Hot Stove Reading
Here's enough Hot Stove reading to keep you warm 'til spring.
With the World Series behind us and a long winter looming ahead, reading baseball books will keep many fans occupied until spring training comes around. Here's a sampler of some of the wide range of books available:
Four entries from SportsPublishing, Inc. are "Tales From Baseball's Golden Age" by Gene Fehler ($19.95, 262 pages), "50 Phabulous Phillies" by Skip Clayton and Jeff Moeller ($22.95, 225 pages), "They Earned Their Stripes" ($29.95, 176 pages) and "Jeter: Hero in Pinstripes" by the New York Daily News ($24.95, 128 pages).
Fehler's book turns back the clock to the 1940s and 1950s through the words of 56 players from that era. Interviewees range from my old friend, the late Cal Abrams, to Ralph Kiner and Gus Zernial. Though the territory has been covered before and in greater depth, this account offers some interesting moments and new insights.
The book on the Phillies profiles 50 players, executives and managers of the franchise dating to 1915. Stocked with 50 photos and lots of stories, it is a good read and will appeal especially to fans of the team.
About 1,300 players have worn the uniform of the Detroit Tigers. "They Earned Their Stripes" celebrates a sampling of them with pictures and stories from the archives of the Detroit News.
The Jeter book is another entry in a crowded field about the young Yankees superstar. A little short on text, "Jeter: Hero in Pinstripes" steps out from the rest by virtue of its many full-color photographs.
Other baseball books of note: "Ted Williams: A Baseball Life" by Michael Seidel was originally published in 1991. This reissue from Bison Books/University of Nebraska Press ($17.95, 404 pages) is definitely worth getting if you missed it the first time around. Seidel, a professor of English at Columbia University, writes with the care of an academic and the passion of a fan.
John P. Rossi's "The National Game: Baseball and American Culture" (Ivan R Dee Publishing, $25, 243 pages) is another baseball effort by a college professor. Unfortunately, Rossi is not as effective as Seidel. Billed as a "compact history," it is more like a quick once-over.
For those into encyclopedias, Temple University Press owns bragging
rights to "The Braves Encyclopedia" by Gary Caruso and "The Cardinals Encyclopedia" by Mike Eisenbath. The Redbird tome weighs in at 852 pages, and the book on the Braves is 532 pages. For fans of these franchises, these encyclopedias are well worth owning.
"Red Sox Century" by Glenn Stout and Richard A. Johnson (Houghton Mifflin, $40, 472 pages) is a review of 100 years of Red Sox baseball. Blending a couple of hundred photographs with many of the old stories, "Red Sox Century" will appeal to Sox fans. For the rest of us, it belongs on the optional shelf.
"Be the One" by April Smith (Knopf, $24, 317 pages) is a novel and a terrific read. Its main character is Cassidy Sanderson, the only female scout in the majors, who more than holds her own in a male world. Suspenseful and well written, the book is set against the backdrop of sports, finance and violence.
McFarland & Company out of Jefferson, N.C., specializes in all kinds of baseball books. Check out the following trio: "The Hundred Greatest Baseball Games of the 20th Century" by Joseph J. Dittmar, "The 25 Greatest Baseball Teams of the 20th Century" by Chris Holaday and Marshall Adesman, and "The Hundred Greatest Baseball Players of the 20th Century" by Mark McGuire and Michael Sean Gormley.
There you have it -- enough Hot Stove reading to keep even the most rabid of baseball fans going until spring.
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Harvey Frommer at:
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,
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