Author appearances: Just in time for the May 21 opening of the St. Paul Saints’ CHS Field, Stew Thornley is launching his new book, The St. Paul Saints: Baseball in the Capital City, at 7 p.m. April 1 at SubText bookstore, at Selby and Western avenues in St. Paul. He will also talk about his earlier book Minnesota Twins Through Memorabilia.

Author and baseball historian John G. Zinn will describe “Baseball in New Jersey 1855-1870″ on Thursday, April 9 at The Bethel in Mount Tabor in Parsippany, NJ. This free program begins at 7:30 p.m. with refreshments served starting at 7. The Bethel is located in Trinity Park across from the library. For information, call 973-975-0001

 * * *

You would need a whole lot of bookshelves to show off this collection.

* * *

http://i5.walmartimages.com/dfw/dce07b8c-105e/k2-_927e5ca6-1e4a-40d9-93c5-b0469127db18.v2.jpgJon Heyman doesn’t seem to enamored of Steve Kettmann’s new bio on Mets GM Sandy Alderson. Upshot: “On the pages of Baseball Maverick, How Sandy Alderson Revolutionized Baseball and Revived the Mets, he is a Renaissance man almost without flaw, while just about everyone else is multi-layered, textured; you know, real. Everyone else has imperfections…”

Adam Rubin echoes some similar sentiments in his piece on ESPN:

Revived the Mets?

After all, the organization has endured six straight losing seasons. Alderson has presided as general manager over the last four.

Alderson noted he is not the author. It was penned by friend Steve Kettmann, a former A’s beat writer. Alderson did grant Kettmann more than 100 interviews spanning four years.

The book is still worth reading, despite its excessively positive tone.

You can judge for yourself through some excerpts the NY Daily News recently published in parts one, two, and three.

* * *

Here’s as brief interview (with transcript) from the Charlotte, NC, NPR station with Marty Appel, work worked on 100 Years Of Who’s Who In Baseball. I guess I take for granted that each hosts is as well-versed in every subject as his or her guest, but that’s an unrealistic assumption.

 

 

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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.

So without further ado, here are the top ten baseball books as per Amazon.com, 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. http://www.knbr.com/images/featured_image/0/paired_modules/5/1422645366_stretch.pngBaseball Prospectus 2015
  2. Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, by Michael Lewis
  3. Jeter Unfiltered, by Derek Jeter (Bookshelf review here).
  4. Baseball America 2015 Prospect Handbook: The 2015 Expert guide to Baseball Prospects and MLB Organization Rankings
  5. Baseball Prospectus Futures Guide 2015, by Nick Faleris
  6. Fantasy Baseball for Smart People: How to Profit Big During MLB Season, by Jonathan Bales
  7. The Science of Hitting, by Ted Williams
  8. Championship Blood: The 2014 World Series Champion San Francisco Giants, by Brian Murphy
  9. 100 Years of Who’s Who in Baseball, by Douglas Lyons (Bookshelf review here)
  10. The Mental Game of Baseball: A Guide to Peak Performance, by H.A. Dorfman

Still heavy on the coaching and fantasy baseball prep titles. The World Series title seems an anomaly; most of those are scooped up immediately after the fall classic for nostalgia and/or gifts.

Here’s the March list of New York Times sports best-seller list (10 plus 10 more). Jeter Unfiltered drops to nine with no other baseball titles in the top 20.

Not on either list? 501 Baseball Books Fans Must Read before They Die. Ya’ll are gonna do something about that, right? Just one or two purchases can move a book up a couple hundred thousand spots.

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://1.gravatar.com/blavatar/d412a17bb08deeea7d29244570a4ec1e?s=200That’s what Jonah Keri, author of Up, Up, and Away: The Kid, the Hawk, Rock, Vladi, Pedro, le Grand Orange, Youppi!, the Crazy Business of Baseball, and the Ill-fated but Unforgettable Montreal Expos, will be doing in a book tour that will see him in Montreal, Toronto, and Pembrooke, the last of which will take place on Monday, April 6, at the Knights of Columbus Hall at 7 p.m.

See here for more info.

 

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http://www.logopub.net/data/thumbnails/7/FORBES.pngForbes Magazine looks at baseball from a mostly financial point of view. Although I haven’t seen a stand-alone print edition for many years, they bstill do an above-average job of covering the game for a non-sports publication.

Among the preview/review articles recently posted:

  • MLB Worth $36B As Team Values Hit Record $1.2B Average
  • The best fans in baseball
  • The All-Stars To Keep Off Your Fantasy Team
  • Baseball’s highest paid players
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Just received the revised edition of The Hidden Game of Baseball: A Revolutionary Approach to Baseball and Its Statistics by John Thorn and Pete Palmer. Quite looking forward to it after I finish several New York-centric books for a feature for Bookreporter.com. (The original edition is included in 501 Baseball Books Fans Must Read before They Die.)

If you know anything at all about me, it’s that I have an aversion to math (and baseball fiction). Which is a paradox, since I excelled in it at school. The intervening years have not been kind to my computational/analytic abilities. When it comes to baseball, I think this is due to an inability to just shut up and accept the various formulas used to arrive at the metric in question. I mean, I can do the math, as it were, but I get hung up on how the creators of these things decide that it should be — and I’m making this up — A= (.75 x 3) + (B/4), rather than (.55 x 3) + (B/8). Overthinking; it’s a curse. As that eminent philosopher Tim McCarver said, “You think long, you think wrong.”

Nevertheless, I think I speak for a lot of readers when I say I’m anxious (in a good way, not a fearful way) to see how the authors have either stuck to their guns since the book was originally published a generation (30 years) ago or evolved as new information has been accepted into the statistical vernacular.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/519vPMdG2sL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg http://tmm.chicagodistributioncenter.com/IsbnImages/9780226242484.jpg
That was then… This is now

.

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http://www.barbaragregorich.com/images/Slide%20Show/BG%20Bookshelf.JPGIn honor of Women’s History Month, I wanted to pay tribute to that demographic of fans and athletes and could think of no one better than Barbara Gregorich to weigh in on the topic.

Gregorich is the author of Women at Play: The Story of Women in Baseball (which is included in 501 Baseball Books Fans Must Read before They Die) as well as the novel She’s on First and the young adult book, Jack and Larry: Jack Graney and Larry, the Cleveland Baseball Dog.

We spoke about the past, present, and future of women and the national pastime.

Other items by and about women include:

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Over the past few years, I have become extremely interested in the subject of memory. There have been many theories about exactly what memory is, but the most prevalent seems to be that it fades over time, and even that the more you try to remember, the less accurate it becomes, like making photo copies of photo copies. Several movies and TV shows have used this as a theme, most recently The Affair, which examined a story from a “he recalls/she recalls” point of view. The truth, “they” say, is somewhere in the middle (is it really? the exact middle?).

Several years ago I did some posts based on Moose Skowron‘s appearance on the  NPR show, Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me (more on that here and here). I have always been fascinated by the ability of athletes to recall minute details about specific games, such as the weather, the pitch, who was playing where, etc. But thanks to sites like Retrosheet and Baseball-Reference, the majority of game information is now documented, making it difficult — if not impossible — to fudge. In many cases, I’m willing to allow that the person telling the story has no evil intentions; it may very well be that that’s the way s/he remembers events.

Why do I bring all this up? I forget. No, just kidding.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51mZUV1Uu%2BL._AA160_.jpgI recently read Phil Pepe’s latest release, Yankee Doodles: Inside the Locker Room with Mickey, Yogi, Reggie, and Derek. It’s a sweet little book reminiscing about his years covering the team as a beat writer. The chapter about Reggie Jackson in particular caught my attention.

We have heard several versions of what transpired on June 18, 1977, in a nationally televised game against the Boston Red Sox. Yankees manager Billy Martin, displeased with the way Reggie Jackson went after a soft fly ball in right field, replaced him in the middle of an inning, leading to an altercation between the two in the dugout that was caught on camera. Pepe recounts Martin’s and Jackson’s sides of the proceedings and adds his own reaction. Is anyone lying outright? Or are they just offering their story as they remember it? http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51pmykqaSYL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgJackson wrote about it at length in his most recent memoir, Becoming Mr. October (2013), in which he raises the specter of racism a lot. I find it uncomfortable to challenges his assertions, or anyone who claims discrimination of religion, ethnicity, or other characteristics. That doesn’t mean they might not be hypersensitive, imagining slights when none are intended, or just plain wrong. (That section is available for perusal via a “look inside” on the book’s Amazon page.) Jackson also published a memoir in 1984, but I don’t have that handy nor do I remember (!) what he said about the events in the Boston game in that one.

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/513D2JSmafL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgOf course, Martin died in 1989, so we can’t ask him now what he recalls of that day. NY Times‘ writer Bill Pennington is about to release his major opus, Billy Martin: Baseball’s Flawed Genius. I looked through the review copy but couldn’t find that much detail about it at first glance (544 pages). It strikes me that such an incident would be a major event in Martin’s managerial career but maybe I’m wrong, in the “grand scale of things.”

Point is, Jackson was there. Martin was there. So were other Yankee players and coaches. Pepe was not; he could only observe from afar and interview afterwards. Participant versus witness.

But even being a participant is no guarantee of being able to offer the “one true” version of events.

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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.

So without further ado, here are the top ten baseball books as per Amazon.com, 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. 100 Years of Who’s Who in Baseball, by Douglas Lyons (Bookshelf review here)
  2. Baseball Prospectus 2015
  3. Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, by Michael Lewis
  4. Baseball America 2015 Prospect Handbook: The 2015 Expert guide to Baseball Prospects and MLB Organization Rankings
  5. The Science of Hitting, by Ted Williams
  6. The Mental Game of Baseball: A Guide to Peak Performance, by H.A. Dorfman
  7. The Baseball Drill Book (The Drill Book Series), American Baseball Coaches Association
  8. 2015 Baseball Forecaster: An Encyclopedia of Fanalytics, by Ron Shandler
  9. Jeter Unfiltered, by Derek Jeter (Bookshelf review here).
  10. Coaching Youth Baseball the Ripken Way, by Cal Ripken Jr.

Still surprised how well Who’s Who is doing. I keep waiting for people to catch on, but perhaps the basic wrap-up for each season is sufficient for most readers.

Again the selections are heavy on the coaching aspects again as schools and youth teams gear up for real. Hope the weather is better where they are than where I am.

I also feel like saying that Ball Four is frequently in the top 10 overall, but as an e-book. Unlike Moneyball, which is still widely available in print form,  I guess the same is not the case for Bouton’s classic.

Here’s the latest monthly (March) New York Times sports best-seller list (10 plus 10 more). Jeter Unfiltered drops to nine with no other baseball titles in the top 20.

Not on either list? 501 Baseball Books Fans Must Read before They Die. Ya’ll are gonna do something about that, right?

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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MLB saves some trees

March 19, 2015 · 0 comments

http://a.espncdn.com/photo/2015/0318/mlb_asball_cr_600x600.jpgI still have a few of these hanging around the house.

MLB has decided to eliminate the paper ballots available at ballparks (and retail outlets? Have they still been doing that over the past few years?) and have fans vote for their favorite All Stars via electronic devices.

Perhaps they were worried about hanging chads? Who knows?

Of course, the one-person, one-vote concept was never a thing when it came to the All-Star Game. In 1957, several members of the Cincinnati Reds were voted onto the National league squad with accusations of shenanigans flying all over the place.

I usually don’t like to use Wikipedia as a source, but I think they have it pretty well covered:

Cincinnati Redlegs voting controversy

When fan voting to determine the game’s starters was completed, seven Cincinnati Redlegs players (Ed Bailey, Johnny Temple, Roy McMillan, Don Hoak, Frank Robinson, Gus Bell and Wally Post) had been elected to start in the All-Star Game; the only non-Redleg elected to start for the National League was St. Louis Cardinal first baseman Stan Musial. Most baseball observers agreed that while the Redlegs were known to be a great offensive team with many outstanding position players, they did not deserve seven starters in the All-Star Game.

An investigation launched by CommissionerFord Frick found that over half of the ballots cast came from Cincinnati, with the Cincinnati Enquirer printing up pre-marked ballots and distributing them with the Sunday edition of the newspaper to make it easy for Redlegs fans to vote often for their favorite players, while stories emerged of bars in Cincinnati refusing to serve alcohol to customers until they filled out a ballot.

Frick appointed Willie Mays of the New York Giants and Hank Aaron of the Milwaukee Braves to substitute for Bell and Post, and to strip the fans of their voting rights; Bell was kept as a reserve, while Post was injured and would have been unable to play in any event. Managers, players, and coaches picked the entire team until 1970, when the vote again returned to the fans, and to avoid a repeat of this incident, MLB officials evenly distributed the 26 million ballots to 75,000 retail outlets and 150 minor and major league stadiums, while a special panel was also created to review the voting.

The franchise was called the “Redlegs” for a few years because, you know, communists.

The new method was the subject of a Pardon the Interruption segment, in which cohost Michael Wilbon came on perhaps a bit too strong about the demographic of those who would sit around the computer in their mothers’ basements and pump out vote after vote, in effect stuffing the virtual ballot box.

And here’s another take, by ESPN.

I’m all for greening things up, but still, it’s kind of sad. Bye-bye, ballots.

http://dy.snimg.com/story-image/3/29/308780/308780-330-0.jpg

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Submitted for your interest from another semi-regular scan of new titles.

It may seem unfair, but I do tend to judge e-books by their cover, especially when they are offered only in that format. It’s an indication of the time and effort the author/publisher puts into the project. Similarly, I’m basing my opinions strictly on the quality of the sample offered. Some are longer than others; I’m not sure who makes those decisions. Comments here refer only to the Kindle editions (as opposed to other e-book versions); the use of additional information, photos, etc., may or may not be different from the print edition. Prices reflect latest from Amazon for ebook and full price/Amazon discount for print.

https://pursuitofpennants.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/pursuit.jpgIn Pursuit of Pennants: Baseball Operations from Deadball to Moneyball, by Mark Armour and Daniel Levitt. A thorough report on who does what and how well in baseball’s front office structure. Extra points for dedicating the book to Leonard Koppett, one of my favorites.

Sample size: Introduction, one chapter.
Table of contents? Yes.
Would I read the rest? Yes, but based on the topic, not because my interest was piqued by the sample.
Price: $19.22 vs. vs. $34.95 MSRP/$24.89 Amazon
Worth the price? Yes.

The 2015 Prospect Digest Handbook by Joseph Werner. A substantial sampling bodes for those into speculating in fantasy baseball futures, but as someone who does not indulge perhaps I’m not the right person to judge the info available here. Also, are there really that many “prospects” or am I just not understanding the definition of the word? Because technically, isn’t just about anyone a “prospect?” I was always under the assumption that it was reserved for those who had the best chance to make it to the Majors. Maybe there’s a “best of the best” (as in “Breakout” players).

Sample size: “An Introduction to CAL” (comparison and likeness); “Ranking the Top 250 Prospects (1-100)”; “Ranking the Top 250 Prospects (101-200)”; “Ranking the Top 250 Prospects (201-251)”; “Ranking the Farm Systems”; “The Top 25 Breakout Prospects for 2015″; “Organizational Analysis”
Table of contents? No
Would I read the rest? No
Price: $7.99 vs. $14.99 MSRP/$12.99 Amazon
Worth the price? Generally, yes.

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/61asKcAt8GL._UY250_.jpg512, by Ralph Pelusoi. Ya’ll know how I feel about reviewing fiction. It’s usually a no-win situation. So I’ll just offer the blurb from the Amazon page:

“George Herman “Babe” Ruth is widely regarded as the most recognized American sports icon. In 1902 at age 7 disheartened parents abruptly delivered him to an “orphanage”. Called incorrigible” his father coldly turned and walked away. Emotionally scarred Ruth forever craved acceptance. Painfully he mistook the exploitation of his talents for emotional bonding. Decades later his emotional void finally filled by the love of a strong and determined woman. At the turn of the 20th century, popular American sports had fallen prey to the evil influence of gamblers, baseball was not immune. In a game controlled by mean spirited and cheap owners, players were the real victim: chattel tossed aside when no longer having purpose. Impoverished players easily lured into the web of deceit. In 1903 with the advent of the World Series, the stakes increased. Players had big paydays altering the outcomes. Baseball’s little secret hidden until 1919 when news shocking the nation broke. The World Series was fixed! Enter a self-serving and biased federal judge handed absolute power to save the crumbling sport. He looked for help in the one player unapproachable by gamblers. In Ruth, Landis found a perfect and unsuspecting accomplice for control over every aspect of baseball. Ruth, with popularity soaring, was not controllable. A second scandal erupts in 1926 threatening to end the Landis grip on baseball. Never more fragile, the game was on the precipice to status as another corrupt sport. Landis looked to Ruth once again. This time Ruth wanted assurances about his future. This is the remarkable journey of Ruth’s assault on the baseball record book including his attempt to surpass the unreachable record of 511 wins as pitcher. He meets an assortment of unique characters and experiences colorful events; leading to a dramatic showdown with his chief adversary, Commissioner Landis.”

‘Nuf said.

Sample size: Five chapters, enough to make a decision about whether you want to go the distance.
Would I read the rest? No
Price: $6.99 vs. $29.99 MSRP/$26.99 Amazon (664 pages)
Worth the price? Kindle, perhaps; print? No offense to Mr. Peluso, but I wouldn’t pay $29.99 for any novel, regardless of author or length.

Understanding Fantasy Baseball – No Longer Just for Nerds, by Jason Johnson. With the dozens of FB books out there, how does one pick? I would go for something that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Hard to tell by the brevity of the sample, but this seems to be a decent primer.

Sample size: Introduction, one chapter
Table of contents? Yes.
Would I read the rest? Maybe.
Price: $4.99; no print edition
Worth the price? Probably

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/912EQQS08IL._SL1500_.jpgG I Had Fun: Visiting the Troops in World War II by the “Clown Prince of Baseball”, by Al Schacht. Kudos to the publisher for bringing back this little classic. Schacht was a pitcher for the Washington Senators from 1919-21, retiring due to injury. But he was one of the game’s “colorful characters” and a great storyteller. Granted, you have to accept it as a product of its time, but certainly worth the price.

Sample size: Introduction, one chapter
Table of contents? Yes
Would I read the rest? Yes
Price: $2.95 vs. out of print/used prices (from $3.88 on Amazon)
Worth the price? Absolutely

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There are a handful of publishing houses that are known for their baseball titles. A few that come to mind immediately are Triumph, University of Nebraska Press, and McFarland. But none of these are exclusively engaged in baseball.

https://fbcdn-profile-a.akamaihd.net/hprofile-ak-frc3/v/t1.0-1/c17.0.160.160/p160x160/1383857_605810916133617_1369569183_n.jpg?oh=8fc188ab5c8dce50d1f8af4065df8354&oe=55759BC5&__gda__=1435092310_bebc4f530190c6d44e9662eccc0e6b44Summer Game Books, a New Jersey enterprise founded by Walter Friedman, is such an outfit. In addition to bringing back some old favorites from established writers such as Peter Golenbock, Charles Alexander, and Neal Karlen, Summer Game Books gives a voice to new authors like 16-year-old Matt Nadel, who recently released his baseball history written for his contemporaries in an attempt to reinvigorate the game for young fans.

I spoke with Freidman recently about the challenges of starting up such a project.

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bbiconCurt Smith, author of several fine volumes about baseball broadcasters and broadcasting, offers this nostalgic essay on “Spring training: Baseball’s Brigadoon” in the Irondequoit Post.

bbiconPublishers Weekly published their annual list of new baseball topics. Unfortunately, it’s only available to subscribers. I’ll see if I can find an end-around at some point. “Spring inevitably means a new roster of baseball books, but there are also a few curveballs this season,” they tease. Wonder what the heck that means. Usually when you say something is a curveball it’s not meant in a pleasant connotation.

bbiconhttp://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51nSPnseTEL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgFrom CapitalkCity.com, this piece on Steve Kettmann’s new title about NY Mets’ general manager Sandy Alderson. I received a copy but haven’t gotten to it yet, but on first impression, the title — Baseball Maverick — seems erroneous. When I think of a “maverick,” it’s usually someone like Bill Veeck (or even his son, Mike), someone who’s an innovator. All due respect, the Mets have followed a pretty conservative path during Alderson’s tenure. A portion of that has to do with their part in the Bernie Madoff fiasco, but when life gives you lemons, what do you do? You don’t hold onto them, you use them. Great, now I’m thirsty.

On second thought, I’m reconsidering my first impression. Alderson has done good work prior to joining the Mets and they have put together an interesting farm system that has produced some talent that has the potential to produce over the next few years. It’s that hesitation I have that may temper my enthusiasm until the actually win more than 50 percent of their games.

bbiconHere’s a glowing review of Carl Johnson’s new title, From Beers to Beards in the Sanford News. Upshot: “It’s a book that is nearly impossible to put down and is one of the best baseball books I’ve ever read.” And a positive, though more sedate one, from Gapersblock.com on Joe Black: More than a Dodger.

bbiconhttp://a.espncdn.com/charts/2015/0308/SIG_whoswho.pngWhile this doesn’t really address Doug Lyon’s 100 Years of Who’s Who in Baseball, ESPN’s Mark Simon does celebrate the publication’s 100th anniversary. (I still don’t understand why baseball-reference — or any other on-line provider — doesn’t or can’t include historical injury information. I would find it fascinating to see who missed how much time for what reason. Just sayin’.)

bbiconI‘ve kept loose journals  about my work on 501 as well as a more thorough one for my forthcoming history of the Maccabiah Games, but nothing like this simple step-by-step piece by John Sickels for his 2015 Baseball Prospect Book. This was posted March 8, so I’m not sure where things stand as of this posting.

bbiconAs you know, I’m not much on baseball fiction, but i am a big fan of the work of Troy Soos, author of the Mickey Rawlings series, the latest of which is The Tomb That Ruth Built. If you like historical fiction and old-tyme baseball, this is a no-brainer. Here’s a nice profile on the author from the Osceola News-Gazette.

bbiconAuthor events: Rob Goldman and John Klima will talk about their baseball books from 8 to 9 p.m. on Monday, March 30, at the Grant Brimhall Library, 1401 E. Janss Road, Thousand Oaks. Goldman’s latest is a biography ab out Nolan Ryan; Klima’s The Game Must Go On: Hank Greenberg, Pete Gray and the Great Days of Baseball on the Homefront in WWII releases in May.

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Lest we forget: Al Rosen

"Oddballs"

The 1953 unanimous MVP selection (the first time that had ever occurred) passed away Friday at the age of 91. To my mind, Al Rosen was the last of his generation, a Jewish ballplayer who grew up a  time when anti-Semitism was still fairly prevalent, less so than Hank Greenberg but more so than Sandy […]

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An early Happy Pi Day to you all!

"Oddballs"

Because tomorrow is 3-14-15…   Be sociable, share the Bookshelf! Tweet

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Hey, Will Ferrell, it’s been done.

"Oddballs"

Skip to 2:20… Be sociable, share the Bookshelf! Tweet

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Baseball Best-Sellers, March 13, 2015

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. So without further ado, here are the top ten baseball books as […]

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Teen author seeks to increase interest in baseball

2014 title

Note: Wrote a version of this one for the March 12 issue of New Jersey Jewish News. * * * Major League Baseball bigwigs worry that the game is losing young fans at a rapid pace.  Among the issues are games that are just too long, lasting more than three hours and potentially lasting past […]

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Baseball predictions are created in a Cocoon

Analytics

This is the time of year when preseason predictions are all the rage. You can pretty much find them anywhere — ESPN, CBS Sports, Yahoo sports, etc., not to mention the gazillions of fantasy sites. I’ve maintained the problem with such prognostications is they are prepared in/for a vacuum, a situation where everything goes according […]

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“I’d like to buy a vowel.”

"Oddballs"

Because these could fit on a bookshelf if it was big enough. Reggie Jackson is auctioning off “the 10-foot-high letters that spelled “YANKEE STADIUM” near the edge of the roof for 32 years after the renovated stadium opened in 1976.” Jackson purchased the letters when the Stadium closed down after the 2008 season. Of course […]

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Blast from the past: Baseball Digest, March 1967

"Oddballs"

In addition to the thousands upon thousands of baseball cards, Bob had a handful of baseball publications, most of them pertaining to fantasy baseball with a few Bill James Abstracts thrown in. This caught my I so I asked for it. More than any other issues, I think I enjoyed the March edition of Baseball […]

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