires regarding hook-ups, he directs them to his company’s general website, necessitating navigating through all the sales stuff. More frequently, websites with special themes like have created a subcategory with a unique URL, as in “” (In fact, I did some research here; you have to scroll down the entire page until you find the Hookup business and there’s no stand-alone contact to submit questions/suggestions for the show.)

Here’s the first show. I have not watched it so so I don’t know if it includes the commercials.

Maybe it’s a damned-if-you-do/damned-if-you-don’t situation for Steiner. As an aside, I happened to be at a baseball event recently with some people who were familiar with Steiner and all agreed that this recent Jeter stuff was just too much for good taste.

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Leave it to the professionals.

Post by MLB.
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I don’t need an excuse to visit the Yogi Berra Museum. For one thing, it’s almost a Roberto Clemente throw from my house. For another, they always have great events with interesting guests. (The only problem is parking. Hey, Dave Kaplan, work on that, okay?)

Last night the Museum hosted an opening reception for “The Luckiest Man” program, in recognition of the 75h anniversary of Lou Gehrig’s famous farewell address. The exhibit features archival video, rare photographs and artifacts, and a massive painting of Gehrig’s July 4, 1939 farewell at Yankee Stadium by artist Graig Kreindler, who specializes in painstakingly-researched baseball scenes and portraits (including Moe Berg, Sandy Koufax, and Hank Greenberg).

The exhibit also pays tribute to Pete Frates, the former Boston College baseball captain, who was stricken by Lou Gehrig Disease in 2012 and is the inspiration behind the Ice Bucket Challenge to raise awareness and research funds for ALS.

For me, last night’s highlight was finally meeting Kreindler and his lovely bride, Sarvenaz. I first came across his work seven years ago when he was doing a painting for…the Yogi Berra Museum (circle of life).


We’ve chatted off and on over the years, but it was nice doing the face-to-face thing. Found out we have a mutual MOT/Lou Gehrig connection: Jonathan Eig, author of perhaps the definitive Gehrig bio (as well as a recap of Jackie Robinson’s first season with the Brooklyn Dodgers) has been a friend of his since childhood.

For more information about the exhibit, visit the Yogi Berra Museum website.

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Not bloody likely if you’re talking about the (gold)keystone combination of Derek Jeter and Brandon Steiner.

Last week I gave some heat to this memorabilia stupidity. I guess if Steiner can find some fans who don’t know what to do with their money and are willing to part with it for Jeter tchotchkes, more power to him. As the saying goes, there’s a sucker born every minute.

So it’s not surprising that Richard Sandomir’s major profile of Steiner — “Spinning Pinstripes Into Gold” — in Sunday’s Times would piss me off so much. Not the writing, which was excellent as usual for the Times‘ sports media columnist, just the topic. (Slideshow here. Sandomir also wrote about the Jeter memorabilia mania back in February, when the future Hall of Famer announced that 2014 would be his last season.)

I usually don’t do things like this, but I actually circled passages in the article with pen so it would fuel my hate-fire.

Here are a few:

Jeter teased Steiner about the difficulties he faced getting his old Yankee Stadium locker from Steiner, saying their relationship nearly ended over it.

“Brandon didn’t want to give it to me,” Jeter said. “That’s true.” [My note: Give Jeter Jeter's property? Did he sign away everything? Who is Steiner, Mr. Applegate?]

Steiner would later say that it was expensive to remove and ship the surprisingly heavy locker, and difficult to fit it into Jeter’s house in Tampa. [My note: I'm sure Steiner charges shipping and handling, so what's the big deal?]

The resolution, he said, did not involve Jeter paying for it. “We worked out a trade,” he said. “He’s fair.”

And this:

Charles O. Kaufman, the publisher of Sweet Spot, a memorabilia newsletter, said that Steiner benefited immensely from his association with a high-end brand like the Yankees, but that “the organized collecting public knew that Steiner Sports offered signed memorabilia and other gear at well-above-market prices.

“Collectors often feel ripped off, but buy anyway,” Kaufman said, admitting, “People shop with their pocketbooks, not their brains.”

And this:

One evening in late June, more than 900 people crowded the 92nd Street Y’s auditorium for a Steiner event starring Jeter and Tino Martinez. The show combined star power, exclusive memorabilia and his creation of premium packages for fans who want not only to pay to hear their favorite athletes speak, but also to pay even more for a more intimate brush with greatness.

In the green room, Martinez, the former Yankees first baseman, signed 15 bases from the game that day, where he had been honored with a plaque in Monument Park. Each base bore a Steiner Sports logo.

“How many bases do you change a game?” Martinez asked.

“Usually twice a game, but every time Jeter gets a hit, we take first base,” Steiner said. “We do everything to commemorate that.” [My note: And make some dough off of it.]

(More than two months later, Martinez’s scuffed, autographed bases have been discounted to $599.99. Similar ones signed by Jeter are nearly three times that.)

Before the program, the audience watched a vanity video about Steiner’s company filled with tributes from employees and clients. When he took the stage, Steiner greeted the “Yankees premium customers” and briefly experienced a reverie about his fortunate connections. “Yankees. Steiner,” he said. “Steiner. Jeter. Yankees.”

Steiner interviewed Jeter and Martinez for nearly an hour, asking comfortable questions to clients he has known and enriched for nearly 20 years.

Afterward, Jeter and Martinez moved to a separate room where the fans who had paid $2,000 to $2,500 for premium packages met each player, received signed collectibles, posed for photographs with them and attended a cocktail party. As Jeter and Martinez sat together in rigid chairs, fans stood in line and, when signaled, moved behind them for a snapshot.

The Yankees held Derek Jeter Appreciation Day last Sunday, even though the last home game is Sept. 25 — Rosh Hashana for those keeping score in the Jewish home. Of course they wouldn’t honor Jeter it on that date; it would keep away too many Jewish consumers, er, fans. I would almost concede and say the Yankees wanted it on a weekend for maximum attendance, but don’t you think they’d sell out for this anyway?)

The Times‘ article noted that “The Yankees removed the Royals’ flag — and the flag of every other major league team — from atop Yankee Stadium, ringing their imperial palace with Jeter flags.”

How much are those going for?

More on the Steiner-Yankee connection.

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Nicholas Dawidoff has pretty much done it all when it comes to non-fiction writing: memoir, biography, anthology. And done it all well. The Flyswatter, a sentimental recollection of his grandfather, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in 2003.  His first book, The Catcher Was a Spy: The Mysterious Life of Moe Berg, is considered the definitive biography of one of baseball’s most intriguing characters (it’s also celebrating its 20th anniversary this year). Dawidoff followed that up by editing Baseball: A Literary Anthology, which I consider one of the best of its kind. Both of these are included in 501 Baseball Books Fans Must Read before They Die.

So when I heard that Dawidoff was going to be the featured speaker at the Bergino Baseball Clubhouse this Wednesday ( Sept. 10), I knew it was time for another Bookshelf Conversation.,204,203,200_.jpg,204,203,200_.jpg
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Bits and pieces, Sept. 5

September 5, 2014 · 0 comments

NewBaseballVince McKee will discuss his book,  Jacobs Field: History and Tradition at The Jake, at the  Lakewood Public Library, Lakewood, Ohio, on Thursday, Sept. 11, at 7 p.m.

NewBaseballAnother author(s) appearance: Springfield (Mass.)’s Bring It Home baseball committee will feature local writers Richard Andersen and Marty Dobrow in an Authors Night presentation on Sunday, Sept. 21, at 6 p.m. at Pasquale’s Restaurant, 642 North Main St., East Longmeadow. Andersen will discuss the two books he has written about Springfield’s American Legion Post 21 baseball team of 1934 – a children’s version entitled A Home Run for Bunny, and an adult version entitled We Called Him Bunny. Dobrow will discuss his book, Knocking on Heaven’s Door, which examines life in baseball’s minor leagues by telling the stories of six players.

Tickets, available through Sept. 16 at $30, can be obtained by sending checks to Bring It Home Baseball, 6 Wesson St., Springfield 01108, or by contacting

NewBaseballAnother Massachusetts author connection ran this review/profile on Baseball in the Bay State by Kevin Larkin.

NewBaseballFollowing the Mo’ne Davis Little League craze, the New York Post ran this piece asking “Will a woman ever play in the Major Leagues?” Knowing the tabloid as I do, I’m thinking all they care about is getting a wardrobe malfunction. Kudos to Davis, though, for her ceremonial first pitch at Dodger Stadium:

NewBaseballChippewa Falls author Joe NieseThe Eau Claire (Wisc.) Leader Telegram did this profile on Joe Neise, author of Burleigh Grimes: Baseball’s Last Legal Spitballer.

NewBaseballThe Cleveland Plain Dealer website ran this profile of Russel Schneider, author of several sports titles including last his 630-page encyclopedia of the Tribe’s top players called “Cleveland Indians Legends,” published in 2013.

NewBaseballPut together a list of the older teams with the fewest titles about them and the Astros would be high up thereon.  Mike Vance sought to clear that up a bit with his book about baseball in Houston.

NewBaseballThis is the time of year you’re likely to hear a bit more than usual about Sandy Koufax and Hank Greenberg, two Jewish players who refused to take the field on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Hebrew calendar. Coincidentally, here are two pieces highlighting John Rosengren books that feature both icons (although the author is not Jewish). The Buffalo News ran this review about Rosengren’s Hank Greenberg: The Hero of Heroes. And this item from Deadspin’s David Davis analyzes the famous photo of Juan Marichal conking John Roseboro over the head with a bat in 1965, which is also the subject of a Rosengren book: The Fight of Their Lives: How Juan Marichal And John Roseboro Turned Baseball’s Ugliest Brawl Into A Story Of Forgiveness And Redemption. Koufax is captured in the shot by Neil Leifer, trying to help calm things down at the risk of getting hurt himself.

What Baseball's Most Famous Brawl Photo Didn't Show You

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Baseball best-sellers, Sept. 5

2014 title

Note: Just like Chuck Lorre’s “vanity cards” at the end of The Big Bang Theory, you should read these list stories to their conclusion; the end is always changing, even though the theme is basically the same, finishing up with a self-promotional message. On with the show… Here are the top ten baseball books as […]

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Sy Berger: Still the Topps

Artist profile

Sports Collectors Digest ran a nice profile on the “father of the modern baseball card,” who recently turned 91. A few years ago, Topps, seeking to nudge their way into relevance again, produced a number of videos about their work. Here’s one on Berger: Speaking of collectibles, the Miami Marlins have a Bobblehead Museum at […]

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How much is enough? (or “Enough is enough”)

"Ripped from today's headlines..."

Because you can put all this Derek Jeter memorabilia on your bookshelf… Yesterday I came across this piece on ESPN: “Yankees to wear Derek Jeter patch.” There was a lot of social media chatter about the appropriateness of this gesture. Sports fans debated whether an active player should be honored like this. Such tributes usually […]

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The Bookshelf Conversation: Josh Ostergaard

2014 title

Jealousy reared its ugly head once again when I saw the full-page review of  Josh Ostergaard‘s The Devil’s Snake Curve in The New York Times‘ Sunday book supplement in June. It brought back memories of Chad Harbach’s 2011 debut novel, The Art of Fielding, which garnered him tremendous kudos, not to mention a huge advance. (The […]

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It’s a mystery to me, sort of

2014 title

Recently read T.T. Monday’s The Setup Man: A Novel. While I found it a page-turner, it reinforced why I don’t like mysteries. I’m not a student of literature. I have no creative writing or fine arts degree. (There are no initials after my name.)  I have great respect for good writers of the genre; they […]

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Baseball best-sellers, Aug. 29

2014 title

Note: Just like Chuck Lorre’s “vanity cards” at the end of The Big Bang Theory, you should read these list stories to their conclusion; the end is always changing, even though the theme is basically the same, finishing up with a self-promotional message. On with the show… Here are the top ten baseball books as […]

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Happy anniversary, Moe Berg

Author appearance

Where does the time go? The Bergino Baseball Clubhouse will celebrate the 20th anniversary of The Catcher Was a Spy: The Mysterious Life of Moe Berg — the definitive biography of one of game’s true characters – with a program featuring author Nicholas Dawidoff on Wednesday, Sept. 10, at 7 p.m. Dawidoff’s other books include, […]

Be sociable, share the Bookshelf!
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Be sociable, share the Bookshelf!
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