Baseball State by State, A Review
There are many fine baseball resource books to keep close at hand and Chris Jensen has added another. My favorite is Paul Dickson’s Baseball Dictionary, but Chris Jensen’s Baseball State by State may have more practical value, even if it lacks Dickson’s wonderful illustrations.
The strength of the aggregation is two-fold. While there is no overarching narrative, the selection of each state’s best player by position provides meat on the bone and definitely something for fans to chew on. The selections are well thought out, and presented in compelling form.
That is the first strength of the book. The other is the wealth of information about ballparks, museums, and historical sites. The full title of the book is Baseball State by State, Major and Negro League Players, Ballparks, Museums and Historical Sites. It provides tightly researched information on all of it and the breadth of information is impressive.
The most important test is whether you can learn something from keeping this book handy. The answer is in the affirmative and there is a wealth of anecdotal information on players that gives the whole thing as much flavor as, well, a Georgia Peach.
Naturally the first state I turned to is the one of my birth. Ty Cobb is everybody’s favorite red clay rambler. But frankly my knowledge of the other Georgia players is lacking. I know much about the more current ones on whom the Atlanta Braves depend for their uniquely local flavor, but historically speaking, not so much. So I enjoyed the informative discussion of Georgia baseball and learned much.
Then I decided to try some of the states where the issues would be tricky. I went to Missouri where I looked to discern how well treated some of my favorite players were. Check that. Then I tried California where my old favorite rivalry of Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams would play out. And there it was, something to irritate just about any opinionated fan of the game. But that is what you want I believe. You have to take sides and whatever flag you are waving, you have to defend it. Chris Jensen does just that.
You may not always agree with Jensen’s selections, but it is informative and helpful to array players by their point of origin rather than where they spent the glory years of their careers. There is great information for those traveling to various locales who might want to know baseball museums and historic sites. Many of those discussed in this helpful volume are not widely known, at least not to the average fan.
I am proud to have Chris Jensen’s Baseball State by State as a resource in my library. I think you will conclude the same. It is available through McFarland & Company, Inc. Publishers out of Jefferson, North Carolina. Thank you, Chris.