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Take Me Out To The Ballgame
Dave Berger, author

Adult; Other Nonfiction; (Market)

Most of these baseball injuries occurred off the field. Whether it was falling out of a bathtub, getting bit by spiders, getting bit by your mother-in-law's dog, or other crazy, bizarre injuries, this book tells the stories of why players had to miss ballgames because of their injuries. Injuries that could happen to any one of us.
This slim, easy-to-read book thoroughly details a niche part of baseball lore: the freak injury. With long seasons, frequent travel, and demanding game play, baseball players are susceptible to weird and wild accidents, collected here by Berger for reader amusement. The author provides an ample history of all 30 current, and one defunct, baseball teams through the lens of their players’ most intriguing injuries. Notable highlights include a drone repair gone wrong, Guitar Hero overload, animal bites, catastrophic food poisoning, and an oblique injury sustained while fluffing a pillow. Peppered with statistics, fun facts, and occasional personal tidbits about the author’s life, this book is perfect for MLB fans looking to delve into one of the weirder sides of the game.

The account could be slightly more structured. The chapters, each focused on a team, are ordered based on Major League Baseball's divisions, with an alphabetical player index at the back, should readers want to seek out a particular player by name as well as a team index. And entry length and contents vary: some players have extra fun facts, some have photos, some have more than one injury listed at a time, and others have barely anything—merely a very brief sketch. Because many of the entries include information beyond injuries, the book sometimes crosses the line into general facts and figures, somewhat muddling its purpose. It works best when focusing on the freak mishaps, carving out a niche purpose in the world of baseball reference material.

This book is an ode to what makes baseball great—its players’ quirks. Berger’s descriptions impart a sense of the wonder and awe associated with the sport, and he is not only knowledgeable about his topic of choice but clearly inspired by it. Those who are not already baseball fans might find themselves slightly confused by game terms and stadium locations, but any trivia buff will be sucked in by the bizarre anecdotes.

Takeaway: Trivia lovers and sports fans alike will appreciate this thorough compilation of MLB injuries and fun facts.

Great for fans of: Bill O’Neill’s The Great Book of Baseball series, Jamie Frater’s The Ultimate Book of Top Ten Lists.

Production grades
Cover: A-
Design and typography: B
Illustrations: B+
Editing: B+
Marketing copy: A