May 2010

The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron

The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron by Howard Bryant
Reviewed by Ben Platt of

Hank.jpgHenry Aaron is simply a baseball legend. A five-tool player for the Braves and Brewers who quietly went about his business for 23 seasons, he amassed both fielding and hitting statistics that rank him in the upper pantheon of baseball immortals.

Aaron not only played the game well, but he played it with a grace and dignity that inspired author Howard Bryant to detail the Hall of Famer’s life and career in his biography, “The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron,” which is in bookstores now.

“When I wrote my last book ‘Juicing the Game,’ about steroids, and were talking about the choices these players had to make, it made me really start to wonder about these themes that are now considered quaint — honor, integrity, accountability. All these things that people seem to laugh at and consider you a Pollyanna for believing,” said Bryant… Read More | Buy the Book

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Phillies: An Extraordinary Tradition

Phillies: An Extraordinary Tradition
Reviewed by Ben Platt of

Phillies - An Extraordinary Tradition.jpgIt’s been a great run for Philadelphia Phillies fans for the past few years, with the team making back-to-back appearances in the World Series and winning it all in 2008. Now fans can remember not only the team’s recent success, but they can celebrate the organization’s long history through rare photos, articles and memorabilia with the publication of the new book, “Phillies: An Extraordinary Tradition.” The book is now available in bookstores, Citizens Bank Park and in the Fans section on

“The whole idea was to come up with faces and places in Phillies history and capture it,” said Larry Shenk, the Phillies’ former director of public relations from 1964-2008, who edited the book with Scott Gummer. “I didn’t want the book to be a chronological thing, year-by-year, with wins and losses and all that stuff. I wanted something with pictures in it that people had not seen — I’ve been around a few decades and I hadn’t seen some of these photos before.”

Coming in at 252 pages and with well over 400 photos, the book is true eye candy for people from the City of Brotherly Love as well as baseball fans that appreciate the history of a team that was established in 1883…. Read More | Buy the Book | Autographed Copy

90% Of The Game Is Half Mental – reviewed by MetsGrrl

90% Of The Game Is Half Mental by Emma Span
Reviewed by MetsGrrl

90 Percent Of The Game Is Half Mental.jpg90% Of The Game Is Half Mental by Emma Span is a fantastic book that every baseball fan will enjoy. It’s witty, it’s entertaining, it tells good stories in a dry and painfully honest tone. Once I started reading it, I could not put it down. You will find yourself cracking up out loud on the subway while reading the book, which is probably one of the best endorsements I could give it.

But I wasn’t looking forward to reading it. There, I said it.

See, Emma – who, full disclosure, I am friendly with and met in person at a tweetup once – is a Yankees fan. The last thing I wanted to read was a book written by a Yankees fan about how awesome the Yankees are, or even touching, heartfelt stories about growing up a Yankees fan and becoming a sportswriter and getting to cover the Yankees. Any Mets fan, or any fan of any NL team – wait, ANY OTHER TEAM – can probably understand where I am coming from on this.

Except this book is not that. It is not that book at all… Read More | Buy the Book

The Bullpen Gospels – reviewed by Nationals Fangirls

The Bullpen Gospels: Major League Dreams of a Minor League Veteran, by Dirk Hayhurst.
Reviewed by: Nationals Fangirls

I first found Dirk Hayhurst in 2007 when my dad sent me a link to his Non Prospect Diary. His stories were hilarious, and the Joys of Manning the Ball Bucket is one of my favorites. Once later that year and once in 2008, I emailed him with rookie-fan questions:

“Why do I feel like such a loser around ballplayers when I’m really just a big fan?”  Though I’m sure he thought it, he never said, “because you are.” And, “I’m always star struck around ballplayers, any tips for more meaningful interaction in autograph lines?” (cringe)

He left a huge impression because he responded to both emails, respectfully and articulately, taking the time to explain, with examples, reasons why ballplayers do what they do, and things fans should remember about ballplayers as people. Common sense things, of course, but what ballplayer takes the time to explain it to a fan? And I wasn’t even a Padres fan, the team whose system he was a part of at the time… Read more | Buy the Book

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