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Storied Stadiums: Baseball's History Through Its Ballparks Hardcover – September 9, 2001


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this long, rambling account of the national pastime, Smith (Voices of the Game) visits various ballparks, often repeatedly, and recounts the dimensions of each park, the stories behind its construction and the history of the team(s) that occupied it. Smith, a former presidential speechwriter, mixes in quotations and anecdotes, both from the baseball world and the world at large, relating them to the stadiums and to the teams. Even if it takes readers 150 pages to get used to Smith's prose replete with colons, long dashes and short, abrupt sentences they still have 450 more to enjoy. Not for beginners, the book is riddled with jargon and slang sure to please the cognoscenti: "Boston '16 edged Brooklyn, 2-1, in 14 innings. Joe Oeschger and Brooklyn's Leon Cadore pitched 26 in 1920: Darkness called the game, 1-1. Offense woke with '28's inner fence." The book, while overlong, feels cramped and at times rushed because Smith attempts to cover the entire history of baseball. Quotations are sometimes repeated, clogging up the narrative. Still, the anecdotal style is enjoyable and appropriate to the topic. Fans of Bob Costas, who writes a short, predictable introduction, will find Smith's angle on baseball history palatable. Despite the repetition and bulk, it ends up being an enjoyable, informative read. (Oct.)Forecast: Costas's endorsement and a playoff-season release should help sales, though the distracting writing style and imposing length will scare off many readers. But most sports fans, of baseball especially, eat up anything praising their sport in print.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

In this examination of major league ballparks, one-time presidential speechwriter Smith provides an iconoclastic look at the national pastime that baseball fans will likely enjoy. Not a standard history, Storied Stadiums covers nearly a century and a half and is replete with both the statistics baseball is known for and amusing and revelatory anecdotes. Sometimes difficult to follow, this encyclopedic book melds contemporary developments and some of baseball's most historic moments, thus delivering both more and less than his title suggests. Though intriguing tidbits and discussions of various pennant races are included, no systematic examination of major league stadiums is offered. Far more attention is paid proportionately to the game's last four decades, with the exploration of Candlestick Park among the book's highlights. Noteworthy photographs of classic stadiums are included, and a particularly useful appendix contains "franchise genealogy," attendance figures, chronology, and capacity sizes of various ballparks, along with "facts and fillips" of stadiums from the 1870s onward. A mixed bag; for general libraries. Robert Cottrell, California State Univ., Chico
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 624 pages
  • Publisher: Carroll & Graf; 1st Carroll & Graf ed edition (September 9, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786709480
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786709489
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.8 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 1.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #526,748 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

It was difficult to read.
Barry M. Daniels
I wish I could have visited some of the older ones before they were torn down.
TruxtonSpangler
The sad thing is that he obviously did not learn from this fiasco.
Abner Doubleday

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 15, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Being somewhat of a baseball ballpark fan, I eagerly awaited the publication of this book. To admit to my disappointment in it is even more frustrating. There are too many factual errors that even a fan like myself could not miss.
Some of the errors include:
The wrong location for Washington Park in Brooklyn (page 22).
Saint Louis described as the westernmost city in baseball until 1958 (page 57; don't tell any of the fans of the Kansas City A's).
The 1919 White Sox at white cubed Comiskey (page 60; The ballpark was not white-washed until several more DECADES had passed).
The 1902 AL Browns left Baltimore for St. Louis (Wrong, they left Milwaukee, page 131)
Some of the errors in the appendix include:
Roosevelt Stadium was in New Jersey, not Brooklyn (page 570; The address given was for the Dodgers corporate office).
And this chestnut from page 568- League Park (Cleveland) opened on April 29, 1901 with a 5-4 victory over Indianapolis!
I actually have started to tape little post-it markers on the pages with the errors. With all the errors that I have spotted, I am uncertain as to the correctness of all the information.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Wayne Lynch on May 6, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Curt, I loved Voices of the Game and Storytellers, but you lost your way on this one. How about this sentence: "Classic parks forged a Mayberry of puppies and emerald turf and picket fences and small-town marms -- frozen in amber, but fixed and sure."
WHAT? Claptrap....pure and simple....and that was only page 3.
My real favorite was "If Bogart means Key Largo, baseball can mean year." HUH? At least match the verb syntax, Curt. Fantastic research, but you need to relearn writing for the reader. For God's sake, tell your editor(s) to find a new line of work.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 25, 2003
Format: Paperback
"Storied Stadiums" is the most poorly written book I've read in quite some time. To illustrate, here's one example among many:
"Note merely how offspring spurred the pastime's throb. Brooklyn baseball began a century before proving that even in the fifty-second World Series-Game Seven, October 4, 1955, Brooklyn 2, Yankees 0, after losing seven straight Series, five to New York-a franchise could run into luck" (page 20).
One must work extremely hard to deconstruct the author's circuitous (and sometimes inexplicable) line of thought and the device of using various song titles to introduce each section seems rather silly.
Considering the author's qualifications, I would have expected a more polished and professional style. Quite disappointing on the whole.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By D. Sommers on April 12, 2004
Format: Paperback
I recently purchased this book and found it to be incredibly disappointing - Baseball history through a James Joyce-ian stream of consciousness writing style that is hard to understand and harder to digest. All chapters are written in a " running dialogue" style, which causes the reader to be feel left out of the conversation. Dozens (perhaps hundreds) of unrelated and confusing comments about political issues, celebrities, etc., which badly detract from the baseball core. Additionally, MANY
inaccuracies (both statistical and factual) and typos throughout the text .....3-4 in the section about Shea Stadium from 1964-1975 alone (nothing gets past this Mets' fan!). DO NOT GO HERE if you are looking for faithful commentaries and interesting insights on historic stadiums or reliable documentation on baseball history...this book falls WAY, WAY short in both areas. I would give it 0 stars, but the ratings mandate me to give it one. Spend your money instead on " To Every Thing a Season: Shibe Park - 1909-1976", a VASTLY SUPERIOR and thoughtful book, even if you do not live in/near Philadelphia (I am transplanted from North Jersey to South Jersey, but could not put the Shibe Park book down!).
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Scott J. Malkemus on March 5, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I only wish I had read the reviews before buying this book. Very rarely will I put a book back on the shelf without finishing it, but this book is one of those rare exceptions. It seems to me that the author has forgotten one of the most important rules in writing, "write to express, not impress." He takes so much time being clever and amusing that the true stories of these glorious stadiums are lost in unreadable rhetoric.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Mark Coen on February 14, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This book utterly failed to meet any of the expectations I had for it. The biggest and most obvious problem is that Smith adopted a writing style that is painful to read. It's like Ring Lardner or Red Smith after taking a foul ball to the head. It tries way, WAY too hard, and comes off as gimmicky.
Smith also likes to use quotes for no particular purpose related to baseball history. A quote by Jackie Gleason about how he drank to get bagged leads into a note that fans went out to celebrate when the Philly Atlantics snapped the Reds 79 game winning streak. The quote is longer than the actual baseball-related text!
I almost never put down a book before finishing. This was one of those times, 63 of the most painful pages I've read in some time into the book. Avoid at all costs.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Barry M. Daniels on September 17, 2001
Format: Hardcover
An amphicar was that vehicle from the early 60's that was a combination of car and boat. It didn't last long, cause it was neither a very good car nor a very good boat.
The author did the same thing here, he tried to combine a baseball history book, and a book about baseball stadiums. I don't think it worked. He skimmed details about baseball history, and he skimmed details about basbeall stadiums. If you like the detail like I do, there are better books available that deal with each subject individually.
Also, his writing style can best be described as "staccato", or kind of choppy. It was difficult to read.
Again, if you like detail instead of overview, this book is not for you.
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