As soon as the last whistle is blown on the Super Bowl, then in my world baseball season begins. I'm currently down in Arizona, taking a long weekend to catch the Giants and A's under the Cactus League sun. And since this is a bookstore blog, I'll talk about my favorite baseball book of all time, The Glory of Their Times by Lawrence Ritter. Much more than a baseball book, it is a brilliant piece of American history.
In the early '60's, when Ty Cobb died, Ritter, at the time an insurance executive, realized that all of these players from the early days of the game wouldn't be around much longer. He decided to get in his car and try to track down as many of them as he could. When he found them, he turned on his tape recorder and let them tell their stories. What he got is vintage Americana: farm boys hopping freight trains to try out for the bigs; stories about the game when it was still disreputable to be a ballplayer. Highly recommended.