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The holy grail, the fountain of youth, the golden fleece, and the baseball: rarely do objects inspire such madness. The Baseball is a salute to the ball, filled with insider trivia, anecdotes, and generations of ball-induced insanity.
Which Hall of Famer once caught a ball dropped from an airplane?
Why do balls get stamped with invisible ink?
What’s the best ticket to buy for catching a foul ball?
Which part of the ball once came from dog food companies?
How could a 10,000-year-old glacier help a pitcher grip the ball?
In this enlightening, entertaining, and often wildly funny book, Zack Hample shares ballpark legends and lore, details the evolution of the ball, and offers up his secret methods for snagging your own from major league games.
“This is the stuff baseball fans eat up like snack food, only it’s way more nourishing. . . . The stories are marvelous, and throughout Hample maintains jaunty good humor and even class; for instance, he thanks, by name, every one of the 1,167 Major League players and coaches who have given him baseballs over the years (an interesting list in itself). Lots of fascinating illustrations, too.” —Booklist
“Brings a whole new dimension to the term ‘inside baseball.’ . . . Hample . . . provides plenty of revelations to even the most passionate follower of the game.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Hample is not simply an articulate and accessible baseball writer, he’s a zealous collector of game balls. . . . His advice on how to catch a ball at the stadium shows how meticulously he hones his hobby. Along the way there are lots of personalities and top-ten lists at the end for every active fan. All ball buffs should try to catch this one.” —Library Journal
“Just about every baseball fan has a foul ball story from a game he or she has attended. . . . Zack Hample has hundreds of such stories. . . . The history of the baseball portion of the book is well researched and should interest anyone who has always wondered what exactly is inside a baseball. . . . Interesting little anecdotes are peppered throughout the book. . . . If you want a leg-up on the competition, The Baseball is a must-read.” —The Free Lance-Star (Fredericksburg, VA)
“Zack Hample chronicles the history and evolution of his objet d'amour, offering legends, lore and the basis for some truly odd trivia questions.” —Patrick Hruby, ESPN
“A completely engaging book about the object our national pastime is named after. . . . Intriguing, informative, and most of all flat out enjoyable. . . . From worn shoe leather, to horsehide, to the staggering number of Holstein hides needed to cover this venerable sphere–even the stitch patterns and their differing colors—Mr. Hample walks us, good naturedly, from yesteryear to current day.” —The New York Journal of Books
“There is no one more qualified than Mr. Hample to conduct a how-to seminar on the art of ballhawking. . . . Especially intriguing is the advice on what to do if you are lucky enough to catch a baseball with a high monetary value. . . . Older fans have been exposed to all this information as it happened, but to have it chronologically assembled and presented as it is here is to gain a new appreciation of how the ball itself was undergoing an important historical process.” —Spitball magazine
“It is . . . difficult to imagine baseball enthusiasts failing to enjoy this book.” —The Kansas City Star
“Whether you intend to put Hample’s ball-snagging techniques to the test or not, The Baseball is an entertaining read.” —Pajiba.com