A Ballpark Bibliography
October 1, 2014 9:21 PM
Here are just some of the books in my baseball/ballpark library. These are the ones I have found most useful, and that I am most likely to turn to when I need either an answer to a question, a comparison of some sort, or just plain help in forming or supporting an opinion.
Some of these are better than others, as you might expect. At the very bottom of this page is a brief commentary which highlights my overall favorites. But all have something unique to offer to the study of professional baseball facilities, which is what this whole web site is about.
Please note that when Amazon does not have an image of the cover, or the image differs from the book I have (suggesting a different edition), the cover image from my library appears to the right of the info box for the book.
And please feel free to suggest a book in the comments on this page!
Reference and Analysis
My favorite book on this list is, by far, the first one: Diamonds by Michael Gershman. I reread it every year or so because it actually traces the detailed history of ballpark development with lots of photos and stories not found elsewhere. It's light on stories of great feats by players, and heavy on who built the park, how and why.
Among the other coffee table books, the two with "Panoramic" in the title are nice because they are very large (17" x 12") and can be bought for less than a buck used. The info in the text is questionable in spots, but the photos are great.
For a good reference book, go with Green Cathedrals, of course. It's dry to read through, but if you ever need to know a detail of a particular park, you can probably find it there.
For nostalgia, Lost Ballparks. It will make you want to visit, among other places, the Herbert Hoover Boys' Club in St. Louis (which I've done).
For hard-hitting (but sort of dry) analysis, Ballparks of the Deadball Era is deeply sabremetric, with few photos, and covers in detail all ML ballparks prior to 1919. It focuses on how the dimensions of the playing fields affected batting and pitching, but it also contains some detailed textual descriptions of how the stands were laid out.
Finally, Blue Sky, Green Fields is unique in that the author interviewed a whole bunch of living players (including Bert). Their comments are scattered liberally throughout, and are frequently surprising. It's a window into just how differently players see the parks compared to the fans.
The biggest flaw with some of these books is that they recycle photos which have been seen elsewhere about a billion times. For example, Joe DiMaggio looking at the ruins of the original Yankee Stadium? It's in just about every book.
Also troublesome is that factual errors are unfortunately frequent, and tend to get repeated since many authors have used other books on this list as primary sources. My general rule is to be skeptical of the text in all but the most trustworthy books (Green Cathedrals, Deadball, and Diamonds) and focus mostly on the photos.
Beyond what's listed here, I have a small collection of old editions of Baseball Facts which are not sold in stores, but can be found on the collectors market. I like them because of the capsule paragraph of info associated with each ballpark. Park configurations and ticket prices are especially handy.
There are many years that I don't have, of course, so if you're selling, please drop me a line via the comment section below.
Finally, one of my all-time favorites, which is now rather hard to find, is a Met Stadium souvenir book published just before the Metrodome opened.
It's a book which captures a whole bunch of ballpark magic, at least partly because of its anticipatory tone toward the Metrodome. I flip through it now and then just to remember what was, and what we thought back then about what was to come.
Baseball is a game of perpetual time-shifting. What was and what is (and what's coming up, too) all sit right next to each other in the books on the list above, just like they do in those of us who sit in the stadium seats.
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This page was last modified on August 8, 2010.
"You talk about the magic, the aura, but what really makes a stadium is the fans. Concrete doesn't talk back to you. Chairs don't talk back to you. It's the people who are there, day in, day out, that makes the place magic."
– Bernie Williams
Explore the Site
Here are 50 images chosen randomly from the 3044 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
Original outfield configuration
Staging for the next section (Home Plate Box)
What can you see from up there? Some say not much.
Detail of view to the northeast (Source: LP)
Ballpark elevation diagram, viewed from Fifth Street. (Click to enlarge.)
People! (In the Legends Club)
The bridge is Seventh Street.
This is the plaza as viewed from the A ramp.
I never think of Rod Carew as a first baseman. But he was.
The moat walkway viewed from across the park.
Ullger warms up.
Work on the pavilion in center.
Looking across the plaza toward the main ticket area.
A last look on the way out.
This is the left field pavilion in the original concept model. The restaurant pictured to its right has been moved, and the seating area has been extended at least one full section toward center.
You can finally see how the plaza will meet the street on the north side of this emergency exit tower (which will be converted to a regular entrance/exit)
Night games are much preferred by the players at Target Field. You can see why.
This is the trapezoid (for lack of a better name) in right center. Be sure to notice section of seats just below the pavilion and above the fence (which I hadn't noticed before). For those who are interested, what looks like an old-style scoreboard is in fact a high-def video board which will look, at times, like an old-fashioned scoreboard.
The windows have started going in.
Saturday afternoon, KMSP-HD 720P
Look closely and you'll see limestone on the front of the press box!
In case you don't know, that's Earl Battey.
They could not help the Twins on this night.
One more exterior view shows that, while the original look was attractive in a way, it seems to be a variation on the look of the Washington ballpark (albeit with a much more coherent collection of elements). What's remarkable is that the design team has refined the concept amazingly well, improving it immeasurably. What we're actually getting is clearly descended from this, but it's in a whole different league:
Fenway has posts. Target Field does not. But...
The media all turned out!
The rough outlines of our urban trench. (North is up.)
This is one complicated streetscape.
This is the Suite Level. There are multiple suites between each pillar, and there will be seating on the area in front of the suites which currently looks like it could be a walkway.
Killebrew's mammoth shot on June 3, 1967 is currently memorialized on a wall at the Mall of America
From about two blocks away you can finally get an idea of what it looks like. Just to my left (but out of view) was a valet parking stand where a limo was idling.
Viewed from up Sixth Street, the tip of the canopy looks like the claw of some gigantic crustacean!
A slightly different elevation drawing, again viewed from Fifth Street, with some labels. (Click to enlarge.)
BPM - Ballpark Magic
BRT - Bus Rapid Transit
DSP - Dave St. Peter
FSE - Full Season Equivalent
FYS - Fake Yankee Stadium (see also: NYS)
HERC - Hennepin Energy Resource Company (aka the Garbage Burner)
HPB - Home Plate Box
HRP - Home Run Porch
LC - Legends Club
LRT - Light Rail Transit
MBA - Minnesota Ballpark Authority (will own Target Field)
MOA - Mall of America
MSFC - Minnesota Sports Facilities Commission (owns the Metrodome)
NYS - New Yankee Stadium
SRO - Standing Room Only
STH - Season Ticket Holder
TCFBS - TCF Bank Stadium
TF - Target Field
Selected Bibliography - Analysis
First Edition (1992)
Second Edition (2006)
Selected Bibliography - Surveys
Second Edition (1987)
Not a "Third Edition" exactly,
but it replaced the above title
(2000, large coffee table)
Original edition (2000, round)
Revised edition (2006, round)
(2001, medium coffee table)
(2002, small coffee table)
(2003, medium coffee table)
(2004, very large coffee table)
(2006, very large coffee table)
Combines the previous two titles
(2007, medium coffee table)
Selected Bibliography - Nostalgia
Book and six ballpark miniatures