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The 34-Ton Bat: The Story of Baseball as Told Through Bobbleheads, Cracker Jacks, Jockstraps, Eye Black, and 375 Other Strange and Unforgettable Objects Hardcover – October 15, 2013
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From Publishers Weekly
Top Customer Reviews
Beginning with the introduction, the author was able to capture the exact mixture of arcane history, personal memoir, genuine humor, and nostalgia that bonds American families and sports fans together so uniquely. His impeccable curiosity and writing skills make the book difficult to put down once started and fuel a considerable fund of trivia upon which one can draw whenever conversation lags.
His brand of gentle good humor and bonhomie is in the best American tradition of Frank Deford, Roy Blount,and even Mark Twain, and I heartily recommend reading this book.
When you find yourself at a bar with friends, needing something to contribute to the conversation, the facts you will learn from this book are sure to entertain everyone.
Steve Rushin has been writing for Sports Illustrated for over 25 years, and has accumulated a few awards along the way, including National Sportswriter of the Year. His family comes from a baseball tradition that spans over 100 years, with not so distant relatives having played in the majors, and he himself, securing his first job at Met Stadium, where he ‘stabbed dogs’, ‘pulled sodas’ and ‘cupped corn’. A more deft storyteller and a more passionate voice cannot be found to bring these baseball objects to life, to make them dance like the candlesticks in Beauty & The Beast, to help us know and understand our greatest American pastime and, above all….inviting us to remember.
From baseball gloves to bats; pipe organs to Prohibition, score cards to stinky urinals and beyond; the stories are layered one upon the other, at a dizzying rate. Filled with quirk and tradition; pride and pomp, riots and ridicule, one can’t help but see the game in a new light, and love it in a new way.
The 300 page book is an engaging read for anyone. But, if you’re a fan of baseball, you will find yourself doing what I do. I place the book, never far from my reach on my desk. My novelty baseball bank, (which came into existence at Yankee Stadium during the forties) sits on top. Tim Lincecum, in Bobble Head form stands next to it,–(Bobble Heads coming about in the 1800’s, but the first baseball shaker appearing in the fifties).Read more ›
Rushin proves that he's a master at unearthing interesting historical facts, sharing them in an engaging manner and seamlessly segueing from one topic to another.
In discussing baseball's innovations, such as the catcher's mask and batting helmet, Rushin writes that "early adopters were ridiculed but after an uncomfortable pause--universally copied."
Chapter 6, "The Decrepit Urinals of Ebbets Field" is an excellent example of Rushin's ability to seamlessly segue from one topic to another. Although he starts out discussing the urinals, he moves to the sale of beer at the ballparks, then a history of players and umps being pelted with beer bottles, the history of beer's connection to baseball teams, beer advertisements on the radio and beer companies as team sponsors. And, finally, onto the history of playing The Star Spangled Banner at baseball games.
Readers will find something new and interesting on almost every other page. Rushin does a splendid job of research (you wonder where and how he found all the information) and bringing the material to life. The story of baseball has never been more entertaining.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Thoroughly enjoyed it! Steve Rushin is a talented writer and that he's originally from the Twin Cities, as I am, made it even more pertinent. Read morePublished 9 months ago by D. Knudson
I bought this book for my son who only reads SI and he loved it! He's a baseball lover since childhood and said it's a great book!Published 11 months ago by Susan in Cincinnati
If you read Sports Illustrated you know that Steve Rushin is one of their best writers who also understands how to write in a humorous yet informative way. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Brian Maitland
You just don't know baseball until you've read this book! It gives you unique facts that you never would have thought to look up while giving you a unique look into the history of... Read morePublished 18 months ago by virginia madrid