Baseball and the bibliophile

October means something a little different for everyone. For some, it is the start of fall and everything pumpkin spice. For others, it is scary costumes and one step closer to the holiday season. But for me, October signifies Major League Baseball’s postseason. Having been a sports fan since I was a child, I have grown up surrounded by the game. If there is one thing baseball has taught me it’s that there is something in it for everyone. It is called “America’s Pastime” for a reason, right?

With 2017 bringing such an exciting postseason, I have been getting a lot of baseball-related questions at the Information and Welcome Desks here at the Princeton Public Library. From box scores to game times, a lot of our patrons are following along. With so many inquiries, I began to think about why baseball means so much to me. Is it the history? The underdog stories? The statistics and constant achievements? Well, I think it may be all of the above. And, being a library associate, I enjoy combining my love of baseball with my love of books by spending a lot of time in PPL’s Sports and Games Neighborhood on the new second floor. There, as well as the Biography and DVD collections, I have learned a great deal and have discovered some wonderful books and materials.

One of the books on the list of my favorite baseball books are “The Catcher Was a Spy: The Mysterious Life of Moe Berg” by Nicholas Dawidoff. After attending Princeton University, Berg became a Major League player for more than 20 years. Having been more interested in his studies than baseball, Berg was a spy for the United States and helped to gather intelligence on the Axis Powers’ develop of atomic weapons during WWII. Another one of my favorites is “Moneyball” by Michael Lewis, which was also adapted into a movie in 2011. This is the story of Oakland Athletics’ General Manager Billy Beane and how one of the poorest teams in the MLB went on to win an extraordinary number of games.

Speaking of baseball at the movies, Ken Burns’ Emmy Award-winning miniseries “Baseball” is outstanding for baseball nuts like myself. Starting with how the game began and the early teams and ending with the unique players’ strike of 1994, this series offers an entertaining and comprehensive journey through the history and development of baseball. If you are as crazy about this series as I am, the additional “Baseball: The Tenth Inning” is a must-watch!

These titles are just a few of the baseball-related materials we have here at PPL. Whether you are interested in a WWII story from a fascinating perspective, are looking to learn more about the history of the game, or maybe you are just a crazy fan like myself, you will surely find something that pleases you. So, 1…2…3 strikes! It’s your turn. Grab your catcher’s mitt and some cracker jacks and head on over to our Sports & Games Neighborhood. I’ll see you there!

Photo courtesy of the author.

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