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Baseball Americana Hardcover – September 29, 2009


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America's Pastime
Read an excerpt from Baseball Americana [PDF].

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Smithsonia (September 29, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061625450
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061625459
  • Product Dimensions: 11.7 x 9.7 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #443,357 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Totally intriguing … traces the glory of our national pastime over more than two centuries. … All this material and so much more could fill a whole bunch of postseason evenings while today’s knickered lads cavort until midnight and beyond.” (Washington Post)

“One of the most seductively designed books about the sport to come our way. … A book like this, so rich and deep in material. … brings baseball history to multifaceted life and reminds us that baseball is the sport that celebrates its history more than any other. … This book itself is a form of time-traveling — a pleasurable, often surprising and aesthetic trip.” (San Diego Union-Tribune)

From the Back Cover

A lavishly illustrated history of America's game, from the unparalleled collections of the Library of Congress

Baseball, the sport that helped reunify the country in the years after the Civil War, remains the National Pastime. The Library of Congress houses the world's largest baseball collection, documenting the history of the game and providing a unique look at America since the late 1700s. Now Baseball Americana presents the best of the best from that treasure trove. From baseball's biggest stars to street urchins, from its most newsworthy stories to sandlot and Little League games, the book examines baseball's hardscrabble origins, rich cultural heritage, and uniquely American character.

The more than 350 fabulous illustrations—many never before published—featured first-generation, vintage photographic and chromolithographic baseball cards; photographs of famous players and ballparks; and newspaper clippings, cartoons, New Deal photographs, and baseball advertisements. Packed with images that will surprise and thrill even the most expert collector, Baseball Americana is a gift for every baseball fan.


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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Lots of pictures and facts.
Carter
I am giving two as Christmas gifts and already gave one as a birthday gift.
Diane Sparkles
I recommend this book for baseball fans and history buffs alike!!
Annie Devereux

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Paul Coopersmith on November 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover
"Baseball Americana" has some of the best photos of any book on baseball I've ever seen---and I've been a fan for many decades. From panoramics of late-19th to early 20th-Century teams, crowds, ballparks, and individual players, to a series of superb photos from Look Magazine in the 1950's and '60's---the book, indeed, boasts an impressive array of treasures. An assortment of early baseball cards, posters, and illustrations from magazines add an attractive dimension. Women's and Negro Leagues are given good coverage, and there is a well written and researched section on the origin of the game.

What "Baseball Americana" is not, is a comprehensive, illustrated history of the sport, in spite of what it says on the blurb. Rather it is a very subjective selection of various aspects of the game over the years. For a true illustrated history, covering a lot more of the evolution of the game, and the major players over the decades, I would recommend Geoffrey Ward's and Ken Burns' "Baseball: An Illustrated History." And of course the PBS series of which that book is a companion.

A couple of gripes. For one thing, the book is set up in such a way that one often has to skip over two or more pages of photos, in order to finish reading a paragraph or even a sentence. Why the publishers allowed this to occur is beyond me. More puzzling is the lack of in-depth knowledge of the game's history, in particular the legendary stars of the various eras. One glaring example: after writing about Babe Ruth, the authors cite "the era's other offensive star, the often overlooked Rogers Hornsby." Hornsby, overlooked? And only one other "offensive star" of the 1920's and early '30s? Not Lou Gehrig? Or George Sisler, Paul Waner, Lefty O'Doul, or Al Simmons?
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A. Pollack on November 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I actually bought 5 copies of this book to use as Christmas presents for my baseball-loving family (and one for myself!). It is one of the most interesting books on the history of baseball, and all the new facts and tidbits that I never knew about are really great to learn. I'm a lifelong Yankee fan, and baseball fan in general, and this book has something for everyone. The pictures are just amazing as well - especially the ones from pre-Doubleday years. Shines some light on the evolution of the sport.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Carl Smith on November 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book is worthwhile for not only baseball fans but
people who are history buffs and love old pictures.
The pictures do overshadow the text which is still quite
worthwhile. Readers will enjoy this. Baseball lives!

Baseball coaches might enjoy these two best selling products from Amazon.
Youth Baseball Drills
Schupak's Baseball Super 8 DVD Set
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Annie Devereux on November 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was not a huge fan of baseball but I am a fan of American History. This colorful book has turned me into a baseball fan. It is fantastic for its exploration of how America and Baseball grew up together. It has wonderful photos and a great format(think your grandfather's boyhood scrapbook). I recommend this book for baseball fans and history buffs alike!!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By James Pernikoff on September 5, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm puzzled as to what Mr. Sheehy expected in this book, because I find it a refreshingly different look at the national pastime, told through lithographs, magazine images, cigarette cards and the like. It is clearly not intended as a rigorous history, but a fun look at how baseball has been viewed by artists and writers through the years.

It is true that aside from short articles on Cuban and Little League baseball, there is not much here aside from the Major Leagues. While the Negro Leagues are not featured, there is a nice article on Jackie Robinson. I particularly liked the articles dealing with baseball songs (many of which I've never heard of!) and baseball in the movies.

It is also true that there is little coverage after about 1960 and none after 1970, but if you're willing to overlook that point, this will make a nice book for your coffee table.
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Format: Hardcover
If you could wrap up a brief history of America's Greatest Pastime, then this book would be one of the best. It includes photos from way back to 1787, the first recorded baseball game in the U.S., along with the All American Girls Baseball League, with paragraphs of information of everything. You really cannot put it down - it's just as captivating for women to read as men, and well, if you need a gift for that hard-to-buy-for young man, then look no further if he loves baseball. Gathered from information from the Smithsonian, this is just SO much fun to read, I couldn't put the thing down no matter how hard I tried!

However, I have a suggestion. I think they really need to go back and make this like a set of encyclopedias - there's just so much history that's fascinating about baseball, that it really cannot be covered in one volume. I would LOVE to see more!

Overall, a wonderful book, one of those "gems" you just find now and again. Found this at our local Baseball School and perused it while waiting for a lesson. Now, I'm back to buy more for gifts! HIGHLY, HIGHLY, HIGHLY Recommend!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I own a large number of baseball books, I think Baseball American will quickly become one of my favorites .
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