Synopses & Reviews
As befits a game traditionally passed from one generation to the next, baseball has always had a special reverence for origins. Claims of being first with any element of the game are disputed with fervor and passion. When the octogenarian Fred Goldsmith died in 1939, a headline proclaimed, 'Goldsmith Dies Insisting He Invented Curve Ball'; Fred Goldsmith understood the secret of immortality. Yet while countless thousands of words have been spilled on the subject of baseball firsts, there has been no definitive source for the settlement of disputes. Peter Morris's endlessly fascinating A Game of Inches has now arrived to fill the void. Impeccably researched and engagingly written, this treasure trove will surprise, delight, and educate even the most knowledgeable fan by dispelling cherished myths and revealing the source of many of baseball's features that we now take for granted. The scope of A Game of Inches is encyclopedic, with nearly a thousand entries that illuminate the origins of items ranging from catchers' masks to hook slides to intentional walks to cork-center baseballs. But this is much more than just a reference guide. Award-winning author Peter Morris explains the context that led each new item to emerge when it did, and chronicles the often surprising responses to these innovations. Of few books can it genuinely be said that once you start reading, it's hard to put it down but A Game of Inches is one of them. It belongs in the pantheon of great baseball books, and will give any reader a deeper appreciation of why baseball matters so much to Americans. (A companion volume, A Game of Inches: The Game Behind the Scenes, was published in the fall of 2006.)
A fascinating and charming encyclopedic collection of baseball firsts, describing how the innovations in the game--in rules, equipment, styles of play, strategies, etc.--occurred and developed from its origins to the present day. The book relies heavily on quotations from contemporary sources.