July 26, 2017

Book Review: 60’6″

May 4, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

                    60’6″: Balls, Strikes, and Baseball Mortality, the debut novel from former college and semipro pitcher Mike Arsenault, is a portrait of a young man clinging to an impossible dream and wondering what lies beyond.  Arsenault uses baseball as his backdrop, but his story transcends the […]

Banzai Babe Ruth: A Review

May 4, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

No matter how popular the NFL or NBA becomes, baseball still holds the title of America’s pastime.  For over a century it has been seen as a way to connect Americans with fellow countrymen and those from abroad, but is that a true representation?  Baseball has also served as a backdrop to larger diplomatic and […]

A People’s History of Baseball: A Review

April 2, 2012 by · 2 Comments 

Baseball is steeped in the notion of myth and the existence of a narrative declaring the game to be a bastion of good and American wholesomeness. Such contrivances interfere with the study of history, making it difficult to find works associated with baseball that are able to push through such obstacles. With the publishing of […]

Changed Forever

March 20, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

In 1968 baseball’s golden era did not go gently into that good night of historical lore and remembrance. It went out with the bang of Bob Gibson and Mickey Lolich fighting it out in one of the great pitching duels ever, one that played out in the final game game of the ’68 World Series. […]

A Pilgrimage To the Past

March 12, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Baseball is all about connections. Players make connections with teammates that extend beyond the playing field and beyond their careers. Management links combinations of people whose connections strengthen the collective effort. As fans, we connect with teams, players, and events, and each of us accumulates a rich fabric of memories, favorites, and unfulfilled wishes. Every […]

“Out Of My League: A Rookie’s Survival In The Bigs”

February 27, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

I first met Dirk Hayhurst after The Bullpen Gospels had already been a hit on the New York Times best-seller list.  In fact, that’s why I reached out to him—he was a big league pitcher who also had the ability to write, two things I admire and respect.  I found Dirk to be engaging, open […]

“Long Taters” Goes Deep

February 27, 2012 by · 2 Comments 

I first met Ron Anderson via email three years ago when he replied to a post I made about my search for contributors to Seamheads.com.  Ron and I struck up a friendship and I was thrilled to learn he was in the early stages of a book about one of my all-time favorite players—George “Boomer” […]

Good Show, Mr. Bailey

February 20, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

Back in the good old disco ’70s, I had the thrill of working a New England amusement park roller coaster for three consecutive summers. It was me and four other impressionable, party-loving young guys and the pay was crap, but we had so many vivid, unforgettable moments I can still feel the sensation of stopping […]

Fenway 1912: Glenn Stout’s Fascinating History of Fenway Park and the 1912 Red Sox

January 22, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Fenway Park is one of the most historic and well known landmarks in all of baseball and Boston. Despite its modern notoriety, the home of the Red Sox is the oldest major league stadium still in play, and is about to celebrate its 100th anniversary later this spring. Professional sport venues typically have lives that […]

A Book as “Terrific” as Its Subject

January 19, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Like the “The Little Engine that Could,” Tom Seaver began a steep climb saying “I think I can. I think I can.” Seaver’s mom, Betty, grafted the story into her son’s DNA by reading it to him as a child. Seaver always thought he could do whatever he set out to do, and usually he […]

A Real Dandy

December 15, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Juan Marichal won more games than anyone in the 1960s. That’s some accomplishment for the “Dominican Dandy” who began playing ball using branches for bats and socks wrapped around golf balls for baseballs. “We just loved the game so much that, as a kid, anywhere you saw other kids playing, you wanted to be there,” […]

Celebrating Mets History Anyway

December 11, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Last week was a tough one for Mets fans as Jose Reyes has done what most New Yorkers can’t manage until they’re twice his age–he took the money and fled to Florida. The team might be in for the Second Dark Ages the next few years, reminiscent of the forgettable seasons between the departure of […]

Starting Something Great

December 1, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

When the Red Sox assembled their dream roster last offseason, many wrote them into the World Series without hesitation. We still don’t understand all that went wrong, but what we do know is that the “greatest team ever” label was not to be. Author Thomas J. Whalen argues that even the 2004 title winner did […]

In an Instant

November 17, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

What if you were known for one thing most of your life? What if that one thing was not favorable? That’s the story Ralph Branca tells in “A Moment in Time” with David Ritz. Read this book because: 1. Good or bad, baseball is one of life’s few constants. (Well, almost.) There’s nothing like the […]

Simple Pleasures

November 10, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

With Thanksgiving almost upon us, what better time to “take time for paradise”?  That’s the name of Bart Giamatti’s classic book from 1989. It was re-released earlier this year. If you are fond of nostalgia, take a look back at what the former baseball commissioner had to say. Read this book because: 1. It is […]

The Art of Fielding, by Chad Harbach

October 2, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

After finishing Chad Harbach’s fine baseball novel, The Art of Fielding, on Friday night, I could not help seeing Joe Maddon astride the bow of his whaler, with Evan Longoria and the lads manning the oars behind him as their captain sinks his harpoon into the great white, pin-striped leviathan. The book stews its baseball slowly […]

A Book To Be Savored

September 24, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

There seems to be no debate in baseball history circles about the identity of the game’s greatest photographer: Charles Conlon. If/when the Hall of Fame stops dithering and institutes an annual award for baseball photography, it will be named after Conlon. With good reason: the New York-based Conlon took thousands of photos from 1905-1942, capturing […]

Consummate Captain

September 8, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

If Sandy Koufax is in the Baseball Hall of Fame, why not Don Mattingly? OK, OK, maybe that’s like comparing apples to oranges. How about Kirby Puckett vs. Don Mattingly? Take a look at this and more in “Donnie Baseball” by longtime journalist Mike Shalin. Read this book because: 1. Nobody worked harder than Mattingly. […]

“Pop” Paved the Way

September 1, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

If I were to ask you who were the best black baseball players, Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson and Oscar Charleston might readily come to mind. Chances are it would take you awhile to think of John Henry “Pop” Lloyd. You might never get there. In that case the list would be sorely lacking. Better pick […]

Here’s a Knuckle Sandwich

August 25, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

With his next win, Tim Wakefield will earn the 200th victory of his career. What better time to read “Knuckler: My Life with Baseball’s Most Confounding Pitch” by Tim Wakefield with Tony Massarotti? Read this book because: 1. Wakefield shares with you what few others know – how to throw the knuckleball. One umpire describes […]

Rickey was Right On

August 4, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

In teaming with Jackie Robinson to break the color barrier, Branch Rickey helped make Barack Obama’s presidency possible. That’s one reason why Jimmy Breslin decided to write a biography on Rickey. One could surmise Rickey’s decision to team with Robinson was about morality. After all, he broke the news in a pulpit. In truth, this was […]

You Can Bank on It

July 28, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

In 1967, Louis Armstrong recorded “What a Wonderful World.” Do you think Armstrong naturally believed that about everything? Most likely not, but he made a decision to view life with optimism. While Armstrong dazzled the jazz circuit, Ernie Banks shared a similar view on the baseball diamond. “Let’s play two,” Banks said. A combination of […]

Hunter or Hunted?

July 7, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Long before Pete Rose, there was Hal Chase. In “The Black Prince of Baseball: Hal Chase and the Mythology of the Game,” authors Donald Dewey and Nicholas Acocella examine whether Chase left an indelible black mark on baseball or whether the culture of baseball scourged Hal Chase. Read this book because: 1. Chase was one […]

Overbearing, Ostentatious and Odd

June 30, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Overbearing, ostentatious, odd. All three words could describe the way Charlie O. Finley operated. You won’t want to miss this week’s read, “Charlie Finley: The Outrageous Story of Baseball’s Super Showman” by G. Michael Green and Roger D. Lanius. Read this book because: 1. Charlie Finley did some good. Up until the end of his […]

“Nobody’s Perfect”

June 23, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Just one step away. One break. We all know the feeling. What separates us is what we do when the moment comes and what we have learned to prepare us. That’s what this week’s read, “Nobody’s Perfect,” is about. The “almost-perfect game” is merely part of the story. Read Armando Galarraga and Jim Joyce’s story […]

Double No-No Equals Yes

June 9, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

As a high school pitcher growing up in small-town New Jersey, Johnny Vander Meer drew plenty of attention. Watching one of the young man’s starts, you never knew what you might see. “They never made a hit off me,” Vander Meer said. “They couldn’t. I walked them all. I could throw hard in those days, […]

Forerunner Foster

June 2, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Long before Muhammad Ali asserted that he was the greatest, Rube Foster staked that claim for himself and his teams. Foster, author Robert Charles Cottrell says, could be considered more influential than Jackie Robinson. Read “The Best Pitcher in Baseball: The Life of Rube Foster, Negro League Giant” because: 1. Foster consistently put the best […]

Bill James, Crime Writer

May 31, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

I have a confession to make. Every time I walk into a bookstore the first two sections I visit are Baseball and True Crime. You would think no two subjects would be further apart, and yet they do have an odd symmetry. Both are treasure troves of curious tales with colorful characters. Both create an […]

Culmination or Collapse?

May 26, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Oct. 2, 1978. Baseball fans readily cite it as the date one of the greatest games in history took place. True, it stands out amid the annals of one of sports’ greatest rivalries. It’s also true that a season hung in the balance. If only that was the end of it. Instead, Bill Reynolds writes, […]

A Good Pitcher, Even Better Writer

May 23, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Pitching in the Promised Land Where would you go to follow your dream?  Wouldn’t it be nice if the journey took you far away and, at the same time, back home? That’s what happened to Aaron Pribble, a lifelong baseball habitué whom, by the summer of 2007, realized that having reached the age of 27 […]

The Game that Lasted Two Months

May 19, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

And you thought a D’Backs-Pirates game was long. How about the longest game in pro baseball history? The Pawtucket Red Sox and the Rochester Red Wings started their contest April 18, 1981. Eight hours later at 4:09 a.m. on April 19, umpires suspended the game. It resumed two months later. Dan Barry has all the […]

1920: Anything but Status Quo

May 5, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

All eyes stared at the Detroit Tigers dugout. If TV had existed in 1920, all of America would have been tuned in as well. Life began to blur in 1920. Some folks didn’t know what was what at the dawn of the Jazz Age, but baseball was baseball. Black or white, right or wrong, win […]

Get a Glove on “Catcher”

April 28, 2011 by · 2 Comments 

Two-thousand ten was the “Year of the Pitcher.” Pitchers have almost always been paramount. But did you know there was a time when a hurler took a backseat to his backstop? Peter Morris details this post-Antebellum period in “Catcher: How the Man behind the Plate Became an American Folk Hero.” Read this book because: 1. […]

Hank Did All Right

April 21, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

“Yes!” “No!” “Yes!” “No!” “Play!” “Don’t play!” It was enough to make Hank Greenberg’s head spin. You would think Greenberg’s Tigers were on some sort of barnstorming tour or beginning their exhibition slate. You would be wrong. This cloud of conflict swirled around the Tigers first baseman as Detroit and New York found themselves in […]

Lessons from a Legend

April 14, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

One of the most compelling aspects of sports or reality television is that while they are simply games, life lessons are readily available. That is the premise of Lang Whitaker’s “In the Time of Bobby Cox.” A native Georgian turned New Yorker, Whitaker gives Cox credit for shaping many of his views. Read this book […]

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