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The Baseball Codes: Beanballs, Sign Stealing, and Bench-Clearing Brawls: The Unwritten Rules of America's Pastime Paperback – March 22, 2011
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"Delicious . . . Entertaining . . . The Baseball Codes reads like a lab report by a psychologist who has been observing hostile toddlers whack one another with plastic shovels in a sandbox."
—Bruce Weber, The New York Times Book Review
“A frankly incredible book—a history and analysis of baseball’s insular culture of unwritten rules, protocols and superstitions, assembled over the course of ten years . . . I can say without hesitation that this is one of the all-time greats—a first-ballot Hall of Famer.”
—Glenn McDonald, NPR
“If baseball players adhere to a series of informal doctrines, then consider Turbow the ultimate code breaker . . . Turbow pulls back the curtain and breaks through the game’s shroud of secrecy to deliver a grand slam of a book.”
—Mike Householder, Associated Press
“A remarkably well researched book, filled with intricate details of plays from the past 100 years.”
—Larry Getlen, New York Post
“Turbow and Duca have filled a void with this entertaining, revealing survey of the varied, sometimes inscrutable unwritten rules that govern the way baseball is played by the pros.”
“A highly entertaining read . . . A comprehensive, sometimes hilarious guide to perhaps a misunderstood aspect of our national pastime.”
About the Author
Jason Turbow has written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, SportsIllustrated.com, and Slam magazine. He is a regular contributor to Giants Magazine and Athletics, and for three years served as content director for “Giants Today,” a full-page supplement in the San Francisco Chronicle that was published in conjunction with every Giants home game. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife and two children.
Michael Duca was the first chairman of the board of Bill James’s Project Scoresheet, was a contributor to and editor of The Great American Baseball Stats Book, and has written for SportsTicker, “Giants Today” in the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Associated Press. He covers the San Jose Sharks for Examiner.com and works for the Office of the Commissioner as an official scorer and for MLB.com. He lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
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Baseball has a pace all its own and it makes it more enjoyable when you know more about it. I think for a non-fan this book would be mostly puzzling and difficult to understand. And even for a fan, I found parts repetitious and the middle rather slow. (That's why I gave it 4 stars.) But how can you not love stories of the pranks these guys play on each other, especially when they involve some of your favorite players.
Some of the stories are so funny that they had people looking at me oddly as I tried to keep from busting out laughing while reading this book in public. And if you have a family member or friend that is interested in baseball, you can't go wrong with this book.
Until I read "The Baseball Codes".
While not a literary masterpiece, TBC wonderfully held my attention throughout all of its 200+ pages. Every chapter had tidbits, insights, and anecdotes about the game that could only have been relayed by a skilled and enthusiastic author such as Mr. Turbow.
How many fans know that:
1) It's often the pitcher who gives signs, not the catcher.
2) Carlton Fisk had a career-long routine about where he sat in every team plane and bus.
3) One of baseball's brawniest players was scorned for not participating in brawls.
4) Bob Feller used WWII technology to steal signs after he came home from combat in the Pacific.
Mr. Turbow relates each of these and many, many more.
The last few pages of TBC are about Rex "Hurricane" Hudler. A hustling, free-spirited utility man, Hudler's last career at-bat makes for a perfect ending for Mr. Turbow's classic. Regardless of what happened when that last pitch came toward Hudler (I won't reveal it here), he upheld the unwritten rules have made baseball and this book so unique.