Friday, April 29, 2011

Baseball Book Draft - Round 1

Well, I was hoping that there were some people lurking who would want to turn this into more of a draft but it was just Jason, Mark and I. So three "teams" it is. We're going to do eight rounds, serpentine style. Jason has the first pick overall, followed by Mark and then me.

Who are we and why do our opinions on baseball books matter? Here you go, in our own words, Jason's in the third person because he's awesome like Rickey:

Jason - Jason as a reader, will read about anything. He still enjoys arguing with Jon about the validity of Audrey Niffengger's "Time Traveler's Wife," mostly to hear Jon's rants (my note: worst book ever). Last night he got to go to a PenUSA reading of "The Pale King" by David Foster Wallace and while in the audience, used his Kindle app to start reading "My Man Jeeves," by P.G. Wodehouse. His favorite team is the St. Louis Cardinals, though the first team he remembers loving was the Dodgers teams of Garvey, Lopes, Cey and Russell and later historically, "The Boys of Summer."

Mark (of Mark's Ephemera and Old Knoxville Baseball) - I rediscovered my hidden infatuation with all things baseball a few years ago. My earliest memories of the sport go back to the late 1960s when my father took my brother and I to Fenway Park to watch the Red Sox. Baseball cards came and went until the late 1980s when Orel Hershiser and the Dodgers caught my eye. Books have always been a good part of my life, so I try to incorporate a healthy balance of them into my reading schedule.

Me - I read a lot. I like baseball. I own lots of books about baseball and no, I have not read them all. I have built a research library (with the occasional Dave Winfield book purchase) because that's what I like to do.

Without further ado, round one:

Jason - Glory of Their Times by Lawrence Ritter: (I didn't get much of a writeup from Jason on this one. Perhaps he'll add his thoughts in the comments).

Mark - A False Spring by Pat Jordan: Published in 1975 I did not discover this glimpse into his life until 30 plus years later. It is a look at his time in the minors. There is a wonderful passage in which he describes a meal that the players eat while in the south. Brilliant prose. I learned that baseball books are not all about the stars, the records, and history remembered.

Jon - John McGraw by Charles Alexander: I keep telling myself I need to re-read this one because everything else I have read of Alexander's (Tris Speaker, Rogers Hornsby and Our Game) has been a little lackluster. I found John McGraw to be well-researched and well-written and it really opened me up to the possibilities of not only good baseball books, but also good non-fiction (this was when I was coming out of the somewhat typical "I haven't read anything for fun in four years because I've been in college", years. It inspired me to be more of a baseball researcher and more of a reader.


Nathan said...

Glory of Their Times would have been my first choice as well. It works best as an audiobook (in fact I've only ever listened to it, never read it) as you get to hear all the old-timers telling their stories.

Absolutely beautiful.

jtorrey13 said...

Exactly Nathan. While the theme of "Boys of Summer" focuses around the Brooklyn Dodger team, "Glory of Their Times" just lets players tell their stories, and while all spent a great deal of time in baseball, they all had different experiences.

jtorrey13 said...

By the way, I just was rereading this and realize that yes, I am awesome like Rickey.