April 2010

What is your most precious Baseball Book?

There are some books that no review can do justice, and it does not matter because it was important to us in some way. I have one of those books, seen here below at my desk in the MLB.com HQ. Somehow, like my Social Security card, it has stood the test of time. It is a wonderful little 1963 copy of the Baseball Facts Book — better known at the time as the “Dope Book” — published by The Sporting News in 1963.

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I look at it every now and then. It just reminds me of the constant thread of baseball, and how much life has changed along the way. Today we make things like the MLB.com At Bat app that you can see beside the Dope Book above, as stark contrast. In their own completely different ways, they were both created for the hardcore baseball fan and then updated.

I spent most of the 1990s as a writer, editor and executive at The Sporting News in St. Louis, and sadly had to watch too many fire sales of their legacy products as times changed for the old “Bible of Baseball.” This was one of those byproducts. I got the book for maybe a quarter at a fire-sale table in some warehouse in St. Louis. It had to live on.

What about you?

Mark Newman, MLB.com

World’s best baseball reviews?

Keith Olbermann’s Baseball Nerd is one of the most-viewed MLBlogs in this community, and he frequently addresses book subjects in his posts. Recent examples include a doubleheader review of Baseball Prospectus 2010 and Mike Vaccaro’s The First Fall Classic, followed by an early review of The Bullpen Gospels authored by rehabbing Blue Jays reliever Dirk Hayhurst.

As a followup to that, Olbermann used his MLBlog to break the first news that The Bullpen Gospels would be debuting at No. 19 on The New York Times bestseller list for non-fiction paperbacks. In fact, Gospels penetration into the marketplace has become a virtual beat for Keith, as you can see from his tagged Dirk Hayhurst entries.

Feel free to leave your own mini-reviews of Dirk’s book right here in the comments, or include a link to your own review.

Welcome to The Books of Summer

That morning began with wind and hairy clouds. It was late March and day rose brisk and uncertain, with gusts suggesting January and flashes of sun promising June. In every way, a season of change had come...

And so began Roger Kahn’s book “The Boys of Summer”.

I need to think something lasts forever, and it might as well be that state of being that is a game; it might as well be that, in a green field, in the sun.

And so wrote Bart Giamatti of the Green Cathedrals in his mind.

From Walt Whitman and Albert Spalding to Robert Creamer and Lawrence Ritter to the more recent compositions of Michael Lewis and Blue Jays pitcher Dirk Hayhurst, the game of baseball always has been bound in a timeless hardcover of prose. Like a ball game, some have gone better than others. Here at MLB.com, we receive book drafts year-round with requests for reviews — from publishers, authors and readers. As a resource for those who write, illustrate, publish and read baseball books, we have created this MLBlog as a place where we at MLB.com and you as fans can submit and have some reviews posted.

We’ll start it out here, and if you want to review a baseball book, just let us know in the comments and include a way to contact you, or include a link to your review that you have posted and want highlighted. We might use it here. Also follow @MLB on Twitter and just tweet us to let you know if you have a review to include. Brevity is a must as these will be very short posts, and we can include a link for where to buy it. As with any good manuscript it always begins with just getting the first thoughts out there. Happy reading.

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