Summer Game Books’ Hollywood Connection

Fenway Park,” by Lindsay Fros

SGB is very fortunate to have paintings by Lindsay Frost gracing the covers of two of our titles. Soap opera fans and fans of television in general will recognize Lindsay’s name from her first big role in As the World Turns in the 1980s. Since that time she has appeared in dozens of shows and films.

I knew none of this when I came across her paintings one day while surfing for suitable cover art. All I knew was that this was a person who has a strong emotional connection to and understanding of baseball. It really came through her art.

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The 1961 Reds’ Secret Weapon

Three dynamic duos provided the driving force behind the Cincinnati Reds winning the 1961 National League pennant. And for good measure, manager Fred Hutchinson had a secret weapon. His name was Jerry Lynch.

Most notable among the Reds' productive pairs were outfielders Frank Robinson and Vada Pinson, who combined to score 218 runs. Robinson, who hit 37 home runs and drove in 124, was the league's MVP. Pinson, who hit .343 and finished second behind Roberto Clemente (.351) in the batting race, placed third in the voting. Joey Jay and Jim O'Toole formed a nice righty-lefty pitching tandem, winning 40 games between them and throwing a total of 499 innings. Right-hander Jim Brosnan and southpaw Bill Henry earned 16 saves a piece in a day when there was no gimme for protecting a three-run lead.

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The Art of Baseball

May will see the publication of Books 2 and 3 of The Cooperstown Trilogy, by J. B. Manheim. As is the case with Book 1, This Never Happened: The Mystery Behind the Death of Christy Mathewson, the cover designs and art will be done by baseball artist and historian, Gary Cieradkowski. The GameKeepers (Book 2) is the story of a secret organization tasked with concealing Baseball's deepest and darkest secrets—and what happens when the enterprise is threatened to be exposed. We have been fans of Gary...

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Jim Kaat: The Irreplaceable Replacement Player

Jim Kaat drops down.

WAR is not the answer The goal of modern baseball analytics is to render perceptions meaningless. Numbers don't lie, but people do, and times and the game changes, making it hard to measure greatness across eras, and by extension, which players should and should not be in the Hall of Fame. Wins Above Replacement, or WAR, has become the short-hand tool to measure player value—a simple expression of how many more games a team would win with that player instead of a readily available alternative, o...

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Four Veterans Committee Players for the Hall of Fame

Ken Boyer

On November 5, the Hall of Fame (HOF) announced the 20 finalists (10 from the "Early Years" and 10 from the "Golden Years") who will be considered by the Veterans Committee for its class of 2022. In addition to longtime Pirates manager Danny Murtaugh and seven Negro Leaguers (John Donaldson, Bud Fowler, Vic Harris, Grant Johnson, Buck O'Neill, Dick Redding, and George Scales), the 20 finalists include 12 players for whom Career Value Index (CVI) can be calculated. Their career WAR and CVI totals...

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Ernie Banks

To paraphrase Mark Twain, everybody complains about who's in and not in the Hall of Fame, but nobody does anything about it. Nobody but David Gordon, that is. David has devised a new metric called Career Value Index, or CVI, to measure the greatest baseball players in the history of the game. The results of his inspiration and perspiration are presented in our new title BASEBALL GENERATIONS. What Is CVI? CVI is a WAR-based metric that advances the comparison and ranking of the all-time greats in...

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Career Value Index – A New Tool for Evaluating Players for the Hall of Fame

Baseball fans, more than any other sports fans, revere their history. The legends and stars of the past are ever present in the games we watch today and their relative merits are constantly debated – especially regarding the Hall of Fame. For example, Barry Bonds surpassed Henry Aaron who surpassed Babe Ruth, Cal Ripken surpassed Lou Gehrig, Pete Rose surpassed Ty Cobb. During the 2021 World Series, the spirit of Henry Aaron is frequently evoked. Baseball statistics have always been the scaffold...

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In Baseball History, Sometimes Fiction Tells the Truth

Summer Game Books is very excited about the upcoming publication of a new title This Never Happened: The Mystery Behind the Death of Christy Mathewson. We have never published anything like it. We have never read anything like it. It is fiction, to be sure. But it is more than that. The book is nothing short of a coherent alternative narrative for one of the core stories from early 20th century baseball history. Not every novel gets its start with authentic WWI documents that go on the auction b...

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The Mighty “King Solomon” White

No baseball in April means no Jackie Robinson Day, which is particularly painful this year because 2020 is the 100th anniversary of the start of the Negro Leagues—the Negro National League (NNL) to be precise—a major anniversary that was to be given a lot of attention by Major League Baseball. We can hope it will be possible to at least have at least an abbreviated commemoration. The driving force behind the formation of the NNL in 1920 was Andrew "Rube" Foster. Foster was a star pitcher in blac...

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Greatest Baseball Books Ever - Part 2: Criteria for Selection

Some all-time greatest lists are derived from measurable criteria, like rock albums ranked by the number of 10-ten lists they appeared on combined with number of records sold; or rating the best offensive football players by using total yards gained from scrimmage. But more often, the choices people and publications make to arrive at their all-time greatest lists are more subjective. With books, some subjectivity is unavoidable because reading and the enjoyment of reading are very personal exper...

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The Summer Game Books All-Time Top 50

A lot of people who like baseball books like to collect baseball books. They, or I should say "we," have shelves or even walls of baseball books to look at, to occasionally refer to, and to keep us company, especially through the winter. This year of course, baseball winter has stretched into the spring and may even continue through the summer. And a lot of people who are really into things – like movies or music or baseball – have opinions about not only their favorite movie or band or ballplay...

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The Anguished Joy of Sparky Lyle

Sparky Lyle had one of the all-time great seasons for a relief pitcher in 1977 when he went 13-5 with 26 saves. In 60 appearances he totaled 137 innings, compiling an ERA of 2.17 and winning the AL Cy Young Award. His 137 IP out of the bullpen is inconceivable in today's baseball. But even then, Sparky was no middle reliever. Lyle had 60 games finished of his 72 appearances, meaning he was closer, but one who frequently entered the game in the 6th or 7th inning. Rich Gossage had similar numbers ...

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Introducing the 2016 Lineup

2016 is our third year of publishing quality baseball books. We’ve come a long way already, but even more exciting is all the great things ahead of us, not the least of which is our superb 2016 publication list.

Batting Leadoff – The Red Sox

Early April features new editions of two really strong titles, both with a Red Sox theme. The first is TONY C, an in-depth biography of Boston’s tragic hero, Tony Conigliaro, which blends Conig’s career as a ballplayer, with his rather active off-the-field social life (pop star, playboy, karate), and the tension between him and Sox icon Carl Yastrzemski.

Jump forward about 15 years to 1986 for Mike Sowell’s account of the 1986 post season, ONE STRIKE AWAY, in which the Red Sox joined the Mets, Astros, and Angels to battle it out in what is probably the most intense and dramatic playoffs and World Series in baseball history.

Campanis – Baseball is a Family Business

web BIB coverV3 1Early May will bring our first original title of the year, and it’s a beauty. BORN INTO BASEBALL, by Jim Campanis, Jr., is a collection of stories, reflections, and brief essays by a third-generation baseball man. There’s plenty of humor, an inside look at the hard life of a minor leaguer, and the pressures of living up to high family expectations.

When most fans hear the name “Campanis,” they think of only one thing – Al Campanis and Nightline. Jim Jr. was in the midst of launching his own career as a ballplayer when that disaster struck, and his life changed forever. But BORN INTO BASEBALL offers an entirely fresh perspective on that seminal event in the history of race relations in baseball, and its author shows us how good often comes from even the worst adversity, if we direct our energies towards hope and growth rather than becoming defensive or bitter.

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