I’ve always enjoyed flipping through baseball media guides. In the days of Baseball-Reference.com, Fangraphs.com and MLB.com’s own player information pages, paper reference books seem kind of quaint. But before the Internet and even during its early days, media guides were one of the few places you could look for information about teams and players.
This week, my friend Jeff dropped off a handful of odds and ends for me, including minor league programs and yearbooks. And the first one I looked at was the 1996 Norfolk Tides media guide. From 1969 until 2006, the Tides were the Triple-A affiliate of the New York Mets and I saw them play in Pennsylvania against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons a number of times over the years.
I’m not sure if this was the normal practice or not, but this media guide includes player bios and stats for the full New York Mets roster along with the players you would have expected to be playing at the Triple-A level. So John Franco’s information comes a few pages before the bio of a six-year minor league free agent acquisition named Rick Reed.
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There is also a recap of the 1995 season (the Tides were pretty good that year) and historical information about the team, including an all-time roster section.
But my favorite part of media guides are the little bits of trivia that get placed to fill the extra space on certain pages.
I love the phrasing on the next one (and yes, the web address still works.)