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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Being New Years Day, one tends to look back at the past. Sometimes it is the past year one reflects on, and for others you may want to reflect back on something over 50 years ago. In baseball history we have many seasons we get the chance to reflect on and honestly, I think that there are so many it makes it hard to choose. Todays book takes a look at one of those spectacular seasons for a team that is almost forgotten due to the success of their team in subsequent years.
Before the Machine-The Story of the 1961 Pennant-Winning Cincinnati Reds
By:Mark Schmetzer – 2011 Clerisy Press
The 1961 Reds on paper looked to be nothing spectacular. A mix of aging veterans and young up and comers were not expected to make any real noise on the field. Playing in an antiquated ball park and dealing with the death of their owner just days before the start of the season, things were not looking great for the team. But little did the fans of Cincinnati and the world of baseball know, this was going to be their year.
Mark Schmetzer takes readers on a journey through that great 1961 season. You see it from beginning to end, starting with the off-season and spring training, you see the pieces assembled that made up this team. Players that were brought in to fill holes became vital pieces in the success on the field. The book also takes you through each month of the season, showing the highs and lows of a grueling seven month season. Player injuries, slumps, and hot streaks are all contained in the book. It gives you a great look at team struggles and chemistry, that add up to make a successful team. There are tons of never before seen pictures in this book that add to the feeling that you are witnessing this team at a level higher than just a book. You also get to re-live the disappointment of the 1961 World Series at the hands of the New York Yankees. While it may not be a great event that their fans want to re-live, it gives a very comprehensive account of events on the field.
I often have felt this team gets overlooked in the annals of history. Primarily because of the multi-year success of the Cincinnati Reds Big Red Machine. When people think of the Reds success they automatically gravitate towards the teams of the Big Red Machine. Perhaps because it was their first year of success in such a long period of time, but it does seem that sometimes they just are plain old forgotten. The author has done a great job of making sure this team never gets forgotten.
All fans should enjoy this book. It does a nice job of covering the history of the team and that magical season in Cincinnati. Also, books like this are important because they make sure certain teams and pieces of history, do not fall through the cracks of time. It makes sure these teams are remembered for all future generations of fans to appreciate and enjoy.
You can get this book from the nice folks at Clerisy Press