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The Barry Halper Collection of Baseball Memorabilia

Harvey Frommer's Sports Book Review

by Harvey Frommer

Harvey Frommer - Click to Enlarge          

The Barry Halper Collection of Baseball Memorabilia

Boxed and Truly Beautiful

(June 2,2000)

There are books about sports and then there are great books about sports. THE BARRY HALPER COLLECTION OF BASEBALL MEMORABILIA (Harry N. Abrams, three volumes, $35.00) is a great book about sports. It is one that really belongs on every fan's bookshelf.

Based on an auction Sotheby's held last September of more than 2,500 items owned by Barry Halper - the greatest private collection of baseball memorabilia ever assembled - this publication is an elegant slip-cased three-volume catalogue. The result is a deluxe set that includes more than 1,500 color photographs of rare and unusual items from every era of baseball.

THE BARRY HALPER COLLECTION OF BASEBALL MEMORABILIA sports an individual description of each auction item, very interesting historical information and the final auction price list. The auction at Sotheby's produced a record sale of $21.8 million and included items (all featured in flawless photos in the boxed set) like Mickey Mantle's glove, the only signed Ty Cobb jersey, and the signed agreement from 1920 that sent Babe Ruth to the Yankees from the Red Sox.

There are insightful essays in this publication by Peter Golenbock, Yogi Berra and Ted Williams. One of the volumes is purely informational about the auction. A second volume focuses on baseball's early years and the third volume showcases the modern era from the 1940s on. To turn the pages of this beautifully put together work is to re-live baseball history. A sampling of a couple of the items shows the depth and nostalgia to be found in THE BARRY HALPER COLLECTION OF BASEBALL MEMORABILIA.

Item 2059: Pete Rose National League Hit Record Cleats - "Pete Rose was wearing these red Mizuno cleats when he broke Stan Musial's National League hit record of 3,630. Each cleat has been inscribed by Rose as follows: 'Pete Rose - 8-10-81 - 3,631. Inside each shoe is Rose's number "14" in black marker; the cleats show heavy wear and still have red clay stuck to the bottom; in excellent condition." $1,5000 - $2,500.

Item 276: Nineteenth Century Baseball Catcher Figurine - "This unusual figure is probably modeled as early baseball great Buck Ewing, who was the premier catcher of his day. Two small holes drilled in reverse do not detract from its otherwise excellent appearance. Height 8 1/2 in." $700-$1,000.

With its true bargain $35.00 price tag, its splendid range of items includes 1,000 uniforms, 400 bats, 30,000 baseball cards, pins, gloves, contracts, works of art, 928 pages and 1,623 illustrations - most in full color. "The Barry Halper Collection of Baseball Memorabilia" has so much going for it. It is a publication to own, to pore through, to go back to again and again. A bravo to all those associated with this project.

Book Ends: "USA Today Baseball Weekly 2000 Insider" by Gary Gillette and Stuart Shea (Total Sports, 444 pages, $14.95) is a lode of facts, figures and opinions about the national pastime. If you are one for baseball reference - this is the book for you. THE BALTIMORE ORIOLES by Ted Patterson (Taylor, $22.95, 254 pages) is a trade paperback whose sub-title declares: "Four decades of magic from 33rd Street to Camden Yards". For fans of the Os, this is a must read. Memorabilia, stats and informative prose bring the team's history to life. 

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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 .

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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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