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Baseball Miscellany: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Baseball

Baseball Miscellany: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Baseball

by Matthew Silverman


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Why does a curveball curve? What is a “can of corn”? Why was Joe DiMaggio called the “Yankee Clipper”? Who wrote “Take Me Out to the Ball Game”? How many times did Ty Cobb steal home?

In this edition of Baseball Miscellany, the fascinating history and lore of our national pastime is finally revealed! For example, the reason a curveball curves is that its spin drags a layer of air across one surface of the ball faster than it does across the opposite surface. A “can of corn” is slang for an easy-to-catch fly ball, the term originating from a general store clerk reaching up and dropping a can from a high shelf. Sportswriters dubbed Joe DiMaggio the “Yankee Clipper” because he glided about the outfield with beauty and grace, like a clipper ship on the ocean. The lyrics to “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” were written in 1908 by vaudeville star Jack Norworth, who, while riding the subway, was inspired by a sign that said “Baseball Today—Polo Grounds.” And the great Ty Cobb stole home a whopping fifty-four times—fifty more than the career leader in total stolen bases, Rickey Henderson.

Packed with all manner of delightful surprises, beautiful illustrations and photographs, and delicious nuggets of information, Baseball Miscellany demystifies the origins and customs of America’s most celebrated game. From spring training through the World Series, you’ll be entertained with fun, little-known facts. Why do baseball players wear stirrup socks? Who invented the catcher’s mask? What major-league team passed up on signing eighteen-year-old Willie Mays in 1949?

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781683583738
Publisher: Sports Publishing LLC
Publication date: 05/19/2020
Series: Books of Miscellany
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 574,423
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Matthew Silverman is coauthor of Mets by the Numbers (with Jon Springer), Cubs by the Numbers (with Al Yellon and Kasey Ignarski), Red Sox by the Numbers (with Bill Nowlin), and Shea Goodbye (with Keith Hernandez), and the author of Mets Essential and 100 Things Mets Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die. He also served as the associate publisher at Total Sports Publishing, editing titles such as Total Baseball and Total Football.

Table of Contents

Introduction ix

Why does the visiting team always bat first? 1

How does a curveball curve? 7

Why was Joe DiMaggio called "The Yankee Clipper"? 13

Why is the next batter considered to be "on deck"? 19

When did umpires start using hand signals? 24

Why do some new stadiums have the same names as old ones? 29

Why do pitchers throw overhand in baseball and underhand in Softball? 36

Why do teams start a different pitcher each day? 42

Why is the number 42 on the wall at every stadium? 49

Why is there a National League and an American League? 56

What is a Met? 63

Why is the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York? 76

So who invented baseball? 84

Why is the spitball illegal? 89

Why do managers wear uniforms in the dugout? 98

The names for basemen, outfielders, pitcher, and catcher make sense-but why "shortstop"? 103

What is the loss column and why is it so important? 109

Why do some teams not have players' names on the back of their uniforms? 115

Who won the first World Series? 122

Just what is a sandlot anyway? 128

Why is there a seventh-inning stretch? 135

Who wrote "Take Me Out to the Ball Game"? 141

How many times did Ty Cobb steal home? 147

Why is there ivy on the walls at Wrigley Field? 154

Why is Fenway Park's "Green Monster" so tall? 161

Why did St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa sometimes bat the pitcher eighth? 167

What is the most memorable stadium promotion ever held? 174

Extra Innings 181

Why do Major League games take so long? 182

Why do roster sizes change in September? 190

What do the different classes in the minor leagues mean? 197

About the Author 205

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