I have always had trouble with coffee table books. Sometimes it was the size of the book that made it cumbersome, other times it was the content. Basically the author tried to cram too much information into one book. So that has left me on the fence where these books were concerned. I am seeing as I continue with this blog that as my horizons expand on baseball subjects, so does my taste for the coffee table books. I have found another one that I liked that was worthy of being shared.
This book has some incredible pictures of some iconic ballparks. That is the short version of why I am fond of this book. It takes a look of some of the most famous and historical stadiums in baseball history. Places such as Ebbets Field, Old Yankee Stadium, The Polo Grounds, Fenway, Wrigley and Tiger Stadium. The book gives the reader a look at some seldom seen photos of both the inside and outside of each ballpark. It talks about some of the historical events that happened in each palace, as well as some of the characters that called it home. Each ballpark is given its hard-earned due. It respects the rich history at each place and shares with the reader the great qualities that each place has or had.
Another cool aspect of the book is that it almost a pop-up book for adults if you will. For each ballpark, it gives you little pieces of memorabilia for each place. It could be postcards, ticket stubs or reproductions of programs from historical games. Each stadium has its own pocket these little treasures are contained in so they don’t get lost. It’s a neat little feature that you don’t normally find in these books. I was surprised by this one and thought it would just be another stadium book, but it earned its space in the bookcase.
I realize coffee table books sometimes are not worth the space that they take up in your bookcase, but this one is different. Even though it is over-sized, I don’t think you will be disappointed by giving this one a chance. It will add a special something that you don’t usually find in these type of books.
You can get this book from the nice folks at Thunder Bay Press
When the phrase take me out to the ballgame is thrown around, you figure it is about the ballgame itself. With the advent of all the new stadiums around our great land, the overall experience has come to the fore front. No longer is the ballgame, or the players the sole purpose of going to your favorite park. It’s about experiencing the sights, sounds and of course the food. Todays book takes a look at all the options out there while enjoying the national pastime.
Part of the experience of going to the ballpark is what can you get to eat. The new stadiums have taken us a long way from hot dogs, peanuts and cracker jack. No longer can you just accept what the traveling vendor who roams the stands offers to patrons, now you can get real cuisine all from the comfort of your seat. This is where baseball has evolved beyond just the game. Now its about entertainment and the experience of whatever city your located in at that given time.
Bennett Jacobstein has taken his love of ballpark food and turned it into this pretty cool book. Look at it as a traveling guide for your stomach around Major League Baseball. The author gives us a lesson in the history of old school baseball food, looking at how it evolved from basic fare, to full-blown cuisine. He also looks at the prices and actual menus of the by-gone eras and the new specialty fares that have become common place in both society and major league stadiums.
The most important part of this book is the city by city tour of each stadium. It shows the best of the best food offered at each ballpark and what each stadium uniquely offers its fans. Each menu item is accompanied by very detailed pictures that will make any reader hungry. It gives you a great feel for what the food experience is like at the ballpark in each city. If you plan on visiting any unfamiliar stadium, this will definitely help you get an idea of hat you are in store for.
The authors love of food comes through loud and clear in this book. He has a great feel for what he likes to eat and seems to enjoy sharing the food with the world. Baseball fans should really enjoy this book and it will help you gear up your appetite for the upcoming baseball season.
You can get this book from the nice folks at Ball Park Food Publications, whose entire proceeds from the book go to the local food bank.
With all the noise the Chicago Cubs have made during the off-season this year, I figured now would be a good time to take a look at todays book.
Wrigley Field – 100 Stories for 100 Years
By Dan Campana and Rob Carroll – 2013 The History Press
I have said before that the stadiums are an important part of the fan experience. It’s the sights, sounds and smells of each individual place that make each park unique. The longer a ball park stands, the more ingrained in the city it becomes, and over time becomes an extension of the team. Wrigley Field is no exception to that phenomenon. It has been witness to the triumphs and tragedies of the Chicago faithful and become a beloved friend to the Cubbies fans for over a century.
Campana and Carroll have written a book that takes a look at the bond between fans and their ball park. The cool part is it does not stop at just the fan base. It tells stories, from fans, players, coaches, announcers employees and the city locals. It gives an inside look at the bond built between the Chicago faithful and their stadium on hot summer nights. A bond that with the passing of time has only become stronger.
Each story is broken into its own separate chapter and give an in-depth look at what makes Wrigley Field so special to so many. It is more than just the fact that Wrigley has been standing for what seems like eternity. It is the magic and charm that only an old ball park can offer. It has 100 years of smells and memories that each individual holds dear.
If Wrigley Field has ever been a place you wanted to make a baseball pilgrimage to, then you may want to check this book out. It will give you an idea of the truly special place you are going to visit. Cubs fans will enjoy it for obvious reasons as well as other fans who have respect for the game’s history.
You can get this book from the nice folks at The History Press
As they say, good things happen in three, so lets check out a third stadium book this week. Some stadiums both past and presents are icons within baseball. Fenway Park, Wrigley Field, Yankee Stadium, The Polo Grounds and last but not least, Ebbets Field. Located of course in Brooklyn, it was the scene of many disappointments, but also an enduring love affair between the Brooklyn fans and their Bums. Very few connections between a team and their fans has rivaled what the Dodgers had in Brooklyn.
The Greatest Ballpark Ever, Ebbets Field and the Story of the Brooklyn Dodgers
By Bob McGee – 2013 Rivergate Press
New York Baseball prior to 1958 had to be something amazing to experience. Three iconic teams within spitting distance of each other, with at least one of them fighting for a pennant each year. Each of those teams had a special place in their communities and the fans gave them their heartfelt support. The Dodgers seemed to be the strongest in their fan support and the weakest on the field. While playing in charming Ebbets Field the Dodgers always were waiting for next year. Most times next year never came but their fans stood behind them.
Bob McGee has written a very interesting book that chronicles the Dodgers time in Ebbets Field. It takes a look at all the unique factors that made Ebbets Field what it was and why it holds such a special place in baseball history. What the author also does is give in-depth coverage of the people and the history of the Dodgers during that same time period. You get stories about the building of the park and the obstacles that were overcome to create it. You also get stories about the Dodgers in the early part of the twentieth century as well as the years leading up to integration. Finally, you learn about the final years of Ebbets Field and the vacating of the team to Los Angeles.
It seems when you have a book about the Brooklyn Dodgers it is always full of integration stories and how Brooklyn changed the game. While it was the most important single event in the history of the Brooklyn Dodgers and to some degree baseball as well, it is not all their past glory. When you read some other books you might get the impression Jackie Robinson was the only thing that happened in Brooklyn in the first half of the century. This book in no way ignores the importance of Jackie Robinson, but it does also remember the other team accomplishments. This is the most comprehensive Brooklyn Dodgers history I have come across prior to Jackie Robinson’s first appearance.
This book should be a must have for the history students of the game and Dodger fans alike.
You can get this book from the nice folks at Rivergate Books
In my last post we talked about how a stadium becomes like part of the family. These stadiums, that we talk about, are usually gone. But today, we are going to look at how progress and moving on, is not always a bad thing when it comes to a ball park.
Jacobs Field – History & Tradition at the Jake
Vince McKee – 2014 The History Press
Moving to the other end of Ohio, we take a look at Jacobs Field. Replacing Municipal Stadium in Cleveland, the Indians ushered in a new era of baseball in 1994 with the opening of the Jake. A new state of the art facility that fans and players could now call home and put to rest the bleak memories of Municipal Stadium. It brought about new hope and promises for the team and fans alike.
Vince McKee takes a very nice look at the events that have happened in the first 20 seasons at the new palace in Cleveland. It brought an era of post season baseball and superstars wanting to call Cleveland home. The author did not only make this a good times book. He also takes a look at what happens when after a sustained period of success how a team has to rebuild. The tear down and rebuilding process is never a pleasant one. It shows how through free agency and trades how one era ends and another one begins in the hopes of getting even better.
You see the sights, sounds and people who have made memories for the fans in the Jake’s first twenty seasons. You see why the fans who call it home love it. You see the civic pride that is derived from having a park this nice to call home. In the end this book really shows how a city desperate to have a respectable stadium of its own has embraced their new baseball palace. Change is not always good in terms of a baseball stadium. In the case of the Cleveland Indians change was needed and created a boost to both the team itself and the fan base, and both were long overdue. Indians fans will enjoy this and probably wonder where the first twenty seasons at the Jake really went.
You can get this book from the nice folks at The History Press
Baseball history is all about the people, places and things. People make the history, the places add to the charm of the moment and the things, well………things happen! As fans, sometime we get the feeling we were born too late. We can find an era of baseball that really appeals to our inner fan. For some lucky fans their moment is in the present and for others it can be 100 years before they were born. Today’s book gives those fans the opportunity to live in those moments that they missed.
Cincinnati’s Crosley Field – The Illustrated History of a Classic Ballpark
By:Greg Rhodes & John Erardi-2009 Clerisy Press
When you are a fan of a particular team, the stadium almost becomes part of the game. From their unique dimensions, the sights, sounds and smells contained within to the time spent bonding with the stadium it almost becomes an old friend. These parks both new and old, have personalities all their own.
Authors Rhodes and Erardi have taken us back in time to visit with an old friend. Crosley Field was the home of the Cincinnati Reds for over 50 years. It was the site of some great moments in Reds baseball and of baseball history in general. They have created more than just a picture book of Crosley field. They have actually captured the personality and written the detailed story of a member of the Cincinnati family.
You not only get all the nuances that made Crosley Field a great place to go see a baseball game, you get so much more. You get stories about the fans that visited, the growth of the game and how it pertained to the stadium and how Crosley fit into the growing populace of the city. The character of the stadium and physical changes within are captured in this book as well. This is really a comprehensive history that brings the old girl back to life.
If you are a fan that has lost your old stadium due to the influx of new baseball palaces over the last 20 years, you should appreciate this book. The Reds may bot be your hometown team but we can all relate to losing the place we called home. I know as a Phillies fan, Veterans Stadium was my home away from home growing up. Quite honestly, it was a giant crap-hole……but it was our crap-hole. It has been reduced to rubble and is now a parking lot for the glorious new Citizens Bank Park. But when I think of some of my favorite memories with my Dad growing up, that old crap-hole comes back to life and will forever be a part of my life. This book has the same effect. If you were ever at a game there it will bring back great memories. If you were never there than this will paint a great picture of what the place was all about. Sometimes you can go home again……even if home is no longer there.
You can get this book from the nice folks at Clericy Press
There was a point in time in the United States, that you could throw a stone and hit some sort of baseball team. Prior to the late 1950’s Major League Baseball was fairly regional, with no team calling anywhere west of St. Louis home. That led to the opportunity for small towns and larger forgotten towns to have their own brand of baseball outside of the Big Leagues. Unfortunately relocation of existing teams westward generated by the Dodgers move to Los Angeles, and the ensuing expansion in both leagues killed some of the small time baseball in those towns. Lucky for all of us, at least one of those towns history before big time baseball arrived has been preserved in print.
Houston Baseball-The Early Years 1861-1961
By:Mike Vance/SABR-2014 Bright Sky Press
Prior to 1962 Houston never had a Major League team. The Colt 45’s were the first time Houston got invited to dance with the big boys. For the century prior to 1962, Houston was not forgotten by the baseball gods. They had the opportunity to see their fair share of talent pass through town and entertain the locals. From amateur ball, to the negro leagues and even minor league baseball, Houston was a big time player in the history of the game.
Editor Mike Vance and the Larry Dierker chapter of SABR have created a very informative and entertaining book. It takes an in-depth look at what transpired in Houston during the 100 years prior to the arrival of the Houston Colt 45’s. It covers everything from the very early years of organized baseball in the city to the transition to major league baseball.
The contributors to the book have made sure that every facet of Houston baseball gets covered. Ballparks through the years are covered in the book. Seeing drawings of the makeshift fields to formal stadiums you see how the game grew and progressed in the city. They also show some of the Major Leaguers that made stops in the early careers in Houston on their way to stardom. Each of the various minor league teams that called Houston home are also remembered in this book. Owners, semi pro leagues as well as the Negro Leagues in the Houston area are not forgotten either.
The research in this book has been painstakingly done and it shows. They went above and beyond in creating a really comprehensive book that showcases Houston’s history within the game. Students of the history of the game really should take a look at this book, because almost everyone is guaranteed to learn something from it.
You can get this book from the nice folks at Bright Sky Press