Library notes: Looking forward to some baseball and books

Published 12:00 am Sunday, April 26, 2020

By Paul Birkhead
Rowan Public Library

As I write this, no one knows when or if the 2020 baseball season will begin. But take heart, baseball has survived a pandemic before (the Spanish Flu in 1918) and we, too, will be cheering on our favorite teams once again. While you anxiously await baseball to return, you can also anticipate these new books about the game coming soon to Rowan Public Library.

Most baseball fans are having some serious withdrawal about now. We’ve already missed three weeks of the regular season. The good news is that the St. Louis Cardinals remain undefeated and the Chicago Cubs haven’t won a game yet! Seriously though, I miss seeing baseball on my TV. Some channels are replaying games from the past. If you appreciated the Washington Nationals’ season last year, you will most likely enjoy the book, “Buzz Saw: The Improbable Story of How the Washington Nationals Won the World Series” by Jesse Dougherty. As the beat writer of the Nationals for the Washington Post, Dougherty is perfectly suited to tell the story of the improbable 2019 season which started atrociously for the team and ended with a “Baby Shark”-fueled defeat of the Houston Astros in a best of seven World Series.

Every Little League kid dreams of playing in the World Series, but that doesn’t happen very often. In fact, even making it to the Major Leagues is a dream most never realize. Imagine fighting your way to the big leagues to only play in one game. That is what happened to eleven players interviewed in the book “The Cup of Coffee Club” by Jacob Kornhauser. The inside stories told are very interesting and will give you even more respect for those who play the game.

With extra time on our hands these days, some of us might actually go through old boxes from the garage or attic. If you’re one of the lucky ones whose collection didn’t get thrown out, perhaps you’ll come across your old baseball cards. Nothing brings back the memories of baseball from our youth like those colored pieces of cardboard. While the market has taken a beating over the years, collecting baseball cards is still a popular hobby and everyone fantasizes about finding a valuable card that survived the perils of youth. If you want to check the value of your cards, look no further than the Beckett Baseball Card Price Guide 2020.

But collecting baseball cards isn’t always about the money. It’s also about the nostalgia. Two books arriving at the library soon are “Confessions of a Baseball Card Addict” by Tanner Jones and “The Wax Pack: On the Open Road in Search of Baseball’s Afterlife” by Brad Balukjian. While the first book focuses on the collecting of cards, the latter focuses on the post-baseball lives of a select group of players from a single pack of cards from 1986.

Whether you follow the game as a whole (check out “The Official Rules of Baseball Illustrated”) or individual players (you might like “Yogi: A Life Behind the Mask”), reading about baseball is sure to help get us through our current withdrawal. Keep an eye out for new material by browsing Rowan Public Library’s collection at catalog.rowanpubliclibrary.org .

Paul Birkhead is reference librarian at the Rowan Public Library.

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