Category: kids

Odds and Ends-Spring 2016

I figured with my extended time off to recuperate I would have plenty of time to write on my blog.  Boy was  I wrong, between needing to get up and walk around every ten minutes because I am stiffening up and the fact the the medicines keep knocking me out, I am having trouble finding the time to write, let alone read.  But, what it has done is given me the chance to look at some books that I would not always feel were the correct fit for an entire single post.  The book could be too short, it could be a coffee table book or it could be a book that doesn’t really target my audience.  These are in no way bad books, because honestly if they sucked, I wouldn’t waste the time putting them on here for everyone to look at them, but there is a format issue that doesn’t work well within my bookcase. So from time to time we do one of these multi book posts to clean up one of the shelves in the bookcase……and share some of these books to the world.  So here we go…..

Baseball’s No -Hit Wonders-More than a Century of Pitching’s Greatest Feats

By Dirk Lammars-2016


Is it me, or do no hitters seem to happen more often today then they did say thirty of forty years ago?  Has the level of play in the league diminished that much that these have become commonplace?  Lammers takes the readers through the interesting history of the no hitter and how it has played out through the history of the game. He shows the pitchers and hitters involved, no hitters that were broken up after 26 outs and all the other odd and wacky things that happened in the past to those pitchers, both lucky and good enough to even flirt with a no-no.  If your interested in the who, what, when, where and why of no-hitters you will really enjoy what this book will bring to your table.  You can get this book from the nice folks at Unbridled Books


The 50 Greatest Players in Pittsburgh Pirates History

By David Finoli-2016


These types of books are always fun.  For the one and only reason that no two people will ever agree 100 percent as to who belongs at what spot on the list. I really don’t know what the criteria is by the authors to make it on to these types of lists, but they never seem to disappoint the reader.  They always include the Hall of Famers, team superstars as well as the hometown heroes. You would also have to think they target their specified teams fan base so they are always eager to please the homers.  I had done this type of book by another author on the Pittsburgh Pirates last year and I went back to pull it out to compare.  What I found is that more then half of the players they can agree on being in the book,, but differ on where they rank.  So bottom line is if you read one of these books about your team and find another one, check it out because it may give you a different spin on the players that may be more in line with your personal rankings as well.  You can get this book from the nice folks at Rowman & Littlefield


The BUCS!-The Story of the Pittsburgh Pirates

By John McCollister-2016


Lets stay in Pittsburgh  for a second on this book.  The BUCS! takes a very brief look at the history of the Pittsburgh Pirates.  From its 19th century beginnings to its current day under field manager Clint Hurdle, this book takes an abbreviated, but fast paced look at the history in Pittsburgh.  If the Pirates are not your team and never have been in the past, this book is a great way to get a good albeit brief history from Kiner and Roberto to Bonds and McCutchen.  Its only roughly 200 pages, so even if you are familiar with Bucs history it would be a quick and easy refresher course.  You can get this book from the nice folks at Lyons Press.

The Legends of the Philadelphia Phillies

By Bob Gordon-2016



What would one of these posts be without a Phillies book?  This book, first released by Bob Gordon in 2005, compiles some of the greatest names in Phillies history and gives strong bios on each of those lucky enough to be a Phillie. It gives a great look at team history from an author that has some great ties to the team itself, through several other books he has written.  So why do you need to buy the reprint of a book released ten years ago?  It has been updated for deaths of the older players and it also has added a few Phillies superstars that became prominent in the last half of the last decade when the Phillies were on top of the world.  You can get this book from the nice folks at Sports Publishing.


The Grind-Inside Baseball’s Endless Season

By Barry Svrluga-2015


Without question, Baseball has the most grueling schedule of all the professional leagues.  Almost stretching to nine months of the year when you factor in pre and post season, it would take some sort of toll on even the strongest of personalities.  Svrluga has taken a look at this relentless schedule and the effect it has on the personal lives of those involved and how it effects almost everyone involved with a team.  It looks at varying position players , the 26th man on most rosters, travelling secretaries, spouses, kids and clubhouse attendants.  It really is an interesting look behind the scenes of the game and what those involved are willing to sacrifice to be a part of the great game of baseball. You van get this book from the nice folks at Blue Rider Press


Diamond Madness-Classic Episodes of Rowdyism, Racism and Violence in Major League Baseball

By William A. Cook-2013


William Cook’s Diamond Madness gives the reader a good look at the scary side of baseball.  When you get beyond all of the normal hero worship that comes as part of the normal territory with the game and when those things get really scary.  Fan obsessions, death threats, violence, racism, shootings and robberies are all just a part of what is shown to the readers of this book.  It is amazing how even though these are normal stories in the everyday world, they are so many times magnified just by playing baseball.  It also goes to show how much work the people behind the scenes in baseball put in to making sure nothing tarnishes the wholesomeness of the American Past-time.  I think if you check this out it will show some new perspectives to the average fan of what really goes on.  You can get this book from the nice folks at Sunbury Press.


Tales From the Atlanta Braves Dugout

By Cory McCartney-2016


I will admit it………..I love this series!   You can get whatever team you wish at this point because it seems like almost every team is available now.  You can also use it as a history lesson to brush up on all the funny stories of a team that you are not very familiar with and get a good feel for what that teams history is all about.  If you grab the book of your favorite team it is a chance to regale in all the stories you have heard time and time again and like a favorite uncle at a holiday dinner, are glad to listen to over and over.  You can get this book from the nice folks at Sports Publishing.



I See the Crowd Roar-The Story of William “Dummy” Hoy

By Joseph Rotheli & Agnes Gaertner-2014

This book is intended for a younger audience but it does provide a very deep lesson for all fans.  William Hoy was hearing impaired and never heard a single fan cheer for him.  The book shows how Hoy overcame his disability and made the best if it as well as keeping up a positive attitude during the course of events.  The book also shows the positive impact had on the function of the game and how things like hand signals that were originally implemented for Hoy alone, have become mainstays of the game generations later.  It truly is an inspiring story that younger fans should be made aware of so they have a complete baseball education.  There is also a movie version of the book in the pipeline as well.  You can get this book from the nice folks at the lil-red-foundation.


Black Baseball, Black Business-Race Enterprise and the Fate of the Segregated Dollar

By Roberta Newman & Joel Nathan Rosen-2014


In baseball nothing is ever as simple as it seems.  This book takes a look at how the integration of baseball, while a great thing on the civil rights front, created waves that destroyed black economies in the larger cities that were homes to Negro League Teams.  It is a really interesting look at the economies of the integration of baseball on those parties that were not in any way involved in the decision making process or the game of baseball itself.  It also shows how the innocents involved were essentially destroyed by the baseball powers that were at the time pushing it as a cause for greater good.

Happy Reading


At the Ballpark – A Fan’s Companion

Baseball fans always remember their first time.  No matter what city it was in or who it was with, it is something that lasts with you your entire life.  Of course I am talking about a baseball game here and it is a special and memorable moment in every fans life.  The question I have is, do you remember all the details of your first time at the ballpark?  I know I don’t remember mine, but now there is a book that helps young fans enhance the experience of their first trip to the ballpark.

By:Kevin O'Malley and Charlie Vascellaro-2015

By:Kevin O’Malley and Charlie Vascellaro-2015

This book gives young fans the opportunity to put in writing all of their own experiences from the stadium as well as learn a few important facts about the game itself.  These facts really cover the basics about the game and some terminology they are going to hear along the way, which will help avoid some of the confusion these new fans will encounter.  It also allows these newly ordained fans the chance to write down details of the day, beyond just the game itself.  Things like how did they get there, what are the vendors selling, what are the smells you are encountering etc.  It really is a good book if you are a young first time fan and a little unsure of what to expect.

O’Malley and Vascellaro have done a really nice job with this book.  It is something the young fan will enjoy completing while going to the park the first time.  It is also something that someday that same fan when older, will look back through and cherish some of the memories contained within.  It is published in journal style and comes complete with a sharpened pencil all ready to go.  I will be honest, I appreciate the sharpened pencil because I have no idea if I even own a pencil sharpener at this point in life.  Young fans could use this the first time or even the first few times they go to a game just to chronicle their varying experiences.

This book would also be helpful for parents that have no baseball knowledge and are being dragged to a game because their kids wanted to go.  Parents and kids can learn together from this book and gain an appreciation for what they are looking at.

Baseball fans with younger kids who are learning about the game should check this one out.  It gives a lot of vital information in a small package, that will enhance the overall experience of watching the game.

You can get this book direct from the authors

Happy Reading


Back to School Time !!! A Review for the Young Fans

September 1st can mean many things.  In baseball terms it can mean roster expansion and September call-ups.  It can mean increasing excitement in a tight pennant race for some lucky fans.  It can also mean only one more month of watching your team stagger through a never-ending lack luster season.  For others it is something parents look forward to almost all summer……Back to school!  So with that thought in mind I dedicate todays review to our little fans of the future.

As Baseball fans we have a duty to Preserve our national pastime.  We are keepers of the history and should be promoting it to our younger generations.  In a generation of competing interests and time constraints we should be showing the kids why baseball is such a great sport.  Lets get them away from the X-Box and TV and back out to the ball fields and enjoying the games.  I think todays series of books allows us to get a foothold with the young generation and help them realize that baseball is out there and may be something they would enjoy.



Hello, Phillie Phanatic! By: Aimee Aryal



Mascot books has created this entire line of children’s books geared toward the young fans.  They have a specific book for almost all of the Major League teams.  These books open the door to the younger fans and allow them to explore the baseball world.  Now mind you, these are geared towards kids but they seem to be really well done.  The artwork in them is geared towards each individual team and their stadium.  The story line is very basic and somewhat generic but definitely should be enjoyed by their target audience.  These are by far not literary masterpieces but if you are under the age of eight, it’s a fun little book to read and have.


The mascot books, like the Phillie Phanatic one above, are out there for almost every team.  Now is the time, if you have a young one, to make sure they have the foundation to root for the correct team.  If you are a life long Red Sox fan, do you really want your son or daughter to grow up and become a Yankees fan?????  Now is the time to influence your child into rooting for the right team.  I also think these books have an added bonus.  If your child is young enough and learning to read, they are written on a level that may help them improve their skills.  It also gives parents and child the bonus of spending the time reading them together.

Mascot Books in this series, also has some history titles for the same audience.


Trolley Dodgers, Pinstripped Yankeesand Wearing Red Sox.  By:Jon Lindenblatt

Trolley Dodgers, Pinstripped Yankeesand Wearing Red Sox. How MLB Teams Got Their Names  By:Jon Lindenblatt


This book gives a brief team history of their names and the original origins.  On each page it has a brief geography lesson as to where the team is from.  It also has pictures of their mascot, stadium and one star player from the teams history to give a brief biography on.  These would be a fun little way for kids to learn and not even realize they are learning anything.  Sometimes as a parent you need to take advantage of that last one when the opportunity arrises.

My wife and I have no kids yet so I had to outsource some help on this.  I employed the services of my 6-year-old nephew Benny and my 4-year-old niece Reagan and they both liked the books.  So I think we have a winner with these books.

For the adults, Mascot Books is moving into the Non-fiction/Autobiography sector and has just released a baseball autobiography on Jason Grilli. We will address that book in a future post, but at least they do not forget the big kids.  If you are interested in any of the kids books you can find their entire team line up at their website:

Happy Reading