Abrams publishers has come out with some very neat books over the last couple of years. The house, which specializes in art and photography books recently began a line of perpetual calendars on themes.The main problem reminds me of an episode from my childhood.
When I was about 10, we had dinner at a local delicatessen. They had one of those big page-a-day calendars about Mets trivia. Except I didn’t understand the concept. I thought it was one of those coupon stands and that you could just take as many as you wanted. So I did. No one stopped me, so I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong.
The point of this rambling talk is it’s difficult to discipline oneself to just take it one day at a time. The latest test is New York Yankees 365.
Culled from the archives of the Associated Press, with a foreword by Don Mattingly, the former All-Star first baseman, this thick volume covers all the glory that has been associated with the team’s proud tradition. Black and white and color photos depict the likes of Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Mantle, Ford, Berra, and too many other Yankee legends to mention.
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Contrast this with 365 Oddball Days in Boston Red Sox History, by John Snyder (Clerisy Press).
What you see in the title is exactly what you get. Snyder picks various odds and ends (more odd) from the long and checkered history of the frustrating franchise.
A typical entry:
On this date in 1949, the last day of the regular season, the Red Sox blew a chance to win the AL pennant.
Of course, the book explains this and every other event in much more detail, but I’m too lazy to type out the entire piece. So sue me. Suffice it to say that Oddball Days is quirkily entertaining.
Other books that follow this theme, more or less include:
- Dodgers Journal: Year by Year and Day by Day with the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers Since 1884, by John Snyder (all by Clerisy) with similar titles about the Cubs, Indians, White Sox, Cardinals, and Red Sox
- This Day in Baseball: A Day-by-Day Record of the Events That Shaped the Game, by John Nemec (Taylor)
- This Day in Yankee History, by Ronald L. Meinstereifel (McFarland)
Then there are those books that examine one day or one game. Examples of this include:
- A Day In The Bleachers, by Arnold Hano. A classic from the 1950s that serves as a how-to of baseball writing.
- Nine Innings: The Anatomy of a Baseball Game, by Daniel Okrent. Ditto
- Pure Baseball, by Keith Hernandez. Surprisingly astute for a player when it first came out, but after listening to the former Mets captain, you know he’s for real with his baseball acumen.
- Three Nights in August: Strategy, Heartbreak, and Joy Inside the Mind of a Manager, by Buzz Bissinger. Instead of one game, Bissinger, author of the seminal Friday Night Lights, looks at an entire series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs. Doug Glanville wrote an excellent column recently for The New York Times about one aspect of the game: the lead-off batter. Imagine an entire book on the myriad considerations and you get an idea of Three Nights.
Not to mention the various baseball chronologies, such as
- The Baseball Chronicle: Year-By-Year History of Major League Baseball, by Nemec
- The Baseball Chronology: The Complete History of the Most Significant Events in the Game of Baseball
Both volumes do a good job covering the highlights of the sport and serve as great references.