Tagged: jimmy rollins

Induction Day Round-Up


It’s the Baseball Hall of Fame’s Class of 2016 Induction day today.  The one day a year where that sleepy little hamlet in upstate New York looks like Times Square at 11:59 p.m. on New Years Eve.  As I watched the speeches of the new members today I took notice as the MLB Network panned around the field, of all the diverse people in attendance.  Family, former players, members of the Hall and of course, the people who honestly make this great game possible through their support, the fans.  Different people from different generations, backgrounds and paths in life all come together for one day and celebrate the greatness of our game.  On days like this you never know who is going to be in the crowd but you can be sure its an interesting mix of fans and baseball history.  For the reason of diversity and in honor of Induction day, we are going to look at a very diverse group of books that are currently available in the market and why you should check them out.

1-When the Braves Ruled the Diamond-14 Flags Over Atlanta

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By Dan Schlossberg-2016 Sports Publishing

Take some time to reminisce about the Atlanta Braves.  People can say that the Yankees were the team of the 90’s because of their championships, but honestly who was the one team that you was sure was going to be in post season play?  Yes, these Braves!  It is a fun look at what made these N.L. East destroying teams from Atlanta repeat year after year after year.  The only thing that stood in their way in one magical year or their run was my Phillies in 1993.  As with Schlossberg’s other books, this one is time well spent re-living the magical ride of the Atlanta Braves.

2-Tony C.-The Triumph and Tragedy of Tony Conigliaro

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By:David Cataneo-2016 Summer Game Books

This one is a new edition by a new publisher of the 1997 release under the same name.  While not a new book, it is a reminder of the tragedy that can plague our game.  A beloved hero in Boston whose career and life was cut tragically short.  A career full of promise and from most accounts a pretty interesting guy off the field as well, this book chronicles the story of Tony C.  and what he meant to the Fenway Faithful.  I read this when it first came out about 20 years ago and really enjoyed reading it through the fresh edition from Summer Game Books.  Another book that will easily get you through the remaining dog days of Summer.

3-A Life Lived-The Story of William “Bill” Blair

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By:William “Bill” Blair-2013 AuthorHouse Publishing

A very inspiring story of a former Negro League player and his life after baseball.  A short book that comes in under 90 pages but still tells the inspiring story of William ” Bill” Blair and how he spent his life after baseball giving back to his hometown community.  A great story of a man who never forgot where he came from and how baseball inspired him his whole life through.  A quick read, but well worth the time.

4-Last Train to Cooperstown

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By:Kevin Mitchell-2015 Black Rose Writing

Author Kevin Mitchell takes a look at the inadvertent but probably final class of Negro League inductees to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006.  The book offers thorough profiles on each of the chosen few and what their contributions to the game were.  He also offers a conclusion as to what may occur with others from the Negro Leagues in the future.  Its very good insight into this well deserved class of Negro Leaguers that made the hall in 2006.

5-Tales From the San Francisco Giants Dugout

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By: Nick Peters and Stuart Shea-2016 Sports Publishing

An updated and re-release of previous versions, this new issue adds some new stories and anecdotes about the Giants and their fans.  If you are a fan of this team you will not want to miss this book.  There also are the same books available for almost every other team out there, so check Sports Publishing’s website if you are looking for another team.  These books are always a good time for the reader.

6-The Tigers and Yankees in ’61

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By:Jim Sargent-2016 McFarland

Another magical year in baseball history is showcased in this one.  A hard fought pennant race, the chase to make history for teammates and a few star players who had career years.  The Yankees are getting near the end of their dominating years in this one but does show the reader what the American League landscape looked like during this era.  If you are a fan of this era and a fan of the types of books McFarland publishes as well, then this is a book you will not want to miss.

7-A Band of Misfits-Tales of the 2010 San Francisco Giants-Triumph Books

8-The Fightin’ Phillies-100 Years of Phillies Baseball-Triumph Books

I group these together because while the may be different, they have very strong similarities.  The both cover a specific team and give important anecdotes and stories about their histories.  Whether they are covering one specific season or a full century worth of that teams stories, they are entertaining for fans of the respective teams.  The only warning I give readers on these types of books is to go into them realizing these are the same stories you have probably heard 100 times over.  You will probably get no new stories out of these, but they are good for reminiscing about your favorite team.

9-Jackie Robinson-An Integrated Life

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By:J. Christopher Schultz-2016 Rowman & Littlefield

Another perspective on the groundbreaking life of Jackie Robinson.  We are all familiar with the story, but instead of taking it from a baseball point of view, it shows the results from a social impact perspective.  It puts a different spin on the whole Jackie Robinson story and adds new insights to the entire story.  Jackie Robinson’s admirable legacy is about so much more than just baseball, and this is only one of the many different angles.

10-Out of Left Field-Jews and Black Baseball

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By: Rebecca Alpert-2011 Oxford University Press

Another book that takes a look at the social impact a baseball team had on our world. This one takes a look at how a team made up of black Jews made a name for themselves in the Negro Leagues.  It shows how they were able to further the cause of the Negro Leagues and help promote social justices.  It was a bit of history I had no idea about and a very good learning experience for me.  If you have any sort of interest in the Negro Leagues then check this one out.

11-The Cardinals Way

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By:Howard Megdal-2016 Thomas Dunne Books

The Cardinals have come to be America’s team.  I am not really sure how that happened, but they have through their history churned out some great moments and players that will be remembered for decades to come.  By embracing that history and tradition as well as the new theories such as Moneyball, they have become a baseball powerhouse.  It shows how combining old and new methods of thinking can have positive outcomes.  I am thinking you will see more and more teams following this ideology in the future.

12-The Knuckleball Club

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By: Richard A. Johnson-2016 Rowman & Littlefield

An in depth look at the most confounding pitch ever to grace the game of baseball.  The who’s, whats and why’s of this quirky pitch are covered in this book.  It also shares the stories of the Pitchers and Catchers who shared the success of the weird and wild pitch.  This is the first book I have found that has shown how it fits into the fabric of the game, and is great knowledge for the average baseball fan.  Check it out, you won’t be disappointed.

13-The Games That Changed Baseball-Milestones in Major League History

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By: John Robertson and Andy Saunders-2016 McFarland

This book takes a look at some very important games throughout history.  Dissecting what happened and what made them so important.  While I do not agree with 100 percent of their picks, all of them were well researched and presented.  Fans should check out this book and see if they agree with all of the authors picks.  It does introduce some games that would probably create some very spirited debates among fans and friends.

Finally, after we got through all of these books today, I wanted to say a word of thanks to everyone who reads my blog.  We have reached our second anniversary and have read a lot of books together up to this point.  I do the best I can since this is a hobby and not my job and try and turn out material as quickly as possible.  With the pending arrival of our first bundle of joy in the next few weeks, year #3 will be a challenge but I will still find a way to get some posts done.  I thank all of you who have sent me books and allowed me to read them and post reviews.  Also to the folks that read my posts because without you, there would be no reason to write them.  Finally if you have sent me a book recently and I have not posted it yet, don’t worry you are not forgotten.  I am a little behind for the reasons stated above but you will not be forgotten, please just be patient.  Thank you to all again and looking forward to year #3.

Happy Reading

Gregg

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

Gregg