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.
"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 3042 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
Here's the Northstar platform.
Do you know who did this drawing? If so, please tell me so I can give them proper credit.
A very busy place, as viewed from Target Center.
These are the outside tracks which go under the promenade
This is what will count as a knothole (actually, it's a gated entrance)
People! (In the Legends Club)
The Northstar stop has a name.
Emergency access as viewed from outside the ballpark
Target Plaza looking toward the grandstand
Ballpark magic: Infield materializes (click to enlarge)
Many people will approace the park from this direction and it's a pretty great first glimpse. It features all the design elements in modestly condensed form, and still manages to look like a ballpark (instead of something else).
The wooden louvers are in on Fifth Street
7:42 PM It moves to the left in the image and begins to blossom.
Packed SRO beneath the notch.
Working on the main concourse right about directly behind the plate.
One more time from the third base side.
Look at all those flag poles! But wouldn't the one from Met Stadium look great just inside the gates in the middle of that entrance plaza?
The splendid view from the roof of the Minikahda building. (Click to enlarge greatly.)
Panels arriving on flatbed trailers in front of the Twins' dugout.
The beautiful Promenade has become a sea of temporary barricades. (Smoker's Row outside the unnumbered gate)
Flag poles, fencing, main entrance gates
Met Stadium on May 17, 1975 (Twins vs. Brewers featuring Hank Aaron)
Photo by Jeff Ewer
We'll be packed into the first five rows of section 136. Hey, Wilson! I'm bringing my glove!
How many times did we water down our field as kids? More times than we played games, that's for sure!
This view clearly shows the curve in the left field stands and the relationship of the first row with the playing field (no overhang to speak of in left).
Doors directly to the concourse, and a view of the stands beyond