Sunday, July 5, 2020

Review: The New Baseball Bible (2017)

By Dan Schlossberg

How much work went into this book?

That's the initial reaction to picking up a copy of "The New Baseball Bible." It's close to 400 pages, quite jammed with baseball history.

All right, it's not all original work this time. This concept started wtih "The Baseball Catalog," which was published in 1980. It's gone through almost a dozen revisions as well as a few name changes over the years. It's apparently difficult to argue with success. Not all of the author's work has centered on this format, but he's certainly gotten the hang of it.

This is grouped into 21 different categories, and each of them is given enough room to breathe. There are sections on rules, umpires, ballparks, players, managers, trades, moments, fans ... you get the idea.

Let's take managers as an example. The chapter has such articles dedicated to player/managers, greats in the field, strategy, and coaches. Filling out the pages are little items from baseball history. In this case, there are stories and quotes about people like Leo Durocher and John McGraw, odd moments of strategy (walking a batter with the bases loaded), and so forth.

You multiply that by 21, and you've got a book - a very big book, all about baseball. Thankfully, there's a good index in the back to help those looking for specifics. I've been working on a book these days on sports history, and this gave me some nice little items.

To overgeneralize, some of the information in the major articles may be known to an older fan who has lived through some of the history of the game. But there's certainly enough here that is presented in other ways to keep a reader entertained.

I found a few cases where the editing could have been just a little sharper, with a few items duplicated. I suppose in a book like this, that's to be expected.

"The New Baseball Bible" certainly was worth a good first look. I didn't go through it all, but I'll get to it. In the meantime, it has found an audience, which is nice. Now it will go in my bookcase, whenever something comes up that needs checking. That works for me nicely.

Four stars

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