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 3004 found on this site. Click the image to be taken to the original post. A new list is created every 10 minutes.
Looking up Sixth Street, now barricaded for plaza extension.
CBP: retro in facade only
Just some of the lumiaries who turned out for the unveiling (Terry is clearly thinking about Sidney Ponson).
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.
Supports viewed from beneath. These seats will be just a few feet from the outside edge of the building!
World Series trophies on display at left
The gate has grown a row of sponsorship
Anna keeps the riff raff under control.
An arch under construction.
Photo by Jeff Ewer
Click to see the whole page from this 1971 program.
This is one complicated streetscape.
Viewed from the A ramp.
Click on this photo to see what it looked like on this spot 101 years ago (I'm not kidding)
The Lincoln Saltdogs (and a promotional Nerd)
One thing that the design disguises nicely is that the Pro Shop (and other key components) are actually built over lanes of freeway. That can clearly be seen here.
A Killebrew tribute covers part of the wall where the entry doors are located near the escalators.
An alternate route into downtown. (Click to get an interactive map.)
Here is Seventh Street viewed from the west looking toward downtown. This will probably be the most pedestrian-friendly side (other than the plaza), but only if there is some psychological barrier between the people on foot and the people in their dangerously fast-moving automobiles.
Thome steps in.
Secret entrance exposed!
I'm not sure why there's a wreath on Gate 3. (I quickly checked the headlines for any dreaded Killebrew news. Whew.) It looks to be in celebration, maybe of the move.
Guerrier had tossed a ball to a fan wearing a Twins jersey, who dropped it. If you're going to wear the uniform, he was saying, you gotta make the play. The ball ultimately went to a fan wearing a Randy Moss jersey, and everybody laughed.
This is as close as I could get to a pedestrian-eye view of the main entrance. This is what you'll see as you enter by coming down Sixth Street.
Lots of sun, but not much scoreboard from 127
Gate 3 ticket window
Look closely at the overhang. You'll see the on the right it is flush with the fence, and then it sticks out farther and farther as you move toward center. More fun for Michael Cuddyer.
That's my mom. She scored the whole game on her Gameday program (bought for just $1 on the opening night special -- thanks guys!)