New York Times sports columnist Vecsey (Year in the Sun) devotes himself to this sprightly history of the national pastime. His survey unfolds much like a highlights tape, with a breezy background narrative of the game from its pre–Civil War roots to its current drug scandals, structured around set pieces spotlighting the outsized deeds of luminaries like Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson, Branch Rickey and George Steinbrenner. He finds plenty of time for color commentary, like an appreciation of radio announcers' whimsical homerun catch-phrases (" 'Get up Aunt Minnie and raise the window!' " Pirates voice Rosey Roswell was wont to yell), cantankerous opinionating ("Trying to be fair and neutral about it, I can only say that the designated hitter rule is a travesty and ought to be tossed out") and ruminations on the ultimate metaphysical question of "why the Yankees exist." Throughout, the author stresses the game's continuities: modern-day anxieties about free agentry, labor strife and the bereavement of cities abandoned by their teams for greener pastures have plagued baseball from the beginning. Vivid, affectionate and clear-eyed, Vecsey's account makes for an engaging sports history. (Aug. 15)
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Many of baseball's landmark events and personalities--its ancient origins (Abner Doubleday notwithstanding), the development of pro baseball, the Black Sox scandal, Babe Ruth, Branch Rickey, the Negro League, Jackie Robinson, the media's influence, free agency, the globalization of the game, steroids--have been covered more thoroughly in their own volumes over the past several years. But New York Times sports columnist Vecsey neatly pulls them together in this seamless and succinct popular history. His account of the game's early days is especially strong, debunking in particular "founder" Doubleday's role: Vecsey argues that the only verifiable association is a request Doubleday, as a U.S. Army commander, made for baseball equipment for his troops in 1871. Vecsey has covered the game for more than 40 years, and it shows in such simple but profoundly true statements as "Baseball has always relied heavily on luck." Recommended especially for smaller sports collections in need of a general history of America's pastime. Alan Moores
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
For anyone who loves the game and also loves history in general this is an enjoyable read!Published 8 days ago by James TFunk
First half was great. Vecsey's knowledge of the early days is impressive and his language is fun, colorful, and flows well. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Joey Pruger
I GAVE IT AS A BIRTHDAY GIFT AND MY FRIEND SAID IT WAS THE BEST BASEBALL BOOK HE HAD EVER SEEN OR HEARD.Published 9 months ago by Harold Hubbell
Excellent, broad-sweep chronicle of the game's history for the new or casual fan. Gives informative insights into seemingly all the big stories and events that have brought us to... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Trevor J Marshallsea
Great historical narrative of the great old American past time. Excellent analysis of key topics that challenge the game while keeping it in the forefront of American pop culture.Published 13 months ago by renay
if you are a fan of baseball, read this book. Super book with wonderful information including some funny and pleasing stuff - its a keeper for sure!Published 15 months ago by Fish Creek "Roger"
This was a good story of the history of this great game. Vecsey did a great job covering a large range of topics from the origins to free agency to some of the key people in... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Wayne J. Street Jr.