Do you miss baseball? There’s no substitute for attending a game at Great American Ballpark, is there?
Fortunately, the Kenton County Public Library has plenty of online content to keep even the most avid baseball fan happy until we hear the call to “Play Ball” once again.
Northern Kentucky in general, and Kenton County in particular, has a rich baseball history. Case in point is the Covington Blue sox team which began play in 1913 in the old Federal League. Despite an enthusiastic start, the team moved to Kansas City just a few weeks after the season started. The Federal League just got going in 1913, achieved Major League status in 1914 and 1915, and then disbanded. So yes, that meant that Covington was just one season short of fielding a Major League team.
Pictured below are Blue Sox on opening day in 1913 playing their first home game. Trivia alert: The Blue Sox opened the season in Cleveland the prior week, playing against manager Cy Young’s Green Sox in the very first game in Federal League history.
Photo courtesy of the Kenton County Public Library’s Local History and Genealogy Department. To search thousands of local pictures, visit Faces & Places https://www.kentonlibrary.org/genealogy While you’re there, this is a great place to research your family tree while you’re home.
Until baseball returns – and until the library reopens – there are plenty of selections available in the Library’s Digital Branch free of charge to enjoy.
Batting first, meet Hoopla. Hoopla is your utility player of the digital universe. It includes audiobooks, comics, ebooks, movies, music, and TV shows. Type in “Baseball” and you’ll get hundreds of choices in all formats; eBooks, by far, offer the biggest selection. These items run the gamut from youth instructional books to treasured baseball classics.
Jim Brosnan, a Cincinnati native and Reds pitcher, wrote two of them. “The Long Season” chronicled his day-to-day activities and observations during the 1959 season. Fans and critics declared it “the best baseball book ever written.”
Response was so positive that Brosnan kept up his diary during the 1961 campaign, when he was a Reds relief pitcher. The Reds won the pennant that year, and his book is full of inside anecdotes of teammates such as Frank Robinson and Vada Pinson. These are just two of Hoopla’s terrific baseball offerings.
“The Boys of Summer” by Roger Kahn is one of the most satisfying books any baseball fan can read. Kahn, who passed away earlier this year, was a New York sportswriter who covered the Brooklyn Dodgers before they moved to LA in 1958. More than 10 years later, Kahn tracked down and interviewed the Brooklyn players in retirement. Here we meet Gil Hodges, Pee Wee Reese, and Jackie Robinson as they move on the next phase of their lives after baseball.
Batting second, meet Overdrive. Overdrive features a great selection of eBooks and Audiobooks. Be sure to try Overdrive’s Libby app for an enjoyable reading or listening experience. Just like Hoopla, Overdrive covers the bases with baseball history, instruction, and fiction.
Troy Soos gained a loyal following for his series of historical mystery novels in a baseball setting. Mickey Rawlings is equal parts a journeyman ball player and amateur sleuth in “The Cincinnati Red Stalkings,” one of his two titles available on Overdrive. Here we find Rawlings joining the Reds in 1921 as the 1919 Black Sox scandal begins to unfold.
Overdrive also features the audiobook version of W. P. Kinsella’s novel “Shoeless Joe,” the basis for the film “Field of Dreams.” If you build it, they will come. And if you listen to this audiobook, you will enjoy it.
Taking us up to present day is Jeff Passan’s book “The Arm” which explores the topic of pitchers and pitching. Reds pitcher Trevor Bauer is featured, as is noted pitching guru Kyle Boddy. Fans may recognize Boddy’s name as a recently hired Reds pitching consultant. “The Arm” is available in both eBook and Audiobook on Overdrive.
Want to know more? Visit our digital branch online: https://www.kentonlibrary.org/ebooks
Both Hoopla and Overdrive (Libby) have great apps you can install to make the experience even better. They have something for everyone, whether you’re a baseball fan or not.
Written by John Graham, Patron Experience Manager, Covington Branch of the Kenton County Public Library, and lifelong baseball fan.