With the recent conclusion of the World Cup, the Los Angeles Kings hoisting the Stanley Cup for the second time and the San Antonio Spurs winning their fifth NBA title, the eyes of many American sports fans can now return to the beloved national pastime, baseball. The Newport Beach Public Library has plenty of great new baseball reads for casual and longtime fans of the game.
If you happen to be watching or listening to a game, do you wonder what the announcer means by "the neighborhood play," "can of corn" or "golden sombrero?" "How to Speak Baseball, an Illustrated Guide to Ballpark Banter," by James Charlton and Sally Cook, is an informative, entertaining read. The authors have compiled a list of obscure, old and newer baseball terms from "ace" to "you can't walk off the island."
For those who have not visited Cooperstown, N.Y., quite possibly the second-best option is a new release from the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. "The Hall: A Celebration of Baseball's Greats" is the hall's official 75th anniversary book, featuring 10 essays by Hall of Famers. Also included is the complete roster of inducted players, managers, executives and umpires, with photos, Hall of Fame plaques and biographies of each.
Closer to home, check out "Baseball in Orange County," by Chris Epting. Baseball was being played in Orange County nearly 80 years before the arrival of the California Angels in 1966. Walter Johnson, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Honus Wagner, Bob Feller, Connie Mack and many others spent time in Orange County. With photographs, stories, towns and players dating to 1888, this book is a treasure of local baseball history.
A new release that will definitely be of interest to Angels fans is "The Bilko Athletic Club: The Story of the 1956 Los Angeles Angels," by Gaylon White. This book tells the story of the 1956 Los Angeles Angels, a team of castoffs and kids built around Steve Bilko, the Triple Crown-winning, eight-category statistical-leading home run king of AAA baseball, and is an intimate portrayal of life in the minor leagues in the 1950s.
For fans of the original "Boys of Summer," try "The Team That Forever Changed Baseball and America, the 1947 Brooklyn Dodgers." This book is the first to offer biographies of everyone on the first racially integrated Major League Baseball team of the 20th century, as well as statistics of each player and accounts of the moments and events that marked the Dodgers' 1947 season.
For deeper reading, check out "Dominican Baseball: New Pride Old Prejudice," by Alan Klein, who spent 25 years researching baseball, globalization and the controversy surrounding the Dominican Republic and Major League Baseball. Also see "A People's History of Baseball," by Mitchell Nathanson, in which the author offers a telling, alternative history of baseball.
Looking for autobiographies? Check out new titles by Mariano Rivera, Reggie Jackson, Pete Rose, John Smoltz, Dwight Gooden, Jerry Reuss and more at the Newport Beach Public Library. Enjoy your summer with the boys of summer.
CHECK IT OUT is written by the staff of the Newport Beach Public Library. All titles may be reserved from home or office computers by accessing the catalog at http://www.newportbeachlibrary.org. For more information on the Central Library or any of the branches, please contact the Newport Beach Public Library at (949) 717-3800, option 2.