Tagged: acta sports

Celebrate Your Independence With Baseball Books

I thought in the spirit of Independence day we could take a look at how baseball books can play into that.  Now this is not a post about the patriotic side of baseball and how it coincides with America, but how it allows one to be independent, no matter what interests them within the sport.  There are tons of options out there that allow the reader to follow any avenue they choose, some are related and others are not but they still have that common theme of baseball.  So what is out there for us readers?


By:Dennis Snelling-2014

Biographies are a fun way for readers to learn all about their favorite players.  Whether it is first hand by the player himself or a true biography, you get great stories and once in a while some new information is discovered in the author’s research.  You most times come away with a more favorable impression of the player, but there are instances that you think what a jerk he was.  So it sometimes is better to stay away from your favorite player if you are not prepared for a bad impression.  McFarland publishes biographies of some of the most obscure players and often overlooked subjects.  The authors they work with are often SABR members and often provide an excellent finished product like the Evers biography shown above.  McFarland books are most times and enjoyable history lesson for the reader.



By:Alex Belth-2013

Are you more dedicated to an entire team as opposed to an individual player?  Well then these types of books may be for you.  Yankee Stadium Memories compiles the thoughts of 26 of the best writing professionals who spent time working in old Yankee Stadium.  What this book gives you is an inside look into the building and what went on behind the scenes that the average fan would not see.  To some degree I think all writers have some sort of underlying fan allegiance to their team.  So this book gives those people the chance to express those sentiments without taking a hit to their professional credibility.  Sports Publishing creates this book that allows the fan to get the feel of being there, even if you never were.  It re-creates events that many of the readers never witnessed and will never happen again.  These book are a great deal of fun for team devotees and casual fans as well.



Maybe, you are more of a quirky superstitious number person or something of the sort.  Do you wonder why every player on your team that ever had the number 8, never became anything.  Or do you lay awake at night trying to remember every player on your team that ever wore number 34?  Well Sports Publishing again has this series that looks at the each teams roster in this series from 0-99.  It shows the fun stories and highlights surrounding these individual numbers.  It also shows how some numbers may be cursed and no matter what that number should be retired.  It’s another fun look at team history that all fans should enjoy.



by:Craig R. Wright-2013

Are you more of a history buff, but don’t want the stiff side of baseball.  This book gives you brief history lesson of the game while keeping it entertaining.  It gives some great player bio’s along with keeping the facts fun and interesting.  I never have come across a book in my life that is a history book but still fun.  It asks questions about how certain things have happened in baseballs past along with what might have been if certain aspects changed.  It really makes the reader think and Acta Sports did a nice job with this one that fans will enjoy.



By:Toby Smith-2014

Are you more of a minor league fan?  This one would be for you.  It shows what life was like in the minor leagues in the 1950’s in the Southwest.  Major league baseball had not quite made it past St. Louis yet so minor league baseball had a stronghold on these small towns.  The author paints a very vivid picture of a bygone era, that should never be forgotten.  These small towns and teams are what modern baseball is built upon.  It is always important to remember where you came from.



By:Mark Schmetzer & Joe Jacobs-2010

Are you more of a casual fan that only pays attention when your team makes it to the World Series.  Clerisy Press has the book just for you then.  The Comeback Kids gives fans a chance to re-live the magical 2010 season where they defied the odds and made the post season.  None of the so-called experts gave the Reds a fighting chance for any success that year.  But sticking to their guns they pulled off the impossible.  Clerisy Press always does a nice job on the Cincinnati Reds.  They are locally vested in the Cincinnati community and their pride in these books shine through.  Reds fans should make sure they check out their catalog beyond just this book on the Reds, because they are truly something to behold.



By:Bill Deane-2015

Baseball is full of quirky little tricks and gimmicks.  The Hidden Ball Trick takes a look at the history of this dying art form.  It has been successful a few hundred times in the history of the game, but more often it’s not.  It truly is an art-form to get this trick to work in today’s modern game, but it is a fun look at how it can be conducted.  Rowman & Littlefield made a fun book with this one and fans should check it out


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By:James Baehler-2014

They always say records were made to be broken, but is that really true.  Certain records probably won’t be broken after all because of the changing nature of the game.  James Baehler and Sports Publishing take a look at those records and see whether or not the possibility is there for them to be broken.  I agree with some and not others ones, but it is a good book to fuel some debates with your buddies.



By:Lonnie Wheeler-2015

Finally, you always hear about the little things that help make great teams.  Chemistry and other unspoken dynamics that help pull 25 players together to make a winner.  Intangiball looks at all these dynamics together and explores how they work together to help make teams better over the course of a season.  It really makes you think about what has to come together to create a winning team on the field.


So as you can see there are lots of choices for readers under the baseball umbrella.  Each one is really an independent avenue for which the reader can explore fun facts and theories.  I always say knowledge is power and having all these different types of books that fall under the subject of baseball helps promote reading among the fans.  Everyone should take some times to explore some of the above sites because you will find tons of other great baseball books available by the same publishers.

Happy Reading


Odds and Ends

Being involved in baseball books allows ones self to explore many different avenues.  From the first time a game was ever played to modern-day 2015, the possibilities are endless.  Some stories are told direct from the sources while others have been passed down from generation to generation.  No matter what your specific preference is, as long as you have an interest in the common theme of the sport of baseball, there is a book out there somewhere for you.  Today we are taking a look across a few of the subject matters that are available.


By:Tony LaRussa-2012 Harper Collins Publishing

A story from one of the greatest managers of his generation in his own words.  A first hand account of the final on-field triumph of his illustrious career that ended in a World Series win.  An enjoyable book for all baseball fans that takes us inside the managers head and brings us along for the ride to the World Series.

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By:Jonathan Eig-2005 Simon & Schuester

An icon of baseball.  Lou Gehrig is easily one of the top ten people in baseball that almost everyone has heard of.  While not a first hand account of his life and career, it is a very detailed portrayal of the man who spent a lot of time in Babe Ruth’s shadow.  This book is becoming a baseball all-time classic due to both its subject and the writing.  A timeless player and his story has become a timeless book.

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By:Stuart Miller-2011 Acta Sports

For those that like to know about every aspect of the game and its history, this book is for you.  It walks you through the history of the bat.  How its made, how it was developed almost 150 years ago and shows how it has evolved to today’s modern bat.  It is a cool little book for those who really want to get all their facts about the hardware of the game.

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By:Josh Ostergaard-2014 Coffee House Press

Books like this are fun because they give you a different fans point of view.  The perspective of the game is a thing each person makes their own.  This book gives you how baseball is intertwined with American History and our society.  It is a little subjective but still a fun read.  It allows a whole new avenue for fans to explore beyond the game on the field.


By:Bruce Adelson-1999 University of Virginia Press

Integration has always been a hot topic for Baseball Books.  Jackie Robinson alone has been debated numerous times.  There are so many different aspects that you would need 100 different books to cover them all.  This book takes a look within the hot-bed of racial issues, the American South.  It shows the struggles and violence that continued even after the integration of baseball by Jackie Robinson, and how it finally came to be.


By:Abraham Iqbal Khan-2012 University Press of Mississippi

Curt Flood has always been a lightning rod for criticism.  From his fight against the establishment of baseball to his handling of the media, he has gotten his share of trouble.  This book takes a look at race relations within baseball, the media coverage of those players and the eventual demise of certain players who were deemed activists.  It is a very interesting book that gives a different look on the race relations within the game and on Curt Flood’s story as a whole.

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By:Bob Kahn-2012 The Wisconsin Historical Society Press

Every reader has to start somewhere.  For me it was finding and falling in love with the game at a very early age.  Books like this one allow young readers to have books geared toward them.  The writing allows for learning about the game at a level that is easy for them to comprehend and enjoy.  Biographies like this one foster learning in the game as well as allowing the young fans to see all the different aspects of the game that have existed throughout its history.


Edited by:Nicholas Dawidoff-2002 Library of America

Anthologies allow for the best of the best.  It gives you collections of the greatest writers, telling their greatest stories about the greatest game.  This books are easy to sit down and enjoy because you know you are getting the best.  For newer fans they help them understand the nuances of the game and what all the fuss had been about.  Some collections are better than others but this one truly gives you the best of the best.

This list is only scratching the surface on the subjects that are out there. Hopefully after looking through this some people now see how many different realms are out there and will think twice before picking up just anther player biography because it is the hot new celebrity story.  There is a wealth of knowledge out there just waiting to be discovered by new and old fans alike.

Happy Reading


The New Ballgame – Understanding Baseball Stats for the Casual Fan

It’s World Series time.  What better time then now for the people who have no idea about balls and strikes to become die-hard baseball fans.  If you didn’t notice the sarcasm in that last sentence, let me point it out to you.  Visit any local watering hole and you will find lots of eyes fixated on the TV screens plastered on the walls.  Now don’t get me wrong there are true fans out there watching for the great love of the game.  Then there are those other people who have no idea what is going on, and only care because it’s the World Series and think they probably should have an interest.  Today’s book gives those later folks a chance to actually learn about what they are hearing on the TV.


The New Ballgame-Understanding Baseball Statistics for the Casual Fan

By:Glenn Guzzo-2007 Acta Sports

As long time baseball fans, we sometimes take things for granted.  We forget that at one time in our lives we were rookies in our knowledge base.  We did not have the knowledge of the history of the game, the intricacies of certain plays or even the general knowledge of how to read a box score.  We all have to start somewhere and this book does that for those fans that need help.

The author starts out simple and reviews basic everyday stats that give the uninformed fan a starting point to build their knowledge.  Then you get a historical breakdown of how the stats have been used in baseball and how they play into the overall business of baseball.  Moving on you learn how to score a game and read a box score.  Throughout the game’s history reading a box score has been paramount in bringing the final result of the game to the masses.

The next few chapters show how the game is moving into the future.  Guzzo discusses the real life application of the stats as they are discussed on television.  Also talked about is how fantasy baseball has become a success in our world, and how it plays a part of being a good fan.  Finally the book finishes up with the future of statistics in baseball.

For the casual fan who needs some background and knowledge this is a good, informative and quick read.  It will give them the basic platform on to which they can build a better understanding of the game and possibly the desire to learn even more.  Hardcore fans with a strong knowledge base may find some of the information repetitive.

While reading this, I used my own Wife as the basis of application of this book.  Her knowledge base is  higher than that of a novice fan, but still not at the level of a baseball lifer.  I find that when she asks a question about a statistic, I sometimes have trouble explaining thoroughly and clearly what the situation is.  I feel the reason is that I have known about the subject for so long, it is now something I just…..understand.  I can’t necessarily explain it, but I know how it works.  This book would do a great job of filling in the pieces I have trouble explaining to her, in a way she would easily understand.

You can get this book from the friendly folks at Acta Sports


Happy Reading