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The New Dickson Baseball Dictionary

Harvey Frommer's Sports Book Review

by Harvey Frommer

Harvey Frommer - Click to Enlarge          

The New Dickson Baseball Dictionary by Paul Dickson; Harvest Books, 579pp. $20.00 

Casey Stengel was famous for many things including reacting this way when someone doubted what he said: "Well, you could look it up."  

Well, you can look it up, and look it up in "The New Dickson Baseball Dictionary". This is a mighty rich lode of baseball lexica that begins with "A" (l. See Class A. 2. Scoreboard abbreviation for assist. 3. Box score abbreviation for attendance) and ends with “Zurdo”, Spanish for lefty.

You will also get the answers to questions like: When did left-handers become "southpaws"?

Where did the term “bullpen” come from? What is a “Texas Leaguer”? " Where did “seventh-inning stretch” come from? What is a “Peggy Lee fastball”? What are the meanings of “Hoover” and “Hooter” and “hoopdy-scoop”?

All of these questions are answered along with so many more and there are definitions not only for designated hitter, ground ball, and unassisted triple play but also for Black Sox, Cactus League, and Lou Gehrig’s disease. etc. etc.

Paul Dickson, the author of the “Joy of Keeping Score”, “Baseball's Greatest Quotations”, “Baseball: The President's Game”, and “Family Words”, provides the background, context and usage for over 7000 words in this updated version of the Dickson dictionary that was published 10 years ago. The sub-title of the book is “A cyclopedic reference to more than 7,000 words, names, phrases, and slang expressions that define the game, its heritage, culture and variations”. It is all of that and more.

Arranged alphabetically, the book has definitions, examples, cross-references, and word and phrase origins.

There are even interesting and seldom seen illustrations of memorabilia like: a button from the New York Black Yankees, an 1886 lithograph of the St. George Grounds on Staten Island, New York where both the American Association Metropolitans and the National League Giants played in the 1880s, a poster advertising Joe DiMaggio seeking to extend his 1941 game consecutive game hitting streak to 49 in Sportsman's Park, St. Louis Besides the language of baseball, the book also covers the lingo of softball.

Dickson knows the score but there are some errors along the way, which a capable editor would have picked up: there are players who are misnamed (like Gary Maddux for Greg Maddux of the Atlanta Braves).

The also book includes a brief thesaurus, a list of baseball abbreviations, and a partially annotated bibliography (this author has two of his books listed there) works on baseball terminology, all of which add to its reference value.

In sum, this is the most complete collection of baseball terms and slang to be found between two covers. It is a book that offers a lot for novices just learning about the game and for experts who can still learn a little more. The New Dickson Baseball Dictionary is a home run - a gold mine of information on each page.

*BOOKENDS: "Where's Harry?" by Steve Stone with Barry Rozner (Taylor Publishers, $24.95) is a wonderful read. The book is filled with humor, special insights and wonderful stories about the late and great baseball broadcaster Harry Caray).

"Wild Ride: The Illustrated History of the Denver Broncos" by Alex Marvez (Taylor Publishers, $36.95) is sure to get you in the mood for the new National Football League season. It's filled with great photos and interesting facts.

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You can reach Harvey Frommer at:   

Email:  harvey.frommer@Dartmouth.EDU 

About the Author:

Harvey Frommer is in his  38th year of writing books. A noted oral historian and sports journalist, the author of 42 sports books including the classics: "New York City Baseball,1947-1957" and "Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball," his acclaimed REMEMBERING YANKEE STADIUM was published in 2008 and his REMEMBERING FENWAY PARK: AN ORAL AND NARRATIVE HISTORY OF THE HOME OF RED SOX NATION was published to acclaim in 2011.  The prolific Frommer is at work on When It Was Just a Game, An Oral History on Super Bowel One. 

His work has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, New York Daily News, Newsday, USA Today, Men's Heath, The Sporting News, among other publications.

FROMMER SPORTSNET (syndicated) reaches a readership in the millions and is housed on Internet search engines for extended periods of time.
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Dr. Frommer is the Official Book Reviewer of Travel-Watch. 
*Autographed copies of Frommer books are available .

Other Frommer sports related articles can be found at:   

Harvey Frommer along with his wife, Myrna Katz  Frommer are the authors of five critically acclaimed oral/cultural histories, professors at Dartmouth  College, and travel writers who specialize in cultural history, food, wine, and Jewish history and heritage in the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean. 

This Article is Copyright © 1995 - 2014 by Harvey Frommer.  All rights reserved worldwide.

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