Play Ball!

Posted Jun 5, 2015

Well, we’re in the full swing of the baseball season, and while the Brewers may be having a tough go of it, there’s still plenty of baseball left to be played.  This month’s non-fic picks and #FridayReads feature some of our new baseball titles.  Checked swing?  Why not check one out?

Knuckleball: The History of the Unhittable Pitch by Lew Freedman

There’s the fastball, the curveball, the slider, the changeup, and the notorious knuckleball.  The knuckleball—a slow motion, winding pitch that looks like it’s floating; a pitch so unpredictable that the pitcher let alone the batter don’t know where it is going to go.  With only one pitcher (R. A. Dickey) currently in the Major League, few pitchers have built their careers around the knuckleball including Phil Nierko, Wilbur Wood, and Tim Wakefield.  With interviews, stories, and statistics, Freedman’s Knuckleball starts with the pitch’s mysterious, unknown origins in the 1900s to present day practitioners.  Great for baseball aficionados or those interested in learning more about the quirks of sports, this book is worth a crack at.

And if you’re visual learner, try Knuckleball!, an excellent documentary on the infamous pitch. 

The League of Outsider Baseball: An Illustrated History of Baseball’s Forgotten Heroes by Gary Cieradkowski

Did you know that the notorious bank robber John Dillinger was a promising shortstop?  Or that Frank Sinatra owned a ball club in 1940s Hollywood?  Dwight D. Eisenhower played minor league ball under the name “Wilson,” and Fidel Castro pitched innings for Los Barbudos.  These among other interesting “outsider” facts are illustrated by graphic artist and baseball historian Gary Cieradkowski in A League of Outsider Baseball.  Singing the songs of unsung heroes, Cieradkowski has designed his own set of baseball cards paying tribute to those in the Negro League, foreign leagues, and semi-pro teams.  Vintage in style and colorfully entertaining, this homage to America’s pastime knocks it out of the park.   

Seeing Home: The Ed Lucas Story: A Blind Broadcaster’s Story of Overcoming Life’s Greatest Obstacles by Ed Lucas & Christopher Lucas

The first title to be published under the New York Yankees’ legendary Derek Jeter’s new dynasty features the uplifting story of Ed Lucas, a blind baseball sportscaster.  After losing his sight at age 11, Lucas met Yankee shortstop and sportscaster, Phil Rizzuto.  This left an impression that would inspire Lucas to pursue his dream of becoming the first blind person to regularly cover baseball.  Not letting his disability stand in the way, Lucas earned his degree in communications and made a career of interviewing baseball players, celebrities, and even presidents.  Sure to nail down a winning story, this book will not strike out.  And, it wouldn’t hurt to read this book before it becomes a major motion picture…

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