Sunday, December 26, 2010

Snow Day Part I: Books!

As you've probably read all over the place today, there's a little bit of snow on the East Coast. I went out early this morning, made sure there was gas in the car, food in the fridge where I am staying, grabbed a book that I've wanted for a while to round out the small pile of awesome books I have with me (we'll get to those), and grabbed some SNOW CARDS in the form of another one of those Target repack deals, this time the 10 packs for $10 one. Got back just as stuff was getting weird with the snow, ate, opened a bunch of packs of cards (we'll get to those too, just in the next post; the computer with the scanner is occupied at the moment) and planned to write about things earlier than I am, then watch some f00'ball...then I conked out. Long (but good) day yesterday, and I needed the rest, so I didn't get to see Da Bears beat the Jets in the snow today (I'll have to see if anyone I know "taped" it), nor did I know about what happened to the Giants until just now (45-17? Ouch. it was 14-14 close to halftime!). I'm up now, though, and I'm probably gonna be where I am a while, so let's talk a bit about my holiday, some cool stuff that came my way, and how, despite ever-present hard-ish times, I'm really fortunate.

First, the books:

The Barry Halper Collection Of Baseball Memorabilia is something I've wanted for a long, long time. It's a three book set issued by Sotheby's auction house, detailing their rather huge auction of the late Mr. Halper's baseball collection, which I'd been reading about and hearing about since the 1980's. I was fortunate enough to see the initial Halper Collection exhibit in Cooperstown while it was still there, and it was one of the highlights of my baseball life. Since then, some serious questions have been asked about the authenticity of some of the artifacts Mr. Halper obtained and later sold or donated, and also about whether or not these items were obtained legally, but I feel like this controversy adds, rather than detracts to the wonder and mystery of the collection, and makes these books even more of a must-own now. Having never seen the book set in person before yesterday, I was shocked at how huge it is. From this picture and others I've seen, it looked like a smaller paperback boxed set, but these are giant, heavy trade paperbacks, filled cover-to-cover with gorgeous photography, detailed descriptions of the items (occasionally with typographical or historical errors, but we'll let those slide), and essays written by Peter Golenbock, Yogi Berra and Ted Williams about Barry Halper and his collection. The next book I'm going to write about today describes this set as a must-own, and I couldn't agree more. Get them while you can, and enjoy!

Yes, I crossed one off my list just by getting the Halper books for Christmas! (It's item #127.) I'd leafed through The Baseball Fan's Bucket List: 162 Things You Must Do, See, Get, and Experience Before You Die a bunch of times in various book stores, and I finally broke down and grabbed it for myself this morning with some Christmas money I got. It's a really fun little reference book/conversation starter, light reading for being as detailed as it is, and covers pretty much all facets of the game from the World Series to Little League, from the present back to the 1800s. To date, I've done 38 out of the 162 items on the list, which I think is pretty good considering that a lot of them involve travel and I don't get out too much.

The last baseball book I got for Christmas is The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America's Childhood by Jane Leavy. I haven't cracked the cover on this one just yet, as I am still working on The Fall of the 1977 Phillies: How a Baseball Team's Collapse Sank a City's Spirit and don't wanna work on two non-reference books at once, but I am totally looking forward to it.

Cards and a bit of a summary of things next, later this evening! Stay warm if there's snow near you!


  1. I didn't know that the Halper catalogs were available. Now I'll have to consider what to do with that Amazon gift card I got for Christmas.

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. It's well worth the purchase, Mark. It's basically like a huge museum in one box of books. One thing about the box: it's not terribly sturdy (bottom seams seem to go on them, even in storage), but the books are gorgeous.

  3. I've got a few of the REA catalogs. Love them.


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