The Cultural Encyclopedia of Baseball

Overview

More than any other sport, baseball has developed its own niche in America’s culture and psyche. Some researchers spend years on detailed statistical analyses of minute parts of the game, while others wax poetic about its players and plays. Many trace the beginnings of the civil rights movement in part to the Major Leagues’ decision to integrate, and the words and phrases of the game (for example, pinch-hitter and out in left field) have become common in our everyday language. From AARON, HENRY onward, this book ...
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Overview

More than any other sport, baseball has developed its own niche in America’s culture and psyche. Some researchers spend years on detailed statistical analyses of minute parts of the game, while others wax poetic about its players and plays. Many trace the beginnings of the civil rights movement in part to the Major Leagues’ decision to integrate, and the words and phrases of the game (for example, pinch-hitter and out in left field) have become common in our everyday language. From AARON, HENRY onward, this book covers all of what might be called the cultural aspects of baseball (as opposed to the number-rich statistical information so widely available elsewhere). Biographical sketches of all Hall of Fame players, owners, executives and umpires, as well as many of the sportswriters and broadcasters who have won the Spink and Frick awards, join entries for teams, owners, commissioners and league presidents. Advertising, agents, drafts, illegal substances, minor leagues, oldest players, perfect games, retired uniform numbers, superstitions, tripleheaders, and youngest players are among the thousands of entries herein. Most entries open with a topical quote and conclude with a brief bibliography of sources for further research. The whole work is exhaustively indexed and includes 120 photographs.
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Editorial Reviews

Sports Collectors Digest
Topics are so diverse as to challenge a reader to dare name a subject not mentioned
ARBA
One of the most comprehensive, enjoyable, and useful narrative reference works on the game ever published. If one is planning on purchasing only one nonstatistical reference book about baseball this year, it should be this one.
College & Research Libraries
No bland recitation of batting averages. Even people who are not particularly keen on sports will enjoy browsing in this homage to American pop culture. A steal at $75.
VOYA - Vicky Burkholder
Who was the inspiration for the poem "Casey at the Bat"? Is the San Diego Chicken's grandmother proud of what he does? What are the best baseball movies of all time? How can you resist a reference book that includes entries such as these: "Freak Accidents," "Beanballs," and "Practical Jokes and Pranks?" Even those who are not baseball fans will be intrigued by this work, the culmination of one fan's years of research. The author shows how sports are not just about statistics, but about the professionals, lore, and fans who surround the games. This astonishing reference book examines the lure of baseball-its quirks and quirky players, its history and future, the little-known ballpark stories-and the culture of baseball itself. While uneven at times, the overall work serves as an informational tribute to our nation's national pastime. While it is definitely not for your everyday homework assignment, smaller libraries, or even the average young adult, those who love baseball will be fascinated by what the author has uncovered, and others will be drawn in by the unique arrangements of the entries and little-known facts they contain. The index is strong, the few photographs are well produced, and the author's beguiling voice resonates throughout. Index. Photos. Biblio.1997, McFarland, Ages 12 up, 880p., $75.00. Reviewer: Mary McCarthy
School Library Journal
Gr 7 UpA reference work with a far different approach than such standards as The Baseball Encyclopedia. Instead of merely listing players and statistics, this book covers a broad range of topics with articles arranged in an easy-to-use alphabetical format. For example, there are such unexpected topics covered as alcoholism in baseball, baseball in France, facial hair, and the dumbest players. Other topics include the histories of venerable ballparks and franchises, perfect games and no-hitters, famous players and managers, and much, much more. Leading off many of the articles are apt and well-written quotes from sports writers, past and present. Interspersed throughout are black-and-white photographs, although most pages include only text. The index is extensive. The fact that this nearly 900-page compendium of facts, fallacies, and lore was researched and written by one person is, frankly, awe inspiring. It's like one of those reference works from the last century. It's quirky, highly individual, and endlessly fascinating.Todd Morning, Schaumburg Township Public Library, IL
Booknews
Even baseball season "widows" may find interesting this compilation by a California attorney (and lifelong Dodgers fan) of many facets of the game beyond the playing field: admission prices, superstitions, salaries, the use of illegal drugs, and biographical sketches of everyone conceivably associated with the national pastime<-->even played in minus 40 degree weather in one photo. Entries range from "Henry (Hank) Aaron" to "Youth Baseball"; the latter contains a 1787 admonition against younger children participating in the sport because "... The middle-aged men who were their coaches and league officials, had more devious games to play...." Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786420872
  • Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
  • Publication date: 7/12/2005
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 1112
  • Sales rank: 841,949
  • Product dimensions: 11.00 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 2.57 (d)

Meet the Author

Jonathan Fraser Light is an employment attorney in Oxnard, California. He lives in Camarillo.

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