Heather Jacks's Reviews > The 34-Ton Bat: The Story of Baseball as Told Through Bobbleheads, Cracker Jacks, Jockstraps, Eye Black, and 375 Other Strange and Unforgettable Objects

The 34-Ton Bat by Steve Rushin
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it was amazing

If ever you wondered; how jock straps came about, or where did Bobble-Heads come from, or what’s up with that four fingered glove at AT&T Park; then Steve Rushin’s book, The 34-Ton Bat, is for you. It is the history of baseball, told through the evolution of the objects and oddities—(375 of them, to be exact) that make baseball, America’s pastime.

Steve Rushin has been writing for Sports Illustrated for over 25 years, and has accumulated a few awards along the way, including National Sportswriter of the Year. His family comes from a baseball tradition that spans over 100 years, with not so distant relatives having played in the majors, and he himself, securing his first job at Met Stadium, where he ‘stabbed dogs’, ‘pulled sodas’ and ‘cupped corn’. A more deft storyteller and a more passionate voice cannot be found to bring these baseball objects to life, to make them dance like the candlesticks in Beauty & The Beast, to help us know and understand our greatest American pastime and, above all….inviting us to remember.

From baseball gloves to bats; pipe organs to Prohibition, score cards to stinky urinals and beyond; the stories are layered one upon the other, at a dizzying rate. Filled with quirk and tradition; pride and pomp, riots and ridicule, one can’t help but see the game in a new light, and love it in a new way.

The 300 page book is an engaging read for anyone. But, if you’re a fan of baseball, you will find yourself doing what I do. I place the book, never far from my reach on my desk. My novelty baseball bank, (which came into existence at Yankee Stadium during the forties) sits on top. Tim Lincecum, in Bobble Head form stands next to it,–(Bobble Heads coming about in the 1800’s, but the first baseball shaker appearing in the fifties). The invite me, to pick up the book, flip to any page, where I’ll smell stadium grass and sweat mingle together; feel the sun (and sometimes rain) pelt my face, hear hot dog and beer vendors hawking their wares. It’s an invitation, not just to me, but to us as a culture and society to renew our spirits through the stories and the game, that our fathers and fathers before them played; and that our sons and grandsons will surely play in the future. As the great Joe DiMaggio once said; “When baseball is no longer fun, it’s no longer a game.”

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Reading Progress

December 15, 2013 – Started Reading
December 15, 2013 – Shelved
December 30, 2013 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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message 1: by Ric (new) - added it

Ric Johnson Ok.. Just bought it! I'll let you know how I enjoy it..

Heather Jacks SWEET!! So glad to hear it. I would LOVE to know what you think. I just finished Moneyball--which was AWESOME. I haven't seen the movie, because I wanted to read the book first. So glad I did. I am reading Malala right now, and then going to read Jim Abbott's memoir; which I hope is great. Looking forward to your thoughts!

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