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.
A. G. Spalding was a key figure in the professionalization and commercialization of American sports. Co-founder of baseball's National League, owner of the Chicago White Stockings (later Cubs), and founder of a sporting goods business that made him a millionaire, Spalding not only willed baseball to be our national pastime but also contributed to making sport a significant part of American life.
This biography captures the zest, flamboyance, and creativity of Albert Goodwell Spalding, a man of insatiable ego, a showman and entrepreneur, whose life illuminated the hopes and fears of 19th-century Americans. It is also a vivid evocation of the vanished world of 19th-century baseball, recreating a time when it was transformed from a game played on unkempt fields to modern style.
In A Mathematician at the Ballpark, professor Ken Ross reveals the math behind the stats. This lively and accessible book shows baseball fans how to harness the power of made predictions and better understand the game. Using real-world examples from historical and modern-day teams, Ross shows:
- Why on-base and slugging percentages are more important than batting averages
- How professional odds makers predict the length of a seven-game series
- How to use mathematics to make smarter bets
Seabiscuit was one of the most electrifying and popular attractions in sports history and the single biggest newsmaker in the world in 1938, receiving more coverage than FDR, Hitler, or Mussolini. But his success was a surprise to the racing establishment, which had written off the crooked-legged racehorse with the sad tail. Three men changed Seabiscuit's fortunes: Charles Howard was a onetime bicycle repairman who introduced the automobile to the western United States and became an overnight millionaire. When he needed a trainer for his new racehorses, he hired Tom Smith, a mysterious mustang breaker from the Colorado plains. Smith urged Howard to buy Seabiscuit for a bargain-basement price, then hired as his jockey Red Pollard, a failed boxer who was blind in one eye, half-crippled, and prone to quoting passages from Ralph Waldo Emerson. Over four years, these unlikely partners survived a phenomenal run of bad fortune, conspiracy, and severe injury to transform Seabiscuit from a neurotic, pathologically indolent also-ran into an American sports icon. Praise for Seabiscuit "Fascinating . . . Vivid . . . A first-rate piece of storytelling, leaving us not only with a vivid portrait of a horse but a fascinating slice of American history as well."--The New York Times
"Engrossing . . . Fast-moving . . . More than just a horse's tale, because the humans who owned, trained, and rode Seabiscuit are equally fascinating. . . . Laura Hillenbrand] shows an extraordinary talent for describing a horse race so vividly that the reader feels like the rider."--Sports Illustrated "REMARKABLE . . . MEMORABLE . . . JUST AS COMPELLING TODAY AS IT WAS IN 1938."--The Washington Post
His trainer said that managing him was like holding a tiger by the tail. His owner compared him to "chain lightning." His jockeys found their lives transformed by him, in triumphant and distressing ways. All of them became caught in a battle for honesty.
Born in 1917, Man o' War grew from a rebellious youngster into perhaps the greatest racehorse of all time. He set such astonishing speed records that" The New York Times "called him a "Speed Miracle." Often he won with so much energy in reserve that experts wondered how much faster he could have gone. Over the years, this and other mysteries would envelop the great Man o' War.
The truth remained problematic. Even as Man o' War---known as "Big Red"---came to power, attracting record crowds and rave publicity, the colorful sport of Thoroughbred racing struggled for integrity. His lone defeat, suffered a few weeks before gamblers fixed the 1919 World Series, spawned lasting rumors that he, too, had been the victim of a fix.
Tackling old beliefs with newly uncovered evidence, " Man o' War: A Legend Like Lightning "shows how human pressures collided with a natural phenomenon and brings new life to an American icon. The genuine courage of Man o' War, tribulations of his archrival, Sir Barton (America's first Triple Crown winner), and temptations of their Hall of Fame jockeys and trainers reveal a long-hidden tale of grace, disgrace, and elusive redemption.
Henry Aaron left his mark on the world by breaking Babe Ruth's record for home runs. But the world has also left its mark on him. Hammering Hank Aaron's story is one that tells us much about baseball, naturally, but also about our times. His unique, poignant life has made him a symbol for much of the social history of twentieth-century America. Raised during the Depression in the Deep South enclave of Mobile, Alabama, Aaron broke into professional baseball as a cross-handed slugger and shortstop for the Indianapolis Clowns of the Negro American League. A year later, he and a few others had the unforgettable mission of integrating the South Atlantic League. A year after that, he was a timid rookie leftfielder for the Milwaukee Braves, for whom he became a World Series hero in 1957 as well as the Most Valuable Player of the National League. Aaron found himself back in the South when the Braves moved to Atlanta in 1965. Nine years later, in the heat of hatred and controversy, he hit his 715th home run to break Ruth's and baseball's most cherished record--a feat that was recently voted the greatest moment in baseball history. That year, Aaron received over 900,000 pieces of mail, many of them vicious and racially charged. In a career that may be the most consistent baseball has ever seen. Aaron also set all-time records for total bases and RBIs. He ended his playing days by spending two nostalgic seasons back in Milwaukee with the Brewers, then embarked on a new career as an executive with the Atlanta Braves. He was for a long time the highest-ranking black in baseball. In this position, Aaron has become an unofficial spokesman in racial matters pertaining to the national pastime. Because of the depth and pertinence of Aaron's dramatic experiences, I Had A Hammer is more than a baseball autobiography. Henry Aaron's candor and insights have produced a revealing book about his extraordinary life and time.
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.
Moneyball is a quest for the secret of success in baseball. In a narrative full of fabulous characters and brilliant excursions into the unexpected, Michael Lewis follows the low-budget Oakland A's, visionary general manager Billy Beane, and the strange brotherhood of amateur baseball theorists. They are all in search of new baseball knowledge--insights that will give the little guy who is willing to discard old wisdom the edge over big money.