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Green Cathedrals: The Ultimate Celebration of All Major League Ballparks Hardcover – October 31, 2006
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Though technically a reference book (alphabetical arrangement, encyclopedia-style entries), this guide to major league and Negro League ballparks belongs in most library circulating collections. For baseball fans, it's browsing heaven. The entries do more than just describe the 410 ballparks, their physical dimensions, and their occupants over time. In paragraphs labeled "Phenomena," author Lowry delivers juicy details about each park that provide their own sociopolitical commentary (Ruppert Stadium in Newark, for example, home of the Negro League Newark Eagles, was located near a garbage dump, which generated so much smoke and such horrible smells that games were often delayed). Similarly, fans will read the story behind the story of various stadiums' name changes (Houston's Minute Maid Park began life as Enron Field). An earlier edition of this book was published under the same title in 1991, but this volume includes 57 percent more entries (no Negro League parks were in the first edition), photographs, and completely rewritten, much livlier descriptions. An invaluable resource--and great fun, too. Bill Ott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
“A wonderful book.” ―Bill James
“It's a book triple play--excellent reference, great browsing, and terrific nostalgia.” ―Sporting News
“More than an excellent reference, it is fascinating to leaf through.” ―USA Today
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The updated version increases the number of parks covered, which is good in a way and bad in a way. On the one hand, it increases the thoroughness substantially. On the other, many of the ballparks included are pretty obscure and will be of only minimal interest to many ballpark fans.
The greatest disappointment is that the formatting is more or less the same as the last edition, and very hard to use as a reference or even to just browse.
The book is organized by city first, then by ballpark chronologically. But there are not page breaks by ballpark or even city. This means that one entry runs right into the next, with the ballpark entry titles only slightly larger than the subheadings, and the city titles only slightly larger than that (though there is a line to separate cities). This makes it hard for the eye to understand the organization.
At a minimum, entries for the current major league parks should be given different visual treatment from parks of other categories (i.e. current minor league parks, former major league parks, Negro League parks, etc.).
Additionally, the tops of the pages only contain the title of the book, rather than showing which city or ballpark is covered on the page (like you might find in a dictionary, encyclopedia, bible or even a phone book).
There is a fine index, but this shouldn't really be necessary because of the book's rock-solid organization.
This would be a greater and more useful publication if a graphic artist were employed for page layout and visual organization, and if the paper were of a higher quality that would allow for color photos (the book contains only black and white).
Beyond this, maps (perhaps with rough diagrams superimposed for those which are gone) would be immensely helpful for determining actual locations and configurations. It can be maddening to match old street names to current maps.
But I want to make it clear that I love this book, and it makes a great (if sometimes frustrating) reference.
Most recent customer reviews
Learning about those old Negro League ballparks, those 19th century major league grounds...Read more