Opening day! Even with a mild Great Lakes winter, gorgeous early spring, and tulips blooming everywhere, it isn't really spring until baseball's opening day.
If you guessed that I'm a baseball fan, you're right.
So, in honor of opening day, I'll make a pitch here with some quick links to titles celebrating heroes of baseball. I'll make it quick, though, because I need to pack up for tailgating.
There Goes Ted Williams: The Greatest Hitter Who Ever Lived by Matt Tavares.
I just got my hands on a copy of this 2012 release this week, and I feel confident in recommending it whether you enjoy baseball or not. Ted Williams is a complex character (who isn't, if it's real life?) and Tavares addresses that in the author's note. But this book focuses on the undeniably incredible baseball accomplishments of Ted Williams.
Its large format, full page illustrations (which remind me somewhat of Kadir Nelson's work), shifting intense perspectives and scales all give a larger-than-life player his due.
HENRY AARON'S DREAM, a book I have read and used often. In fact, it's the reason I was anxious to read his Ted Williams release.
David A. Adler has authored many outstanding biographies, but two from the world of baseball are LOU GEHRIG: THE LUCKIEST MAN and A PICTURE BOOK OF JACKIE ROBINSON.
So far these have been iconic names, known by fans and even by those who never watched a single innning. Along those lines when you hear "Hammerin' Hank" you likely expect to hear about Hank Aaron. True enough, he earned the same nickname in the modern era.
But before that time, baseball's color barrier extended beyond race to ethnicity, and the original Hammerin' Hank's story is told in a book by Yona Zeldis McDonough.
Check out HAMMERIN' HANK: THE LIFE OF HANK GREENBERG to learn more about the struggles of a boy from an orthodox Jewish family who wanted to play baseball instead of going to college. His talent won him a place on a major league team, but the fans in the stands were not as welcoming, to say the least.
I'll leave these with you to explore, and each deserves a closer look and more detailed review.
For now my to-do list needs to-be-done so I can settle back to await the umpire's call- PLAY BALL!