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Baseball by the Book

A veteran baseball writer and editor explores the world of books about baseball through interviews with today's best baseball authors.
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Baseball by the Book
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Jul 15, 2019

Authors Jeremy Frank and Jim Passon join us to discuss their new book, which focuses on "the baseball stats you never thought to look for" from the 19th century through the Deadball Era.

Featured song: "I Can't Hide," Flamin' Groovies.

Jul 8, 2019

Ruth. Gehrig. DiMaggio. Mantle. Costanza? For decades, the New York Yankees have been at the forefront of American popular culture, from movies to TV to music. David Krell returns to the podcast to discuss Seinfeld, The Simpsons, Damn Yankees, Simon & Garfunkel and more. 

Featured song: "New York, New York," Frank Sinatra. 

Jul 2, 2019

Big Ed Delahanty, a slugging, hard-drinking outfielder, was one of baseball's top superstars in the 1890s. But 116 years later, his death remain shrouded in mystery. Author Mike Sowell returns to the podcast to discuss Delahanty and the baseball wars of the lat 19th century.

To get a copy of the out-of-print book for $10, email Sowell at sowellm1 (at) mac.com.

Featured song: "Mystery Train," Little Junior's Blue Flames.

Jun 24, 2019

When Dick Cramer started analyzing baseball data in the 1960s, the term sabermetrics hadn't even been coined yet. Cramer joins us to discuss his pioneering work in the field, including his role in the founding of STATS and in disproving the concept of clutch hitting.

Featured song: "2000 Man," the Rolling Stones.

Jun 17, 2019

The "Moneyball" era is over, and MLB teams have moved on to the next revolution: the high-tech quest to build better players. Ben Lindbergh and Travis Sawchik join us to talk about how this approach is transforming the game in numerous ways — and not always for the better.

Featured song: "The National Anthem," Radiohead.



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Jun 13, 2019

Are bat flips OK? What does it mean to "respect the game?" How has the influx of Latin American players affected baseball's culture? Veteran writer Danny Knobler joins us to discuss MLB's shifting attitudes towards once-sacred player codes.

Featured song: "Respect," Otis Redding.

Jun 10, 2019

Author Richard Hershberger joins us to discuss how baseball evolved into the game we know today through a series of wide-ranging and radical rule changes throughout the 19th century.

Featured song: "Little Games," the Yardbirds.

Jun 6, 2019

Ronald Reagan called to offer support. So did the Pope. And Bill Cosby. None of it helped. The 1988 Baltimore Orioles started the season 0-21, setting a record and becoming a national laughingstock. Author Ron Snyder joins us to discuss one of the worst teams in baseball history.

Featured song: "I Hate Myself for Loving You," Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.

Jun 3, 2019

In 1981, after a strike nearly ended the baseball season, the Los Angeles Dodgers won the most unusual World Series title in history. Author Jason Turbow joins us to discuss Fernandomania, Steve Garvey, Marvin Miller and more.

Featured song: "This Town," the Go-Go's.

May 23, 2019

Pulitzer Prize–winning architecture critic Paul Goldberger joins us to discuss the the inextricable link between the history of baseball stadiums and the growth of the American city.

Featured song: "Bright Lights, Big City," the Animals.

May 20, 2019

It might be! It could be! It is the 200th episode of Baseball by the Book! Author Don Zminda joins us to discuss the life of Harry Caray, the legendary broadcaster known for his work with the Cardinals, White Sox and Cubs. Holy cow!

Featured song: "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," Harry Caray and the Wrigley Field crowd.

May 13, 2019

On the afternoon of May 17, 1979, the Phillies and Cubs played in one of the wildest, craziest games in baseball history. Author Kevin Cook joins us to discuss Dave Kingman, Mike Schmidt, WGN and MLB on the precipice of great changes.

Featured song: "Blow Away," George Harrison.

May 6, 2019

Legendary New Yorker writer Roger Angell is considered to be one of baseball's finest chroniclers by generations of fans. Author Joe Bonomo joins us to discuss more than four decades of extraordinary Angell essays.

Featured song: "Angel Eyes," Roxy Music.  

May 2, 2019

On April 29, 2015, the Baltimore Orioles hosted the Chicago White Sox at an empty Camden Yards. Author Kevin Cowherd joins us to discuss the surreal game that was played in the wake of major civil unrest following the death in police custody of Freddie Gray, a young African-American man.

Featured song: "Baltimore," Prince.
Apr 29, 2019

In the summer of 1981, with major league players on strike, the powerhouse Triple-A Columbus Clippers became the talk of the baseball world. Author J. David Herman joins us to discuss Steve Balboni, Dave Righetti, Buck Showalter and other members of one of the best minor-league teams ever.

Featured song: "Talk of the Town," the Pretenders.

Apr 25, 2019

Fifty years ago, the Miracle Mets stunned the baseball world by defeating the heavily favored Baltimore Orioles in the World Series. Author Wayne Coffey joins us to discuss the Mets and the other amazin' events of 1969.

Apr 22, 2019

On the 30th anniversary of Field of Dreams, William Steele joins us to discuss the life and works of author W.P. Kinsella, whose novel inspired the movie. Kinsella's controversial literary legacy goes beyond his celebrated baseball writings, Steele explains.

Featured song: "I'm Writing a Novel," Father John Misty.

Apr 16, 2019

César Brioso joins us to discuss how the Castro Revolution spelled the end of a once-thriving professional baseball scene in Cuba.

Featured song: "Havana Moon," Chuck Berry,

 

Apr 8, 2019

Hop into the DeLorean with author Chris Donnelly and take a trip back to the summer of the 1985, when the Mets and Yankees vied for baseball supremacy in New York. Meet Dwight Gooden, Don Mattingly, Gary Carter, Billy Martin and the rest who made it such a memorable season in the Big Apple.

Featured song: "Everybody Wants to Rule the World," Tears for Fears. 

Apr 4, 2019

Because of the the success of "Moneyball," many baseball fans believe in a fundamental divide between talent evaluators: Old-school, backward-thinking scouts vs. new-school, progressive analysts. But Christopher Phillips rejects this simplistic notion and tells us scouts and scorers have always had much in common.

Apr 1, 2019

New York Times baseball writer Tyler Kepner joins us to discuss his new book, which includes more than 300 interviews with major league pitchers of the past and present. Join us as Kepner explains how pitches from the fastball to the screwball to the slider have affected the development of baseball. 

Mar 25, 2019

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the infamous Black Sox scandal, in which eight members of the Chicago White Sox were banned from baseball for throwing the World Series. Author Jacob Pomrenke joins us to discuss his book, plus the classic "Eight Men Out" and several other books on the Black Sox and their legacy.

Books mentioned: 

"Eight Men Out," by Eliot Asinof

"Burying the Black Sox," by Gene Carney

"Black Sox in the Courtroom," by William Lamb

"Shoeless Joe," by W.P. Kinsella

"Shoeless," by David Fleitz

"Say it Ain't So," by Donald Gropman

"The Ginger Kid," by Irving Stein

Featured song: "New Era Rag," James Scott.

Mar 18, 2019

From Ty Cobb to Derek Jeter, baseball has always been inseparable from advertising. Author Roberta J. Newman joins us to discuss her look at the long, intertwined history of two American institutions. 

Featured song: "Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie and Chevrolet," 1970s commercial. 

Mar 11, 2019

In 1968, major pitchers dominated as never before as hitters looked helpless at the plate. Author Sridhar Pappu joins to discuss Bob Gibson, Denny McLain, Don Drysdale, Luis Tiant and the rest of the hurlers who defined the year of the pitcher.

Featured song: "White Light/White Heat," the Velvet Underground.

 

Mar 4, 2019

More than six decades after they left Flatbush, the Brooklyn Dodgers continue to resonate in the American imagination, particularly in pop culture. Author David Krell joins us to discuss the legacy of Rickey, Robinson, Reese and the rest of the Boys of Summer.

Featured song: "(I Used To Be A) Brooklyn Dodger," Dion.

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