I’ve been on the road for a few days and, as you might imagine, have a lot of reads to go through before this morning’s Mug can be posted. There will still be a Mug this morning, but I appreciate your patience as it might be a little late. If you’re looking for something to read while you wait, here’s a book review I wrote on the flight home.
When I got an email asking if I would be willing to review Peter Handrinos’ The Funniest Baseball Book Ever, I jumped at the opportunity. Clearly, if I hadn’t I’d always wonder if it really was the standard by which other funny baseball books should be measured, alongside books like Ball Four. And while it falls short of its ambitious title, Handrinos’ work is one of the more thorough compilations of baseball quotes and stories I’ve read.
As baseball quotebooks go, this one is a very handy reference tool, with nearly 250 of the book’s 339 pages devoted to notable baseball quotes, sorted by subject. For example, here’s a quote from former Brewer manager Harvey Kuenn, filed under the heading "Managers and Managing:"
"All I do is write their names on the lineup card and let them play. It’s not a tough job. I haven’t misspelled one name yet."
Topics range all over the place, but some of my favorites were on current and former major league cities, like these three filed under Milwaukee, Denver and Montreal, respectively:
"I opened my eyes to see if I was in heaven or if I was in Milwaukee." – Kevin Seitzer, on being hit by a pitch.
"Everyone seemed so surprised that the pope outdrew the Rockies in Denver. They’re forgetting that this is not an expansion pope." – Scott Ostler
"If, in some distant century, it becomes necessary to transport thousands of Earth colonists to Alpha Centauri, I picture them making the trip in something that looks rather like Olympic Stadium." – Art Hill
As you might expect, this book includes a volume of quotes and stories you’ve likely heard before from many of the usual suspects like Bob Uecker, Yogi Berra, and Bill Lee. But, the book also includes a fair number of quotes from newer baseball luminaries, like Craig Calcaterra, Joe Posnanski and Bill James.
Once you’re past the quotes, the last two segments of the book are devoted to nicknames and pranks, with explanations for hundreds of player nicknames and a list of the top 20 pranks in baseball history. Like the quotes, there are probably some you’ve heard before, others you haven’t and some that will make you laugh out loud, generating angry looks from the people that were sleeping nearby on an airplane.
If you’re looking for a book full of Brewer stories and quotes, you might be a little disappointed with this one. There are some Brewer cameos, but they’re few and far between. This isn’t a book about the Brewers, it’s a book about baseball which, as it happens, has some Brewer mentions in it. But, if you’re looking for a compilation of classic baseball quotes both old and new, you could definitely do worse. I’m planning on holding onto my copy to use as a reference: As a writer, you never know when a quote on a specific subject will come in handy, and this one is nicely sorted for that purpose.
Hopefully this book will be entertaining and useful for one of you, as well. The publisher sent me two copies, so I have one to give away to one lucky reader. I’m adding it to the prize pool for this season’s Brew Crew Ball prediction contest. If you’d like to win it, click here to enter the contest. You have until game time today to submit your entry.
Thanks to Peter Handrinos and Andrews McMeel Publishing for sharing two copies of this book. Click here to learn more about them and/or order your copy of the book.