Summer 2012 Baseball Book Recommendations

With the "unofficial" start of summer upon us, here are some recommendations for your summer baseball reading enjoyment (when you’re not watching games, of course):

Connie Mack – the Turbulent and Triumphant Years 1915-1931 by Norman L. Macht (Univ. of Nebraska Press) – in the second volume of Mack’s biography, Norman exposes truths and debunks fables about the Tall Tactician.  The reader is also transported back in time to the days of the World War, the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression.  A must-read.

Out of Left Field – Jews and Black Baseball   by Rebecca T. Alpert (Oxford University Press) – the story of Jewish promoters, businessmen, and sportswriters and their deep involvement with African-American baseball.  An enlightening story, with a special meaning for the "left" in left field.

Kenichi Zenimura – Japanese American Baseball Pioneer by Bill Staples, Jr. (McFarland) – a biography of "Ken" Zenimura, the Japanese/Hawaiian-American player, manager, and promoter of baseball among Japanese Americans.  Zenimura was instrumental in the organization of Japanese-American leagues in California, the promotion of tours between Japanese and American teams, and the organization of sports leagues in the internment camps during World War II (he and his family were held at a camp in Arizona).  An inspiring story. 

56 – Joe DiMaggio and the Last Magic Number in Sports by Kostya Kennedy (Sports Illustrated Books) – a look at DiMaggio’s streak in the context of early-1940s America.  An interesting and entertaining read about DiMaggio’s personal realtionships and American society at that time.

The Wonder Team in the White City by Tom Simon (Gardner-Waterman Press) – the story of the University of Vermont baseball team of the 1880s and 1890s.  This book paints a great picture of the early days of collegiate baseball, culminating in the first "intercollegiate championship" held at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago.  An insightful quote from this book (from the March 2, 1892 issue of the U. of Vermont student newspaper) has special meaning for SABR members:

"Base ball is indispensable to our well-being."

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