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Ballparks of North America: A Comprehensive Historical Reference to Baseball Grounds, Yards and Stadiums, 1845 to Present Library Binding – August 1, 1989


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Product Details

  • Library Binding: 505 pages
  • Publisher: McFarland & Company (August 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0899503675
  • ISBN-13: 978-0899503677
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,845,793 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Ballparks have long been an integral part of the American scene, as this exhaustive survey of past and present playing fields illustrates. The author's intent is to show how ballparks ("like snowflakes, no two quite the same") have come to be as much a part of baseball lore as the game itself. Entries are arranged chronologically by city and include location, league affiliations, dimensions, seating capacity, and attendance records. Accompanying essays provide a historical setting and regional flavor for the development of each structure. While the demand for such data may be limited, this is an impressive work, appropriate for large sports reference collections.
- William H. Hoffman, Fort Myers-Lee Cty. P.L., Fla.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"another in this publisher's excellent series of sports reference books...an impressive piece of research" -- Choice

More About the Author

Michael Benson is a regular contributor to the Investigation Discovery TV series: EVIL TWINS and EVIL KIN. An eclectic writer with a 30-year career, he has covered sports, crime, film, and the military. Originally from Rochester, N.Y., he is a graduate of Wheatland-Chili High School and Hofstra University. An old-school journalist, he believes in putting facts first.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 25, 1998
Format: Library Binding
this book is an incredible reference for anyone interested in, or doing research about, baseball parks. park statistics, such as fence distances and capacities are listed, as well as interesting tid-bits about the 'uniqueness' of each park.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Delbosque on January 12, 2010
Format: Library Binding
This baseball book may look plain from the outside but I've never read anything so comprehensive in my life. I recently completed a massive research paper on the history of the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players (NAAPBBP for short), the first professional baseball league, and found the information to be not only accurate, but very helpful in my research.

During my research I read thousands of original newspaper and magazine clippings from that era and found that a lot of the information corroborated with what Benson stated. For example, in baseball's early days many parks were only used as weekend venues. I regularly came across this information while researching my paper and was a bit confused prior to reading this book.

There are numerous stories that make this book special. Too many to count in fact, so I'll just list some of my favorites:

1) In one semi-pro league a keg was placed on the field and ball players were allowed to drink during the game based on performance. For example, a double allowed the player to take a drink while a homerun allowed the player to drink as much as he pleased. One newspaper clip stated that, the good players drank their fill while the lesser ones "nearly died of thirst."

2) In an effort to increase ticket sales, one club opted to try their first ever "Ladies Day." As it turned out, the starting pitcher was a ladies' man and the noticeable swooning by the female attendees only increased his general cockiness. Throughout the game he would continuously show up the umpire to rile up the home crowd until the umpire exacerbated the situation by throwing the player out of the game.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Lowell Prescott on November 3, 2006
Format: Library Binding
This is a library-style book with very few pictures and lots of text. In my mind, it had the potential to be the ultimate detail reference on ballparks. But it really doesn't hold up very well upon close inspection.

To its advantage, it covers a whole lot of parks, many not even mentioned in other surveys. If you are wondering whether a park existed, this book will probably answer your question.

But when you actually look into the detail listed for the parks, many small (and sometimes not so small) inaccuracies become apparent.

The entries for Minneapolis give some good examples. A park actually known as "Athletic Park" is called "Hiawatha Park" in the book -- a name which isn't mentioned in any other accounts which I can find. It's location is listed as "Hennepin Avenue and 5th Street" which is a full city block off from the actual location between 5th and 6th Streets North and First and Second Avenues North.

The entry for Met Stadium also contains several little errors, such as claiming it was built over a wheat field, when in fact the field contained mostly soybeans, onions and some sweet corn.

I know these are nitpicky details, but with so many little errors in just two entries, one has to question the accuracy of other details in other entries.

If you can't trust the details, the book is of questionable value.

The articles which accompany the entries also are rather poorly written, and have a style which feels a bit like modified old newspaper articles. This suggests that the source material may have been questionable, and that perhaps only a single source was used on each park.

I gave it two stars just to acknowledge the depth of the attempt. Clearly a lot of work went into the book, but still not enough.
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Format: Library Binding
As someone who plays simulated baseball religiously (using OOTP Baseball Manager), this is an amazing and invaluable resource. It gives a huge amount of information about parks all over the continent. Since the book came out in 1989, it is somewhat outdated for newer parks, but that information is generally available online anyway. Where this book shines is in its information about lesser known and older ballparks. Statistical information like capacity and dimensions is in the book as well as a brief (and sometimes not brief at all) write-up for each park. I use this all the time for creating fictional historical "what-if" leagues.
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Barney Dreyfus on June 13, 2003
Format: Library Binding
Overall, an excellent reference to begin a search on ballparks. (here comes the but) BUT it seemes there are some inaccuracies about the very old, pretty unknown parks around the country. For Example: Recreation Park, Pittsburgh PA. The Author claims that there was baseball played on a field at 1200 Allegheny Avenue, Pittsburgh from 1876-1887. A City Map of 1897 shows housing located on the property. I question other sources in the book.
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