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…………
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
Sometimes you come across a player that has a lot of book presence in the market. Billy Martin is one that comes to mind as well as most of the other Yankee stars like Mantle and DiMaggio. Then there are others that have the market presence but still languish in the shadows. They may have played for a team in a smaller market or be from an era that is not as popular as some others. Honus Wagner is one of those players that has had several biographies written about him. So how do fans decide which ones are worth their time and which ones they should avoid at any cost? They stop by the bookcase of course and I give them my thoughts………
Honus Wagner was the National League superstar of his era. He was the nicer, friendlier version of his American League counterpart Ty Cobb. Playing in Pittsburgh probably diminished his popularity to some degree, but he still produced on the field and became one of the brightest stars in the game. You would think it would be easy to write about a career of this caliber but this book proves that it may be harder than one thinks.
Honus Wagner, A Biography disappointed me. I was hoping for a book that would give me a good feel for the player and the personality contained within. What I found was a book that was very big on game detail. Within those details it made it cumbersome to get through the book, because you were never sure where it was headed. Me being the reader, also had trouble with keeping track of who the author was talking about at that particular time. Was it Wagner or one of his teammates? It just was missing some sort of structure in the writing that really left me at times, confused.
The author’s research and work involved in fact-finding is the one bright spot of the book. It really came across that they tried to find every fact they could about Honus Wagner that was out there. The big problem was that the presentation of all those facts was missing some structure and in the end, not good in my opinion. I also didn’t get any good information regarding Honus Wagner. I had wanted to learn more about him on a personal level and had high hopes that this book would deliver. Unfortunately, I was wrong. I have read other books on Wagner in the past and reviewed some of them on here as well, and this sadly fails in comparison to the others.
Pirates fans might enjoy this book, just for the fact that it is a local boy makes good story. Other fans not so much and I recommend you gravitate towards some of the other Honus Wagner biographies that are out there on the market. If you still are interested in this one though, you can get this book from the nice folks at The University of Pittsburgh Press.