Baseball: A History of America's Favorite Game

( 10 )

Overview

“Football is force and fanatics, basketball is beauty and bounce. Baseball is everything: action, grace, the seasons of our lives. George Vecsey’s book proves it, without wasting a word.”
–Lee Eisenberg, author of The Number

In Baseball, one of the great bards of America’s Grand Old Game gives a rousing account of the sport, from its pre-Republic roots to the present day. George Vecsey casts a fresh eye on the game, illuminates its foibles and ...

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Baseball: A History of America's Favorite Game

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Overview

“Football is force and fanatics, basketball is beauty and bounce. Baseball is everything: action, grace, the seasons of our lives. George Vecsey’s book proves it, without wasting a word.”
–Lee Eisenberg, author of The Number

In Baseball, one of the great bards of America’s Grand Old Game gives a rousing account of the sport, from its pre-Republic roots to the present day. George Vecsey casts a fresh eye on the game, illuminates its foibles and triumphs, and performs a marvelous feat: making a classic story seem refreshingly new.
Baseball is a narrative of America’s can-do spirit, in which stalwart immigrants such as Henry Chadwick could transplant cricket and rounders into the fertile American culture and in which die-hard unionist baseballers such as Charles Comiskey and Connie Mack could eventually become the tightfisted avatars of the game’s big-money establishment. It’s a celebration of such underdogs as a rag-armed catcher turned owner named Branch Rickey and a sure-handed fielder named Curt Flood, both of whom flourished as true great men of history. But most of all, Baseball is a testament to the unbreakable bond between our nation’s pastime and the fans, who’ve remained loyal through the fifty-year-long interdict on black athletes, the Black Sox scandal, franchise relocation, and the use of performance-enhancing drugs by some major stars.

Reverent, playful, and filled with Vecsey’s charm, Baseball begs to be read in the span of a rain-delayed doubleheader, and so enjoyable that, like a favorite team’s championship run, one hopes it never ends.

“Vecsey possesses a journalist’s eye for detail and a historian’s feel for the sweep of action. His research is scrupulous and his writing crisp. This book is an instant classic—— a highly readable guide to America’s great enduring pastime.” — The Louisville Courier Journal

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Baseball is a storyteller's game. Its pace and steadily building suspense seem designed for artful recollection; it's no wonder that the diamond sport has attracted wordsmiths like Roger Angell, David Halberstam, and George Vecsey, the author of this book. In this Modern Library Chronicles book, the New York Times sports columnist writes about the long, majestic history of our National Pastime. As always, his writing is relaxed, exact, and graceful, sure proof of his affection for a great game.
Publishers Weekly
New York Times sports columnist Vecsey (Year in the Sun) devotes himself to this sprightly history of the national pastime. His survey unfolds much like a highlights tape, with a breezy background narrative of the game from its pre-Civil War roots to its current drug scandals, structured around set pieces spotlighting the outsized deeds of luminaries like Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson, Branch Rickey and George Steinbrenner. He finds plenty of time for color commentary, like an appreciation of radio announcers' whimsical homerun catch-phrases (" `Get up Aunt Minnie and raise the window!' " Pirates voice Rosey Roswell was wont to yell), cantankerous opinionating ("Trying to be fair and neutral about it, I can only say that the designated hitter rule is a travesty and ought to be tossed out") and ruminations on the ultimate metaphysical question of "why the Yankees exist." Throughout, the author stresses the game's continuities: modern-day anxieties about free agentry, labor strife and the bereavement of cities abandoned by their teams for greener pastures have plagued baseball from the beginning. Vivid, affectionate and clear-eyed, Vecsey's account makes for an engaging sports history. (Aug. 15) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780812978704
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 3/11/2008
  • Series: Modern Library Chronicles Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 223,176
  • Product dimensions: 5.18 (w) x 8.01 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

George Vecsey, a sports columnist for The New York Times, has written about such events as the FIFA World Cup and the Olympics but considers baseball, the sport he’s covered since 1960, his favorite game. He is the author of more than a dozen books, including Loretta Lynn: Coal Miner’s Daughter (with Loretta Lynn), which was made into an Academy Award—winning film. He has also served as a national and religion reporter for The New York Times, interviewing the Dalai Lama, Tony Blair, Billy Graham, and a host of other noteworthy figures. He lives in New York with his wife, an artist.

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Table of Contents

I Six degrees 1
II Berbers with bats 15
III The first entrepreneur 27
IV Columbus, Pocahontas, and Doubleday 39
V Growing pains 49
VI The black sox 57
VII The Babe 65
VIII Mr. Rickey 75
IX The Negro leagues 85
X Radio days 95
XI War 107
XII Jackie Robinson 117
XIII Baseball hits the interstate 129
XIV Free agency arrives 139
XV Why the Yankees exist 149
XVI The world catches up 161
XVII Same game, yuppified 175
XVIII Who's in charge? 189
XIX Four scandals 199
XX October exorcisms 213
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 10 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 11 of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 21, 2006

    A Keeper Book

    Organized baseball is a multi-billion dollar business that matters a lot in the lives of guys like me who begin each day by reading the sports pages. We know better than to accept the myths of yesteryear's sports reporters. We don't care to get entangled in the arcane number-crunching of today's baseball analysts. Mr. Vecsey in this book takes us through 150 years of organized baseball. He gently reminds us that baseball is a business populated by great and not so great individuals whose doings can simultaneously bring glee and heartbreak to those of us who are fans. Buy this book. It will tell you why organized baseball means so much to us.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 11, 2012

    Disappointing and hard to follow

    The book reads like the worst of scattershot, jargon-filled, nickname-dropping sports reporting. Nearly impossible to follow, the so-called narrative jumps around so much that rather than reading like the history it purports to be, the book is more like a jumbled highlights reel filled with enough obscure references that only someone who already knows this stuff can follow it. I had hoped to learn something about the history of baseball. What I have gleaned from it instead are a few interesting facts and a whole lot of confusion about who's who, when they did what, and how it all fits into the game I love to both play and watch.

    Probably a fun read if you already have a head full of facts about the history of baseball. I'm new to the subject, and after sweating through half the book, constantly backtracking to figure out what he's talking about, I give up.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 29, 2012

    Additional Hunting Area

    Clawpack

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2012

    Chicago cubs

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted April 1, 2011

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    Posted February 18, 2012

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    Posted July 12, 2011

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    Posted December 10, 2010

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    Posted February 8, 2011

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    Posted January 13, 2010

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