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Baseball: A History of America's Favorite Game (Modern Library Chronicles)

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  628 ratings  ·  85 reviews
“Football is force and fanatics, basketball is beauty and bounce. Baseball is everything: action, grace, the seasons of our lives. George Vecsey’s book proves it, without wasting a word.”
–Lee Eisenberg, author of The Number

In Baseball, one of the great bards of America’s Grand Old Game gives a rousing account of the sport, from its pre-Republic roots to the present day. Ge
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Kindle Edition, 274 pages
Published (first published August 15th 2006)
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Average rating 3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  628 ratings  ·  85 reviews


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Jason
Sep 17, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, though it's a bit scattered in it's approach. Of course, considering Vescey is trying to hit the highlights of roughly 130 years of baseball history I'd say he did a pretty specatular job taking the subject on. He's been a sports writer for the NY Times since the 50's, which no doubt helped him decide which things to touch on, and he manages to avoid telling the same old legendary tales of Ruth, Mantle, and Robinson that often find themselves being re-hashed in ba ...more
Brian Eshleman
This book was a nice companion to Ken Burns's Baseball series, which I recently watched. The author uses some of the same illustrations of baseball's changes and highlights some of the same personalities. This text provides something like a 30,000 foot view that doesn't get too bogged down in details. ...more
Jack
May 15, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Personal Response
I liked the book Baseball . Baseball is one of my three favorite sports, but it is the one I know least about. I don't know much about the old time players of baseball or how the game started. This book covers lots of pre-21st century baseball. It talks about who created the game, the Negro Leagues, and the steroid age. The book did get a little dull to me at times, especially when I had been reading for a while. It also talks about baseball during both World Wars and the Grea
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Joy
Sep 11, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this book because I visited the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown on Wed and wanted to be absolutely insufferable with facts about the game. (Book or not, I knew I'd be insufferable at the Hall -- at least with a little pre-reading, at least I could be informed...)

I wanted to read Cooperstown Confidential, but the library didn't have a copy available, and I wasn't up for $25 for a hardback copy. So...I found this brief history of 150 years of baseball in America written by NYTimes
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Sue Silverman
This was an o.k. introduction for someone who's interested in baseball, but doesn't know anything about its history. But I imagine most hard-core baseball people already knew much of what was in here. Really, I feel like I could have written this if I had a few weeks or months to spend in libraries to do the research - not too many little-known anecdotes or interviews with players to make this a truly fascinating read. But I don't have a few weeks to spend in libraries and I did want a basic his ...more
Andrew
Apr 07, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
George Vecsey's Baseball: A History of America's Favorite Pastime is a broad and beautifully written look at the 150+ years of baseball.

It can give the impression of skipping around simply because of the breadth of the subject Vecsey is trying to cover. Its chapters are best taken on their own. If they whet your appetite for more, pick up a more comprehensive study (Koppett's Concise History would be the best I could recommend). What Vecsey excels in here, though, is the human touch and detail
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Jeffrey
I've just started this book. So far, he comes across as another bitter old man who thinks everything reached perfection in the 50's. I'll still give it a go because I love the game. We'll see what happens.... ...more
Jonathan Tennis
Apr 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Vecsey tells a great baseball tale. If you're a fan of the game, you'll be a fan of this book. ...more
Kathy McC
Jun 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mr. Vecsey is to be commended on his thorough research and a writing style that made all of the dates and places more narrative than encyclopedic.
Lynn
Mar 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very enjoyable. This is definitely a low-key but authentic book. The author is a New York Times columnist and author of other significant books.

I first became fascinated with baseball when we moved to Chicago in 1947. Our neighbor across the street, our babysitter's father, had the first TV in the neighborhood, and people would troop in and out of the house to watch whatever was on. During the summer, it was either Chicago Cubs or Chicago White Sox baseball, and when I wasn't watching it over th
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K
Apr 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's a beautifully written, idiosyncratic history of baseball. For the knowledgeable fan (me), most of it is familiar: the origins in rounders and the fake origins attribute to Abner Doubleday, the emergence of Babe Ruth, the exclusion of black players and then the triumphant entry of Jackie Robinson, the advent of free agency in the 1970s and growth of money and commercialism, and the steroid scandal. Vecsey skips through these issues quickly and accurately, and he gives a good sense of how the ...more
Steve
Apr 22, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
2006 entry in the Modern Library Chronicles series. So it is a bit dated by this time. I used to read a baseball book every year at the beginning of the season, but have not done so in quite some time now. So when this was on sale at amazon for your kindle, I grabbed it - and quickly read it. 150 years (more or less) of baseball history in @225 pp. Decent bibliography, but it seems like lots of his facts came from a handful of titles (casual "Notes" at the back of the volume).
Vecsey is an old s
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Niel
Jul 28, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book was an informative read. As someone who had very little knowledge of the sport not to mention historical context the book presented a skip through baseball history. Some of the most memorable chapters were on Jackie Robinson, the commissioners of the game, the international aspect of the sport and performance enhancers usage. Reading the book demonstrated to me that baseball is truly coupled with American history. Baseball's history is American history. The problems that America has fac ...more
John
Apr 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: main
A fun, crisp history of the best sport in the world. Vecsey writes very much like a journalist (gee I wonder why) which takes a bit of getting used to, but ultimately I found his style to be very humorous and fulfilling. It's probably best to go into this book already possessing at least a basic knowledge of baseball history, since he makes a lot of references that new students of the game might not understand (or might pause to google). All in all, though, it's a nice, concise history that hits ...more
John Pitcock
May 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
From the time I was a youngster until now (age 71), baseball has been woven into my life. From Mickey Mantle to Chipper Jones. From the NY Yankees to the Atlanta Braves to the Tampa Bay Rays. From highs to lows. Through drug tainted records to amazing experiences. No matter my personal affinity to the sport, this is a good book on its history and evolution. If you enjoy baseball, you’ll enjoy this book.
Lonnie
Oct 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
book was recommended and give to me by Mom. had to stop and start it several times because of one thing or another. Really enjoyed reading it and learned so much about the history of baseball. also enjoyed the little things Vecsey added about current times. well written documentary on baseball that held my attention! I gave it 4 cause I'm a baseball fan, if not reader might not enjoy it as much. ...more
Vera
Nov 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great little book with everything that there is to know about Baseball,Baseball scandals,baseball trading of the players and Baseball anectotes . A must read for someone that knows already about the game but also to someone who wants to know a little bit more.
Samuel
May 31, 2019 rated it liked it
A breezy history of professional baseball in North America in an op-ed style. The documentation is obscured in a manner I find unhelpful. The author's biases color the account -- anti-DH, pro-National League, etc. OK, but limited. ...more
Tim Russell
Actually, I would go up to 3 1/2 stars if we could give halves. This was a fairly good book, especially if you want just the basics of baseball history. Informative, but most baseball fans will already have known a lot of the information.
Jeff Walzer
Jun 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A True Love of Baseball

A well written history of a game from an author who lets his live and disappointment shine through with equal measures. I love the passion with which Mr. Vecsey writes about what clearly is his favorite subject.
Stephen Euler
Jul 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great read about the game, and the society around it. Both breezy and serious. The legends like Babe Ruth, and scandals like the Black Sox. Baseball evolves as society evolves, growing and eventually confronting racism and unfair contracts, while still maintaining it's place in fan's hearts. ...more
Don
Jul 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a great read on the history of baseball! Full of anecdotes and stories, it details the origins of the sport and the events that shaped its status in modern America.
Liz
Nov 10, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, owned
Unorganized, not well researched, and highly subjective.
charles
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Well done!

Vecsey provides a well written and insightful history of America's Game. Takes one from the ancient origins through the highs and lows of our great American pastime.
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Nancy
May 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A condensed version of major events in the history of baseball
Madame Jane
Covers the history of baseball with key moments and people who made the game great.
Chuck Abdella
Jul 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a great little book about the history of baseball! At times, the prose is beautiful and the subject majestic. Highly recommended.
Tom Maddox
Jul 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Good read

You can't really go wrong with a book on baseball. The author covered most major events within the pages. I enjoyed reading this book
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Van Til
Some good baseball stories mixed with some really grating and elitist progressive talking points. 2.5 stars, rounded up to three because baseball.
Brennan Probst
Jul 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A well-written comprehensive history of baseball. Entertaining and enlightening from cover to cover.
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