Monday, May 14, 2012

Take Me Out to the Ball Game



The first known baseball song, "The Baseball Polka," was written in 1858, but it was never as famous as the Jack Norworth 1908 classic "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." On a train bound for Manhattan, Norworth spent all of fifteen minutes writing the lyrics on scrap paper which he then gave to Albert Von Tilzer who composed the music. The New York Music Company published the song and, within a year, it became a hit. A second version appeared in 1927 when Norworth changed some of the lyrics. In the Arts, Literature & Sports (ALS) Department, we have the score for voice, piano, and guitar in the All American Patriotic Songbook, on the CD Baseball Hits in the Folk section under American Baseb and in the Youth Department in Children’s Favorite Songs.

There are a lot of people who love spring and summer because it ushers in the baseball season. Since baseball season has already begun and summer means Father’s Day will be here soon, we invite you to check out the newest acquisitions in baseball books in the ALS Department. Major League Dads: Baseball’s Best Players Reflect on Fathers Who Inspired Them to Love the Game by Kevin Neary would be a great read for any father who is also a baseball fan. The author, an avid fan of the game, researched and compiled the stories of players such as Moises Alou, Jeff Brantley, Frank Catalanotto, Mark DeRosa, Matt Diaz, and Jeff Francoeur. As the title indicates, it is a book about baseball, but even more about the relationships between fathers and sons. To be interviewed, each major league ballplayer had to have a father who had served in a coaching capacity for him which in turn influenced his career, approach to life and/or relationships with his family.

Baseball fans will also enjoy The Captain: the Journey of Derek Jeter by Ian O’Connor. This book is about a bi-racial kid from Michigan who is one of New York’s favorite sports figures and a poster child for the steroid-free athlete. The author drew on research from 200 interviews to write the biography.

Some fans enjoy visiting different baseball stadiums. Check out Fenway Park, the Centennial: 100 Years of Red Sox Baseball by Saul Wisnia. This book includes commentary by three generations of Red Sox players and fans. Take a nostalgic trip into the past to America’s #1 baseball shrine and home to more than 600 sellouts. The reader will discover visually stunning photography and essays on Red Sox legends Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, and David Ortiz. It’s an armchair trip to remember. If you’d like to learn about other stadiums, we have The Ultimate Baseball Road Trip: A Fan’s Guide to Major League Stadiums by Josh Pahigian. This 2nd edition of the book is the tourist’s guide to everything from stadium and team history, to the seats, the beer, the food, parking, and even restaurants and attractions in the area.

These are but a few of the baseball books the ALS Department has to offer. We’ve added 50+ baseball titles to the collection in the past couple of years. Come see us and check out your personal favorite. Most are in the 796.357 section or in the biographies under the name of the player who is the subject of the book.

Mary Branch
Arts, Literature and Sports Department
Central Library

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