In January 1936, Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson became charter members in an exclusive club: the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. By 1998 the membership had grown to 237 players, managers, coaches, umpires, executives, writers and broadcasters.
This biographical dictionary provides pertinent information on all 237 of the Hall of Fame inductees. Statistical summaries are complemented by revealing insights into little-publicized aspects of the careers of baseball's greatest achievers. A brief history of the Hall of Fame is also included.
John C Skipper —
A career newspaperman, John C. Skipper has covered presidential politics in Iowa for 25 years. He is the former general manager of a minor league baseball team. He has written numerous books on politics and baseball, including The Iowa Caucuses and acclaimed biographies of Grover Cleveland Alexander and Dazzy Vance. He lives in Mason City, Iowa.
Skipper, John C. A biographical dictionary of the Baseball Hall of Fame. 2nd ed. McFarland, 2008. 353p bibl index afp; ISBN 9780786438037. Reviewed in 2009feb CHOICE.
Like most baseball fans, this reviewer enjoys learning about the "best of the best," which defines player greatness or near-greatness. Although the term "dictionary" may intimidate some, readers should take heart--Skipper, a newspaperman, has written a work of well under 400 pages, with the names of the inductees all in alphabetical order. The dictionary's size makes both skimming and reading the brief inductee biographies easy. The dictionary features a bibliography with sources from books, magazines, and newspapers. This is not a scholarly reference work, and probably is not intended to be. It is, however, a fine user-friendly resource that will appeal to an audience that is broad in scope. It will be useful for public and academic libraries, and to those who spend time in sports-minded watering holes, where Baseball Hall of Fame statistics often are bandied about.
Summing Up: Recommended. All levels. -- T. M. Marini, University of Michigan