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The Baseball: Stunts, Scandals, and Secrets Beneath the Stitches

The Baseball: Stunts, Scandals, and Secrets Beneath the Stitches [Kindle Edition]

Zack Hample
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

The holy grail, the fountain of youth, the golden fleece, and the baseball: rarely do objects inspire such madness. The Baseball is a salute to the ball, filled with insider trivia, anecdotes, and generations of ball-induced insanity.  
Which Hall of Famer once caught a ball dropped from an airplane?
Why do balls get stamped with invisible ink?
What’s the best ticket to buy for catching a foul ball?
Which part of the ball once came from dog food companies?
How could a 10,000-year-old glacier help a pitcher grip the ball?
In this enlightening, entertaining, and often wildly funny book, Zack Hample shares ballpark legends and lore, details the evolution of the ball, and offers up his secret methods for snagging your own from major league games.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 8611 KB
  • Print Length: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor (8 Mar 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004G8P7BY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #894,581 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A book of two halves 6 Oct 2011
By Louis B
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Having previously read Watching Baseball Smarter: A Professional Fan's Guide for Beginners, Semi-Experts, and Deeply Serious Geeks (Vintage), Zack's previous book i thought this would be a no-Brainer, and for the first half of the book it really was. Interesting information about baseballs is jumping out of every page, from anecdotes and stats to how to make a baseball.

The second part of the book is to do with how to catch a baseball in a ballpark, something Zack is very famous for and is very passionate about. While interesting to read, living in the U.K. and not having access to any mlb grounds, it ends up feeling like you're on the outside looking in on a great party.

The writing was excellent throughout, and i didn't stop reading, but the last half, for me, fell a little flat.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A good read.... at first. 19 Jun 2011
By Tucker
Format:Kindle Edition
I bought this book in an airport departures shop having flicked through the first 20 or so pages and liked what I saw. Had I flicked through much more I probably wouldn't have bothered. The little stories and anecdotes about players of note are entertaining and worth quoting to friends... "Did you know....". Even the section regarding the history of the ball and the manufacturing process kept my interest to a relatively high level. Then you get to the section about how to catch a ball in every which way possible and you realise this is the authors real passion. I don't want to be too negative about this section because this just isn't 'my thing' but believe there is a big following out there. I would the worst kind of reviewer if I criticised a book subject just because it was written about something I wasn't personally into. The book is well penned and, despite the final subject, still kept me reading till the end. Zack Hample is obviously a devoted, dedicated ballhawk that has a large following. Perhaps I am simply jealous of his extensive interaction with some of baseballs stars.... although I doubt it. However, if catching baseballs is your thing, then this is the book for you. Mr Hample covers every possible scenario you could ever come across. EVERY possible scenario!!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.1 out of 5 stars  32 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thats the way the baseball bounces 5 Jun 2011
By M. A. Filippelli - Published on
Have you ever wondered what's inside a baseball? Perhaps you cut one in half as a kid for show and tell at school. Good news we get to find out what's in the baseball and how it has changed over the years. What Author Zach Hample has produced her is a multi faceted look at the ball it's effect on the game and the fans who chase these balls down.

The Baseball stunts, scandals, and secrets beneath the stitches starts back in the 1840's when the first baseball was developed basically by wrapping yarn into a ball and then covering it with hide. These days exacting measurements are used to make a baseball.

As it turns out what's inside a baseball has changed many times over the last 170 years. Author Zach Hample walks the reader through the history of the baseball, the effect the changing baseball has had on the game. Moving from the dead ball era to the live ball era undoubtedly was the most dramatic change in the game. When baseball started getting lively baseball parks started getting bigger.

It was interesting to see how the structure of the game changed. In the early days teams only had one ball per game. If that ball went into the stands it had to be retrieved before the game could continue. These days as many as 70 get used per game and fans chasing them down get to keep them.

Another interesting part of the book is the allegations that the baseball was juiced in the late 90's and early 2000's. Major league baseball did a lot of testing of the baseball and couldn't find much difference between new ball and ones produced a few years earlier. It turns out the it was the baseball players that were juiced though Hample doesn't talk about that.

Hample described in detail how the ball is made and tested before it gets into a game.
One of the most interesting sections of of the book is were Hample talks about how to prepare your self to go to the ball park and be successful at getting batting practice balls, game balls, how to position yourself in the stands based on the hitter at the plate the best stadiums to do this. This is called ball hawking. Included in the are people that are ball hawks. They talk about the most valuable ball they got, how many balls they have gotten over the years their appearances on radio and tv. Hample also talks about some the the most famous balls and the legal battles that have ensued over ownership and the right to sell them.

Very well written, informative and interesting. There is some anecdotal stuff here but basically Hample does a good job of sticking to the subject of the baseball.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The" Baseball 6 May 2011
By Danny B. Wood - Published on
I've been a baseball fan for over 50 years. I've played since I was 6 years old, I played in high school and college and Over 50 baseball. I've umpired and I've collected all types of baseballs including over 3,000 autographed balls and another 2,000 logo type balls. I literally learned something NEW on every page of the first half of the book that I never knew. The research that went in to this book has never been done or at least published before. Anyone that is able to actually visit the Rawlings plant in Costa Rica certainly has my respect. It is the most incredible book I have ever read about "the ball". Thanks, Zack!!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars .333 Average, (HR) 7 Feb 2012
By Vincent Vargas - Published on
I got this book as a gift from someone who knows I love baseball. Mr. Hemple came up to bat three times (3 sections: Baseball in the News, Historic and Factual Stuff, and How to Snag Major League Baseballs). Baseball in the News chronicles some of the more famous (or infamous) events involving the baseball - milestone homers, fan 'intervention', career ending injuries, celebs, and the like. A mix of the interesting and the trivial: Deep fly to left (0-1).

The second section takes you on a fascinating journey as the baseball evolves from the beginning right through modern day. It is interesting to read the loose definition of the baseball in the official rule book, and how teams interpreted the rule and even experimented with the ball to favor their team. This section will likely cause you to pause and reflect on who were the hitters of that day and how they might have either benefitted or been hindered by the baseball of that particular period. Would Mr. Ruth have hit as many homers or hit even more? Would Mr. Cobb have had such a career batting average if a baseball from earlier or later years had been used? And, I found it fascinating that the "juiced" ball controversy has been around since the beginning of time and yet the baseball manufacturing process, while tightly controlled, monitored, and enforced to meet specifications, has an element of secrecy! Home Run to deep Left-Center (1-2).

The third section is a how-to guide to getting a souvenir. Here Mr. Hemple offers some of his experiences and tricks of the trade after collecting thousands of official MLB balls. There is also a Who's Who section of elite "ballhawks", a term I learned from reading the book. I enjoyed this section, but after the last AB, I found it a bit trivial. Sure, I will keep some of his tips in mind but I am not likely to go to a ballgame intending to collect a souvenir, so I found this section only moderately entertaining. Sharp grounder to short, 6-3 put-out (1-3).

Overall, an enjoyable read.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars starts good,ends weak. 7 April 2014
By John Forrester - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Interesting history, but too much ball-hawk stuff for wasn't what I expected.
The book wandered off in a strange direction.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inside Baseball's Mystique 17 Feb 2012
By Larry Underwood - Published on
The game of baseball has been our National Pastime long before the Chicago Cubs won their last World Series (1908). Much of our fascination revolves around that wonderful little stitched ball that is the center of attention in the game itself. The great pitchers throughout baseball history have amazed us with their ability to throw that little ball with so much speed and/or movement to make opposing batters look foolish. Then there are the game's great hitters who always seem to get the big hit when the game is on the line; who can send that ball sailing out of the park, or hit vicious line drives in the gap to score a runner from first base with two outs in the bottom of the ninth to win the game.

Zack Hample has compiled this fascinating perspective of the baseball - and why it has become such a sought after commodity - especially ones that have historic significance. When foul balls - or home run balls - wind up in the seats, the mad scramble for that souvenir can turn into a wild free-for-all. Normally civilized individuals often turn hostile as they fight for sole possession of that little round treasure. For the typical fan, the thrill of catching a foul ball during a game is unparalleled in their life's accomplishments. The author even devotes a section of the book on the fine art of "ball hawking" - something he has done with remarkable proficiency over the past twenty years or so. In fact, if there was a "ball hawking" Hall of Fame, Hample would be a first ballot inductee.

If you love the game of baseball, Hample's engaging historical perspective will be a great addition to your "baseball library". I highly recommend it!
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