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SubText presents three great new baseball books

A History of Baseball in 100 Objects

The only book of its kind to tell the history of baseball, from its inception to the present day, through 100 key objects that represent the major milestones, evolutionary events, and larger-than-life personalities that make up the game "A History of Baseball in 100 Objects" is a visual and historical record of the game as told through essential documents, letters, photographs, equipment, memorabilia, food and drink, merchandise and media items, and relics of popular culture, each of which represents the history and evolution of the game. Among these objects are the original ordinance banning baseball in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, in 1791 (the earliest known reference to the game in America); the "By-laws and Rules of the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club," 1845 (the first codified rules of the game); Fred Thayer's catcher's mask from the 1870s (the first use of this equipment in the game); a scorecard from the 1903 World Series (the first World Series); Grantland Rice's typewriter (the role of sportswriters in making baseball the national pastime); Babe Ruth's bat, circa 1927 (the emergence of the long ball); Pittsburgh Crawford's team bus, 1935 (the Negro Leagues); Jackie Robinson's Montreal Royals uniform, 1946 (the breaking of the color barrier); a ticket stub from the 1951 Giants-Dodgers playoff game and Bobby Thomson's "Shot Heard 'Round The World" (one of baseball's iconic moments); Sandy Koufax's Cy Young Award, 1963 (the era of dominant pitchers); a "Reggie!" candy bar, 1978 (the modern player as media star); Rickey Henderson's shoes, 1982 (baseball's all-time-greatest base stealer); the original architect's drawing for Oriole Park at Camden Yards (the ballpark renaissance of the 1990s); and Barry Bond's record-breaking bat (the age of Performance Enhancing Drugs). A full-page photograph of the object is accompanied by lively text that describes the historical significance of the object and its connection to baseball's history, as well as additional stories and information about that particular period in the history of the game.

Contributor Bio:  
Josh Leventhal is an editor and the author of the best-selling book" Take Me Out to the Ballpark", "The World Series: An Illustrated History of the Fall Classic", and "Baseball Yesterday & Today, " among others. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

 

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

If not for the botched Bay of Pigs invasion, Minnesota might never have known one of its most popular baseball players, Twins three-time batting champion and eight-time All-Star Tony Oliva. In April 1961, the twenty-two-year-old Cuban prospect failed to impress the Twins in a tryout, but the sudden rupture in U.S.-Cuba relations made a return visa all but impossible. The story of how Oliva's unexpected stay led to a second chance and success with the Twins--as well as decades of personal and cultural isolation--is told for the first time in this full-scale biography of the man the fans affectionately call "Tony O."

With unprecedented access to the very private Oliva, baseball writer Thom Henninger captures what life was like for the Cuban newcomer as he adjusted to major league play and American culture--and at the same time managed to earn Rookie of the Year honors and win the American League batting title in his first two seasons, all while playing with a knuckle injury. Packed with never-before-published photographs, the book follows Oliva through the 1965 season, all the way to the World Series, and then, with repaired knuckle and knee, into one of the most dramatic pennant races in baseball history in 1967. Through the voices of Oliva, his family, and his teammates--including the Cuban players who shared his cultural challenges and the future Hall of Famers he mentored, Rod Carew and Kirby Puckett--the personal and professional highs and lows of the years come alive: the Gold Glove Award in 1966, a third batting title in 1971, the devastating injury that curtailed his career, and, through it all, the struggle to build a family and recover the large and close-knit one he had left behind in Cuba.

Nearly forty years after Oliva's retirement, the debate continues over whether his injury-shortened career was Hall of Fame caliber--a question that gets a measured and resounding answer here.

 Author: Thom Henninger, a St. Paul native and lifelong Twins fan, is associate editor at "Baseball Digest." His work has appeared in "ESPN Insider," and for more than seventeen years he wrote for STATS LLC, where his column "Thom's Take" ran weekly. He has authored player profiles for "Baseball America" and contributed to" Play It Again: Baseball Experts on What Might Have Been." 
 Foreword: Patrick Reusse is a sportswriter and radio personality in the Twin Cities. He writes weekly columns for the "Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune."


Review Quotes:

Thom Henninger did a marvelous job telling Tony's story. It will remind readers what a special person he is and how he had to deal with so much adversity to find his way to the major leagues. I am so proud to have been his teammate and be his friend. All of us who played with Tony know he is a Hall of Famer and was the best hitter of his era. 
--Jim Kaat

 

"There wasn't a better hitter for average, power and driving in BIG runs than Tony throughout his baseball career. His career numbers speak for themselves. There is also no one more loved and respected in the Twins organization. "
--Bert Blyleven

 

In Pursuit of Pennants: Baseball Operations From Deadball to Moneyball

The 1936 Yankees, the 1963 Dodgers, the 1975 Reds, the 2010 Giants--why do some baseball teams win while others don't?

General managers and fans alike have pondered this most important of baseball questions. The "Moneyball" strategy is not the first example of how new ideas and innovative management have transformed the way teams are assembled. "In Pursuit of Pennants" examines and analyzes a number of compelling, winning baseball teams over the past hundred-plus years, focusing on their decision making and how they assembled their championship teams.

Whether through scouting, integration, instruction, expansion, free agency, or modernizing their management structure, each winning team and each era had its own version of "Moneyball," where front office decisions often made the difference. Mark L. Armour and Daniel R. Levitt show how these teams succeeded and how they relied on talent both on the field and in the front office. While there is no recipe for guaranteed success in a competitive, ever-changing environment, these teams demonstrate how creatively thinking about one's circumstances can often lead to a competitive advantage.

Contributor Bio:  
Daniel R. Levitt is a baseball researcher devoted to resolving historical questions about pitch counts and the lowest single-season ERA, but during the day he manages capital markets for a national commercial real estate firm. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Review Quotes:
"Armour and Levitt have given the reader an inside look into the different cultures and challenges facing professional sports executives. Their management styles might differ, but the objective never changes: 'Be a consistent winner.'"--Pat Gillick--Pat Gillick (09/16/2014)

"A great source of well-researched front office stories. . . . Armour and Levitt give an insider's look at the teams' efforts to innovate in this highly competitive industry."--Sig Mejdal, director of Decision Sciences for the Houston Astros--Sig Mejdal (09/16/2014)

"If "Moneyball" is the tale of how a modern front office works, In Pursuit of Pennants is the prequel that ably sets the stage."--Jonah Keri, author of the bestselling "The Extra 2%" and "Up, Up, and Away"--Jonah Keri (09/16/2014)

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