Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Heard about a Book...

I heard about two baseball books that look interesting. Check them out.

Big Hair and Plastic Grass: A Funky Ride Through Baseball and America in the Swinging '70s by Dan Epstein - The Major Leagues witnessed more dramatic stories and changes in the ‘70s than in any other era. The American popular culture and counterculture collided head-on with the national pastime, rocking the once-conservative sport to its very foundations. Outspoken players embraced free agency, openly advocated drug use, and even swapped wives. Controversial owners such as Charlie Finley, Bill Veeck, and Ted Turner introduced Astroturf, prime-time World Series, garish polyester uniforms, and outlandish promotions such as Disco Demolition Night. Hank Aaron and Lou Brock set new heights in power and speed while Reggie Jackson and Carlton Fisk emerged as October heroes and All-Star characters like Mark “The Bird” Fidrych became pop icons. For the millions of fans who grew up during this time, and especially those who cared just as much about Oscar Gamble’s afro as they did about his average, this book serves up a delicious, Technicolor trip down memory lane.

Cardboard Gods: An All-American Tale Told Through Baseball Cards by Josh Wilker - Cardboard Gods is the memoir of Josh Wilker, a writer who has marked the stages of his life through the baseball cards he collected as a child. It also captures the experience of growing up obsessed with baseball cards and explores what it means to be a fan of the game. Along the way, as we get to know Josh, his family, and his friends, we also get Josh’s classic observations about the central artifacts from his life: the baseball cards themselves. Josh writes about an imagined correspondence with his favorite player, Carl Yastrzemski; he uses the magical bubble-blowing powers of journeyman Kurt Bevacqua to shed light on the weakening of the powerful childhood bond with his older brother; he considers the doomed utopian back-to-the-land dreams of his hippie parents against the backdrop of inimitable 1970s baseball figures such as “Designated Pinch Runner” Herb Washington and Mark “The Bird” Fidrych. Cardboard Gods is more than just the story of a man who can’t let go of his past, it’s proof that—to paraphrase Jim Bouton—as children we grow up holding baseball cards but in the end we realize that it’s really the other way around.