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The Baseball: Stunts, Scandals, and Secrets Beneath the Stitches Paperback – March 8, 2011

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Frequently Bought Together

The Baseball: Stunts, Scandals, and Secrets Beneath the Stitches + Watching Baseball Smarter: A Professional Fan's Guide for Beginners, Semi-experts, and Deeply Serious Geeks + The Greatest Baseball Stories Ever Told: Thirty Unforgettable Tales from the Diamond
Price for all three: $34.66

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“This is the stuff baseball fans eat up like snack food, only it’s way more nourishing. . . . The stories are marvelous, and throughout Hample maintains jaunty good humor and even class; for instance, he thanks, by name, every one of the 1,167 Major League players and coaches who have given him baseballs over the years (an interesting list in itself). Lots of fascinating illustrations, too.” —Booklist
 
“Brings a whole new dimension to the term ‘inside baseball.’ . . . Hample . . . provides plenty of revelations to even the most passionate follower of the game.” —Kirkus Reviews
 
“Hample is not simply an articulate and accessible baseball writer, he’s a zealous collector of game balls. . . . His advice on how to catch a ball at the stadium shows how meticulously he hones his hobby. Along the way there are lots of personalities and top-ten lists at the end for every active fan. All ball buffs should try to catch this one.” —Library Journal

Praise for Zack Hample's Watching Baseball Smarter:

"Insightful, engaging and funny—a treat for anyone who loves the game." —Keith Hernandez

"Hample calls himself an obsessed fan—obsessed in a good way—and the product of his torment is a funny and informative guide for all levels of fams." —Yankees Magazine

"Engaging. . . . Hample's book is both deceptive in its simplicity . . . and surprising in its range." —Fortune

"A browser's delight of a book. . . . Hample unloads a zany collection of baseball trivia, insights and 'random stuff'. . . in breezy guidebook style." —Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"This isn't the first book to take on the challenge of explaining baseball intricacies, but I've never seen it done better." —Craig Smith, The Seattle Times

"Armed at neophytes and know-it-alls alike, this baseball geekfest tells you which positions are never played by lefties, why it's easier to hit when bases are loaded, which rules are the weirdest, and other arcana." —Maxim

About the Author

Zack Hample is the bestselling author of Watching Baseball Smarter. He has snagged more than 4,600 baseballs from 48 different major league stadiums and has appeared on dozens of TV and radio shows.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor (March 8, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 030747545X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307475459
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #398,599 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By M. A. Filippelli VINE VOICE on June 4, 2011
Format: Paperback
Have you ever wondered what's inside a baseball? Perhaps you cut one in half as a kid for show and tell at school. Good news we get to find out what's in the baseball and how it has changed over the years. What Author Zach Hample has produced her is a multi faceted look at the ball it's effect on the game and the fans who chase these balls down.

The Baseball stunts, scandals, and secrets beneath the stitches starts back in the 1840's when the first baseball was developed basically by wrapping yarn into a ball and then covering it with hide. These days exacting measurements are used to make a baseball.

As it turns out what's inside a baseball has changed many times over the last 170 years. Author Zach Hample walks the reader through the history of the baseball, the effect the changing baseball has had on the game. Moving from the dead ball era to the live ball era undoubtedly was the most dramatic change in the game. When baseball started getting lively baseball parks started getting bigger.

It was interesting to see how the structure of the game changed. In the early days teams only had one ball per game. If that ball went into the stands it had to be retrieved before the game could continue. These days as many as 70 get used per game and fans chasing them down get to keep them.

Another interesting part of the book is the allegations that the baseball was juiced in the late 90's and early 2000's. Major league baseball did a lot of testing of the baseball and couldn't find much difference between new ball and ones produced a few years earlier. It turns out the it was the baseball players that were juiced though Hample doesn't talk about that.

Hample described in detail how the ball is made and tested before it gets into a game.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By John Forrester on April 7, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Interesting history, but too much ball-hawk stuff for me...it wasn't what I expected.
The book wandered off in a strange direction.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Danny B. Wood on May 5, 2011
Format: Paperback
I've been a baseball fan for over 50 years. I've played since I was 6 years old, I played in high school and college and Over 50 baseball. I've umpired and I've collected all types of baseballs including over 3,000 autographed balls and another 2,000 logo type balls. I literally learned something NEW on every page of the first half of the book that I never knew. The research that went in to this book has never been done or at least published before. Anyone that is able to actually visit the Rawlings plant in Costa Rica certainly has my respect. It is the most incredible book I have ever read about "the ball". Thanks, Zack!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Vincent Vargas on February 7, 2012
Format: Paperback
I got this book as a gift from someone who knows I love baseball. Mr. Hemple came up to bat three times (3 sections: Baseball in the News, Historic and Factual Stuff, and How to Snag Major League Baseballs). Baseball in the News chronicles some of the more famous (or infamous) events involving the baseball - milestone homers, fan 'intervention', career ending injuries, celebs, and the like. A mix of the interesting and the trivial: Deep fly to left (0-1).

The second section takes you on a fascinating journey as the baseball evolves from the beginning right through modern day. It is interesting to read the loose definition of the baseball in the official rule book, and how teams interpreted the rule and even experimented with the ball to favor their team. This section will likely cause you to pause and reflect on who were the hitters of that day and how they might have either benefitted or been hindered by the baseball of that particular period. Would Mr. Ruth have hit as many homers or hit even more? Would Mr. Cobb have had such a career batting average if a baseball from earlier or later years had been used? And, I found it fascinating that the "juiced" ball controversy has been around since the beginning of time and yet the baseball manufacturing process, while tightly controlled, monitored, and enforced to meet specifications, has an element of secrecy! Home Run to deep Left-Center (1-2).

The third section is a how-to guide to getting a souvenir. Here Mr. Hemple offers some of his experiences and tricks of the trade after collecting thousands of official MLB balls. There is also a Who's Who section of elite "ballhawks", a term I learned from reading the book. I enjoyed this section, but after the last AB, I found it a bit trivial.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Bibby on April 23, 2011
Format: Paperback
I'm not a baseball fan nor do I have any real interest in any other sports (I'm a girly girl), but I am a fan of good writing, funny/fascinating stories, and passion. This book has all of that. I loved reading the interviews with the top ten ballhawks of all time. There are some awesome/hilarious stories there. And then there's the "Foul Balls in Pop Culture" section that includes a breakdown of a "Sex in The City" scene and even a "Sesame Street" scene. Awesome. The author made me actually care about baseball and that's quite a feat. And to give you a better idea of what my tastes are: I'm into Hip Hop, David Sedaris, Woody Allen, pretty flowers, fashion, dancing, vegetarianism and...no sports (did I mention that?). So when I say this book on baseballs is good, believe it. I get the feeling that the author could make a book on the history of the placemat fascinating.
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