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Baseball fan? The library has some new books for you

By Paul Birkhead

Rowan Public Library

Have you attended a baseball game lately? Now that college ball has wrapped up, maybe you’ve caught a Legion game or two. Or perhaps you prefer to watch a televised Major League game from the comfort of your recliner.

Regardless, if you love baseball, make sure you stop by Rowan Public Library and check out some of the newest books about the game.

If you’ve ever pitched a baseball game, then you will definitely enjoy “K: a History of Baseball in Ten Pitches.” Written by Tyler Kepner, “K” lumps baseball lore into chapters which highlight different types of pitches from fastballs, to curves, to knuckleballs. You’ll learn fascinating facts about the game and, after absorbing it all, will never view the battle between pitchers and hitters the same.

Some interesting history of the game is given in the book “Play Ball: Doughboys and Baseball during the Great War.” The 100th anniversary of the end of World War One has generated many books about that time period.

This book does a wonderful job of exploring the Great War’s impact on the sport of baseball. There are outstanding graphics throughout and fascinating biographies of professional players who served in the armed services during that time. Tragically, a few of them made the ultimate sacrifice.

“Game Faces: Early Baseball Cards from the Library of Congress” is a new book that features some of the rarest and most artistic sports cards around. These cards and the players highlighted on them tell the story of baseball — and really America as a whole — in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

We’ve all heard stories about baseball card collections being tossed out with the garbage. Thankfully, the Library of Congress has managed to collect and preserve some of that history for us.

As with almost all things, you’ll learn the most about a subject from those who have lived it. Baseball is no different. In “They Played the Game,” baseball historian Norman Macht shares a collection of baseball memories he gathered over the years from former players. Some of these players are not the headliners you always hear from, but they did play the game and do have some interesting stories to tell.

More recognizable names tell their stories in “The Baseball Game I’ll Never Forget.” In it, 50 baseball legends each tell about a specific game and what made that outing so special. Reading either book will transport you into the dugout and the batter’s box with those who were there.

Sometimes a baseball player is so spectacular or so colorful that they become a part of baseball lore. Usually, those players have books written about them. Two larger-than-life baseball legends have new ones. One of these books is “The Big Fella,” about Babe Ruth and his lasting impact on the game. I thought I had heard all of the stories about Babe Ruth, but discovered a few more in this book by Jane Leavy.

Another of the new books is “My Dad, Yogi,” written by Yogi Berra’s son, Dale. Some folks say nobody knows you like family. Well, who better to tell us about the Yankees legend than one of Yogi’s children?

If you want to learn more about the Babe or Yogi, or baseball in general, come to Rowan Public Library and check out some of our baseball books. There’s always time to read between games.

Alina Celeste: July 16, 2 p.m., South; July 17, 2 p.m., East; July 19, 10 a.m., Cleveland; July 19, 2 p.m., headquarters. Alina Celeste, a family musician and teaching artist, will lead this musical program. This is a School Age Summer Reading program designed for rising first- through fifth-graders, though all ages are welcome. A responsible caretaker (age 16+) must accompany children 8 and under. Program lasts 45-60 minutes. For more details, call 704-216-8234.

Pirate Day in the Children’s Room: July 13, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., headquarters. A pirate’s life for me! Children ages 3 to 10 are invited to join the RPL pirate crew and conquer the seven seas during this swashbuckling program that features stories, games and snacks. A responsible caretaker (age 16+) must accompany children 8 and under. Please register in advance at 704-216-8234.

Galaxy and Nebula Art: July 15, 3:30 p.m., South; July 16, 3:30 p.m., headquarters; July 18, 3:30 p.m., East. Create your own space-themed paintings and sun catchers. This is a Teen Summer Reading Program for rising sixth- through 12th-graders. Program lasts 90 minutes. For more details, call 704-216-8269.

Summer Reading Film Series: “A Wrinkle in Time” July 15, 5:30 p.m., East; July 20, 10 a.m., South.Go on an adventure with the Murrys in this 2018 adaptation of Madeleine L’Engle’s classic novel (110 minutes, PG), part of the Summer Reading Film Series. A responsible caretaker (age 16+) must accompany children 8 and under. For more details, contact your nearest branch.

Celebration of Space Exploration:  July 20, 3-7 p.m. All ages are invited to this special event at Horizons Unlimited Planetarium and Science Center, 1636 Parkview Circle. This celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the moon landing will include a show in the Margaret C. Woodson Planetarium and a variety of activities. This program is in collaboration with RPL and is part of the 2019 Statewide Star Party, sponsored by the NC Science Festival. The Statewide Star Party is made possible with the support of the NC Space Grant and the NC Science Festival. http://www.ncspacegrant.org/

 RPL Book Talk featuring Mark de Castrique: Headquarters, July 15, 6:30 p.m. Meet Charlotte resident Mark de Castrique, author of the Sam Blackman series. This free event includes a Q&A session and book signing. South Main Book Co. will sell a selection of de Castrique’s books on site; cash or charge only. Door prizes. This is an Adult Summer Reading Program designed for ages 18 and up, though all ages are welcome. Program lasts 60 minutes. For more details, call 704-216-8248.

Genealogy Workshop: Military Clues, headquarters, July 20, 10 a.m. “Military Clues” will explore how to track ancestors through military resources. Co-hosted by the Genealogical Society of Rowan County and the Edith M. Clark History Room of RPL, this program is free and open to the public. Call Gretchen at 704-216-8232 for more details.

Displays: Headquarters, Piedmont Players display and Carolina Historical Association on metal detecting; East, handcrafted jewelry by Myrtis Trexler; South, lunch box memorabilia by Sharon Ross.

Literacy: Call the Rowan County Literacy Council at 704-216-8266 for more information on teaching or receiving literacy tutoring for English speakers or for those for whom English is a second language.

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