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The Baseball: Stunts, Scandals, and Secrets Beneath the Stitchesby Zack Hample
One would think, perhaps, with the many thousands of books written about baseball over the decades, there would be little to add in the way of novelty or insight regarding the greatest game ever devised by man. But behind the history, the rivalries, and the legends of the game is the often-overlooked object that makes it all possible in the first place: the baseball.
Zack Hample, a well-known ball hawk who has snagged nearly 4,700 baseballs at major-league stadiums around the country since his first in 1990, is obviously an ardent lover of all things related to the game, and his passion is evident throughout The Baseball: Stunts, Scandals, and Secrets Beneath the Stitches. The book is divided into three parts: the first two chronicle "the cultural and historical awesomeness of baseballs" and the third offers how-to tips and advice on procuring balls at major-league games. Hample includes chapters on the souvenir craze, the baseball in pop culture, and those unfortunate few actually killed by baseballs.
In one early chapter, The Baseball provides a nearly year-by-year account of the intriguing and often controversial evolution of the baseball, and if there is one constant to be gleaned from its history, it's that claims of adulterated or "juiced" balls have persisted practically since the game began. Later, Hample recounts his trip to the Rawlings baseball factory in Costa Rica, as well as the exacting standards employed during the ball's manufacturing. For many, the 70-some instructional pages on how to catch, find, chase, and be thrown baseballs at major-league games will be the most exciting (and relevant) part of the book.
Hample writes well enough, and his enthusiasm and humor make for an entertaining read. The Baseball is sure to captivate even those with but a mild interest in the national pastime. For more devoted fans, however, something rejuvenating awaits within this book's pages, something that may well have you daydreaming about the unforgettable experience of a summer afternoon at the ballpark — and the singular thrill of a home run or foul ball arcing its way toward your seat.
Synopses & Reviews
When Major League Baseball first expanded in 1961 with the addition of the Los Angeles Angels and the Washington Senators, it started a trend that saw the number of franchises almost double, from sixteen to thirty, while baseball attendance grew by 44 percent. The story behind this staggering growth, told for the first time in Baseballand#8217;s New Frontier, is full of twists and unexpected turns, intrigue, and, in some instances, treachery. From the desertion of New York by the Brooklyn Dodgers and the New York Giants to the ever-present threat of antitrust legislation, from the backroom deals and the political posturing to the impact of the upstart Continental League, the book takes readers behind the scenes and into baseballand#8217;s decision-making process.
Fran Zimniuch gives a lively team-by-team chronicle of how the franchises were awarded, how existing teams protected their players, and what the new teamsand#8217; winning (or losing) strategies were. With its account of great players, notable characters, and the changing fortunes of teams over the years, the book supplies a vital chapter in the history of Major League Baseball.and#160;
Philadelphiaand#8217;s Top Fifty Baseball Players takes a look at the greatest players in Philadelphia baseball history from the earliest days in 1830 through the Negro Leagues and into the modern era. Their ranks include batting champions, home run kings, Most Valuable Players, Cy Young Award winners, and Hall of Famersand#8212;from Ed Delahanty, Jimmie Foxx, Lefty Grove, Roy Campanella, Mike Schmidt, and Ryan Howard to Negro League stars Judy Johnson and Biz Mackey and other Philadelphia standouts such as Richie Ashburn, Dick Allen, Chuck Klein, Eddie Collins, and Reggie Jackson. For each player the book highlights memorable incidents and accomplishments and, above all, his place in Philadelphiaand#8217;s rich baseball tradition.
The holy grail, the fountain of youth, the golden fleece, and the baseball: rarely do objects inspire such madness. The Baseball is a salute to the ball, filled with insider trivia, anecdotes, and generations of ball-induced insanity.
Which Hall of Famer once caught a ball dropped from an airplane?
Why do balls get stamped with invisible ink?
What’s the best ticket to buy for catching a foul ball?
Which part of the ball once came from dog food companies?
How could a 10,000-year-old glacier help a pitcher grip the ball?
In this enlightening, entertaining, and often wildly funny book, Zack Hample shares ballpark legends and lore, details the evolution of the ball, and offers up his secret methods for snagging your own from major league games.
About the Author
Zack Hample is the bestselling author of Watching Baseball Smarter. He has snagged more than 4,600 baseballs from 48 different major league stadiums and has appeared on dozens of TV and radio shows.
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