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Newly Published: The Call to the Hall

New on our bookshelf today:

The Call to the Hall: When Baseball’s Highest Honor Came to 31 Legends of the Sport
Kevin Warneke and David C. Ogden

The names on the cast-bronze plaques hanging in the National Baseball Hall of Fame embody the history and drama of the sport—they are the royalty of baseball. Yet many inductees believed their entry into the Hall was anything but guaranteed, and even some who waited by the phone for the fateful “call to the Hall” were stunned to hear the news. Reactions to the call varied from stoicism to overwhelming emotion, but for most of the 31 inductees interviewed in this book, it was a moment of reflection and gratitude. In other cases, the call came years too late and family members received the posthumous honor.

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New today—The Half-Game Pennant of 1908

New on our bookshelf today:

The Half-Game Pennant of 1908: Four Teams Chase Victory in the American League
Charles C. Alexander

The 1908 American League pennant race was described as a “a fierce and fluctuating fight.” With five games left in the season, each of the league’s four westernmost teams still had a shot at the championship. It was the height of the Deadball Era, noted for its spectacular pitching, low scoring, quickly played games, and memorable characters. It was also a time when professional baseball truly came into its own as America’s national pastime. This lively account details a neglected chapter in the game’s history.

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Newly Published: The Great Sports Documentaries

The Great Sports DocumentariesNew on our bookshelf today:

The Great Sports Documentaries: 100+ Award Winning Films
Michael Peters

Sports and competition have been film subjects since the dawn of the medium. Olympic sports documentaries have been around nearly as long as the games themselves; films about surfing, boxing, roller derby, motorcycle racing and bodybuilding were theatrical successes during the 1960s and 1970s.

The author surveys the history of the sports documentary subgenre, covering more than 100 award-winning films of 40+ different competitions, from traditional team sports to dogsled racing to ballroom dancing.

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Newly Published: The First 50 Super Bowls

New on our bookshelf today:

The First 50 Super Bowls: How Football’s Championships Were Won
Ed Benkin
Foreword by Mike Curtis

The Super Bowl redefined American sports. Over the past half century, the NFL’s championship game has grown from humble beginnings to the biggest sporting event of the calendar year—an event that creates legendary stories, from Len Dawson’s conversation with the president to Jim O’Brien’s game-winning kick and Randy White’s post-game duet with Willie Nelson. Covering 50 Super Bowls, from 1966 through 2016, this book gives an insider’s view of each game, with recollections from the people who participated, many told for the first time.

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Newly Published: Goon

GoonNew on our bookshelf today:

Goon: Memoir of a Minor League Hockey Enforcer, 2d ed.
Doug Smith with Adam Frattasio

Directionless yet driven by a fervent desire to make something of himself, Doug “The Thug” Smith took his only marketable job skill—amateur boxing—and followed an unlikely career path to become a hockey enforcer, a.k.a. “goon.” Entrusted with aggressively protecting his teammates from tough guys on the opposing team, he punched, elbowed and cross-checked his way up the ranks of minor league hockey to win a championship ring and the respect of his community. His entertaining underdog story is the subject of the cult-classic motion picture Goon (2011) and its sequel Goon: Last of the Enforcers (2017).

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Newly Published: When Baseball Met Big Bill Haywood

When Baseball Met Big Bill HaywoodNew on our bookshelf today:

When Baseball Met Big Bill Haywood: The Battle for Manchester, New Hampshire, 1912–1916
Scott C. Roper and Stephanie Abbot Roper

In the early 20th century, immigration, labor unrest, social reforms and government regulations threatened the power of the country’s largest employers. The Amoskeag Manufacturing Company of Manchester, New Hampshire, remained successful by controlling its workforce, the local media, and local and state government. When a 1912 strike in nearby Lawrence, Massachusetts, threatened to bring the Industrial Workers of the World union to Manchester, the company sought to reassert its influence. Amoskeag worked to promote company pride and to Americanize its many foreign-born workers through benevolence programs, including a baseball club.

Textile Field, the most advanced stadium in New England outside of Boston when it was built in 1913, was the centerpiece of this effort. Results were mixed—the company found itself at odds with social movements and new media outlets, and Textile Field became a magnet for conflict with all of professional baseball.

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Newly Published: The Detroit Wolverines

The Detroit WolverinesNew on our bookshelf today:

The Detroit Wolverines: The Rise and Wreck of a National League Champion, 1881–1888
Brian Martin

The Detroit Tigers were founding members of the American League and have been the Motor City’s team for more than a century. But the Wolverines were the city’s first major league club, playing in the National League beginning in 1881 and capturing the pennant in 1887. Playing in what was then one of the best ballparks in America, during an era when Detroit was known as the “Paris of the West,” the team battled hostile National League owners and struggled with a fickle fan base to become world champions, before financial woes led to their being disbanded in 1888. This first-ever history of the Wolverines covers the team’s rise and abrupt fall and the powerful men behind it.

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Newly Published: Tom Gamboa

Tom GamboaNew on our bookshelf today:

Tom Gamboa: My Life in Baseball
Tom Gamboa with David Russell
Foreword by Doug Glanville

Tom Gamboa played baseball professionally, coached, scouted, managed in the minors and in Puerto Rico and coached in the majors with the Cubs and Royals. Scouring the country for talent, he discovered Jesse Orosco and helped develop Doug Glanville and Jose Hernandez in Puerto Rico and in the Cubs organization. Before Jim “The Rookie” Morris made it to the majors, Gamboa coached him on a title team in the Brewers organization. Sammy Sosa promised him a fist-bump for each home run Sosa hit—Tom didn’t suspect he was due 60 of them over each of the next two seasons. With a lot of humor, Gamboa takes his readers well inside the dugouts and clubhouses.

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Newly Published: The Fighting Times of Abe Attell

New on our bookshelf today:

The Fighting Times of Abe Attell
Mark Allen Baker

Abraham Washington Attell (1883–1970) was among the cleverest, most scientific professional boxers ever to enter the ring. The native San Franciscan fought 172 times—with 127 wins, 51 by knockout—and successfully defended his World Featherweight Champion title 18 times between 1906 and 1912, defeating challengers who included Johnny Kilbane and Battling Nelson. Abe’s success inspired his brothers Caesar and Monte to take up the sport—Abe and Monte both held simultaneous world titles for a time.

This first ever biography covers Attell’s life and career. Growing up poor and Jewish in an predominantly Irish neighborhood, he faced his share of adversity and anti–Semitism. He was charged for alleged involvement in the 1919 Black Sox Scandal. The charges were dropped but Attell was branded for the remainder of his life.