“Baseball Memories & Dreams” Reflects, Inspires, Educates The Baseball Fan On Baseball History

This Spring, I received an email from Mango Publishing about an upcoming book from the National Baseball Hall of Fame. “In this new title by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, Baseball Memories and Dreams celebrates the iconic moments, heroes, and trends that define baseball for its millions of fans.” The email stated. “Revel in America’s pastime and explore baseball history in articles written by notable sports writers, Hall of Famers, media personalities, and the Hall’s own expert historians.” The publisher asked me if I would like a copy of the book once it was made available for review and I gladly accepted. I was eager to receive the book and read these articles written by some of my favorite players and sportswriters about the game I love – baseball.

About two weeks ago, mid-July, I received the book in the mail. I found a comfortable spot on my deck and began to read the baseball memories and baseball journeys written by the players themselves as well as illustrious sportswriters, historians, and journalists. I was hooked from the Foreword by Hall of Fame SS Ozzie Smith, a wizard on the defensive side of the ball and an amazing ambassador for baseball post-career. I learned about baseball history and culture from author John Grisham’s on his childhood memories of baseball to the back stories of Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s on First” bit to whether or not Abraham Lincoln played organized baseball. I read about priceless artifacts like the rarest of the rare baseball cards and the earliest sightings of baseball in print media and the barnstorming tours of the House of David baseball club. On and on I read, just soaking in the incredible stories and loving every word in every article written.

The sportswriter chapter on Hall of Famers like Derek Jeter, Alan Trammel, Satchel Paige, And Ken Griffey, Jr was so detailed and so inspiring to read. These sportswriters traveled with the players, with the teams, to all stretches of the United States to cover these players day in and day out. Their vast knowledge of the game of baseball and their adeptness of the English language make this chapter an absolute must read. The chapter entitled “The African-American Baseball Experience,” dives into the struggles, the hardships, the triumphs, and the glory of players like Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, and the famous Pittsburgh Pirates lineup on September 1, 1971. “Color Between The Lines,” by Claire Smith was one of my favorite articles in the entire book.

In the National Baseball Hall of Fame, legends are immortalized with a plaque in the first floor Plaque Room. In this book, the “Legendary Performances” chapter dives into feats that even Hall of Famers marvel at. From Cal Ripken’s Iron Man streak to the Juan Marichal vs Warren Spahn pitching duel to the Maris vs Mantle chase for greatness, these articles spotlight some of the great performances and baseball accomplishments that make you wonder, “How is that possible?” As with the chapter of African-American baseball heroes, the “Latino Legacy” chapter serves to highlight the contributions from legends such as Esteban Bellan, Martin Dihigo, and the Havana Sugar Kings. Personally, I am fascinated by the Cuban baseball connection to our national pastime and was especially interested in Tony Oliva’s speech at the 2022 Hall of Fame induction ceremony. As with the African-American players, the Latino players’ ability and talent was always there, the opportunity to play professional baseball was not always there. These incredible stories show their determination and bravery to make the game better for the next generation of players, players who are living in that reality in 2022.

The next chapter goes into the patriotism of a generation or two ago in “Baseball Goes To War.” Players were drafted, left their families, left their teams, some left their dreams of being a professional baseball player never to return the same. However, they answered the call from our country to fight and did not waver in their steps. This chapters spans baseball history from the Civil War through World War II and discusses the bravery of Jackie Robinson before he played his first game as a Brooklyn Dodger, the “Green Light Letter” from FDR to then Commissioner Landis, and a wonderful tale about how Johnny Evers contributed to the US Service while stationed in France. “Women in Baseball” was a wonderful chapter diving into the history of women’s professional baseball. The players, such as Toni Stone and Dolly White, who scratched and clawed and excelled on the baseball diamond. The executive, Effa Manley, who was a legend way before her time and helped open the eyes of many that women could be put in powerful roles in a baseball organization, and succeed!!! The league that has won the hearts of so many through its depiction on the big screen, “A League Of Its Own,” and the sacrifices these women made to generated a ton of excitement for baseball fans during war times. You cannot help but gain respect upon respect for these players and their contributions to the modern business and game of baseball.

Finally, the “In Their Own Words” chapter servers as the Mariano Rivera of closing chapters. Beautifully drafted and candid articles written by Johnny Bench, Trevor Hoffman, and Nolan Ryan just to name a few. Articles in their words, telling their stories of what baseball meant to them, who inspired them, why they love the game of baseball. I couldn’t wait to read Joe Castiglione’s “Right at Home,” and Peter Gammons tales of how Spring Training used to be lighting rod for the burgeoning baseball fan. The last tale in the book written by legendary Ichiro Suzuki, who is Hall of Fame eligible in 2025, “Hitting the Mark,” says it all. This book hits a baseball fan’s bullseye every single page you turn.

A fitting title to this baseball fan’s life, “Growing up with the Game.” I grew up with the game and never let go it. This book, “Baseball Memories & Dreams,” will pull you in and immerse you with beautifully written baseball stories that you will be sharing with friends, family, and teammates for years to come. I read this book in a weekend and my only regret was I wished there were more and more chapters. From the early days of stick ball and organized leagues through war times and integrations of women, African-American, and Latino players to legendary performances to rare cards and all those great tales of baseball, this book hits the cycle, throws a no-hitter, and hits a walk off grand slam with every single word of every single page. This is a must read for baseball fans.

Here is the Amazon Books link if you wish to reserve your copy of “Baseball Memories & Dreams.” Or if you would like to reserve my book, email me at ribaseballexperience@gmail.com and I will be happy to share my copy with you.

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The RIBBE is The Rhode Island Baseball Experience. It is promoting the game of baseball here in the great state of Rhode Island for the entire baseball world to see. The RIBBE is positive stories, photos, videos, and responsible social media posts. The RIBBE is an information resource for families looking for an AAU team or a summer camp or a great place to buy a first baseman’s mitt. The RIBBE is a network of coaches, tournament directors, parents, leagues, and baseball junkies whose passion of the game of baseball is unquestioned. I believe that providing expert analysis, information and directions to ballfields, and coaching advice from some of the top RI baseball minds will help promote the game of baseball here in RI to a whole new level.

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