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.
About the Author
Zack Hample has caught roughly 3,000 baseballs from 41 Major League stadiums. His first book, "How to Snag Major League Baseballs," was published in 1999. Since then, he has been interviewed hundreds of times for print, radio, and television. He currently writes for minorleaguebaseball.com, and has a popular blog, The Baseball Collector, chronicling his obsession.
“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
Praise for Zack Hample's Watching Baseball Smarter:
"Insightful, engaging and funny—a treat for anyone who loves the game." —Keith Hernandez
"Hample calls himself an obsessed fan—obsessed in a good way—and the product of his torment is a funny and informative guide for all levels of fams." —Yankees Magazine
"Engaging. . . . Hample's book is both deceptive in its simplicity . . . and surprising in its range." —Fortune
"A browser's delight of a book. . . . Hample unloads a zany collection of baseball trivia, insights and 'random stuff'. . . in breezy guidebook style." —Seattle Post-Intelligencer
"This isn't the first book to take on the challenge of explaining baseball intricacies, but I've never seen it done better." —Craig Smith, The Seattle Times
"Armed at neophytes and know-it-alls alike, this baseball geekfest tells you which positions are never played by lefties, why it's easier to hit when bases are loaded, which rules are the weirdest, and other arcana." —Maxim