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A Game of Inches: The Stories Behind the Innovations That Shaped Baseball: The Game on the Field (Volume 1) Hardcover – March 23, 2006

4.8 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

I can't wait for the subsequent volumes. (Keith Olbermann, News Anchor, Countdown on MSNBC; co-host, The Dan Patrick Show on ESPN Radio)

Peter Morris's A Game of Inches is the one that every serious baseball fan must have. (Rob Neyer ESPN the Magazine)

A splendidly entertaining book. (Donald Honig)

Truly amazing. (Rob Neyer The Griddle)

Wonderful baseball anecdotes...a comprehensive volume of who-did-what-first adding a necessary human dimension to baseball facts and figures. (Philadelphia City Paper)

Every season needs a browser’s delight of a baseball reference book. Morris’ remarkable volume may have set that standard. (John Marshall Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

Absolutely fantastic.... There is no end to the historical detail, the delightful anecdotes, and the clear explanations. (Dr. John D. Elgenauer, Super70s.com--Baseball)

Offering fascinating information on every page, this is a unique resource for baseball historians and serious fans. (CHOICE)

Morris combines learning, precision, and devotion to produce this charming book...This is heaven for fans of the game.... (Library Journal)

Morris' remarkable volume may have set [the] standard for this season and several to follow. (John Marshall Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

It's an everything you ever wanted to know reference source for anyone who truly loves baseball. (Albany Times Union)

Morris gives the scoop on three- and four-man umpiring crews, the history of bats, and more. (Carol Herwig USA Today)

An encyclopedic effort....interesting observations. (John Monaghan Providence Journal)

Clear some fresh space on your bookshelves. One of the all-time essential reference works for baseball has...arrived. (Daniel Gabriel Elysian Fields Quarterly)

Majestic in their detail and exemplary in their dedication to scholarship, these books will leave the reader...exhilarated. (CHOICE)

You could do no better than Peter Morris' A Game of Inches, an astonishingly well-researched history. (Keith Olbermann Msnbc)

A great source for baseball history. (Daily News)

Solid piece of near exhaustive research into...crucial aspects of the development of baseball. (John P. Rossi The Historian)

About the Author

Peter Morris won the coveted Seymour Medal of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) for his book Baseball Fever, about early baseball in Michigan. He has also been honored by USA Today Sports Weekly. A graduate of the University of Toronto and Michigan State University and a former national and international Scrabble champion, he is now a researcher at the Michigan Public Health Institute and lives in Haslett, Michigan. Visit the author's website (www.petermorrisbooks.com) for more information.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 533 pages
  • Publisher: Ivan R. Dee (March 23, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1566636779
  • ISBN-13: 978-1566636773
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 1.4 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,639,911 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Richard Hershberger on June 21, 2006
Format: Hardcover
On its face this book appears to be yet another entry in the genre of collections of random tidbits about baseball. These usually are disconnected factoids, often of questionable accuracy and often with some attempt at a unifying theme. In form this is just such a collection, in this case with the theme of "firsts". Peter Morris has in fact done something much more interesting and substantial.

The book is founded on solid research, going back to as close to the events as possible. Do we know of a first because it was reported in the newspapers the next day, or do we only have someone's recollections decades later? Morris is meticulous about letting the reader know. This could serve not only as a baseball history, but as a textbook on methods and limitations of historical research.

Morris avoids the problem of random factoids: of history as a series of disconnected events. A lesser author might determine who was the first pinch hitter, give a name and a date, and leave it at that. Morris puts pinch hitting in the context of the evolution of substitution rules, expanding rosters, and adapting ideology. We get a mini-essay on the development of this aspect of the game.

Similarly, the invention of the catcher's mask is put in the context of loosened restrictions on the pitcher's delivery, which allowed faster pitching and effective curve balls. These made the older method of an unprotected catcher standing well back from the batter less tenable, and protective equipment was invented in response. As catcher's equipment got better the catcher was able to move closer to the batter, which in turn affected aspects such as base stealing.
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Format: Hardcover
A GAME OF INCHES: THE STORIES BEHIND THE INNOVATIONS THAT SHAPED BASEBALL isn't your usual coverage of major players or major memorable games: it's the first of two projected volumes to provide an encyclopedia reference covering the origins of the sport's major items, from catchers' masks to cork-center baseballs. Included in each listing are discussions of what led each new item to emerge when and how it did - much in the manner of a Burke review of history's causes and influences - and a chronicle of the responses to these changes and innovations. Baseball's legacy is the result of many influences, inventions and innovations: here's the place to read about them all.

Diane C. Donovan

California Bookwatch
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Format: Hardcover
This is a must for any base ball fan interested in the evolution of the game. Mr. Morris covers the bases with subjects like the introduction of pine tar to the elimination of left handed 2nd basemen. He does it with a narrative style you don't find in many historical books. It is the vintage ballists companion.
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Format: Hardcover
Any fan of baseball on any level will enjoy this well researched volume on the development of baseball as it is played today.
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Format: Hardcover
A genuinely outstanding book, probably the most important baseball history book published this year. Morris has found something new and important in his research on virtually every page, and writes very well. It is amazing how many of the basic strategies and tactics of baseball can be documented as having been used in 1860, and certainly by the 1890s.
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Format: Hardcover
A Game of Inches is an excellent resource for the serious baseball fan as well as an interesting read for the more casual fan. Peter Morris's exhaustive research and analytical writing style make this book the definitive work on the innovations in baseball since the mid-1800s.
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