Baseball seems tailor-made for the historian, yet even today, after almost a century and a half of organized play, baseball's origins remain unclear. Most accounts focus on Eastern teams and the advent of professionals, but how the game spread across a predominantly rural America to become our national pastime is a question still largely unresolved.
In this well-researched study of Michigan baseball from the 1830s to the 1870s, baseball scholar Peter Morris offers many answers. Drawing on such sources as personal memoirs, period photographs, and an extensive, often hilarious variety of newspaper accounts, he paints a vivid portrait of a game that was widely---if erratically---played well before the Civil War and gradually evolved from an informal amusement into an activity for local groups of young men and finally into a serious, organized sport.
Baseball began with pick-up "raisin'" games---so called because they took place after rural roof-raisings---played purely for fun by any number of participants, with myriad local variations. The first amateur clubs appeared in the 1850s and were often ridiculed for playing a child's game---"baseball fever" was then a term of mockery---but as they persevered and issued challenges to other teams from nearby towns, rivalries developed, rules began to conform, and a tradition started to take shape.
Tournaments, often connected with county fairs, and increased newspaper coverage gave the game new momentum after the Civil War, and what had been sociable matches became serious contests, sometimes marred by bad blood. Enclosed grounds changed the nature of the game--most notably with respect to home runs--and allowed teams to charge admission, which introduced a new element of commercialism, community involvement, and a heightened sense of competition. Ultimately, it brought about a level of play that made the best "amateur" clubs able to challenge professional teams from the East when they toured the country.
As he traces the exploits of clubs like the Excelsiors, the Wahoos, and the Unknowns, season by season and often game by game, Morris adds a wealth of new detail to the story of baseball's early days, showing how decades of at least nominally amateur play prepared the way for the advent of the National League in the 1870s, and with it the true beginnings of the professional sport we know today. In the process, he also paints a fascinating portrait of the attitudes, values, and lives of rural Americans in the mid-nineteenth century.
Peter Morris, a former English instructor at Michigan State University, is a specialist in nineteenth-century baseball and an active member of the Society for American Baseball Research.
An NPR personality describes how he chose to go on sabbatical to pursue a lifelong dream to become a play-by-play baseball announcer and offers a detailed journal of his 2000 season with the Aberdeen Arsenal, a minor league franchise.
More than 6 years after his death David Halberstam remains one of this country's most respected journalists and revered authorities on American life and history in the years since WWII. A Pulitzer Prize-winner for his ground-breaking reporting on the Vietnam War, Halberstam wrote more than 20 books, almost all of them bestsellers. His work has stood the test of time and has become the standard by which all journalists measure themselves.The Teammates is the profoundly moving story of four great baseball players who have made the passage from sports icons--when they were young and seemingly indestructible--to men dealing with the vulnerabilities of growing older. At the core of the book is the friendship of these four very different men--Boston Red Sox teammates Bobby Doerr, Dominic DiMaggio, Johnny Pesky, and Ted Williams--who remained close for more than sixty years. The book starts out in early October 2001, when Dominic DiMaggio and Johnny Pesky begin a 1,300-mile trip by car to visit their beloved friend Ted Williams, whom they know is dying. Bobby Doerr, the fourth member of this close group--"my guys," Williams used to call them--is unable to join them.This is a book--filled with historical details and first-hand accounts--about baseball and about something more: the richness of friendship.
Recapture classic moments in baseball history with full-page spreads that remind us why baseball is America's favorite game. Includes over 400 photographs from the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
From the perspective of 2007, the unintentional irony of Chance's boast is manifest--these days, the question is when will the Cubs ever win a game they have to have. In October 1908, though, no one would have laughed: The Cubs were, without doubt, baseball's greatest team--the first dynasty of the 20th century.
Crazy '08 recounts the 1908 season--the year when Peerless Leader Frank Chance's men went toe to toe to toe with John McGraw and Christy Mathewson's New York Giants and Honus Wagner's Pittsburgh Pirates in the greatest pennant race the National League has ever seen. The American League has its own three-cornered pennant fight, and players like Cy Young, Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, and the egregiously crooked Hal Chase ensured that the junior circuit had its moments. But it was the National League's--and the Cubs'--year.
Crazy '08, however, is not just the exciting story of a great season. It is also about the forces that created modern baseball, and the America that produced it. In 1908, crooked pols run Chicago's First Ward, and gambling magnates control the Yankees. Fans regularly invade the field to do handstands or argue with the umps; others shoot guns from rickety grandstands prone to burning. There are anarchists on the loose and racial killings in the town that made Lincoln. On the flimsiest of pretexts, General Abner Doubleday becomes a symbol of Americanism, and baseball's own anthem, Take Me Out to the Ballgame, is a hit.
Picaresque and dramatic, 1908 is a season in which so many weird and wonderful things happen that it is somehow unsurprising that a hairpiece, a swarm of gnats, a sudden bout of lumbago, and a disaster down in the mines all play a role in its outcome. And sometimes the events are not so wonderful at all. There are several deaths by baseball, and the shadow of corruption creeps closer to the heart of baseball--the honesty of the game itself. Simply put, 1908 is the year that baseball grew up.
Oh, and it was the last time the Cubs won the World Series.
Destined to be as memorable as the season it documents, Crazy '08 sets a new standard for what a book about baseball can be.
The Boys of Summer recreates the magic of Dodger baseball as played in Ebbets Field during that brief dream when Brooklyn was the center of the universe. Robinson, Snider, Reese, Furillo, Campanella, and the rest tell Roger Kahn how it was raising hopes every year only to fall before the mighty pinstripes . . . until that unforgettable year ('55) when it all came together. At the same time Kahn masterfully interweaves the story of his own youth, from early fandom to young reporterhood, traveling with and writing about his childhood idols.
Baseball and ghost stories are as American as apple pie. Haunted Baseball combines both with this fun and freaky collection of otherworldly yarns. Collected from baseball players, stadium personnel, umpires, front-office folks, and fans, the tales told here explore the spooky connection between baseball and the paranormal, including Babe Ruth sightings at a former brothel, the Curse of the Billy Goat that still haunts the Chicago Cubs, of hidden passageways within the depths of Dodger Stadium, and of the spirits of legendary stars that inspire modern-day players at Yankee Stadium. We hear why Johnny Damon believes in ghosts, and how the memories of a 9/11 hero inspired Ken Griffey Jr. to hit a home run against the Phillies--a team against which he'd never even gotten a hit There's the story of how Sam Rice settled a decades-old baseball controversy with a message from beyond the grave, and how the late Roberto Clemente had premonitions of his own death in a plane crash. With a wealth of anecdotes that have never before been told before, the authors present an entertaining and eerie look at our national pastime.
When Tony DiCicco first became head coach of the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team, his star player, Mia Hamm, gave him this piece of advice: "Coach us like men, but treat us like women." Now the most successful coach in American international soccer history shows coaches and parents how to get the most out of young female players.
"Catch Them Being Good" provides an outline for how to build a team-from selecting players and setting team goals to giving instructional feedback, dealing with wins and losses, and building chemistry. The book also offers exercises and drills that any coach can implement, along with invaluable advice on the differences in coaching males and females. In addition, this book is an important tool for parents, as DiCicco and Hacker answer some of their most common questions: How can I tell if the coach is doing a good job? What if I have a problem with the coach? What should I do if my child wants to quit? Abounding with stories about the personalities of the championship teams, "Catch Them Being Good" is the ultimate soccer book for parents, coaches, and athletes-from America's soccer authority.
Hitting a hard-thrown baseball is one of the most difficult skills in sports. The Hitting Edge simplifies the task by focusing on key features common in every successful hitter's swing: dynamic balance, sequential rotation, axis of rotation, and bat lag.
Author Tom Robson identified these hitting "absolutes" through extensive video analysis and research and his on-field role as a major league hitting coach. He confirmed the importance of the four factors by studying the best hitters of the modern era, such as Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire, and working with top batsmen like Rafael Palmeiro and John Olerud. And a hitter doesn't need to be an all-star to benefit from Robson's instruction, because it applies across all levels of competition and allows for all types of individual swing styles.
Robson also recognizes that batters aren't robots, and human factors sometimes interfere with hitting mechanics. So he also teaches how to develop better focus and a more positive attitude at the plate.
But it takes more than the right stroke to develop consistent contact and power. Focus. Split-second timing. An eye for the perfect pitch. Great hitting requires all these elements and more. Much of The Hitting Edge is dedicated to the physical and mental details of preparing for the pitch, followed by six information-packed chapters on the mechanics of the swing.
Loaded with concise instruction, skill demonstration, photos, effective drills, and more, Robson's book cleans up where other hitting books strike out. Take the knowledge available in this book with you to every at-bat and you'll have The Hitting Edge.
PETE ROSE HOLDS MORE MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL RECORDS THAN ANY OTHER PLAYER IN HISTORY. He stands alone as baseball's hit king having shattered the previously "unbreakable" record held by Ty Cobb. He is a blue-collar hero with the kind of old-fashioned work ethic that turned great talent into legendary accomplishments.
Pete Rose is also a lifelong gambler and a sufferer of oppositional defiant disorder. For the past 13 years, he has been banned from baseball and barred from his rightful place in the Hall of Fame-- accused of violating MLB's one taboo. Rule 21 states that no one associated with baseball shall ever gamble on the game. The punishment is no less than a permanent barring from baseball and exclusion from the Hall of Fame.
Pete Rose has lived in the shadow of his exile. He has denied betting on the game that he loves. He has been shunned by MLB, investigated by the IRS, and served time for tax charges in the U.S. Penitentiary in Marion, Illinois.
But he's coming back.
Pete Rose has never been forgotten by the fans who loved him throughout his 24-year career. The men he played with have stood by him. In this, his first book since his very public fall from grace, Pete Rose speaks with great candor about all the outstanding questions that have kept him firmly in the public eye. He discloses what life was like behind bars, discusses the turbulent years of his exile, and gives a vivid picture of his early life and baseball career. He also confronts his demons, tackling the ugly truths about his gambling and his behavior.
MY PRISON WITHOUT BARS is Pete Rose's full accounting of his life. No one thinks he's perfect. He has made mistakes-- big ones. And he is finally ready to admit them.