Tagged: summer game books

The Final One – I Think


I am all about giving respect where respect is due.  As always, anniversaries are a great way to show respect.  Baseball has never been one to shy away from commemorating something either big or small, or both.  2016 is the 30th anniversary of the last Mets World Series winner and the events marking that this year have been coming at fans both fast and furiously.  The book arena has been no exception to these celebrations, and while we have covered several of these in previous posts, I think I have the last two out there this year that I am going to do.  It is amazing how much time and money has been spent this year for this one and done World Series winner, but for me, it is time and I am ready to put this subject to bed.  So without further ado, here are the final two books.

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By:Mike Sowell-2016

Originally released in 1995 One Pitch Away takes a unique look at all the post-season teams in 1986.  You get perspectives from several key members who played for one of the four teams, which is a nice change, because most of these books about 1986 only cover the World Series teams.  You get a real good feel as to what was going through the heads of those involved during this amazing post-season.

I first read this when it was released in 1995.  My initial reaction then was the same as it is now.  It gives great insight into the games from the players themselves and Sowell’s work comes through strong.  The interviews seem well prepared for by both parties and is time well spent reading about the fab-four of the 1986 post-season.

If you are a fan of any of the teams involved check out this book, I don’t think you will be disappointed.  You can get this book from the nice folks at Summer Game Books.                 One Pitch Away

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By:Greg W. Prince-2016

The next book brings us to current times with the 2015 Mets.  By winning the division last year the Mets re-captured the hearts of the New York faithful in the Big Apple.  After a decade and a half or so of the Yankees being the toast of New York, it was nice to see the love spread around town.

Greg Prince who runs his own New York Mets blog, also has written about the Mets several times before.  He has an intense love for his team and it shows in his writing.  He takes a thorough look at the colorful cast of characters the Mets were able to put together for their improbable run in 2015.  If you are a fan of the Mets it is a fun reflection on an improbable year.  It is for sure a good read, but will probably be more enjoyable in 10 or 15 years when time has passed and the limelight has faded on this particular team.  This is another book that is time well spent reading today, but as it ages will become even more valuable to certain fans.  You can get this from the nice folks at Sports Publishing.

Amazin’ Again

Happy Reading

Gregg

 

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My 30 Ballpark Summer


Well, the holidays are officially over.  The decorations are away and we are all well on our way to breaking our new years resolutions.  It is currently 4 degrees outside of my house and I am patiently awaiting spring training. During this time my wife and I wonder where would we like to go on any trips this year and if we are going to make it to any Phillies games.  The latter part of that planning, the Phillies games, leads me to wonder if we could plan a couple trips and see some other stadiums as well.  Usually I get overruled on the other cities but we at least make it to the Phils. Today’s book is about one man’s journey and his trek to visit all 30 of the MLB stadiums.

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By:Tobey Shiverick-2016

I will be honest, a trip like this is my ultimate dream.  Checking out each stadium and every team that calls each one home.  This will be my retirement plan, just no one can tell my wife yet.  So for now, I have to live vicariously through Tobey Shiverick.

Shiverick brings us along his 18 flight, five month, 34,000 mile baseball journey.  He walks us through his experience at each stadium and gives us the highs or lows that he feels each has to offer.  He gives the reader the general vibe of the stadium and that of the teams fans.  I can only attest to Philadelphia, but he did have a pretty good read on Citizens Bank Park after only one game.

For a true baseball fan this would be the ultimate experience.  For fans from the same generation as the author, you also get the added bonus of being able to compare the stadiums of yesteryear to the modern palaces of today.  From Ebbets Field, to Dodger Stadium, The Polo Grounds to the palace in San Fran and of course, Yankee Stadium vs. that new one they built across the street.

Even fans of my generation would be able to do the some comparison to a lesser degree.  We would be able to do Shea Stadium to Citi Field,  Veterans Stadium to Citizens Bank Park and Three Rivers to PNC Park.  None of those generate heart palpitations in the spectrum of great stadiums, but does help foster some nostalgia nonetheless.

This book may be geared more to the older crowd versus the younger fan, mostly because the older generations would be able to afford this type of journey.  The expense has to be enormous between stops in 30 cities, hotel rooms, travels and meals.   The average fan would have a hard time being able to pony up the cash to pull this one off.  Also the print in this book is a little bigger than a lot of books I come across, so I am assuming they are expecting an older crowd reading the book.  Quite honestly, I read so many books that I appreciated the larger print for a change.

Fans should check this out.  Even if you are not able to do a 30 park tour, this book would be able to help you pick even one new park to check out.  It has endless value for fans in getting a feel for those parks they have never been to.

You can get this book from the nice folks at Summer Game Books

My 30 Ballpark Summer

Happy Reading

Gregg

 

 

 

 

The Global Baseball Classroom-Reflections Beyond Home


It is amazing the skills baseball has beyond the diamond.  It has the ability to transcend generations, bring families and friends together in any given space or time and it has the ability to bring different cultures together.  By coming together they speak their one common language……Baseball.

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By:Brent Loehr-2015

Brent Loehr has written a pretty unique book here.  It takes a look at his travels to countries all around the world spreading international good will.  That good will is wrapped in a neat little package called baseball.  It is a fun look at citizens in places as far away as Africa, who live an entirely different lifestyle than we are accustom to and how they react to baseball coming into their lives.

It shows the power that can be generated from something as simple as a baseball.  It allows different cultures to come together and for short times be one.  It allows for all difference to be put aside and partake in something that creates immense joy and passion for those involved.  This book is not what you would expect from a baseball book.  It takes the game of baseball out of the context we are all accustomed to and shows what it is truly capable in other parts of the world.

All fans should check this one out.  It definitely takes us out of the world we are all accustomed to and shows the readers the ability of baseball to bring the world together as one.

You can get this book from the nice folks at Summer Game Books

The Global Baseball Classroom

Happy Reading

Gregg

Amazing Aaron to Zero Zippers-An Introduction to Baseball History


I tried to figure out the other day when I became a baseball fan.  Was it when I went to my first baseball game with my Dad at age 5, it was the 1977 National League Championship Series between the Phillies and the Dodgers?  Was it when I bought my first pack of baseball cards in 1978?  Was it the Sunday afternoons watching games on TV with my Dad when I was little? I honestly don’t know for sure but it is probably a combination of all of those things.  So if we use that general point in time I have been on this baseball journey for the better part of forty years, and learn something new about the history of the game almost every single day.  Which, leads to my next question, how did I start my learning process?  Honestly I have no idea, but I just checked out a book that gives a fun overview when starting your journey down the road of baseball history.

By: Matt Nadel-2014

By: Matt Nadel-2014

This book by Matt Nadel is a fun book that takes readers through the basic history of the game.  Bringing into play some of the great names to have played the game, such as Willie Mays, Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig as well as dropping in some of the finer points of the game.  It helps showcase important facts such as the winningest pitchers of all time, famous quotes, amazing games and the history of uniforms.  It really covers a little bit of everything for the novice fan and gives a nice overview of the finer points in the history of the game.

The even more amazing part is Matt Nadel is your average red blooded American kid, who……oh by the way has written his book at age 16.  Matt is the youngest baseball history pro blogger out there right now and honestly did a pretty awesome job at this book.  All this at an age that when I was 16, all I was worried about getting my driver’s license and chasing girls.  He has a blog on mlb.com so look around and you should be able to find it.  Hat’s off to Matt as he has done a nice job on this book.

If you are a novice fan this book will help a great deal in helping you acclimate to the history of the game.  Everyone needs a starting point on their journey through the game and this is a great starting point.  If you fancy yourself a highly knowledgeable baseball historian, unfortunately you may not get anything new out of this.  This book has earned its place among the baseball book world and brings some great value to the table for new fans.  Newbies should check this out, it is presented in a format that is fun and easy to comprehend.  Plus all of Matt’s book proceeds go to various baseball related charitable non-profit foundations.

You can get this book from the nice folks at Summer Game Books

Amazing Aaron to Zero Zippers

Happy Reading

Gregg

Odds and Ends – Fall 2015


Since I have been submerged in my book sorting project lately I have not had much time to post anything on here.  I figured now would be a good time to show a little something for everyone.  I am learning first-hand just how many variances are out there in the baseball book world.  If you are even a casual fan that enjoys reading, you would be hard pressed not to find something that would appeal to you.  Sometimes all you have to do is dig around and find your niche.  These books tonight may not all be new but they were new to me at one time, if you will.  So I felt they would be worthwhile to share, but fair warning this is a fairly long post.  So without further delay…………

By: Lyle Spatz-2015

By: Lyle Spatz-2015

Willie Keeler of “hit them where they ain’t” fame was one of the great players of his time.  There were many superstars of that era, but Keeler was always able to hold his own during his career.  Not as much of a household name in this day and age, but he easily was still good enough to need his own book.  Lyle Spatz has done a nice job of keeping this one interesting for the reader as well making sure you don’t get bogged down in details.  It is a very comprehensive book without being burdened by statistics and in the end feeling cumbersome.  You get a nice feel for a player from a long ago ended era.  Willie Keeler from Roman & Littlefield Publishers

By:Terry Pluto & Tom Hamilton-2014

By:Terry Pluto & Tom Hamilton-2014

Terry Pluto has a love affair with the Cleveland Indians and it is always very evident in his writing.  That is not a bad thing, but it is good to know beforehand that you will always be getting the “Homers” view of the team.  Pluto and Hamilton walk you through the first few years of Jacobs Field in a time when the town was desperate for a winner.  It really is a good feeling book that Indians fans will be glad they get to revisit.  Glory Days in Tribe Town-Gray & Co. Publishers

By: Cesar Brioso-2015

By: Cesar Brioso-2015

I think with the advent of better government relations with Cuba, this will be the first of many baseball books on this topic.  It takes an in-depth look at baseball in a time before Cuba was off-limits.  How Cubans, Americans and other nationalities all came together and played within the league.  It almost is what the current model of MLB is today.  Numerous nations becoming one on the fields for a great pennant race.  It is a very good look of an era long ago and if you have any interest in Cuban baseball history, this is the book for you.  Havana Hardball-University Press of Florida

By:Jay Martin-2009

By:Jay Martin-2009

A true baseball pioneer in every sense of the word.  Alexander Joy Cartwright is considered the father of the modern game and honestly someone I did not know all that much about.  This book takes a serious look at his life and works and puts it in a modern-day perspective.  The reader can really relate to the subject and gets a feel for what he envisioned.  With all the controversy that surrounds the invention of baseball, this one will help clarify some things for some fans.  Live All You Can-Columbia University Press

BY:Jonathan Knight-2015

BY:Jonathan Knight-2015

More entertainment than baseball, but we will include it here.  It is a behind the scenes look at a baseball movie that became a cult classic.  Maybe for some folks it’s the best of both worlds, baseball and movies?  If you really like baseball movies this would be a great sneak peek for you to see what really went on during filming.  The Making of Major League-Gray & Co. Publishers

By:Dennis Hetzel-2015

By:Dennis Hetzel-201

I will be the first to admit that I am never usually drawn to fiction.  But I did find this one interesting because of this seasons circumstances with the Chicago Cubs.  They are the topic of this book and its all about the Cubs and Red Sox making it to the World Series.  It’s a fun book that shows what great lengths die-hard fans are willing to go to get a winner.  This book hits on a lot of human nature points and is pretty accurate in the human psyche analysis.  The Cubs almost were there this year, but this book might help some of those fans make it through to he promise of next year.  Killing the Curse-Publisher Page

By:Richard Peterson-2003

By:Richard Peterson-2003

Another team with high-hopes this postseason.  This is the type of book that helps Bucs fans make it through the long, hard Pennsylvania winter as well.  It walks the reader through team history and re-lives the highs and lows of seasons past.  You may ask why do we want to remember the lows?  Because that is what makes it so great when your team finally accomplishes something.  Both players and fans have earned that win and get to celebrate it together.  Pirates fans should definitely check this one out.  Pirates Reader-University of Pittsburgh Press

By:David George Surdam-2015

By:David George Surdam-2015

This one has a ton of information for the reader in how the government treats sports leagues.  At time it can be almost overwhelming.  It does a nice job of giving the background and how its effect on future dealings with the leagues, but it is still a lot to comprehend.  This is by far not light reading and at times seems text bookish, but if you can find the will to persevere and get through it, you will be much the wiser in doing so.  Not a book for the faint of heart but still worth the effort.  The Big Leagues Go to Washington-University of Illinois Press

By:Steve Myers-2015

By:Steve Myers-2015

This is a book of short stories that shows the reader how baseball really does take hold of us.  It almost is like it becomes part of our souls and infiltrates multiple parts of our lives. Whether you love just one player, one team or the entire game itself, you will read this and be able to relate to almost all of these stories.  This one has something for all fans regardless of age and makes you realize just how important the game really is to us.  Dreaming .400-Summer Game Books

By:Omar Vizquel-2002

By:Omar Vizquel-2002

Another player autobiography by a Cleveland Indians favorite.  Vizquel comes off as a likeable guy in this one.  Nothing of great earth shattering substance included here, but an enjoyable read nonetheless.  If you are not real familiar with Omar Vizquel this gives some nice insight to him beyond just a player.  Cleveland Indians fans who were desperate for a winner before Omar, will surely enjoy this one.

Omar!-Gray & Co Publishers

By:Lew Freedman-2015

By:Lew Freedman-2015

Its obvious the Yankees have the greatest history in baseball.  This book takes the opportunity to show fans of other teams one of those aspects that is so great.  Freedman takes a look at some of the most iconic home runs in Yankee history and helps fans relive those great moments.  From Babe Ruth to Reggie Jackson and Bucky Dent, this one covers them all.

Bronx Bombers-Blue River Press

By:Mitchell Nathanson-2012

By:Mitchell Nathanson-2012

I wasn’t sure where to file this one. The author takes a look at the accepted truths within the history of the game and attempts to refute them.  It basically makes you question everything we as a society accept about our game.  It makes you wonder how much of it is true and will appeal to the conspiracy theorists in the bunch.  You make the call on this one because I am still not sure.

A People’s History of Baseball-University of Illinois Press

By:David Zang-2015

By:David Zang-2015

This is another one that is hard to explain.  The author shows the reader how sports effect every day life at all levels.  It is one mans opinion of these things and how they effect his own life.  He tells a bunch of his own stories in this book some of which he is the main character and some where he is not.  It was a little hard for me to grab hold of this one and not put it down, it definitely wasn’t what I expected, but you be the judge on it.I wore Babe Ruth’s Hat-University of Illinois Press

Happy Reading

Gregg

Baseball’s Untold History – The People


Baseball history is filled with thousands of personalities, and with those people come tons of stories.  Some are unique, some are interesting, while others are not and then there are some that are so bizarre and unbelievable you wonder how they can even be true.  I always find enjoyable the books that can compile the interesting stories of baseballs bygone players.  Today’s book is taking a look at some of the odd-ball stories that make travelling through baseball history a unique journey.

By:Michael Lynch-2015

By:Michael Lynch-2015

Michael Lynch has taken readers on a journey through the not so well-known baseball roster.  He takes a look at some obscure players that have had interesting facts surrounding their careers or lives.  These facts may be some on the field experience that made them stand out or it may be some bizarre circumstances that ended their life that still shrouds them in mystery to this day.  Perhaps you are more interested in players who flat-out wasted their talent or one-hit wonders, because this book packs a little punch for everybody.

This book is a very quick read and does not dwell on any one person for very long.  It gives you the facts surrounding their unique circumstance and moves to the next person.  It does leave the reader wondering why some things happen the way they did, but unfortunately you may never get the answer to some of those questions.

The author has done a great job of creating a fun and enjoyable book.  It does go by fast as your reading but does come across as light and fun, and for me created a lot of questions.  It made me wonder what other factors played into the end results of each player.  It also introduced me to some new names I was not familiar with before reading this, so it was educational as well.

Baseball fans should check this out, you will find it fun and a nice change of pace from the 800 plus page player biographies I have been running across lately.

You can get this book from the nice folks at Summer Game Books

Baseball’s Untold History – The People

Happy Reading

Gregg

Belles of the Ballpark – Celebrating the AAGPBL


Baseball has taken over our society.  It has been there in both times of national pain and triumph.  Marching along day by day and game by game, it has lent itself to our country, sometimes as a mirror of ourselves as well as a sign of progress in our society.  For many fans it is hard to see beyond the scope of Major League Baseball.  It is a power house that has overtaken our world in many ways, but how was it before MLB ruled our land.  Baseball as a whole, across many leagues and generations has a rich and varied history and todays book takes a look at one of those amazing chapters.

By:Diana Star Helmer and Thomas Owens-2015

By:Diana Star Helmer and Thomas Owens-2015

The 2015 version of Belles of the Ballpark is a re-issue of a previously released version of 1993.  Helmer and Owens have taken an in-depth look at the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.  If you thought you knew the real story of the AAGPBL from watching the movie A League of Their Own, you were mistaken.  There is so much more to the story that could ever be covered by one two-hour movie.

The authors walk you through the birth of the league, The brain child of one of the MLB owners, it shows how the teams were constructed, staffed, players scouted and how they chose locales for the teams.  It also shows how women were given the opportunity to play what was widely considered a man’s game.  In a time when society standards for women were much different from today, this book shows what pioneers these players actually were.

The reader sees the economic growth and struggles of the league along with overwhelming popularity of the players in the local areas.  This re-issue also provides some interviews with former players and it is interesting see how fond the former players are of their time in the league.  It must have been a wonderful experience to be part of this league and only decades later realize what a difference it made for all women.  The book also provides details of some player reunions and interviews with the un-official league historian.  It is a very interesting book that provides many facts that are missed if your only source of knowledge about the AAGPBL is the movie.

other player biographies from the AAGPBL are out on the market and as we have seen on this blog before, are pretty enjoyable reading.  This is one of the few books that I have found that encompasses the entire league.  It is a great history lesson for fans and helps future generations remember an more innocent time and that the game should be inclusive of all people.

You can get this book from the nice folks at Summer Game Books

http://www.summergamebooks.com/belles-ballpark-diana-star-helmer-thomas-s-owens/

Happy Reading

Gregg