Opening Day Books

The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good and that could be again. Oh…people will come Ray. People will most definitely come.”
― James Earl Jones
Field Of Dreams

READING RECOMMENDATIONS for Opening Day
Go Tigers!

Summer of ’68 : the season that changed baseball– and America

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In Summer of ’68, Tim Wendel takes us on a wild ride through a season that saw such legends as Bob Gibson, Denny McLain, Don Drysdale, and Luis Tiant set new standards for excellence on the mound, each chasing perfection against the backdrop of one of the most divisive and turbulent years in American history. For some players, baseball would become an insular retreat from the turmoil encircling them that season, but for a select few, including Gibson and the defending champion St. Louis Cardinals, the conflicts of ’68 would spur their performances to incredible heights and set the stage for their own run at history.

Meanwhile in Detroit–which had burned just the summer before during one of the worst riots in American history–’68 instead found the city rallying together behind a colorful Tigers team led by McLain, Mickey Lolich, Willie Horton, and Al Kaline. The Tigers would finish atop the American League, setting themselves on a highly anticipated collision course with Gibson’s Cardinals. And with both teams’ seasons culminating in a thrilling World Series for the ages–one team playing to establish a dynasty, the other fighting to help pull a city from the ashes–what ultimately lay at stake was something even larger: baseball’s place in a rapidly changing America that would never be the same.

Sparky and me : my friendship with Sparky Anderson and the lessons he shared about baseball and life

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In the tradition of Tuesdays With Morrie, Dan Ewald pens a memoir of his friendship with legendary Tigers manager Sparky Anderson, the man who taught him not only the nuances of baseball, but the importance of life’s unwritten rules.

Few sports figures, regardless of their position, have generated as much good will as Sparky Anderson, the legendary manager for the Cincinnati Reds and the Detroit Tigers. Sparky met author Dan Ewald, in 1979, and thus was born a lifelong friendship not likely ever to be seen again in baseball. Along the way, Dan never took for granted the front row seat he had to watch one of history’s most memorable managers’ absolute mastery of baseball’s nuances and intricacies.

The hidden language of baseball : how signs and sign stealing have influenced the course of our national pastime

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Baseball’s tradition of signing grew out of the signal flags used by ships and soldiers’ hand signals during battle. They were first used in games during the Civil War, and then professionally by the Cincinnati Red Stockings, in 1869. Seven years later, the Hartford Dark Blues appear to be the first team to steal signs, introducing a larcenous obsession that, as Dickson delightfully chronicles, has given the game some of its most historic-and outlandish-moments.

Whether detailing the origins of the hit-and-run, the true story behind the home run that gave “Home Run” Baker his nickname, Bob Feller’s sign-stealing telescope, Casey Stengel’s improbable method of signaling his bullpen, the impact of sign stealing on the Giants’ miraculous comeback in 1951, or the pitches Andy Pettitte tipped off that altered the momentum of the 2001 World Series, Dickson’s research is as thorough as his stories are entertaining. A roster of baseball’s greatest names and games, past and present, echoes throughout, making The Hidden Language of Baseball a unique window on the history of our national pastime.

When women played hardball : professional lives and personal stories from the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, 1943-1954

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The years between 1943 and 1954 marked the magical era of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League – which proved beyond doubt that women can play hardball. With skill and style, more than 500 women took to the baseball diamonds of the Midwest dazzling fans and becoming a visible and supported part of our national pastime. In the words of “Tiby” Eisen, leadoff batter for the Fort Wayne Daisies: “We played ball just like the big boys, we broke up double plays with spikes held high and we stole bases in our skirts. We did whatever it took to win.” Among those cheering was ten-year-old Susan Johnson, a loyal fan of the Rockford Peaches. Four decades later she has gone back to meet her girlhood heroines and remember a sensational baseball series: the 1950 championship between the Rockford (Illinois) Peaches and the Fort Wayne (Indiana) Daisies – two of the League’s most winning and dynamic teams. Filled with colorful stories and anecdotes by the women who played in that spectacular series,

Ernie, 1918-2010 : our voice of summer

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Commemorating the life of the broadcasting icon who so moved Detroit Tiger fans for more than four decades, this reference encapsulates the life of Ernie Harwell, the acclaimed Tigers broadcaster whose eloquence and kindness made him a beloved Michigan institution.

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