Ball Cap Nation: A Journey Through the World of America's National Hat
As the country grows increasingly diverse and complicated, Americans seek, and occasionally find, a common thread to unite them. And, as Jim Lilliefors reveals in his new book, that common thread is what the baseball cap is made of — indeed, what has transformed it into America’s National Hat. As fads go, it’s no longer even a fad, but a part of the national identity that, for better or worse, is a symbol of America.
It feeds an illusion that Americans cherish — that despite their differences, and no matter what position they play — when wearing a baseball cap, they’re all part of the same team. Exploring every aspect of caps and their culture — including the history, manufacturing, and evolution of baseball caps; collecting and caring for caps; cap etiquette; and even cap urban legends — and packed with photos throughout, Ball Cap Nation is a delightful look at a uniquely American phenomenon.
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Before the Machine: The Story of the 1961 Pennant-Winning Reds
Mark J. Schmetzer
The Big Red Machine dominated major league baseball in the 1970s, but the Cincinnati franchise began its climb to that pinnacle in 1961, when an unlikely collection of cast-offs and wannabes stunned the baseball world by winning the National League pennant. Led by revered manager Fred Hutchinson, the team featured rising stars like Frank Robinson, Jim O’Toole, and Vada Pinson, fading stars like Gus Bell and Wally Post, and a few castoffs who suddenly came into their own, like Gene Freese and 20-game-winner Joey Jay.
In time to celebrate the 50th anniversary of their pennant-winning season, the amazing story of the “Ragamuffin Reds” is told from start to finish in Before the Machine. Written by long-time Reds Report editor Mark J. Schmetzer and featuring dozens of photos by award-winning photographer Jerry Klumpe of the Cincinnati Post & Times Star, this book surely will be a winner with every fan in Reds country and coincides with an anniversary exhibit at the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum.
Through interviews and research, Before the Machine captures the excitement of a pennant race for a team that had suffered losing seasons in 14 of the past 16 years. Schmetzer also beautifully evokes the time and place—a muggy Midwestern summer during which, as the new song of the season boasts, “the whole town’s batty for that team in Cincinnati.” Led by regional talk-show star Ruth Lyons (the Midwest’s “Oprah”) fans rallied around the Reds as never before.
The year didn’t begin well for the team. Budding superstar Frank Robinson was arrested right before spring training for carrying a concealed weapon, and long-time owner Powel Crosley Jr., died suddenly just days before the start of the season. Few experts—or fans—gave the Reds much of a chance at first place anyway. With powerhouse teams in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Milwaukee, the National League pennant was unlikely to fly over Cincinnati’s Crosley Field.
But manager Hutchinson somehow galvanized his motley crew and led them to victory after victory. Joey Jay, who had languished with the Braves, mowed down hitters while his rotation mates O’Toole and knuckleballer Bob Purkey did the same. The team also featured a dynamic duo in the bullpen in Bill Henry and Jim Brosnan, whose book about the season, Pennant Race, became a national bestseller the following year. As the rest of the league kept waiting for the Reds to fade, Hutch’s boys kept winning—and finally grabbed the pennant.
Though they couldn’t continue their magic in the World Series against the Yankees, the previously moribund Reds franchise did continue to their success throughout the decade, winning 98 games in 1962 and falling just short of another pennant in 1964. They established a recipe for success that would lead, a few years later, to the emergence of the Big Red Machine.
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Black and Blue (paperback)
Formed in 1967, the NFL's Central Division, made up of the Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Detroit Lions, and Minnesota Vikings, quickly earned the nickname “Black and Blue Division” due to the teams' fierce, physical play. Through the years, many of the toughest men in pro football have played in the Black and Blue — from Butkus to Nitschke, Eller to Spielman, Favre to Singletary to Karras to the Purple People Eaters.
Now known as the NFC North, the rivals still battle each other twice a year, celebrating their 40th season together in 2006. Black and Blue celebrates along with them, recalling the great plays and players, the memorable seasons, and the crucial games through first-hand interviews with players and coaches and first-rate photography. Capsule summaries of every game played in the division make this an essential reference for every football fan.
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Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame Highlights: Memorable Moments in Team History as Heard on the Reds Radio Network
These pieces have become a favorite feature for Reds fans, who love to celebrate the Big Red Machine’s long and storied history and traditions. This collection brings together every single one of Rhodes' pieces in a single book for both Reds fans and baseball aficionados. Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame Highlights chronicles more than 130 years of history and five world series championships and includes over 300 short accounts of the team’s greatest, saddest, wildest, and weirdest players and moments. Packed with over 100 photos furnished by the Reds and their museum, the book pays tribute to a team that remains one of America's favorites.
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Cincinnati's Crosley Field: The Illustrated History of a Classic Ballpark
John Erardi and Joel Luckhaupt
Crosley Field and another Rhodes-Erardi production, Big Red Dynasty, were honored among the top baseball books in the country by Spitball literary magazine and the Society for American Baseball Research. They also co-authored First Boys of Summer and Opening Day. Rhodes' other books are Redleg Journal, Reds in Black and White, and Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame Highlights. Erardi's other book, Pete Rose: 4,192, sole 50,000 copies.
Cincinnati's Crosley Field presents the field's history through
text and more than 150 photographs. The Cincinnati Reds played at
Crosley Field from 1912 through 1970, and the ballpark holds an iconic
place in the city's history as well as throughout Reds Country. One of
the most beloved ballparks in Major League history, Crosley Field
played host to the first night game and the first of Johnny Vander
Meer's back-to-back no-hitters, as well as four World Series and two
From the outfield terrace to the "Moon Deck," from
Lombardi's "snooze" to Big Klu's biceps, Blackwell's "whip" to Rose's
belly-flop slides, the Redlegs to the Big Red Machine, Cincinnati's
Crosley Field has them covered in words and pictures. Greg Rhodes and
John Erardi also present the great Negro Leagues teams that played at
Crosley, as well as the field's many colorful characters, such as
longtime announcer Waite Hoyt and the top-hatted vendor known as Peanut
Jim. In April 2009, the Reds' Hall of Fame and Museum opens this
season's key exhibit, Crosley Field Remembered, and Cincinnati's Crosley Field will be sold at the team's gift shop as a souvenir.
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Sports Heroes From the Greatest Location in the Nation
No one can measure the heart of a champion. It is that one distinct quality that can make any challenger a champion. Cleveland has been a part of the some of the greatest moments in sports history. They produced a football dynasty in the forties and fifties. They have won two World Series and came within outs of winning a third. Their basketball franchise has risen from the ashes to produce a miracle, and a chosen one. We have had rookie sensations that have been “super” and a night on the mound that was simply perfect. The city produced a team that electrified the world of indoor soccer with multiple championships.
It is a blue collar town that works hard to support their teams the most vocal way they can. The loyalty of the fans can never be questioned as they have stuck by their teams in good times and it bad. The fighting spirit of Cleveland and its fans can never be denied and when all the cards are dealt and the money is counted, it will be Cleveland that will once again be the finest in all of sports cities.
In his book Cleveland's Finest, author Vince McKee highlights the best moments, players, and media members in Cleveland sports history. It has in depth extremely personal interviews with some of the top names in Cleveland sports. Each interview is a no holds bar tells all of the most intimate and sometimes controversial details of the largest impact moments in our town’s sports history.
Read all about baseball legends Joe Charboneau, Len Barker, Mike Hargrove, Carlos Baerga and, John Hart. Discover all the details basketball stars Joe Tait, Fred McLeod, Austin Carr, Larry Nance and Craig Ehlo shared with the author. Soccer fans will enjoy reading the stories of Otto Orf, Bruce Miller, Hector Marinaro and Zoran Karic. And who would not want to know what football star Joe DeLuca told Vince McKee?
Equally important are the opinions of sports journalists Jerry Mires, Kenny Roda, Ken Carman, Emmet Golden, JG Spooner and Gene Winters who all provided their take on Cleveland's Finest.
Cleveland's Finest is the first book written from the player’s point of view, mixed in with the media that covered it and the fans that watched. Cleveland's Finest will change the way the entire sports nation looks at Cleveland. Finally, the true stories are told!
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First America's Team: The 1962 Green Bay Packers
The first book focused on Vince Lombardi's greatest team and arguably the most dominant team in pro football history: the 1962 Green Bay Packers.
The 1962 Green Bay Packers are still considered one of
the most dominating teams in the history of the National Football
League. In 2007, when the New England Patriots were trying to become the
first team to go unbeaten during a 16-game season and win the Super
Bowl, there were many stories written about their place in history, and
the ’62 Packers were always listed among the top three teams of all
There are a number of books on the Packers already, showing
a strong and sustained interest in one of the most popular sports
franchises in America. There are also a number of books—though far
fewer—on the Packers of the Vince Lombardi era. There has never been a
book, however, focused on Lombardi’s, and (arguably) pro football’s,
greatest team: the 1962 Packers.
The 1962 Green Bay Packers
will examine how the team was built and on Lombardi's coaching staff,
how four of the five assistants went on to become head coaches -- Bill
Austin, Tom Fears, Norb Hecker and Phil Bengtson. The team was rich with
personalities, from the glamour-conscience Hourning to the emotional
Nitschke to the laconic Starr. Of course, the strongest personality of
all was Lombardi’s, who shaped these many unique individuals and talents
into a team so dominant it changed the game forever. The Packers of
this era won five championships in seven years, including the first two
Super Bowls, creating a dynasty in the smallest market in professional
sports. The 1962 team was the signature team and their power sweep
became a national phenomenon. Despite playing in little Green Bay, the
players on Lombardi's team became national heroes. This really was the
first America's Team.
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Frozen in Time: The Enduring Legacy of the 1961 U.S. Figure Skating Team
Frozen in Time presents a deeply researched account of one of the most iconic stories in the history of American sport.
Most sports fans have heard the tragic story of the plane crash that killed all the members of the 1961 U.S. World Figure Skating Team, and sixteen of their friends, family and coaches, en route to the World Championships in Prague. This account takes readers inside the lives of the skaters, revealing the friendships and romances, the rivalries, sacrifices, and triumphs of the world-renowned competitors.
The dramatic focus lingers on two families of powerful women: the Owens and the Westerfelds. Maribel Owen, without question the most famous woman in figure skating at the time, relentlessly drives her two young daughters, pairs champion Mara and the spectacular Laurence, who graced the cover of Sports Illustrated on the day she died; Myra Westerfeld, meanwhile, loses her marriage while guiding her daughters Sherri and Steffi to the pinnacle of the sport.
Author Nikki Nichols also explores the aftermath of the crash. In an unprecedented period in American athletics, the U.S. skating program had lost all of its stars and struggled to rebuild, pushing forward very young competitors, such as Peggy Fleming. But perhaps the most far-reaching effect was the creation of The United States Figure Skating Association’s Memorial Fund, which would provide training grants and scholarships to skaters who would not otherwise be able to afford the sport—among them Scott Hamilton and other of top skaters.
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Local Boys, The
Joe Heffron and Jack Heffron
Hometown Players for the Cincinnati Reds
Foreword by Chris Welsh
Though one of the smaller markets in Major League Baseball, Cincinnati has produced far more than its share of professional baseball players and many have played, at some point in their careers, for the hometown team. And hometown fans worshiped them. Though nearly 3 million people live in the area, the city retains a certain small-town sense of self. And it holds no one in higher regard than a local boy in a Cincinnati Reds uniform. No dream is better understood — or held in such esteem — as hoping to play for the Reds. For proof, note the 50-foot-high bas-relief sculpture on the wall at the entrance to Great American Ball Park. In it, a Cincinnati boy envisions himself among the clouds—playing ball with the Reds he idolizes.
Local Boys tells the story of the men who achieved the dream. From Ethan Allen to Don Zimmer, from Charlie “Bushel Basket” Gould, who played on the first team in 1869 to Junior Griffey, soon to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. They’re all here. Alongside big-name stars like Dave Parker and Buddy Bell, fans will find Eddie Hunter, who played only one inning in 1933, never got to bat and never fielded a ball. Every player receives a one- or two-page profile, many of which are based on original interviews with the player or surviving family members. The profile goes beyond statistics; it brings the player to life through stories that have never been told in print before.
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Paul Brown: The Rise and Fall and Rise Again of Football's Most Innovative Coach (Hardcover)
Paul Brown is a football legend, yet few fans know the story of this very private man. This book follows Brown’s life and career, from his childhood and college years through his domination as a coach on every major level — high school, collegiate, and pro — to his painful exile from a sport he essentially helped create. In relating the story of Paul Brown and his gridiron innovations, Andrew O’Toole tells the story of modern day football.
Paul Brown ranks as one of the greatest of football coaches in history
Considered the "father of the modern offense," Brown dominated as a
gridiron general on every major level — high school (Massillon HS -
from "Go, Tigers"), college (Ohio State), and professional (Cleveland
Browns, Cincinnati Bengals).
Brown gained his reputation as an innovator during his time in
Cleveland. He was the first to use intelligence tests to judge players,
establish a film library, instruct players in a classroom setting,
attempt to use a radio transmitter to communicate with players on the
field, and install face masks on helmets.
He was also a person known for his stubborn approach to
criticism. Brown was honored in 1967 by his election to the Pro Football
Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. In addition to that accolade, two
stadiums bear his name: Paul Brown Tiger Stadium in Massillon, and Paul
Brown Stadium, current home of the Bengals. Indirectly, a third stadium
bears his name: Cleveland Browns Stadium. Learn more about Paul Brown
in this book. Grab a copy today, settle in your favorite easy chair and
get the facts about one of football's greatest coaches.
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