Shamless plug for my new baseball novel

MLB.com Blogs Usher:

One of our own wrote an e-book centered around the story of Charlie Faust and the New York Giants. Terry Nelson of Balls and Strikes talks about a work he calls “not just baseball fiction, but a satirical look at fame and celebrity.”

Originally posted on Balls and Strikes:

In July of 1911, Charlie Faust walked onto Robison Field in St. Louis before a game where the New York Giants were warming up. He told John McGraw, New York manager, about a fortune teller in Kansas who said Charlie would pitch the Giants to the pennant. He did join the Giants, but not in St. Louis, and not exactly in a normal way.

English: Former NY Giants pitcher Charlie Faust. English: Former NY Giants pitcher Charlie Faust. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To this day, nobody knows if Faust was a bit crazy, slow in the head, or exactly what. He was the target of many pranks by his team mates, but speaking of him in later years, they all spoke highly of Charlie.

My E-book takes an insider look at the events surrounding Charlie and the Giants. The narrator is Chet Koski, a fictional rookie on the team, who is not doing well on the field, or…

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In Pursuit of Pennants

inpursuitofpennants

By Paul Hagen / MLB.com

There’s not much in baseball these days that isn’t measured, computed, analyzed, collated, compared, studied, crunched and entered into a database. But as analysis has reached an increasingly granular level, one element missing is a big-picture view of why some teams win and some don’t.

Mark Armour and Daniel Levitt have addressed that in “In Pursuit of Pennants.” It is both scholarly — featuring charts, graphs and references to WAR — and eminently readable.

While there is obviously no single foolproof blueprint that guarantees winning the World Series every year, the authors have identified the areas in which successful teams have tended to excel over the last 100-plus years.

Click here to read the full article

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The Game Must Go On

By Paul Hagen / MLB.com

thegamemustgoonMajor League games these days often include tributes to the military, a fitting way of thanking our service men and women for their sacrifices.

Neither should we forget that, during World War II, many star players did more than figuratively tip their caps to the troops. Some of the biggest names of that era gave up significant portions of their careers to serve their country.

In “The Game Must Go On: Hank Greenberg, Pete Gray and the Great Days of Baseball on the Homefront in WW II,” author John Klima uses broad, omniscient brush strokes to look at the players who departed, the impact on the game they left behind and how it was all interconnected to the ferocious fighting overseas.

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Cal Ripken, Jr. to throw out first pitch, sign his new book on March 5 at Ed Smith Stadium

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

outathomeThe Orioles today announced that Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. will visit Ed Smith Stadium on Thursday, March 5 for the Orioles’ 7:05 p.m. game against the Toronto Blue Jays, where he will throw out the ceremonial first pitch and sign copies of his new children’s book, Out At Home, on the lower concourse beginning at 8:00 p.m.

The visit is part of a national book tour for Out At Home, the fifth installment in the New York Times best-selling “Cal Ripken, Jr.’s All-Stars” series. Ripken will autograph the first 300 books, which will be available for purchase at the game for $16.99. Due to time constraints, Ripken will be unable to sign additional items.

Tickets for the Orioles-Blue Jays game are available and can be purchased at the Ed Smith Stadium Box Office, via www.orioles.com/spring, or by phone at 877-222-2802.

The Matheny Manifesto

By Mike Baumann / MLB.com

mathenymanifestoWhen the St. Louis Cardinals named Mike Matheny manager after the departure of the legendary Tony La Russa, one prominent reaction was:

“How can the defending World Series champions be turned over to a rookie manager?”

Here’s how: What the Cardinals were getting was much more than “a rookie manager.” They were getting an individual of real substance. Cards general manager John Mozeliak knew that, even if many other people didn’t.

What followed with Matheny at the helm have been three straight appearances in the National League Championship Series, two NL Central Division championships and one appearance in the World Series.

That looks a lot like success.

If you have any questions at all about what Matheny is all about, apart from being a success as a big league manager, the answers are contained in Matheny’s book, “The Matheny Manifesto: A Young Manager’s Old-School Views on Success in Sports and Life” written with Jerry B. Jenkins.

Click here to read the full article

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Tony Oliva: The Life and Times of a Minnesota Twins Legend

By Paul Hagen / MLB.com

tonyolivaTony Oliva is undergoing a sort of post-career revival. Back in December, the Veterans Committee came one vote shy of electing him to the Hall of Fame. Now comes Tony Oliva: The Life and Times of a Minnesota Twins Legend by Thom Henninger.

The timing is both coincidental and fortuitous, and there’s another parallel between and present and past at work here. With the normalization of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba, which was preceded by the instant impact of stars like Yasiel Puig and Jose Abreu, the subject of Cuban players in the Major Leagues is back in the headlines.

Click here to read the full article

Buy Tony Oliva: The Life and Times of a Minnesota Twins Legend

‘Champions Together’ official book now on sale

Champions Together

Orders are being accepted now for the new book “Champions Together” — the official account of the Giants’ latest World Series championship season, published by the front office just for their own fans. These are $40 limited editions that will disappear soon and won’t be available in bookstores or Amazon.

This hardcover collectible is filled with images taken by the Giants team photographers, already well-known within the MLB.com Blogs community for their incredible shots, and it goes from Opening Day through the third victory parade in a five-year run. Manager Bruce Bochy wrote the Foreword, and the last pitcher to win an official game in 2014, Jeremy Affeldt, provides the Introduction. You’ll also get a special Roger Angell profile of Madison Bumgarner. Click here to order yours while they last.

They Called Me God – The Best Umpire Who Ever Lived

Originally posted on Gregg's Baseball Bookcase:

Umpires are a vital part of the game.  They lay down the law and instill order on the field.  They keep the peace and pull the bodies out of the pile when mayhem ensues.  Without them, chaos would overtake the game.  Umpires could almost be considered the third team on the field, and if watched closely have their own game going on as well.  The men in black are an underappreciated bunch at best and are the only ones that have to be perfect when they start their careers and improve from there.  Today’s book looks at a Hall of Fame Umpiring career.

aharv

They Called Me God – The Best Umpire Who Ever Lived

By:Doug Harvey & Peter Golenbock-2014 Simon & Schuster

Doug Harvey’s career spanned four decades in the major leagues.  He got to witness some spectacular careers during their prime and saw first hand some players who were…

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Up, Up, & Away

By Paul Hagen / MLB.com

up-up-and-awayJonah Keri grew up an Expos fan, attending as many games at Stade Olympique as he could. Which helps explain how he ended up writing a book about a team that played its last game a decade ago.

Fortunately, he is also an accomplished journalist and author, which definitely explains why “Up, Up, & Away: The Kid, The Hawk, Rock, Vladi, Pedro, Le Grand Orange, Youppi!, The Crazy Business of Baseball, & the Ill-Fated but Unforgettable Montreal Expos” is such an enjoyable work.

Keri is no fanboy. But he admits to being one as a kid, and when he writes about those days with an endearing wonder at his youthful foolishness, it touches the inner child in all of us. The backbone of the story rests on dozens of interviews with former players, front-office members and media types that lend now-it-can-be-told perspective and help recreate the joyous atmosphere of a franchise that was unique in so many ways.

Click here to read the full article

Buy Up, Up, & Away

Ted Williams, My Father

By Paul Hagen / MLB.com

tedwilliamsmyfatherTed Williams was one of the best hitters who ever lived. He was also a famously did-it-my-way sort known for, among other things, saying whatever was on his mind and to heck with the consequences.

In “Ted Williams, My Father,” Claudia Williams demonstrates that she is very much her father’s daughter. She has written a memoir that is tender and tough, poignant and heartbreaking, sweet and raw. And so honest that at times it feels like peeping into a stranger’s window.

Claudia was a product of her father’s second marriage, born a decade after he retired. She was largely raised by her mother. One theme that runs through these pages is her overwhelming need to be accepted by a father who doted on her brother John Henry and, if not a misogynist, held old-fashioned attitudes toward women. “You wouldn’t believe how many times during my young years I wished I had been born a boy,” she observes early on.

There’s a revealing story about an invitational cross-country race when she was in sixth grade. She had a chance to be the first girl to win it. Making the outcome even more crucial, her father was there. She was third going into the home stretch but, summoning every bit of determination she had, she ended up winning. It was a wonderful moment that she wanted to bask in with her dad. But the other parents came up and started asking him for autographs and she was gradually pushed aside.

Claudia is a talented writer. Example: “Although my father spanked me only once, he tested me on numerous occasions. His words could penetrate even the toughest armor, and many times his words stung for days — sometimes months. A few are still with me, like embedded splinters.”

Click here to read the full article

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