Bits and Pieces

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Bits and Pieces
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Haven’t done one of these in a long time, but a glance at my Google alerts shows more than 500 notices, so here goes.

  • Bruce Markusen at Hardball Times, conducted this interview with Dan Epstein , author of Big Hair and Plastic Grass . HT also ran this review of The Eastern Stars (upshot: “The Eastern Stars leaves the reader with a much clearer impression of where these players come from, and the lives led by their parents and grandparents. But it doesn’t do much to explain why San Pedro has been responsible for so much baseball greatness, and it leaves the prospects themselves just as opaque as they’ve always been.”
  • Howard Bryant, author of The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron, will present and sign his new biography of the baseball legend at Book Soup, 8818 W. Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, Los Angeles, on Monday, Aug.  2 at 7 p.m. For info, call 310-659-3110.
  • Any link to baseball is better than no link at all: The Wall Street Journal ran this book review of The Man Who Sold America , the biography of major advertising maven Albert Lasker . So what, you may ask? So this: “A major investor in his beloved Chicago Cubs, Lasker persuaded owner William Wrigley to change the name of Cubs Park to Wrigley Field—Lasker wanted to help the chewing-gum magnate sell more product. When the 1919 Chicago Black Sox scandal threatened the sport, Lasker came up with the plan to restructure major-league baseball and appoint Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis as its czar.”
  • Josh Wilker -- Photo by Scott Strazzante/Chicago Tribune

  • Macleans , Canada’s answer to Time and Newsweek , published this review of Sean Manning ’s Top of the Order: 25 Writers Pick Their Favorite Baseball Player . Upshot: “When it comes to real, living players, though, the contributors to this book often seem to be working out their own conflicted feelings about the game.”
  • The Chicago Tribune ran this nice little piece on local boy Josh Wilker , author of Cardboard Gods .
  • On his Baseball Past and Present site, Graham Womack discusses Ted Williams ‘ Hit List , written by Williams and Jim Prime. What’s particularly interesting is the question of methodology  for books written pre- and post-Internet. “Williams compiled his book in an age before high-speed Internet and statistical repositories on the Web made such comparisons instantaneous. For being only 15 years old, the book seems from an entirely different era, when subjective analysis by writers or a legend like Williams was the best baseball fans could get. Now, anyone with a computer can be an expert.” Perhaps not an expert, but players have to be careful from making claims about their careers, because, as Casey Stengel used to say, You can look it up.”
  • I feel for this guy: A Seattle baseball fan/book lover is selling his collection of some 800 fiction titles via Craig’s list . Or maybe you’d like The SABR Review of Books , via eBay.
  • Baseball-Fever has a discussion on “what books had an impact on you ?”
  • In acknowledgment of today’s trade deadline, here’s a review of Traded: Inside the Most Lopsided Trades in Baseball History , from waswatching.com (must be some kind of record for most uses of “trade” in the same sentence).
  • The Huffington Post combines its reputation as trend-setter/arbiter-of-taste with baseball with this essay on how to fix the game , according to contributor Prof. Peter Dreier (with a reference to Robert Elias and his “fascinating new book, The Empire Strikes Out.”)
  • Finally, congratulations to Bill Madden , author of Steinbrenner: The Last Lion of Baseball , who was recently inducted into the writers’ wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame. In an article on Northjersey.com , Madden said, “I’ve always considered myself to be more of a historian than a writer. I believe through the books we’re able to pass down from generation to generation the history of baseball, and that’s what I tried to do.”

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