America’s Classic Ballparks: Celebrating Parks Past and Present

Becker & Mayer. Sept. 2022. 208p. ISBN 9780760377543. $24.99. REF
Sportswriter Buckley’s (Perfect: The Story of Baseball’s Perfect Games) coffee-table history of baseball’s classic ballparks is, by turns, highly informative and a bit puzzling. In 10 chapters covering 11 stadiums (plus a final chapter stuffed with asides on ballparks built in the 2000s), Buckley details the history of “classic ballparks” with a mix of casual narrative, historical photographs, and bright, if awkwardly formatted, graphics. Lists of “Heroes,” “Famous Firsts,” and “Top 10 Moments” make this an easily browsable reference. Buckley’s selection of which stadiums are classics is sure to set off debate among baseball fans. A few (Ebbets Field, Tiger Stadium, Wrigley Field) are clear choices. But in a field of 11 classic ballparks, the inclusion of the Mets’ Citi Field and the new Yankee Stadium (both opened in 2009) may strike some readers as perplexing choices. Also, some readers may cry foul at the fact that five of the 11 ballparks covered in detail are, or were, located in New York City.
VERDICT While Buckley’s breezy tone may not be to every reader’s liking, the inclusion of countless unusual facts means even diehard baseball fans will learn something new. An entertaining but optional purchase for most libraries.
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