As we sit here today, Opening Day is only five short days away. I find that very hard to believe since I am sitting here watching a foot and a half of snow that came three days ago, melt out the window, but I am sure the baseball scheduling Gods have that all figured out. The Spring edition of Odds and Ends is upon us and while everything we look at today may not be a 2018 new season release, they are still solid books to help the reader wander through the new baseball year.
Ronald T. Waldo always takes on somewhat obscure era’s and subjects for his books. It is a good thing because Waldo always shows the reader an almost forgotten era in baseball and brings prominent names back to the forefront. I like Waldo’s books because his thorough research always shines through in the book and you can rely on the accuracy of the stories he tells the reader. If you have any sort of interest in 1920’s baseball or want to use this book as a history lesson for yourself, than this book is definitely one you should check out. You can get this one from the friendly folks at Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
Staying in the same era of baseball, what more can I say about this book that hasn’t already been said. It has won numerous awards since its release last year and quite honestly deserves every one of them. Steinberg has done a phenomenal job bringing the life and career of Urban Shocker to the modern day fan. It gives the reader a glimpse of what baseball was like during that timeframe and makes you realize how even though we are still essentially playing the same game, times have changed dramatically. For those with an interest in players of the past, the New York Yankees and several other aspects this book presents to the reader, it is worth checking out. It offers so many levels of information that you will be glad you took the time to read it. You can get this one from the nice folks at the University of Nebraska Press.
There have been a few books written by, or about Lou in the past. For my money, this one is the best of the bunch. It is updated through the end of his managerial career and into retirement and really gets you to the personal side of Lou Piniella. It covers his full life and is not really specifically team focused. It goes through everywhere he stopped during his playing and managing days and really doesn’t pull any punches. He is telling it like he sees it at this point. Other books on Lou have been more team or time frame focused, so this one really shows it all. If you have read the other books, there may be some overlap of information on certain teams but for the grand picture of a career this is your best bet. Yu can get this one from the nice folks at Harper Collins Publishers.
If you have a Yankees book, you should always follow it with a Red Sox book. 1967 seems to be a watershed year for the Sox and always seems to be the year everyone references as the highlight of an era. It was their first real taste of success after a long drought but it was unfortunately not sustained. Crehan’s book takes a good look at 1967 and why it is so special to Boston fans and why it was an important year in team history. For those of us not around then or for those not paying attention to them in 1967 it gives a great look at what happened. If you are a hardcore BoSox fan, of course you will want to read this, but some of theses stories may be tried and true classics that you love to hear about. For others, it may be a good learning tool about 1967 and the names that help make this team famous. You can get this book from the nice folks at Summer Game Books.
Where would the game be without the Sportswriters. They are a vital part of looking at the game and analyzing what transpires on the field. Jim Kaplan previously has written for Sports Illustrated and has decided to share his thoughts on the history of the game and some of his views of players, on field plays and other aspects we may not have thought about. Its a fun read and makes you look at things just a little differently than you had before. You can get this one from the nice folks at Levellers Press.
McFarland has never been a publisher that was one to shy away from overlooked players or long forgotten subjects and this one easily falls into that category. Roy Sievers was a feared hitter during the 50″s but was often overshadowed by the other greats of that decade both on the field and in print. Finally getting his due in book form, readers can now learn about the great career of one of baseballs most overlooked hitters of that decade as well as learn about an overall pretty nice guy. Its important that people like this from baseball history don’t get forgotten, and McFarland has done a nice job of helping preserve his legacy by getting this to market.
Baseball seems to have a singular year every decade where they shoot themselves in the foot and the 60’s were no exception. Widely known for being the year of the pitcher, 1968 was the year the powers that be put their dunce caps on once again. This is a good look at what management was like back in the day and how that has changed as well. It also shows how baseball has been able to survive and rise above its own stupidity at times. You can get both of these from the nice folks at McFarland.
So ready or not the new baseball season is upon us, so no matter who you root for we are all in First Place at least for one day.
Happy Reading and Go Phillies!
It seems like throughout baseball history, each decade has had one season that stands out more than the others. Dynasties come and go, Superstars rise and fall and our country follows along as well. The 1960’s were by far one of the most turbulent times in modern American history. The world was a changing place, and baseball never one to be far behind society, was changing as well. Today’s book takes a look at one of those turbulent years in both society and baseball.
1968 has been coined as the year of the pitcher. Miniscule ERA’s and lower batting averages produced rule changes that have withstood to modern times. America was a changing place as well, so it was no surprise that the national pastime was part of the changes. What transpired in the summer of 1968 was the end of an era in baseball and ushered in changes that would help shape the future of our game.
Tim Wendel has written another winner with Summer of 68. The book starts by taking an overall look at the state of baseball in 1968. Starting out in spring training you see what shape the game was in and get a good feeling of where it was heading that year. The overall main focus of the book though is the St. Louis Cardinals and Detroit Tigers. These two teams would eventually meet in the World Series that year. You get an in-depth look at both teams. Who they were, how the functioned and how the both were great successes on the field that year.
Intertwined in the journey of a baseball season the author shows how the societal landscape of the United States was changing. You see how the assassinations of Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr. effected the country and both of the baseball teams as well. The reader is shown how the home cities these teams were part of, were turned into war zones. You can feel the frustration of a generation coming out in the summer of 1968. The book gives a very good look at a bygone era and what transpired in our country to change the world that we live in today. It is a nice balance between baseball and society. The book is of course heavier handed in the baseball subject, but still gives you enough of the outside world to see how it effected the players within the game.
Tim Wendel did a very nice job with this book. If you were not able to witness 1968 first hand, it gives you not only a history lesson, but also a feel for what the world was like back then. You get to see the ups and downs that have shaped our world and made both our country and sport the greatest in the world. Baseball fans will enjoy this one, no matter what team you choose to root for.
You can get this book from the nice folks at DaCapo Press