This magic moment

June 29, 2015 · 0 comments

Allow me to wax nostalgic for a moment.

This entry represents post number

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Looking back, I’m amazed and grateful for a number of things the Bookshelf has brought over the years: the chance to read a lot, of course; recognition (exaggerated) as an expert on the topic; access to the numerous creative folks who have shared their time and thoughts for the Conversations. But mostly for the people I’ve met, whether virtually or in person.

Jon photo KatzKap
KaplanKreindler Trio

With Tim Wiles at the Basebzll Hall of Fame in Cooperstown

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M_AllenCom KapThorn

B3This blog also gave me the background and confidence to publish my fist book, 501 Baseball Books Fans Must Read before They Die, and the branch out to a second book, with a third in the planning stages.

And they said it wouldn’t last.

 

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Moving on

June 26, 2015 · 1 comment

Not to be maudlin or anything, but I’ve decided to get rid of the vast majority of my baseball library now, rather than leave it for my family when the time comes. It will be refreshing to have all that additional space and maybe free up the attic to me more of a man cave (or can you not have a man cave that high up?).

https://stuffjrhigherslike.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/20120323-181457.jpgA few of my Facebook acquaintances have offered to take some off my hands. And by some I mean several hundred.

This leads to a quandary, donor’s remorse if you will.

What to keep?

I know there are those who do this, but I rarely re-read anything, except if it comes to research for other projects. With so much new stuff continually published, I feel it’ something of a waste of time.

At the same time, while I’m reconciled with the decision to “divest,” I know there are some I will want to retain, such as the works of Leonard Koppett, whose titles I keep in a section I admiringly call Koppett’s Korner. Although I have never been one for collecting autographs, I also plan on keeping anything signed by the authors to me personally (as opposed to them just scribbling their name). And books about baseball writing and writers; I’ll probably keep most of them, too as I will a few anthologies, although a fair number of essays get a bit repetitive  from one volume to another. Some reference works pose a problem since they become outdated.

But I remain resolute in my goals.

Excelsior!

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Editor’s note: This twist on the popular theme of favorite baseball books comes from the Facebook Baseball Book group. A lot of interesting and surprising choices here. Different strokes for different folks. Because I don’t want the risk of lawsuits (or bodily harm), I have removed the identities of the commenters and have edited it as lightly as possible and take no responsibilities for any typos that appear here; I have enough trouble with my own work.

Relieved to see no one listed 501 Baseball among the titles.

—–

♦ Nine Sides of the Diamond. I think I finished before I got to the pitcher and catcher. Just bored by it. I’ve probably given up on fewer than 10 books in my lifetime out of thousands started, and that includes massive tomes like Shelby Foote’s Civil War.

I Never Had it Made, by Jackie Robinson. I felt he really didn’t go into much detail about his career and it was filled with politics and whatnot he second half. I stopped about a chapter after his career was over. The whole book, as far as I read had a very bitter tone to it. I understand if he was bitter about racism but I don’t wanna read something that’s bitter like that.

The Black Prince of Baseball. Dewey and Acocella took a real literary approach to the bio, and for me it was an extremely thick, plodding read that took me forever to finish.

Nails, by Lenny Dykstra. The worst baseball book ever published.

The Complete Game, by Keith Hernandez was very dry and I know some folks love it but I got bored after a while.

♦ Men at Work by George Will. It reads like a pair of bloomers from the 1800s filled with hot air. He’s neither as poetic nor as prosaic as he imagines himself to be.

♦  George Castle’s book on baseball and the media. I don’t remember much of it other than it was bad and he wrote for “The Times of Northwest Indiana.”

♦  I forget the name but it is about baseball in the Dominican Republic. It was not much about baseball history on island as it is was about the poor economic conditions that led to baseball being the only way out for those trapped on the island.

♦  The one about the Texas Rangers of the mid 70s. I think it was called Seasons in Hell. It was too much about bar hopping and not enough about the team.

♦  I found Arnold Rampersad’s bio of Jackie Robinson to be unreadable.

♦  Michael D’Antonio’s error-riddled apology for Walter O’Malley, Forever Blue.

♦  I might have tried the Will book too. He can suck the life out of any subject.

♦  Biography about Sam Rice; it was boring.

Chicken Soup for the Baseball Lovers Soul. Just too many tugs at the heart strings.

♦ My 66 Years in the Big Leagues by Connie Mack. Less of an autobiography and more of a history of baseball according to Mack.

There was a book written about Billy Hamilton a few years back. I read the whole thing but it was very repetitive. It was a 100 page book drawn out to 200 pages. I thought about stopping but I wanted to see what he did after his career was over so I decided to finish. Was very hard though. (Editor’s note: Pretty sure this refers to Josh Hamilton’s book.)

♦  One I did finish but thought was really padded was A Clever Base-Ballist, about the very interesting John Montgomery Ward.

♦ The Physics of Baseball. I am into the sciences, but did not enjoy a book with page after page explaining the physics equations explaining the impact of humidity on the flight of a baseball.

♦ Moneyball. The stuff that the A’s were/are doing that makes baseball sense was done starting right after World War I by Branch Rickey. And Rickey was a much more interesting character than Billy Beane ever could be.

Mel Ott, The Gentle Giant by Alfred M. Martin. The book is only 146 pages and the cost was $41. The first half of the book is about Mel Ott. The second half covers things such as Bobby Thomson’s home run and the Giants moving to San Francisco. Overpriced and disappointing.

♦  One of my brothers gave me Tim McCarver’s Baseball for Brain Surgeons and Other Fans. Since it was a gift from a good brother, I tried my best to get through it, but I just couldn’t take any more after a few chapters. And I’ve read my fair share of boring tomes,

♦  Pull Up A Chair by Curt Smith. I barely got through 50 pages. Poorly organized. It made little sense and did not flow at all. I was very disappointed because I wanted to read a good bio of Vin Scully.

♦ Haft and Alan’s This Is Our Time!, about the 2010 Giants. Written by two columnists desperately trying to stretch an 800-word column to book length. I still have it on my shelf, but only because it was a gift from my daughter.

Tom Lasorda’s book. I think its title was The Artful Dodger. It was just boring.

I give a second vote to Tim McCarver’s book, Baseball for Brain Surgeons. Book was too technical and difficult to read, even for a die-hard baseball fan like myself and everybody else on this site. I took Sandy Alderson’s new book out of the library, but returned it after only reading about 50 pages as it seems to be full of propaganda making Alderson sound like the best GM ever.

♦ I may have previously linked Bill James’s review of McCarver’s Baseball for Brain Surgeons and Will’s Bunts. It’s one of the best reviews I’ve ever read. He skewers both authors with his wonderful dry wit.

Bill James knows how to write about baseball. How many people could make something called The Historical Baseball Abstract an easy read from cover to cover over 1000 pages?

I may not have given it a fair shot but I found Baseball in the Garden of Eden: The Secret History of the Early Game a bit too dry for my taste. It just didn’t pull me in.

Voices of the Game by Curt Smith. A history of baseball broadcasting, which I would normally find interesting but it was way too long and detailed. Only for the diehard broadcasting history buffs. He has a book out called The Storytellers that is on the same subject and less than half the length that is on my shelf and may one day get onto my reading list.

The book about Fidrych’s bio. Written for a 5 year old. Never finished it. Expected more. His legend was exactly what baseball needed at the time and his death tragic. Maybe I should try again?

Voices of the Game was a 623-page slog but I did finish it, due to the abundance of good info and in spite of Curt Smith’s pedestrian writing. I liked the Fidrych book; he was a simple New England guy and did not need an academic tome written about him.

Calico Joe AND The Art of Fielding – both drivel

Sandy Koufax. I forget what title, but it was just filled with extraneous profanity. (Editor’s note: I have read just about every Koufax bio and can’t for the life of me figure out what this refers to. I guess “extraneous” is a relative term.)

 Sadaharu Oh: A Zen Way of Baseball is the book I am having trouble finishing. It is interesting in parts but over all I just cannot finish it.

Shawn Green’s The Way of Baseball: Finding Stillness at 95 MPH is a book that I did not finish. It did not draw me in and there were probably other “offenses”. It is a rare book,maybe only a half dozen,baseball or other that I do not finish.

 Boys of Summer. Just plain boring

 

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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. 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.

Once again, as last BBS posting, each of the top 10 titles in the Amazon rankings is a physical book. Did not see a New York Times sports list this week.

Not on the list? 501 Baseball Books Fans Must Read before They Die. As of this posting, the ranking is 340,454, up amazingly from last week’s 924,640. Must have been a rush for Father’s Day. Thank you.

Amazon has incorporated a new feature. Before they would list a book that appears in the top 100 of numerous categories and sub-categories; now it’s the top 1,000. I think I liked it better the other way. For what it’s worth 501 is currently in the top 350 (!!) for Reference/Encyclopedias & Subject Guides/Sports; Reference/Writing, Research & Publishing Guides/Publishing & Books/Bibliographies & Indexes; and Sports & Outdoors/Miscellaneous/Reference.

If you have read it, thanks, hope you enjoyed it, and please consider writing a review for the Amazon page. 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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http://hikehalfdome.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/HisMastersVoice.jpgFurther investigation uncovered another handful of unlisted chats…

Glenn Stout Dave Jamieson
Roy Berger Josh Perelman
Joe Schuster

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http://hikehalfdome.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/HisMastersVoice.jpgI was going through some old iTunes files and was startled to see how many Bookshelf Conversations — in their various iterations –  I’ve conducted over the years. It goes way beyond the oldest interview (George Vecsey) posted on the sidebar.

I’m amazed and grateful that these people took the time to chat with me, especially those masochists who’ve been on more than once (and you know who you are). Of course, I’m no Marc Maron, who bagged President Obama as his latest guest. Maybe one day… (In his interview with Terry Gross on Fresh Air, Maron said he really had to declutter his garage/studio for the presidential visit. You call this decluttering?)

Here’s a list of earlier “Conversations,” from oldest to most recent. With all due modesty, I think these have evolved nicely since my first “blogcast” in 2009. There’s a lot of experimenting with theme music, microphones, division of longer segments, etc.  I suppose I’ll eventually get around to incorporating them into the “Listen Up!”sidebar. Some of the names will be easily recognizable, others not so much, but I think it’s worth the time to click on the link. Kind of like a treasure hunt. Sadly some others are lost to history, having been produced on a previous version of the Bookshelf that is no longer accessible.

Bobby Plaplinger Brian Fox
Frank Cerisi Fritz Peterson
Sean Manning Danny Peary
Flo Thomasanian Snyder Robert Schnakenburg
Dan Epstein (Big Hair) Jason Turbow
Bill Madden Doug Glanville
Will Leitch (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) Jim Bouton
Jane Leavy (The Last Boy) Part 1, Part 2 Joseph Wallace
Richard Michelson Kostya Kennedy (56)
Matthew Silverman Ari Alexenberg
Brad Mangin Marc Ulriksen

 

In addition — and this is cheating a bit — I also recorded interviews with authors whose work I included on a separate website for my 501 Baseball Books. You can hear conversations with Marty Appel, Sean Manning, Jonathan Mayo, Howard Megdal, Tom Stanton, Peter Schilling Jr., Sean Manning, Tim WIles, Jonathan Eig, Will Leitch, Rob Fleder, and Eric Rolfe Greenberg here.

 

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Another in a series of feeble attempts to catch up on older items. You will forgive the possible occasional duplication from previous entries.

First off, well, this is kind of insulting to baseball and books.

Dodgers_Yasiel_Puig_casually_reads_a_book_in_the_dugout_-_2015-06-24_11.03.02

* Ed Lucas received a lot of attention for his recent memoir, and rightly so. I had a great conversation with his son and co-author, Chris, and had the pleasure of meeting him serendipitously at a Bergino Baseball Clubhouse event. Here are a couple of stories dealing with the senior Lucas.

* Jonah Keri, my Montreal landsman, talks about his Expos book.

* The Daily Beast posted one of those lists of “favorites” that comes out early in the season, including a novel I had never heard of before (or since). This one is fairly substantial, but to be honest, I question its spirit. The piece was posted on April 12. One of the titles included doesn’t come out until July, and knowing a bit about how the publishing industry works, I know they wouldn’t have review copies that far in advance, so I wonder how the writer favored it as one of  “The Season’s Best.” Just sayin’.

* Here’s a similar list from the Fredericksburg Free Lance Star. And one from the Dallas Morning News.

* Wicked Local Plymouth posted this suggestion for three books worth a look.

* Bob D’Angelo posts reviews frequently on the Tampa Bay Tribune site. Here’s his take on Bill Pennington‘s Billy Martin bio. And another on Cincinnati Reds Legends.

* Here’s another Martin review from the Buffalo News. The author was a guest on the Baseball as It Was podcast which you can hear here.

* In addition to books written for a younger audience, I rarely look at titles that deal with regional baseball. That;s not to say they’re not great, but there are only so many hours in the day. Here’s a review about The Appalachian League.

http://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/theredstonerocket.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/5/68/5682ef68-e8f5-11e4-b86b-53ae35731d56/5537a52262f64.image.jpg?resize=300%2C450* Here’s a fun one for me: a reassessment of the accuracy of predictions in Jack Zanger’s Major League Baseball Up-to-Date, 1965, which is a part of my collection. In fact, I have a run of these from 1962 through its numerous versions going into the early 1980s.

* This short video about “How to understand WAR“appeared on Slate.com  As someone who has not fully embraced the totality of sabermetrics because, you know, math, I don’t find this very accurate. It’s not so much how to understand WAR as why it’s important. (Note, how to understand is not the same as how to calculate.)

* Forbes published this piece about Steve Kettmann’s bio on Mets general manager Sandy Alderson.

* AL.com, an Alabama-centric site, posted “Four questions with Doug Wedge, author of ‘The Cy Young Catcher’.” I wrote about the dubious choice of title for the Charlie O’Brien book several months ago.

* Another baseball novel I had not heard of: The Mickey Mantle Murder by Walt Brown.

* Here’s a profile of W.P. Kinsella on the occasion of The Essential Kinsella, a new collection of his work.

* And a review of Gary Cieradkowski’s excellent product, The League of Outsider Baseball per the Charlotte Observer And another in the Los Angeles Times.

* Dave Davies hosted this interview with Mike Matheny, manager of the St. Louis Cardinals and author of The Matheny Manifesto, on the NPR show Fresh Air.

 

 
 

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A lot of pundits and fans have been alternately making fun of and expressing outrage over the MLB All-Star voting mechanism that had members of the Kansas City Royals ranking first for eight of nine position players (including the DH, which has no “position” other than in the batting order). It’s currently down to only seven since the Detroit Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera has passed the Royals’ Eric Hosmer at first base. The only other player outside KC is LA Angels outfielder Mike Trout.

Tyler Kepner wrote about the sorry state of affairs in today’s New York Times. All lot of commentators focus on the inclusion of second baseman Omar Infante, who is having the worst season in his 14-year career.

It is one thing for fans of a team to be excited about their players and want to see them in the starting lineup. But even the most ardent Royals fans must know that Infante has been dreadful this season.

Kepner writes

Infante had a .229 average with no home runs or stolen bases through Sunday. His on-base plus slugging percentage was .549. Only two players — Philadelphia’s Chase Utley and the Chicago White Sox’ Alexei Ramirez — had a lower O.P.S.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BuXJ_mTIUAAPRSB.jpgThe folks at MLB  are dealing with a mixed blessing: on the one hand, they have received 420 million total votes, the highest in the history of the current electoral system. It helps that each voter can cast his or her ballot up to 35 times. It hurts that those under 13 are ineligible to participate in the process.

The ASG — which will be played on July 14 in Cincinnati — has frequently been considered a popularity contest rather than something a player earns through hard work and productivity.

From Kepner

[MLB Commissioner Rob] Bowman would not address specific players, but he did say that baseball had been vigorous about detecting fraudulent email addresses. Bowman said about 20 percent of all ballots cast had been rejected. That figure, he said, is consistent with previous seasons.

If my math is correct — no guarantees — 20 percent is more than 80 million votes thrown out. That’s a chunk of change.

Great for Royals fans. Stinks for everyone else.

 

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It goes without saying that baseball is one of the more literate and literary sports. But to gauge the “education” of teams’ fans by the comments they leave on websites or via social media is a bit silly.

I don’t mean to indict an entire generation, but texting, IMs, and emails have reached a point where very few seem to care about spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Shorthand and emoticons are turning us all into Eloi.

So I take this “report” in The Wall Street Journal based on data provided by Grammarly, with a grain of salt.

Study_Finds_Which_MLB_Fanbases_Have_the_Worst_Grammar_Bleacher_Report_-_2015-06-23_14.09.11

Kind of surprised that fans from the same city would have different ratings. New York is New York, after all; it’s the same public education system. Kansas City and St. Louis are relatively far apart on the scale, as are As and Giants, who are just a bridge apart. Cubs and White Sox, on the other hand, are back-to-back.

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You know a current event has gravitas when a pop culture entity like The Daily Show or Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me includes it in its weekly program.

WWDTM referred to the recent computer hacking “scandal” by the St. Louis Cardinals in their most recent episode:

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2013/10/27/article-0-1902A13C00000578-93_634x480.jpgPETER SAGAL: All right, here, sir, is your last quote.

BILL KURTIS: Everyone involved seems to be an idiot.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: That could be said about so many things. But it was a headline from Deadspin about the hacking scandal in what sport?

GUEST: Baseball?

SAGAL: Baseball, yes.

(APPLAUSE)

SAGAL: The FBI is now investigating the St. Louis Cardinals for cybercrime. Apparently, Cardinals employees hacked into a Houston Astros executive’s computer to steal all kinds of sensitive baseball secrets. You know, secrets like hit ‘em where they ain’t. And come on, batter-batter, swing.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: It’s baseball.

LUKE BURBANK: We want a pitcher, not a belly-itcher.

SAGAL: Exactly. That was – that was…

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: That kind of information can really turn your season around. You know, spies in baseball are very strange. My name is Bonds, Barry Bonds. I don’t see it.

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: And we don’t – I mean, this is such a dumb thing to do. They left such a trail of evidence behind. It was easily – too easy to find out who had done it and why. And, you know, why did they do it? They were probably just watching a baseball game and they got bored, so…

(LAUGHTER)

SAGAL: Screwing around on the Internet, who hasn’t done that?

BURBANK: Who hasn’t committed a federal offense…

SAGAL: Yeah.

BURBANK: …Because the seventh inning is taking too long?

Aside from the simple illegality of it, I agree with Sagal. It’s not like stealing credit card information (unless that was included in the data). I mean, we’re talking baseball here. Not national defense, not the Colonel’s secret recipe. Also, if each team is doing its job, shouldn’t they pretty much all have the same scouting reports, etc.?

The New York Times ran this article by Michael Schmidt, basically saying the FBI would be difficult to identify the individual who hacked into the Houston Astros system. Really? They solve this stuff in an hour on TV.

Since I’m always curious about the deconstruction of things, especially when it comes to a market reporting on problems within its purview, here’s a piece by Dan Caesar, who writes the Media View column for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on how the initial story was covered by print and broadcast outlets across the country. A few selected quotes describing the impact of the act:

  • “If this is true, this would be a scandal of epic proportion. It’s bigger than anything. It’s bigger than ‘Spygate.’”
  • “blockbuster”
  • “The so-called Best Fans In Baseball are supporting a team that may have the Worst Employee In Baseball.”
  • “There’s certainly something to be said for a scandal like this taking down a self-righteous and, at times, delusional fan base a peg or two.”
  • “What makes the St. Louis Cardinals hacking scandal really great, aside from the fact that it involves the St. Louis Cardinals, is that it could not have happened if everyone involved hadn’t acted as stupidly as possible.”
  • “In theory if there’s a motivation to do this to a competitor in sports, then there’s a motivation for another network to do it to NBC,” Bob Costas said. “There’s a motivation for any competitor to do it to his or her competitors.”

 

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I usually speak to my guests after they’ve completed their project, so this is a bit of a departure. It’s good to shake things up once in awhile.

By the time you read this, Brad Balukjian, PhD, will be on a cross-country trek in preparation for his new book about a single pack of baseball cards.

Balukjian’s idea has him combing the country to speak with the players who appeared in a random pack of 1986 Topps cards. These are the ones he got:

WaxPack

In case you can’t read the cards, they are, in order, left to right, Rance Mulliniks, Al Cowens, Garry Templeton, Randy Ready, Gary Pettis, Jaime Cocanower, Don Carman, Vince Coleman, Doc Gooden, Lee Mazzilli, Rich Hebner, Carlton Fisk, Rick Sutcliffe, and Steve Yeager. The final card was a checklist.

http://ourenvironment.berkeley.edu/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/balukjian.jpgSo it’s Balukjian’s plan to interview each of the players, find out what they’ve been doing since they retired, etc. His travels will take him from his native California to Texas, Missouri, Massachusetts, New York, Illinois, Arizona, Connecticut, and Florida, some 10,000 miles by his estimates. (Cowens passed away in 2002 at the age of 50, so Balukjian will visit with his family.)

The author will be blogging about his adventures at Waxpackbook.com. We recently spoke about his project for a Bookshelf Conversation.

Show notes: Here’s the article about “Breaking Down the Science of the Stolen Base” in Smithsonian Magazine to which Balukjian referred.

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I tuned into the Yankee game on Friday just as Alex Rodriguez was coming to bat, looking for his 3,000th hit. Timing is everything: ARod launched a home run for the milestone. It was the third time a player hit a home run for the magic number, including former teammate Derek Jeter.

The difference is that the fellow who caught Jeter’s home run gave it back with no reservations. He was rewarded with some Yankee merch and tickets for the rest of the season. Sounds nice, but he had to bear the burden of the taxes on the “gift.”

As the cameras focused on the fan who caught Rodriguez’s shot, I thought. “Gee that guy looks familiar.” The next day I learned I was right: it was professional ball-hawk Zack Hample, whom I interviewed for NJ Jewish News in 2007.

Famous_ballhawk_snags_A-Rod_s_3,000th_hit,_won_t_return_it_-_NY_Daily_News_-_2015-06-22_10.57.13

Fan_who_caught_Alex_Rodriguez_s_3,000th_hit_not_planning_to_return_to_New_York_Yankees_player_-_2015-06-22_10.55.02So Hample is in the spotlight right now, making the rounds on sports and news shows, discussing his decision to keep the ball. Some people are okay with that, while others have been critical about his “aggressive” methods in securing the memento. (I guess Eddie Fastook was unable to convince Hample to give it up.)

Hample has made a semi-career out of being in the right place at the right time. He’s written several baseball books, including How to Snag Major League Baseballs: More Than 100 Tested Tips That Really Work; The Baseball: Stunts, Scandals, and Secrets Beneath the Stitches; and Watching Baseball Smarter: A Professional Fan’s Guide for Beginners, Semi-experts, and Deeply Serious Geeks.

I normally put up a post every Friday about the top-10 baseball best-sellers. Had a hunch, and sure enough, his Watching title is in the top 20 for baseball books.

Enjoy it while it lasts, Zack.

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Baseball Best-Sellers, June 19, 2015

2015 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 […]

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Throwback Thursday (aka, massive links dump, continued)

2012 title

Since I posted the first of these on a Thursday, which is known on social media as a time of reflection, I thought to make it a regular thing under this rubric. These are kind of fun; it’s like a box of chocolates — you never know what you’re gonna get. (Actually, I never understood […]

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Bookshelf Review: Mashi

2015 title

Mashi: The Unfulfilled Baseball Dreams of Masanori Murakami, the First Japanese Major Leaguer by Robert Fitts. University of Nebraska Press. 256 Pages, $28.95. Fitts — whose previous books on the game in the Land of the Rising Sun include Wally Yonamine: The Man Who Changed Japanese Baseball (2008) and the award-winning Banzai Babe Ruth: Baseball, […]

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Because he could put a whole lot of souvenirs on a bookshelf

"Oddballs"

I’ve often wondered about the people who negotiate to retrieve home run balls for the players, so thank you, Billy Witz  of the New York Times, for this fascinating piece about Yankees security guard/”collector” Eddie Fastook. How much leeway do you think Fastook has when negotiating for the piece of treasure? And if he considers […]

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Bookshelf Review: Strangers in the Bronx

2015 title

Strangers in the Bronx: DiMaggio, Mantle, and the Changing of the Yankee Guard by Andrew O’Toole. Triumph 304 Pages, $25.95 There has been a lot written about the “changing of the guard” when it came to the Commerce Comet replacing the Yankee Clipper, but nothing that approaches the overall depth of this bittersweet tale by […]

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Hall of Fame hosts summer author series

2015 title

The Baseball Hall of Fame will host 11 Authors Series events throughout the season, bringing noted baseball authors to Cooperstown for special lectures and book signings. Among the highlights of the 2015 Authors Series is an appearance by former major league pitcher Masanori Murakami, the first Japanese-born player in the history of major league baseball. […]

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New resource: Baseball History & Art

Baseball and pop culture

I love collecting first editions of magazines, so it was a nice surprise when I received this on Saturday, totally out of the blue  Very snazzy. The new offering from the  Helmar Brewing Company considers what publisher Charles Mandel calls “modern vintage” cards, although there’s lots of non-collectible features, too. Mike Shannon, editor-in-chief of the […]

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The Bookshelf Conversation: Rob Fitts

2009 title

Books have been written about the use of baseball as an imperialist tool by the United States. We send people to foreign countries; they bring baseball with them, and pretty soon the residents of those foreign have embraced the game to a degree even more enthusiastic than back in the good ole U.S.A. Case in […]

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