World Series Trophy to Appear at the Library on Sunday!

That’s right… the 2007 Red Sox World Series trophy will be at the Main Library this Sunday, April 13th.  Red Sox representatives will bring the trophy to the library at 11am and it will remain on display until 3:30pm.  Don’t miss this chance to view a piece of Red Sox history.  The Main Library is located at 82 Main Street, Peabody, MA.  If you have questions about viewing the trophy, call 978.531.0100 ext. 14.

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Ted Williams and the Pursuit of Perfection

Author Bill Nolan, will present this lecture at the library tonight at 7pm. We still have some spots open, so call 978.531.0100 to reserve one. If you can’t attend or you are inspired to learn more about Teddy Ballgame, check out one of these books:

The teammates by David Halberstam: a look at the friendship between Ted Williams, Dom DiMaggio, Bobby Doerr and Johnny Pesky.

Ted Williams : a portrait in words and pictures by Dick Johnson

Hitter : the life and turmoils of Ted Williams by Edward Linn

Ted Williams : the biography of an American hero by Leigh Montville

Ted Williams : a baseball life by Michael Seidel

It’s only me : the Ted Williams we hardly knew by John Underwood

And don’t forget that Williams himself wrote a number of books worth looking at:

My turn at bat : the story of my life

The science of hitting

Ted Williams : my life in pictures

To introduce this baseball great to your kids, try:

Ted Williams by Shaun McCormack

Ted Williams by Rick Wolff

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Early Boston Baseball caught on camera

The Boston Public Library has very interesting collection of historic Boston baseball photos. They have posted this McGreevey Collection on flickr. The description provided by the BPL of this photo set is:

“A collection of early Boston baseball photographs ranging from 1875 to 1916. Represented are many of the most important ballplayers of the 19th and early 20th century including Cy Young, Ty Cobb, Mike “King” Kelly, Kid Nichols and many others. Also included are panoramic photos of the ballparks of the era including the Huntington Avenue Grounds in Boston and the Polo Grounds in New York. The centerpiece of the collection is a series of photographs related to the first World Series in 1903 between Boston and Pittsburgh. Featured are photographs of the fans of the Boston team, the “Royal Rooters” and their leader Michael T. “Nuf Ced” McGreevey. ”

Michael McGreevey and his Royal Rooters are, of course, memorialized in the Dropkick Murphys famous song, “Tessie.” To see the Murphys perform this Red Sox anthem at Fenway, check out this YouTube video.

While, the library couldn’t score the Dropkick Murphys for our Play by the Book program (we did try), you can stop by to learn more about the early history of baseball at the April 12th program presented by the Essex Base Ball Club. The club will be at the library that Saturday at 11 a.m. to talk about their league, which plays by 19th century rules. To sign up for this program, call the library at 978.531.0100.

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Book Review: The Natural by Bernard Malamud

natural1.jpgWhen Roy Hobbs is shot at the age of 19, his dreams of a baseball career are put off until he returns to the game as a rookie at the age of 34. Roy comes to play for the New York Knights, the last place team in the league, and his natural abilities to play great baseball lead the team out of their embarrassing slump.

The Natural is a book about a sports hero’s rise and fall from glory and the things that encourage and impede his success. While most of the book’s characters are not very likable, they are certainly interesting. Cocky Roy lets success go to his head and promises he will be “the best there ever was in the game.” In addition, he falls for Memo, a shallow, self-absorbed woman who wants nothing to do with him and with whom most readers will struggle to understand why he wastes his time. “The Judge,” owner of the Knights, abuses his power to corrupt the game. Max Mercy, a reporter, is out to dig up the “dirt” about Roy and works to expose the darker side of the “hero.” Even the fans are fickle, in love with the Knights when they are on a winning streak, but downright mean and nasty when they lose. Iris, Roy’s inspiration, is practically the only main character that seems to rise above the ugliness seen in the majority of the book’s other characters.

While this reviewer is not terribly well-versed in sports literature, I think it is safe to say that The Natural is not your typical sports book. Malamud fuses complex characters, mythology and baseball to create a story that is rich in its examination of human nature and the heroes we create.

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Let the games begin!

The fun starts tomorrow with Wii… Read it… Wii… Play it… at the West Branch Library. Baseball, stories, poetry, trivia and video games… there’s a little something for everyone at this weekly event for ages 7 and up. This program will take place Tuesday’s from 3:30 to 4:30. For more information, call the West Branch at 978-535-3354.

Also up starting tomorrow at the Main Library is an exhibit on the History of Baseball in Peabody- “In Good Style.” For a sneak peak into this fun trip through local baseball history, check out our post from March 27th.

It’s shaping up to be an exciting season on the field and at the library!

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Civil Rights Game to be played tonight

At 5pm tonight the Chicago White Sox and the New York Mets will take part in one of baseball’s newest traditions: the Civil Rights Game. In only its second year, the preseason exhibition game celebrates the historic integration of the major leagues.

Tonight’s game will take place at AutoZone park in Memphis, Tennessee. The park sits just blocks from the National Civil Rights Museum.

Ken Williams, the White Sox General Manager said of the game, “Baseball’s history and tradition need to be remembered, celebrated and constantly re-evaluated by everyone connected with the game. The Civil Rights Game provides us all with an annual opportunity to do just that, and we look forward to playing in this year’s exhibition contest against the Mets.” To learn more about the game, check out the MBL’s website on the event.

2008 marks the 61st year since Jackie Robinson’s rookie season with the Brooklyn Dodgers. To get into the spirit of the Civil Rights game, find out more about Robinson, race and baseball in American history. Check out the Library of Congress online collection or stop by the library for one of these books:

Race and Baseball:

First class citizenship : the civil rights letters of Jackie Robinson by Jackie Robinson

Shut out : a story of race and baseball in Boston by Howard Bryant

Playing America’s game : baseball, Latinos, and the color line by Adrian Burgos

forgottenplayers.jpgThe forgotten players : the story of black baseball in America by Robert Gardner

Black diamond : the story of the Negro baseball leagues by Pat McKissack

Champions on the bench : the story of the Cannon Street YMCA All Stars by Carole Boston Weatherford

Biographies of great African-American baseball players:

Promises to keep : how Jackie Robinson changed America by Sharon Robinson

Satchel Paige : don’t look back by David Adler

First in the field : baseball hero Jackie Robinson by Derek Dingle

Opening day : the story of Jackie Robinson’s first season by Jonathan Eig

Teammates by Peter Golenblock

Sports great Kirby Puckett by Nathan Aaseng

strongrightarm.jpgA strong right arm : the story of Mamie “Peanut” Johnson by Michelle Y. Green

Novels for kids and teens:

The bat boy & his violin by Gavin Curtis

stumptownkid.jpgStumptown kid by Carol Gorman

Jackie and me : a baseball card adventure by Dan Gutman

Satch & me : a baseball card adventure by Dan Gutman

The journal of Biddy Owens, the Negro leagues by Walter Dean Myers

Safe at home by Sharon Robinson

For a book and movie combo, check out the book Finding Buck McHenry by Alfred Slote, which was made into the movie Finding Buck McHenry in 2001.

Adults won’t want to miss our community reading title Double play by Robert Parker.

Enjoy the game and happy reading!

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“In Good Style”

Peabody Baseball Team of 1899

Peabody Baseball Team of 1899

The rules for baseball have changed a lot over the years. But the excitement over the game is as high as ever.

In the 1850s, players used baseballs that were the size of golf balls and were filled with shot. Their bats looked more like broomsticks than what we know today. And the games. . .well, they weren’t exactly played like they are today.
In 1860, a game played between the South Danvers Bencia Club and the Lynn Outalanchets had 45 innings and a final score of 76 to 31. South Danvers (now Peabody) won that match. Unfortunately, the Civil War began soon after and 8 of the 12 men on the team joined the Army. Five were so severely wounded during battle that they were discharged due to their disabilities. And one, Charles Warner, was killed at the Battle of Fair Oakes in Virginia.

After the war, baseball fever heated up again. There were lots of great players during the 1870s and 1880s. One of the best was Sam King. He was so good, in fact, that in 1871 Harry Wright, who had just formed the Boston Red Stockings (later the Red Sox), asked Sam if he wanted to play for him. He did, but his parents’ didn’t agree. And Sam stayed in Peabody. That didn’t stop his playing, though.

He played for the Lynn Live Oaks, a semi-professional team. And in 1884, he was asked to play for another major league team, the Washington Nationals. He stayed in Peabody for the rest of his life, operating his real estate business from his home on Lowell Street. He died in 1922.

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