30 baseball books for April ’15: Rinse, repeat, rank

Person reading a book on the beachPerson reading a book on the beachWe appreciate the kind words from those who have read the reviews this month, inquired more about some of them, contributed ideas and helped facilitate some late arrivals.
To rank them from our favorites to the end of the bench:

PROMOTED WITH A HIGH CEILING — THE TOP 10:
1165== “The League of Outsider Baseball” by Gary Cieradkowski

== “The Pine Tar Game: The Kansas City Royals, the New York Yankees, and Baseball’s Most Absurd and Entertaining Controversy,” by Filip Bondy

== ““I Don’t Care if We Never Get Back: 30 Games in 30 Days on the Best Worst Baseball Road Trip Ever,” by Ben Blatt and Eric Brewster

== “Seeing Home: The Ed Lucas Story: A Blind Broadcaster’s Story of Overcoming Life’s Greatest Obstacles,” by Ed Lucas, with his son, Christopher Lucas

== “A Scout’s Report: My 70 Years in Baseball,” by George Genovese, with Dan Taylor

== “Marvin Miller, Baseball Revolutionary,” by Robert F. Burk

== “Mashi: The Unfulfilled Baseball Dreams of Masanori Murakami, the First Japanese Major Leaguer,” by Robert K. Fitts

== “A History of Baseball in 100 Objects: A Tour through the Bats, Balls, Uniforms, Awards, Documents and Other Artifacts that Tell the Story of the National Pastime,” by Josh Leventhal

== “Throw Like A Woman,” a novel by Susan Petrone

== “The Matheny Manifesto: A Young Manager’s Old-School Views on Success in Sports and Life” by Mike Matheny, with Jerry B. Jenkins

PLENTY OF UPSIDE: Continue reading

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Weekly media notes version 04.30.15: Our senses are heightened by all that we’re expected to filter this extended weekend

What will be coming up Sunday:

Ed Lucas, as he celebrates his 60th Opening Day covering the New York Yankees this past April.

Ed Lucas, as he celebrates his 60th Opening Day covering the New York Yankees this past April.

The 30 baseball book reviews for the month of April 2015 have been submitted for your approval, but one Q-and-A that we wanted to expand upon was with Ed Lucas, the blind writer/reporter covering the New York Yankees and Mets for YES Network and The Jersey Journal. He and his son, Chris, put together “Seeing Home: The Ed Lucas Story … A Blind Broadcaster’s Story of Overcoming Life’s Greatest Obstacles,” which may spur a movie version of Ed Lucas’ life, and was compelling enough for us to do more than just a review of the book.
In the meantime, the book’s website: www.seeinghomebook.com

What we need to get out there now with the major weekend of sports coming up:

maxresdefault== A frightening thought: Time Warner is coming out “in a stronger position, giving the company greater control over its destiny” after the failed merger with Comcast, writes the New York Times. Time Warner Cable is scheduled to report earnings today, “when industry observers will be looking for clues about whether the company plans to buy, sell or go it alone.” Now, Charter is doing the talking with a TWC merger, which, again, anyone who thinks they know how this will affect the Dodgers’ SportsNet LA distribution is just grabbing at air. But, people will read that and form opinions.
It’s still air.

== From the Associated Press’ Joe Resnick in a story released this morning:

With a background of empty seats, Baltimore Orioles pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez throws against the Chicago White Sox during the fifth inning of Wednesday's game at Camden Yards in Baltimore.  (AP Photo/Gail Burton)

With a background of empty seats, Baltimore Orioles pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez throws against the Chicago White Sox during the fifth inning of Wednesday’s game at Camden Yards in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Gail Burton)

Hall of Fame announcer Vin Scully says he would have been very uncomfortable if he had to announce a baseball game played in front of no fans.
Scully, who witnessed the 1965 Watts Riots and the 1992 L.A. riots during his 65 seasons in the Dodgers’ broadcast booth, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he thought it was a smart decision by Major League Baseball to have kept the public out of Camden Yards for safety and police staffing reasons when the Baltimore Orioles beat the Chicago White Sox 8-2.
Two games had been postponed because of looting and rioting around the ballpark. The turmoil prompted a citywide curfew and began hours after the funeral of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who sustained a fatal spinal cord injury while in police custody.
“I felt it was a very difficult assignment for everybody involved. But they made their decision,” Scully said.
“At least now it’s over, done, gone, and without any problems. That was the big thing. If there had been any demonstrations at all, there would have had to be a heavy police presence, which meant they would take the police presence away from where it should be. So I think it was a wise decision.”
The Orioles-White Sox game was shown live on MLB.com.
“My first thought was that it’s historical, if not hysterical,” Scully said. “But it would be very awkward for me. I rely a great deal on the crowd — because to me, the crowd adds all the necessary atmosphere. So not to have the crowd would be like missing your front tooth.”

Continue reading

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30 baseball books for April ’15, Day 30: To Infinite Cards and beyond for the radical Cieradkowski

7_LEAGUE OF OUTSIDER BASEBALL-9_zpswp5xkyr9The book: “The League of Outsider Baseball: An Illustrated History of Baseball’s Forgotten Heroes”
The author: Gary Cieradkowski
The illustrator: Gary Cieradkowski
The vital statistics: Touchstone/Simon & Shuster, 233 pages, $25
Find it: At Amazon.com, at BarnesandNoble.com, at Powells.com, at Vromans.com

USE 81EDul0d+tLThe pitch: There’s nothing quite like seeing a creation by Gary Cierad-
kowski (pro-
nounced Sir-Ad-
KOW-Ski).
For those of us who have known his distinctive art work on the Infinite Card set blog since 2010, a detour from his amazing graphic arts company once located in Long Beach, and then maybe saw his  magazine called “21: Illustrated Journal of Outsider Baseball,” the arrival of this book is Opening Day all over again.
We have, in fact, saved it as the best for last in this annual series.
USE2 810+oKf1zQLCredit MLB historian John Thorn for nailing it as far as what Cierad-
kowski’s art most resembles – he says it reminds him of the “poster kings of yore – Edward Penfield, J.C. Leyendecker, Fred G. Cooper.”
Can you picture that? Google it instead.
The story behind how Cieradkowski even set out to design these cards, shaped like the old vertical tobacco  inserts that frame this mental journey even more profoundly, and now having these stories attached to them, can be traced back to the 1970s. Growing up a Mets fan, he got into frequent baseball history discussions with his late father, a Brooklyn Dodgers die-hard devotee. They took a page from historian Scott Simkus and became immersed in those who were on the fringe – Negro Leaguers, town team players, players stuck in the low minors, those overseas who became legends.
And even the guys who couldn’t handle the pressure.
Those who have been part of his blogging resume over the years have finally gotten on the same page. Or, at least within the same covers. Continue reading

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30 baseball books for April ’15, Day 29: By George, now the literary world’s most famous Scout since “To Kill A Mockingbird”

The eyes have it: George Genovese was honored as the first lifetime recipient of the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation award, which is named after him.

The eyes have it: George Genovese was honored as the first lifetime recipient of the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation award, which is named after him.

The book: “A Scout’s Report: My 70 Years in Baseball”
The author: George Genovese, with Dan Taylor
The vital statistics: MacFarland books, 244 pages, $29.95
Find it: At Amazon.com, at BarnesandNoble.com, at Powells.com, at Vromans.com

71G1BDMiyVLThe pitch: Many of the players who George Genovese mentored, coached, developed and eventually signed after they were drafted during his career as one of the most prolific baseball scouts in the game’s history, you may already know.
Most of the bigger names were during Genovese’s 31-year-run with the San Francisco Giants, as guardian of the Southern California territory that essentially meant he had to do some convincing to them and their parents that the Dodgers’ hated rivals wanted them more.
It wasn’t even dumb luck when Genovese lost out to a local kid who wanted to stay home. The famous story about the pre-draft 1964 time when everyone was after L.A. Fremont High star Willie Crawford, and then Dodgers scout Tommy Lasorda (who took the time to write this book’s forward) eventually got him after giving a 15-minute eulogy at the funeral of Crawford’s grandfather, which endeared himself to the family. Genovese’s runner-up prize was recommending that his organization take a kid from Riverside Poly High named Bobby Bonds.

George Genovese, right, watching Dave Kingman sign with the Giants out of USC in 1970.

George Genovese, right, watching Dave Kingman sign with the Giants out of USC in 1970.

From there, it was as if Genovese was picking fruit off the Dodgers’ trees — George Foster (Leuzinger in Lawndale), Gary Matthews (San Fernando), Garry Maddox (San Pedro), Chili Davis (L.A. Dorsey), Jack Clark (Gladstone in Covina), Dave Kingman (USC), Matt Williams (Carson City, Nev./UNLV), Randy Moffett (Long Beach), Royce Clayton (St. Bernard High in Playa del Rey), Jim Barr (Lynwood) …
All Genovese signees, and most all of them, Dodgers tormentors.
As the Dodgers and Giants finish a three-game series tonight, we must tip our cap, again, in tribute to how much the North Hollywood-based scout has contributed to both franchises. He remains, at age 93, a Dodgers’ part-time scout who, to date, has been responsible for inking  about 250 players, with nearly 40 of them making the big leagues with some levels of success.
But the ones he couldn’t convince his bosses to believe were the real deal? That’s where this autobiography takes its most sinister turn.
After all, at this point, what does he have to lose?
When the Giants’ new ownership in the late ’80s stopped listening to him, and the Dodgers picked him up in 1995 to help train scouts and consult on trades, Genovese right off the bat doesn’t dance around that fact that it continues to nag at him that he didn’t have the juice to convince Dodgers’ scouting director Logan White to step up eight years ago and believe that this outfielder from Sherman Oaks Notre Dame High named Mike Stanton had the tools and was worth locking up. Continue reading

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30 baseball books for April ’15, Day 28: Surely, you can see the point Ed Lucas is making here

Ed Lucas, left, with Derek Jeter, a photo to accompany a story Lucas did on the retiring Yankees star for the Jersey Journal (http://www.nj.com/hudson/index.ssf/2014/07/lucas_6.html)

Ed Lucas, left, with Derek Jeter, a photo to accompany a story Lucas did on the retiring Yankees star (and the publisher of his book) for The Jersey Journal.

The book: “Seeing Home: The Ed Lucas Story: A Blind Broadcaster’s Story of Overcoming Life’s Greatest Obstacles”
The author: By Ed Lucas, with his son, Christopher Lucas
The vital statistics: Simon & Shuster/Jeter Publishing, 288 pages, $26.
Find it: At Amazon.com, at Barnesandnoble.com, at Powells.com, at Vromans.com

81KQ48O1BlLThe pitch: Don Mattingly saw Ed Lucas check his watch, and the Yankees first baseman couldn’t believe his eyes.
“Eddie, how the heck can you tell time with a wrist watch?” Mattingly yelled over to Lucas, who had been in the Yankees locker room doing an interview with Dave Winfield.
“It probably doesn’t even work,” Mattingly continued. “”C’mon, you probably just wear it for show.”
Lucas took the watch off and handed it to Mattingly. But Mattingly couldn’t figure it out.
“He could see the Braille on the inside of the glass,” Lucas writes on page 219 of his autobiography, “but didn’t realize there was a secret button to push to flip the glass up. He spent the next three minutes feeling the face on the watch again and again as several players looked on with curiosity.
Lucas.Mattingly“Finally, he gave up. Mattingly handed the watch back to me and said, ‘Eddie, I don’t know how you do it, pal. You can feel those bumps through the glass and I can’t. That’s amazing.’
“‘Well, Don,’ I replied with a grin, ‘some guys can hit curve balls, some can’t. Some guys can feel Braille through glass, come can’t. We’ve both got our talents.’”
As Lucas left the room with his escort, he turned to Mattingly and called out his name.
“As soon as I had his attention, I held my wrist up, pushed a button and revealed the secret of the watch (the trip that lifted the glass face open so that he could feel the watch’s bumps).
“Other players roared with laughter. I had to run out the door to avoid the barrage of towels the freshly pranked Mattingly good-naturedly tossed in my direction.”
Lucas’ story of not just surviving but actually making a mark as a sightless reporter working for newspapers and the Yankees’ YES Network has come to print in this book as he celebrated his 60th straight Opening Day at Yankee Stadium covering the team. Continue reading

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