• HaroldHecuba: Mike Mussina is EASTERN EUROPEAN, not Italian....

Looking for some last minute gift ideas for the baseball lover on your list? Any of these is sure to please!

Books!

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.

DVDs!

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.

Random Stuff!

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.

7 Responses to “Last Minute Gifts for Baseball Lovers”

  1. Sarah Green says:

    Okay Nick, you’ve convinced me! I had shamefully forgotten he gave up years of his prime to serve in the Marines and defeat the Axis powers. The man is a hero. Put him in!

  2. Gil Hodges is one of the top level members of the Hall of Very Good, but he does not merit induction into the Hall of Fame. Yes, he played on a series of great teams – but he had great teammates (Reese, Robinson, Campanella, Snider) that were more responsible for the success than Hodges. Yes, Gil missed four years in the Marines, but those were when he was 19-22 years old, hardly prinme years for a baseball player.

    I might agree that Hodges is better than Perez, but that’s not the point. Perez is certainly among the least qualified HOF’ers, and might even be a mistake. So what if Hodges is better than Doggie?

    I also agree that a .273 AVG should not keep a player out of the Hall, assuming there are other things to sufficiently bolster the candidacy. But Gil Hodges does not have those things. Not enough power, and while he may have been a great defensive 1B, he was not as good as say, Keith Hernandez, who might have a better case than Hodges.

    Gil Hodges does NOT deserve to be in the Hall of Fame. Just not good enough.

  3. “Just to take one example of an a first baseman inferior to Hodges who got elected by the Veterans through nepotism – consider Veteran’s Committee kingpin Joe Morgan’s best buddy Tony Perez, the last man snuck through in 2000 before the rule changes.”

    Perez was not voted in by the Veteran’s Committee – he was voted in by the BBWAA writers. You can argue all you want about whether he should be in or not, but having Joe Morgan as a buddy on the VC had nothing to do with it.

  4. Nick Kapur says:

    Right you are Robert! Thanks for calling me on that one. Given that Perez is clearly one of the worst players in the Hall of Fame, going by the numbers, and the way Joe Morgan kept saying for years how Perez should be in, I sort of just naturally assumed he must have been elected by Joe Morgan and the Veterans.

  5. Roy Glasser says:

    To Matt – not enough power? When he retired he had the second most home runs in major league history for a right handed batter. He led the majors in the 1950s in RBIs. He wasn’t flashy, just got the job done. The Dodgers were a great team, but without Hodges steadying the defense, and coming up with the big hits (remember the 7th game of the 1955 World Series where he had the only two RBIs in the game to lead the Dodgers to victory).

    Not to mention the great job he did in taking the ’69 Mets to the World Series as a Manager.

    His only problem, he died way too soon. If he were alive today, he would be in the Hall of Fame. Out of sight, out of mind unfortunately.

  6. Tom Hoffman says:

    I decided to get an Ellsbury jersey for my 11 yr old son, and had to go to three different malls because all were sold out of Ellsbury. After Xmas we learned that of 12 boys in his class, six got Red Sox jerseys, five of them Ellsbury. Also, I got him two Ellsbury Topps rookie cards, thinking he could keep one and trade one. No luck. Four other kids also got Ellsbury rookie cards. It should matter to the Red Sox what 11 yr olds think. Is there any way to forward this message to Larry Lucchino?

  7. Sarah Green says:

    Tom, I think you should call the Red Sox FO! Their contact info is as follows:

    Write the Red Sox:

    Boston Red Sox

    4 Yawkey Way

    Boston MA 02215-3496

    Call the Red Sox:

    877-REDSOX9

    Or click here to send them an email. And if they give you the runaround, remind them that as Larry Lucchino likes to say, they’re in the “yes business”!

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