I have a pretty good collection of baseball books at home. There's nothing quite like some good baseball reading to get you through the winter. Tales of epic homeruns and fastballs tickle my literary spirit like no other sporting text can.
Also, they look nice on a shelf.
This Christmas, I was lucky enough to receive a couple of books, both of which have been excellent reads so far.
The first is Baseball in San Diego: From the Plaza to the Padres by Bill Swank (in conjunction with the San Diego Historical Society). It's a thin little book at 128 pages, but it's filled with great photos and stories about everything you'd want to know about the game of base ball in San Diego before the Padres.
Trivia so far that I've learned. The first base ball game of record was played at the current site of Horton Plaza and the Grand Hotel downtown. The San Diego Union sports pages have always had jerky, pessimistic writers. Men wore their hair parted in the middle an awful lot. Scores like 38-2 and 42-18 were common. Ty Cobb once stole home playing for San Diego. Little league (or junior) teams were not so hip nor cool as they are nowadays to be upset over playing for a team called The Little Buttercups. Etcetera
The other book I was so lucky to receive is The Complete Armchair Book of Baseball. I have The Second Fireside Book of Baseball on the shelf and the Armchair looks like it will be a nice addition.
I've only had the pleasure of reading one story about the Mahatma Ghandi meeting Babe Ruth and hitting for the Yankees and getting a homerun (really a chopped grounder resulting in 4 errors). It was good. Ghandi toots on a whistle and dances a jig in it.
Someday, when I'm an old man, I picture myself sitting by the fire in my rocking chair while smoking a pipe filled with ground sunflower seeds. I'll have my stack of baseball books at my side as I read about how the games were played hundreds of years ago. My grandchildren will laugh at me because I'm reading "paper" books and I'm turning the pages by hand. But still, those books will warm this little old man's heart.