Day 6: 30 baseball books in 30 days of April, ’09: A Dodger history book that’s only 143 pages?


The book: “Dodgers Past & Present”

The author: Steven Travers

How to find it: MVP Books, 143 pages, $25

Where we’d go looking for it: Wait a few weeks and it could be in the Barnes & Noble “Value” section, next to those giant coffee table books about the greatest Jeeps used during WWII, heading for the movable rack that sits outside the main doors listed “Buy 1, Get 17 Free!”

The scoop: This was best to review following up on previous books by or about the O’Malley legacy, Manny Ramirez and Steve Lyons. Put this in the later category.

Travers … where do we start. The endorsements of his work on the back dust cover come from StreetZebra magazine, a free publication that hasn’t existed in about 10-plus years, plus the Fairfield Daily Republic and sports-talk show host Arnie Spanier. That pretty much puts it all into context.

As a picture book, sure, it’s not bad. Dodger fans always have time to look at old photos of the team, and you should check Page 6 to see all the photo and illustration credits. Most are available from wire services and libraries that are either easy to buy or free to the public.

As Travers does with pretty much every book he’s been comissioned to “write,” he takes his material from other sources. Therefore, his biblography and resources page (140) lists pretty much every other Dodger coffee table book ever done — most specificially, Glenn Stout’s “The Dodgers: 120 Years of Dodgers Baseball” (2004) and Richard Whittingham’s “Illustrated History of the Dodgers” (2005). Both are far better examples, and definitely worth the money, if you want some real oversized Dodger history on your bookshelf.

There is, to put it blunt, nothing new here. Or nothing you haven’t read or seen before. The chapters are pedestrian (“Left-Handed Pitchers: Southpaws” for example, and include a shot of Odalis Perez, thankfully), the writing is predictable, the intent is presumptious, but we’ll say it anyway — to capitalize on the Dodger logo.

It’s not worth buying if you’re trying to steady an uneven leg on your dining room table. Although it seems to be as thin as a book of matches that would equally do the trick. And provide the same amount of enjoyment.

How it goes down in the scorebook: As smart a buy as an Andruw Jones autographed jersey.

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