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In words and pictures, Treasures of the Baseball Hall of Fame spans the whole of baseball's history from its semi-mythical beginnings through successive ages of legends and giants all the way to today's heroes. A lithographic panorama of a game from the 1860s at the Elysian Fields in Hoboken, home of the New York Knickerbockers, begins the Time Line that runs through the book. It includes mementos of the Cincinnati Red Stockings of 1869, the first openly professional team; bats and balls from the dead-ball era; the ball Cy Young pitched during his five hundredth victory; Eddie Gaedel's unique uniform; the bat that Bobby Thomson used to break the Dodgers' fans hearts; George Brett's pine tar bat a sequence of baseball's outstanding memories. The Hall of Fame's Special Exhibits are showcased, detailing the place in the game's heritage of the Negro Leagues, plus features on the Minor Leagues, thewomen's game, and baseball abroad. There are paintings, movie posters, magazines, baseball cards, tickets, and scorecards. The game's showpieces, memorable moments from the All-Star Game and World Series, are recalled. Pieces of baseball equipment from across the ages are commemorated alongside souvenirs of old parks (the cornerstone of Shibe Park and blueprints for the old Comiskey Park) and fascinating artifacts from the Hall's huge archives.
It is where Treasures of the Baseball Hall of Fame chronicles the magnificent individual achievements of the game that its echoes will resonate most profoundly perhaps: Harvey Haddix's no-hitter that wasn't; triple-play balls, Roger Maris's bat, a base Lou Brock stole and a ball Hank Aaron hit out. Baseball's immortals are remembered in magnificent photographic collages and evocative essays. Tributes left at the Hall of Fame on the day of Mickey Mantle's death and the letter Lou Gehrig wrote to his wife from a hotel in Detroit on May 2, 1939 the day he benched himself after 2,130 games almost speak for themselves. And the great names reverberate now and for all time: Christy Mathewson, Honus Wagner, Ty Cobb, Cy Young, Jimmie Foxx, Lou Gehrig, Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson, Joe DiMaggio, Stan Musial, Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Roberto Clemente, Ted Williams.
All that is best in baseball is here, dramatically brought to life. Treasures of the Baseball Hall of Fame reflects the teamwork by John Thorn David Jordano, and the staff of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. This is a magnificent souvenir of America's Pastime, its pageantry, and the glories of its continuing history.
|Publisher:||Random House Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||9.36(w) x 11.77(h) x 0.90(d)|
About the Author
John Thorn is the publisher of Total Sports, a cross-platform sports-information company. He lives in Kingston, New York.
Before the live bn.com chat, John Thorn agreed to answer some of our questions.Q: What are your thoughts on this year's Hall of Fame inductee Don Sutton and his five-year wait?
A: It's hard to deny a spot in the Hall of Fame to any pitcher with 300 wins to his credit. The 300-win mark will become increasingly rare, what with five-man rotations and an increasing number of no-decision games as starters are pulled from games earlier and earlier, even when they are effective. Sutton's detractors have pointed to his lack of dominance in any particular season, but his longevity weighed heavily in his favor, as it did for Phil Niekro and may well do, one day, for Tommy John and Jim Kaat.
Q: Do you think this year's Yankees team (61-20 at the All-Star break) is the best of the decade?
A: Well, the Yanks are the best team for half a season in this decade. Let's wait to anoint them as the best of the decade until the season is over...and maybe until the decade is over. Writers and fans like superlatives, but this exercise can become pretty silly. At this writing, the Yanks are 64-20, matching the best record after 84 games of the 1902 Pirates, a team few of us recall because their victory pace slowed somewhat in the last months of the season.
Q: What do you think about baseball expansion? Do you think it is diluting the pitching in baseball?
A: Thirty-two teams is a natural number at which to slow expansion, because it will permit four leagues (or divisions) of eight teams each, or eight divisions of four teams each. Enhanced and extended postseason competition is good for the game, I believe, and the diluted quality of play is a temporary phenomenon. After all, in the 1920s, the supposed golden age of baseball, we were drawing on a population base in the U.S. of maybe 80 million, and neither African Americans nor Latin Americans, to any great extent, were permitted to play in the majors. Today the talent pool is much broader, the average level of play is far superior, and only statistical parity with earlier eras suggests equality or, perhaps, diminution of quality. Babe Ruth faced worse pitchers in 1927 than Mark McGwire or Ken Griffey do in 1998.
Q: What was your favorite Hall of Fame acceptance speech? Is there any one speech that struck a personal chord with you? Why?
A: Oh, I guess it would be Harmon Killebrew's speech, in which he told of his mother's scolding him and his playmates for ripping up the grass in the backyard with their ballplaying, and his father reprimanding her with these words: "We're raising kids, not raising grass." And Ted Williams's speech in 1966 was probably the most resonant for baseball fans and the Hall itself, with his advocacy of admitting the pre-Jackie Robinson black stars to the Hall so as not to double the injustice of the color bar.