A few weeks ago, I was contacted by a representative of Skyhorse Publishing who offered to send me a free review copy of Matthew Silverman’s latest book, “Baseball Miscellany”
The book has 27 chapters, devoted to questions like: Why does the visiting team bat first?, Why is the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.?, Why is there a seventh inning stretch? Why is Joe DiMaggio called “The Yankee Clipper”?
Silverman provides in-depth answers to these questions and more. Hidden in the 27 chapters are sidebars offering trivia like the meaning and origin of terms such as “Baltimore Chop” or “Golden Sombrero,” as well as great baseball quotes and photos.
“Baseball Miscellany” may seem like it’s geared towards beginning fans, but I think almost all of us will learn something from the book. It never occurred to me to question why the shortstop was called a “shortstop.” After reading the chapter devoted to that topic, I found out that the shortstop position was originally created around 1850 because the outfielders couldn’t throw the lighter baseballs of the day all the way back to the pitcher.
Not every chapter is as informative for more experienced fans. I think most know why number 42 is displayed in every major league ballpark, and we get a reminder every April 15th in case we forget.
On the whole, “Baseball Miscellany” would make a good gift for a baseball fan or a worthy addition to your own library.