The Cubs visited the White House today. How cool is it that the president is one of their own?

In what President Barack Obama said was “the last official event at the White House in my presidency,” the avowed White Sox fan was treated to quite a number of gifts from the World Series champion Cubs, including a “OBAMA 44” jersey, a #44 Wrigley Field scoreboard panel, a “W” flag signed by the entire team, and a lifetime pass for him and his family to Wrigley, which he noted said “NON TRANSFERABLE, to general laughter.

Cubs GM Theo Epstein issued a “pardon” to Obama for rooting for the cross-town Sox.

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Been busy finalizing my forthcoming book, Hank Greenberg in 1938: Hatred and Home Runs in the Shadow of War, which has severely reduced my Bookshelf time. (Even got my first blurb! Very cool.) So in attempt to play catch-up…

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http://www.hitnrun.us/wp-content/uploads/MLK-Day.jpgMonday at 9 a.m.

From the posting by the Hall of Fame

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is not only for celebration, remembrance, education and tribute, but above all a day of service. Join us as we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day through guided tours and museum programs, and learn about Hall of Famers Roberto Clemente, Jackie Robinson and others that emulate Dr. King’s service and humanitarianism.

Here’s a look back at the Bookshelf post from last year.

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

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

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

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

  1. attachment_780867662017 Baseball Forecaster: & Encyclopedia of Fanalytics by Ron Shandler
  2. Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, by Michael Lewis
  3. Baseball Prospectus 2017
  4. Sports Illustrated Chicago Cubs 2016 World Series Champions Commemorative Issue
  5. The Natural, by Bernard Malamud
  6. Catapult Loading System: How To Teach 100-Pound Hitters To Consistently Drive The Ball 300-Feet, by Joey Myers *
  7. One Shot at Forever: A Small Town, an Unlikely Coach, and a Magical Baseball Season, by Chris Ballard
  8. The Arm: Inside the Billion-Dollar Mystery of the Most Valuable Commodity in Sports, by Jeff Passan
  9. The Matheny Manifesto: A Young Manager’s Old-School Views on Success in Sports and Life, by Mike Methany
  10. The Glory of Their Times: The Story of the Early Days of Baseball Told by the Men Who Played It (Harper Perennial Modern Classics), by Lawrence Ritter

* Making its debut on the Bookshelf Best-Seller List

Looks like the honeymoon is over for Cubs-loving readers. Now it’s time to prepare for the upcoming season, as evidence by the Forecaster, Prospectus, and System, a self-published book designed for younger players. And some old favorites are back: Manifesto, The Arm, and TGOTT.

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

Hot New Releases

  1. 2017 Baseball Forecaster
  2. Baseball Prospectus 2017
  3. A book about athletic training that features a baseball player on its cover but is not, by my accounting, an actually baseball book.

Most Wished For

  1. Moneyball
  2. Sports Illustrated Cubs edition
  3. Baseball Prospectus

NY Times monthly sports Best-Sellers list: the Cubs book put out by MLB is #11. No other baseball title unless you want to include Joe Buck’s Lucky Bastard (which I don’t. By the way, and not that I care, but doesn’t a title like that get him banned from places like WalMart?).

Not on either the Amazon or Times‘ lists? 501 Baseball Books Fans Must Read before They Die. Today: 1,316,749; last week: 1,177,424. Wrong way, folks. My forthcoming Hank Greenberg in 1938: Hatred and Home Runs in the Shadow of War ranks 1,011,885.

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

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I had to go to my local library site to renew some stuff and saw this:

screen-shot-2017-01-07-at-11-44-14-am

Also someone stopped by the house to have me sign a copy of 501 Baseball Books. That hasn’t happened for awhile. Sweet.

 

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If you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you know I have an aversion to hyperbole. Words like “greatest” or “best” or “ever” or “forever” have always raised a red flag for me because the majority of the time, they’re not.

It may be unfair because I haven’t read this one save for a sample of Amazon. But that was enough to know Innings Through Time isn’t for me.

The 2007 novel by Chris Valenti was released by Tate Publishing & Enterprises, which is categorized as a Christian vanity press.

Why am I being so harsh on a book I haven’t read? Maybe the back cover text has something to do with it.

http://www.greatestbaseballstory.com/images/SiteBackjpg.jpg

 

I think any reader of baseball literature would agree that most of the comparisons are very bold, if they are indeed meant seriously. Like I said, not having read it, this could be a parody, but I doubt it. Who is making these claims? Independent reviewers? The author? Tate’s publicity department? (They say they are “proud to present” the book. Is that how they decide on their publishing agenda? Whether a project makes them proud?) But for me the kicker is “Ten Times More Mystical than ‘Field of Dreams‘? How can you possibly quantify that? Then there’s “Until now…no one has ever written the definitive baseball story.” What does “definitive” mean?

If anyone out there has read Innings Through Time and wishes to tell me I’m full of it, please do.

 

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

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

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

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

  1. index2017 Baseball Forecaster: & Encyclopedia of Fanalytics by Ron Shandler
  2. Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, by Michael Lewis
  3. Sports Illustrated Chicago Cubs 2016 World Series Champions Commemorative Issue
  4. Baseball Prospectus 2017
  5. 42 Faith: The Rest of the Jackie Robinson Story, by Ed Henry
  6. The Natural, by Bernard Malamud
  7. The Science of Hitting, by Ted Williams and John Underwood
  8. Do You Want to Work in Baseball?: Advice to aquire employment in MLB and mentorship in Scouting and Player Development, by Bill Geivett *
  9. The Greatest Baseball Stories Ever Told: Thirty Unforgettable Tales from the Diamond, by Jeff Silverman
  10. Won for the Ages: How the Chicago Cubs Became the 2016 World Series Champions, by the Chicago Tribune via Triumph

* Making its debut on the Bookshelf Best-Seller List

Glad to see some old favorites have returned to the fold in The Natural and The Science of Hitting. New to the list is Geivett’s job search title. From the book’s page:

Do you want to know the process of acquiring employment in MLB? Have you wondered how baseball scouts evaluate players? Do you want to know more about professional baseball Player Development? Bill Geivett draws on his 28 years of experience in professional baseball to answer these questions. He offers his insights from his time as a player, scout, and front office executive. Do You Want to Work in Baseball? is more than a “how to” description of details to remember. It is filled with Bill’s real-life lessons learned from the varied roles he has held for Major League Baseball Clubs including the California Angels, New York Yankees, Montreal Expos,Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Los Angeles Dodgers, and the Colorado Rockies. For anyone who desires a career in Major League Baseball or any professional sport, as well as, athletes, parents, and fans, Do You Want to Work in Baseball? is a unique practical look into a world that only a few have seen first-hand. This book details the necessary preparation and extensive work required to attain an interview or employment in today’s competitive landscape of professional sports. It also details the process of scouting younger athletes and projecting their abilities into the future. Lastly, it takes the reader into a thought-provoking look at professional Player Development and the intricate processes and perspectives involved. The book includes some colorful stories about Tommy Lasorda, Joe Madden and FP Santangelo, among others.

I generally have a lot of reservations about self-published books; there’s a tendency to promise more than they deliver but since I haven’t read this one (nor plan to), I’ll say no more.

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

Hot New Releases

  1. 2017 Baseball Forecaster: & Encyclopedia of Fanalytics
  2. Baseball Prospectus 2017
  3. Cubs 2017 Calendar

Most Wished For

  1. Sports Illustrated Cubs edition
  2. Moneyball
  3. The Only Rule Is It Has to Work

NY Times monthly sports Best-Sellers list: the Cubs book put out by MLB is #11. No other baseball title unless you want to include Joe Buck’s Lucky Bastard (which I don’t. By the way, and not that I care, but doesn’t a title like that get him banned from places like WalMart?).

Not on either the Amazon or Times‘ lists? 501 Baseball Books Fans Must Read before They Die. Today: 1,177,424; last week: 481,053. Wrong way, folks. On the plus side, the forthcoming Hank Greenberg in 1938: Hatred and Home Runs in the Shadow of War ranks 893,317, so there is that.

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

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(As in “shameless self-promotion.”) Actually yesterday would have been the perfect time as it would have been Hank Greenberg‘s 106th birthday. Considering that Tyrus Wong, illustrator for the classic Walt Disney flick Bambi, recently died at that age, it’s not outside the realm of possibility that Hammerin’ Hank could still be with us.

As you may know, my new book, Hank Greenberg in 1938: Hatred and Home Runs in the Shadow of War, is due out on April 4. As the title states, it focuses on that one season during which Greenberg was within a few long foul balls from wresting the single season home run record of 60 away from Babe Ruth. Ruth had set the mark in 1927, but there was no pressure, no competition: if he broke his former record, well and good. If not, no big deal. He was enjoying a fun ride.

But as Ruth grew into a fat old man, a new generation of sluggers — Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Rudy York, and Greenberg — were poised to usurp his place in the record books, although no one could replace him as a legendary character and the man who many credit with “saving” the game following the 1919 Black Sox scandal. Those guys felt the pressure, especially from journalists hungry for sensational story lines. And as the season wore on and time was running out, that pressure built even more.

Of course, baseball was just a minor matter compared with what was going on in Europe. Hitler was creating bigger headlines every day as he stepped up his goal of world domination. The book compares and contrasts, using Greenberg and Judaism as the focal points (not all the anti-Semites were in Germany).

Hank Greenberg in 1938 is entering the home stretch now, having gone through a couple of rounds of edits before the proofreading, followed by the bound galleys or ‘arcs’ (advanced reader copies) which will be sent to reviewers in advance of the release date.

With a couple of books in the bank, I know enough to both enjoy the bustle and excitement of the weeks ahead as well as not having grand expectations that this will wind up on the New York Times‘ best-seller list. (No false modesty, just keepin’ it real.) Anyway, it keeps me busy and from being too depressed about not having a full-time job yet.

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

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

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

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

  1. indexSports Illustrated Chicago Cubs 2016 World Series Champions Commemorative Issue
  2. 2017 Baseball Forecaster: & Encyclopedia of Fanalytics by Ron Shandler
  3. Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, by Michael Lewis
  4. Baseball Prospectus 2017
  5. The Greatest Baseball Stories Ever Told: Thirty Unforgettable Tales from the Diamond, by Jeff Silverman
  6. Won for the Ages: How the Chicago Cubs Became the 2016 World Series Champions, by the Chicago Tribune via Triumph
  7. The Arm: Inside the Billion-Dollar Mystery of the Most Valuable Commodity in Sports, by Jeff Passan
  8. Fly the W: The Chicago Cubs’ Historic 2016 Championship Season (Cubs World), by Daily Herald
  9. The Only Rule Is It Has to Work: Our Wild Experiment Building a New Kind of Baseball Team , by Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller
  10. Baseball America 2017 Prospect Handbook: Rankings and Reports of the Best Young Talent in Baseball (Feb. 2017 release) *

* Making its debut on the Bookshelf Best-Seller List

Looks like that Cubs dominance is finally starting to give way. Three of the top 10 look ahead to the new season. I wonder if the current political climate has anything to do with the need for even earlier distraction.

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

Hot New Releases

  1. 2017 Baseball Forecaster: & Encyclopedia of Fanalytics
  2. Baseball Prospectus 2017
  3. Cubs 2017 Calendar

Most Wished For

  1. Sports Illustrated Cubs edition
  2. Moneyball
  3. The Only Rule Is It Has to Work

NY Times monthly sports Best-Sellers list: Won for the Ages ranks #8 and the Cubs book put out by MLB is #15.

Not on either the Amazon or Times‘ lists? 501 Baseball Books Fans Must Read before They Die. Today: 481,053; last week: 933,963. Very good. At this rate it should be #1 in a matter of weeks.

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

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https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/516HCTBTKGL._SX318_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgThe teacher and lecturer who published The Big Book of Jewish Baseball with his son Joachim, died in Raleigh, NC, last Saturday at the age of 71.

This was one of those Jewish “reference books” I’m betting a lot of kids received as a bar mitzva or Hanukka present.

Horvitz also wrote The Big Book of Jewish Sports Heros: An Illustrated Compendium of Sports History & The 150 Greatest Jewish Sports Stars.

JNS used him as the main source for a story on “Forgotten Jewish baseball players” in 2012.

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Looking for baseball pics on Netflix? Type this in after you sign in and it will take you right there:

https://www.netflix.com/browse/genre/12339

You’re welcome.

screen-shot-2016-12-26-at-6-29-19-pm

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https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51FuzMhKUsL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_.jpgI don’t know for sure, but I’m guessing you can count the number of baseball books that get a review in Scientific American on one hand. But here you go: their take on Brian Kenny’s Ahead of the Curve: Inside the Baseball Revolution.

Since baseball is a metaphor for life, writer Steve Mirsky compares some of the sport’s philosophy with things not usually associated with the national pastime.

Kenny’s description of information availability and decision making in baseball as a microcosm of the larger problem that a wide array of human enterprises face: insisting on remaining stupid when becoming smarter is an option.

My Bookshelf Conversation with Kenny wasn’t nearly so intellectual. My fault, of course.

(Actually a search of “baseball” on the SA site returns almost 1,000 hits.)

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Baseball Best-Sellers, December 23, 2016

"Annuals"

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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The Bookshelf Conversation: Jon Leonoudakis

2016 title

If I had the wherewithal, I think I’d be doing something like Jon Leonouakis‘ streaming TV show, The Sweet Spot: A Treasury of Baseball Stories. I mean, he interviews people, I interview people. But as the saying goes, “Show me, don’t tell me,” and as a veteran filmmaker, he’s the man behind several well-crafted baseball […]

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They used to cost a penny…AND you got free gum

"Oddballs"

This story from The New York Times about the baseball card hobby goes from A (Jeff Aeder, aka the prospective buyer) to Z (Guy Zinn, the rare item in question). It also comes on the heels of a discovery I had in my attic while looking for books to donate to the nearby Yogi Berra […]

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You can make anything connect if you try hard enough

"Ripped from today's headlines..."

According to this piece from the Washington Post, there’s a “book about baseball that explains Donald Trump’s win.” And that book is… Drum roll, please… Moneyball. Really. Writer Sonny Bunch compares Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane’s attempt to win games as cheaply as possible with Trump’s victory in the presidential elections. If there’s anything […]

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Baseball Best-Sellers, December 16, 2016

2016 title

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

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Does very late news qualify as fake news?

Newspapers

Because it’s not really news now, is it? So how should we respond when we read that Kevin Pillar, the outstanding defensive outfielder for the Toronto Blue Jays, was injured and placed on the 15-day disabled list. Yes, he was — in August. But this story in the Ottawa Citizen story carries a December 14 […]

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Author appearance: Not Ralph Terry

2016 title

Chagrined to say I didn’t even know he had written a book, but Right Down the Middle: The Ralph Terry Story was published on October. Fitting because Terry gave up one of the most famous home runs in baseball history in that month to Bill Mazeroski in the 1960 World Series. Terry will not be […]

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What took so long? (Cubs’ David Ross pens book)

2017 Title

Admit it, baseball book fans: haven’t you been wondering when someone on the Cubs would publish a book? I man, it’s December already. So thank you David Ross for stepping up and being the first. According to FOXSports.com, Hachette Books will release “Teammate: My Life in Baseball” next May 9. Co-written by Don Yaeger, a longtime […]

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