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The Hidden Language of Baseball Paperback – April 1, 2005


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Frequently Bought Together

The Hidden Language of Baseball + The Unwritten Rules of Baseball: The Etiquette, Conventional Wisdom, and Axiomatic Codes of Our National Pastime + The Baseball Codes: Beanballs, Sign Stealing, and Bench-Clearing Brawls: The Unwritten Rules of America's Pastime
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Walker & Company (April 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802777198
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802777195
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 7.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #628,979 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Dickson, whose more than 40 books include several baseball titles, returns to the national pastime with a thoroughly researched account of the game's idiosyncratic forms of communication. As hard as it is to unearth fresh information about such a richly documented sport, Dickson has plenty of new stories and details. Who knew, for example, that the savvy Ty Cobb would often tip his hand, giving opponents an idea of when he planned to bunt or steal a base? And who had any idea that the Chicago White Sox 1959 pennant drive was aided by sign stealing from the center-field scoreboard? Anyone who has ever played or coached youth baseball or paid close attention to the third-base coach at a big-league game will appreciate the author's guided tour through the history of diamond sign language. Dickson is a fine storyteller, and his latest book is a welcome addition to the rich canon of baseball literature. Kevin Canfield
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Paul Dickson is the author of more than 40 books. Both his first book, Think Tanks (1971), and his most recent, Sputnik: The Shock of the Century (Walker & Company, 2001), were born of his first love-investigative journalism-and examine the forces that have shaped the way we live in the information age. He has also written books about many of the other wide-ranging subjects that intrigue him, including the English language, baseball, history, Americana, and the maxims and "rules" of everyday life.

Long-fascinated by space and the Cold War, Dickson says of Sputnik, "I think this is the story I was meant to tell. In a very real sense, I am an eyewitness to some of Sputnik's most memorable influences on the West. As a teen, I watched Sputnik, enthralled by the adventure of the space race. As a young man, I was a cold-warrior forced into uniform by the building of the Berlin Wall and I was stationed on a ship supporting the recovery of U.S. astronauts from splashdown. Later, I worked as a reporter covering the Gemini and Apollo missions for Electronics magazine. I have long collected material on Sputnik's impact on realms as diverse as industrial design and civil rights. Over the years I have thought about its impact on my generation and those that followed and toyed with alternative scenarios in which the United States and not the Soviet Union was first into space."

After graduating from Wesleyan University in 1961, Dickson joined the U.S. Navy and later worked as a reporter for McGraw-Hill Publications. Since 1968, he has been a full-time freelance writer, contributing articles to various magazines and newspapers, including Smithsonian, Esquire, The Nation, Town & Country, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and The Washington Post. He received a University Fellowship for reporters from the American Political Science Association for Think Tanks. For his book The Electronic Battlefield (1976), about the impact automatic weapons systems have had on modern warfare, he received a grant from the Fund for Investigative Journalism to support his efforts to get certain Pentagon files declassified. A founder and former president of Washington Independent Writers, he is also a contributing editor at Washingtonian magazine and a consulting editor at Merriam-Webster, Inc.

Dickson lives in Garrett Park, Maryland, with his wife, Nancy. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


More About the Author

Paul Dickson is the author of more than 45 nonfiction books and hundreds of magazine articles. Although he has written on a variety of subjects from ice cream to kite flying to electronic warfare, he now concentrates on writing about the American language, baseball and 20th century history. His most recent titles include Drunk: The Definitive Drinker's Dictionary, The Dickson Baseball Dictionary, Sputnik: The Shock of the Century and Slang: A Topical Dictionary of Americanisms.

Customer Reviews

Like "The Dickson Baseball Dictionary", this book is a must for baseball fans of all ages.
Robert Skole
A short but thorough history of baseball as seen through the development of signs, sign stealing and tip-off reading.
Sarah Sammis
That's just one of many new and interesting facts and anecdotes in this first-of-its kind book.
William B. Mead

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Robert Skole on June 28, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Paul Dickson has done it again! Here's a book that all baseball fans will love, even those modest folk who know everything there is to know about the game. "The Hidden Language of Baseball" is the book to read -- after you make it a most valuable gift to your kids, who have often asked you (as if you knew) what those goofy and not-so goofy signs mean, who dreamed them up and how come the other team doesn't steal them, which, of course, they try their darndest to do. Paul Dickson takes the reader through baseball sign language from its very earliest recorded years to the wild and wooly "Golden Age" of flagrantly outrageous stealing and to today's signing in full view of the ever-improving intrusiveness of high-tech TV lenses. The book is full of wonderful anecdotes - a Dizzy Dean classic will have you roaring with delight. Like "The Dickson Baseball Dictionary", this book is a must for baseball fans of all ages.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By William B. Mead on June 30, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Forget the simple theory that Bobby Thomson benefitted from a stolen sign when he hit the historic homer off Ralph Branca in 1951. Dickson gives us the real story--a much more colorful and fascinating peek at baseball's most memorable moment. That's just one of many new and interesting facts and anecdotes in this first-of-its kind book. I've written baseball books myself and I tip my hat to this one.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Sammis on July 16, 2004
Format: Hardcover
A short but thorough history of baseball as seen through the development of signs, sign stealing and tip-off reading. Includes some delightful photographs, numerous anotations, a lengthy bibliography and index. Paul Dickson's approach to baseball makes me wonder if the recent homerun records aren't more a case for renewed talent in sign stealing / tip-off reading than for new technology for bats or performance inhancing drugs.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on October 7, 2005
Format: Paperback
During any given nine-inning baseball game over a thousand silent instructions are given between players and from umpires to coaches. You've seen the hand signals - now understand their meaning in the first examination of their history, evolution and methods. Baseball games are surveyed past and present to gain a fine chronology of player signals.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By W. Rikkelman on January 11, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Here Paul Dickson tells you all about things that you thought were there but that you know for sure when you finish this ones again fantastic book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Bought for my husband and he LOVEs this book! Excellent for any baseball fan! Thanks for a quality purchase, San Fran Goodwill!!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
It wouls be good if tv coverage and announcers would show some of the game within a game that the author describes.
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By kimberley a hoover on November 19, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a nice read. Excellent condition, perfect size for carrying a book around in hand or your purse. I am enjoying this read.
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