Looking for some last minute gift ideas for the baseball lover on your list? Any of these is sure to please!
Baseball: A Literary Anthology, edited by Nicholas Dawidoff. This handsome hardcover anthology contains all the classics of baseball writing plus some unexpected, lesser known gems. Authors include John Updike, Gay Talese, Ring Lardner, Roger Kahn, Roger Angell, W.C. Heinz, Don Delillo, even Stephen King.
Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, by Michael Lewis. An instant classic when it was first published, it’s a must-own for any true fan. This is the book that made Bill James into a household name and Billy Beane into an icon. And it introduced to the masses the false notion that Kevin Youkilis is Greek.
Baseball Between the Numbers: Why Everything You Know About the Game is Wrong, from Baseball Prospectus. This book is perfect for the stat-geek on your list. Even seamheads who fear math will enjoy it (as I can attest from personal experience). Nevermind that it came out a few years ago; the questions it considers are evergreen.
Bull Durham, starring Kevin Costner and Susan Sarandon. My favorite baseball movie of all time, and one of my favorite movies, period. Love, sex, and baseball! What a charming combination. Plus, one of the great opening monologues in cinema, one of the all-time great angry rants in cinema, and a raft of classic one liners.
Baseball: A Film by Ken Burns. Though this documentary now feels a bit dated–it runs through 1994, and stops short of the strike that year–it’s still a classic, taking viewers from the origins of baseball in the 1840s to the modern era. What better way to spend the week between Christmas and New Year’s?
Major League, starring Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger, and Wesley Snipes. You’ve got Wild Thing, Willie Mays Hayes, and Rene Russo’s firs-ever movie role. The “Wild Thing” edition includes some cool extras that enhance this cult classic, including interviews with the directors, takes from real ballplayers, and the ending that could have been.
Wooden Circa Baseball Game: This desktop game is half baseball, half pinball, all fun! (Okay, I made that up about the “all fun” part. I’ve never played, so I wouldn’t really know. But I’ve seen it in a bunch of catalogs and it does seem like it might be fun! Or at least, like it would be temporary, Christmas-morning fun, before it ends up collecting dust at the back of some closet. Ten years down the line, it would make a pretty good yard sale item, too.)
Norman Rockwell Baseball Puzzle: Who isn’t a sucker for a good puzzle? Rockwell and baseball go together like PB and J. Besides, it will give you and the fam something to do between meals.
Official Gear: Why not get your fan some official MLB gear from his or her favorite team? Aside from the usual player jerseys and team caps, you can get shot glasses, golf towels, lamps, tee-shirts, bathrobes, bobbleheads, memorabilia, fleeces, jackets, and jewelry. You name the tchotchke, they’ve got it. And they’ll stamp a logo on it and sell it to you.
But what makes the best stocking stuffer? Why, TICKETS! Or, you know, an all-expenses-paid trip to spring training. Okay okay, tickets are fine. Yeesh, sorry.