Category: Fiction

Odds and Ends – Fall 2015


Since I have been submerged in my book sorting project lately I have not had much time to post anything on here.  I figured now would be a good time to show a little something for everyone.  I am learning first-hand just how many variances are out there in the baseball book world.  If you are even a casual fan that enjoys reading, you would be hard pressed not to find something that would appeal to you.  Sometimes all you have to do is dig around and find your niche.  These books tonight may not all be new but they were new to me at one time, if you will.  So I felt they would be worthwhile to share, but fair warning this is a fairly long post.  So without further delay…………

By: Lyle Spatz-2015

By: Lyle Spatz-2015

Willie Keeler of “hit them where they ain’t” fame was one of the great players of his time.  There were many superstars of that era, but Keeler was always able to hold his own during his career.  Not as much of a household name in this day and age, but he easily was still good enough to need his own book.  Lyle Spatz has done a nice job of keeping this one interesting for the reader as well making sure you don’t get bogged down in details.  It is a very comprehensive book without being burdened by statistics and in the end feeling cumbersome.  You get a nice feel for a player from a long ago ended era.  Willie Keeler from Roman & Littlefield Publishers

By:Terry Pluto & Tom Hamilton-2014

By:Terry Pluto & Tom Hamilton-2014

Terry Pluto has a love affair with the Cleveland Indians and it is always very evident in his writing.  That is not a bad thing, but it is good to know beforehand that you will always be getting the “Homers” view of the team.  Pluto and Hamilton walk you through the first few years of Jacobs Field in a time when the town was desperate for a winner.  It really is a good feeling book that Indians fans will be glad they get to revisit.  Glory Days in Tribe Town-Gray & Co. Publishers

By: Cesar Brioso-2015

By: Cesar Brioso-2015

I think with the advent of better government relations with Cuba, this will be the first of many baseball books on this topic.  It takes an in-depth look at baseball in a time before Cuba was off-limits.  How Cubans, Americans and other nationalities all came together and played within the league.  It almost is what the current model of MLB is today.  Numerous nations becoming one on the fields for a great pennant race.  It is a very good look of an era long ago and if you have any interest in Cuban baseball history, this is the book for you.  Havana Hardball-University Press of Florida

By:Jay Martin-2009

By:Jay Martin-2009

A true baseball pioneer in every sense of the word.  Alexander Joy Cartwright is considered the father of the modern game and honestly someone I did not know all that much about.  This book takes a serious look at his life and works and puts it in a modern-day perspective.  The reader can really relate to the subject and gets a feel for what he envisioned.  With all the controversy that surrounds the invention of baseball, this one will help clarify some things for some fans.  Live All You Can-Columbia University Press

BY:Jonathan Knight-2015

BY:Jonathan Knight-2015

More entertainment than baseball, but we will include it here.  It is a behind the scenes look at a baseball movie that became a cult classic.  Maybe for some folks it’s the best of both worlds, baseball and movies?  If you really like baseball movies this would be a great sneak peek for you to see what really went on during filming.  The Making of Major League-Gray & Co. Publishers

By:Dennis Hetzel-2015

By:Dennis Hetzel-201

I will be the first to admit that I am never usually drawn to fiction.  But I did find this one interesting because of this seasons circumstances with the Chicago Cubs.  They are the topic of this book and its all about the Cubs and Red Sox making it to the World Series.  It’s a fun book that shows what great lengths die-hard fans are willing to go to get a winner.  This book hits on a lot of human nature points and is pretty accurate in the human psyche analysis.  The Cubs almost were there this year, but this book might help some of those fans make it through to he promise of next year.  Killing the Curse-Publisher Page

By:Richard Peterson-2003

By:Richard Peterson-2003

Another team with high-hopes this postseason.  This is the type of book that helps Bucs fans make it through the long, hard Pennsylvania winter as well.  It walks the reader through team history and re-lives the highs and lows of seasons past.  You may ask why do we want to remember the lows?  Because that is what makes it so great when your team finally accomplishes something.  Both players and fans have earned that win and get to celebrate it together.  Pirates fans should definitely check this one out.  Pirates Reader-University of Pittsburgh Press

By:David George Surdam-2015

By:David George Surdam-2015

This one has a ton of information for the reader in how the government treats sports leagues.  At time it can be almost overwhelming.  It does a nice job of giving the background and how its effect on future dealings with the leagues, but it is still a lot to comprehend.  This is by far not light reading and at times seems text bookish, but if you can find the will to persevere and get through it, you will be much the wiser in doing so.  Not a book for the faint of heart but still worth the effort.  The Big Leagues Go to Washington-University of Illinois Press

By:Steve Myers-2015

By:Steve Myers-2015

This is a book of short stories that shows the reader how baseball really does take hold of us.  It almost is like it becomes part of our souls and infiltrates multiple parts of our lives. Whether you love just one player, one team or the entire game itself, you will read this and be able to relate to almost all of these stories.  This one has something for all fans regardless of age and makes you realize just how important the game really is to us.  Dreaming .400-Summer Game Books

By:Omar Vizquel-2002

By:Omar Vizquel-2002

Another player autobiography by a Cleveland Indians favorite.  Vizquel comes off as a likeable guy in this one.  Nothing of great earth shattering substance included here, but an enjoyable read nonetheless.  If you are not real familiar with Omar Vizquel this gives some nice insight to him beyond just a player.  Cleveland Indians fans who were desperate for a winner before Omar, will surely enjoy this one.

Omar!-Gray & Co Publishers

By:Lew Freedman-2015

By:Lew Freedman-2015

Its obvious the Yankees have the greatest history in baseball.  This book takes the opportunity to show fans of other teams one of those aspects that is so great.  Freedman takes a look at some of the most iconic home runs in Yankee history and helps fans relive those great moments.  From Babe Ruth to Reggie Jackson and Bucky Dent, this one covers them all.

Bronx Bombers-Blue River Press

By:Mitchell Nathanson-2012

By:Mitchell Nathanson-2012

I wasn’t sure where to file this one. The author takes a look at the accepted truths within the history of the game and attempts to refute them.  It basically makes you question everything we as a society accept about our game.  It makes you wonder how much of it is true and will appeal to the conspiracy theorists in the bunch.  You make the call on this one because I am still not sure.

A People’s History of Baseball-University of Illinois Press

By:David Zang-2015

By:David Zang-2015

This is another one that is hard to explain.  The author shows the reader how sports effect every day life at all levels.  It is one mans opinion of these things and how they effect his own life.  He tells a bunch of his own stories in this book some of which he is the main character and some where he is not.  It was a little hard for me to grab hold of this one and not put it down, it definitely wasn’t what I expected, but you be the judge on it.I wore Babe Ruth’s Hat-University of Illinois Press

Happy Reading

Gregg

Fiction – Making a Strong Showing in the Baseball Book Arena


I will be the first one to admit that in the past, I wouldn’t give baseball fiction books a second thought.  They did not appeal to my nature as a baseball reader.  I felt they would be someone else’s thoughts of what events transpired in history.  Then I thought I should probably give the fiction genre a chance, because one of the reasons I started this blog was to expand my own horizons.  I have been introduced to three current fiction books that fans of this arena should really stop and take a look at.

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By:Michael John Cruit-2014

Fastball Fari tells the story of Fari Madrigal.  A 22-year old fictional character from the Dominican Republic, that has been blessed with incredible pitching skills.  She is discovered by the Minnesota Twins and embarks on a baseball career.  Due to medical issues, Fari has struggles with the fame that comes along with being a major league star.  It also intertwines story lines of a coach falling in love with her, and her struggle with ownership to get her due financially.  It shows the possibilities of problems that may exist with a woman breaking the gender line in baseball, but does show that women can do anything as well as men can.  This books release also coincided with the Mo’ne Davis media explosion in 2014, so it has a nice, although inadvertent tie in with those events.

 

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By:George Ehring-2014

Heroes In Hard Times would be considered historical fiction.  It shows the depression era and two of its biggest stars, Dizzy Dean and Satchel Paige.  It looks at the similarities between the two pitchers who were at the time were in segregated leagues and what might have been if they faced each other.  It takes a hard look of what could have happened if the best of their era faced each other and the social ramifications that would have followed.  That aspect of the book really makes you stop and ask what if.  It also mixes in some stories about the depression era and brings to life people who made our country great.  In the end it gives you a great feel of what the depression era really was like.  After reading this book you will be asking yourself the question, what events may or may not have happened that we now know as our history,  if this story were true.  Baseball and history fans will enjoy this one, because it is not overpowering in either subject and provides a nice balance that tells the story effectively.

 

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By:Liza Ketchum-2014

 

 

Out Of Left Field is fiction with an underlying baseball theme.  The story follows a boy named Brandon McGinnis whose strong bond with his father, is centered around Boston Red Sox.  Brandon’s father is killed in a car accident, and due to his death all sorts of family secretes emerge.  It is a telling story that shows a young man’s inner strength in dealing with issues that arise in his life.  Family drama’s, wars and secrets are all covered in this book and show how difficult life can really be.  It also shows how baseball can be a bond that is hard to break even after the death of a loved one.  This book actually is heavily centered outside of baseball but still should interest baseball fans because of the Red Sox tie-in and it still being a compelling story.

As baseball fans we don’t always need detailed historical accuracy, the retelling of events or even a juicy tell all autobiography.  In a game ruled by numbers the fiction market allows the hard-core baseball readers the chance to step away from details and statistics and get lost in an enjoyable story.  It can allow readers a chance to stop and smell the grass in a different way, while still keeping us on the baseball field.

You can pick up any of these books from Amazon.

http://www.amazon.com

Happy Reading

Gregg