Monday, March 28, 2011

The Joy of Keeping Score

by Paul Dickson
New York : Walker, 1996.

Do you know little about keeping score in baseball, but love the history of the sport? Do you keep score in the stands, watching TV, or listening to the radio? This book has something to offer for each. Beginning with chapters on basic score keeping and more advanced techniques, then moving into a quirky alphabetical list of fun facts, score keeping in French, presidential score keeping and more, Dickson's fifteen-year-old homage to the history and technique of keeping score still has plenty of interesting tidbits for today's fan.

My dad first taught me to keep score when my brothers were in Little League. I think he may have done this partly keep his own sanity by giving me something to do instead of ask him what inning it was or what the score was or make clover chains under the bleachers. In fact, after I started keeping my "unofficial" score book in the stands, the mothers started asking me such questions (though I'm pretty sure they left the clovers alone). When I first heard of this title, then, I thought it would be the perfect quirky book to get me geared up for baseball season (last year I read a book on umpiring; I seem to have a trend going here). In only a little over 100 pages, I added a few notations to my score keeping arsenal and learned a bit about baseball statistics and history while I was at it (my favorite anecdote involved presidential score keeping). Great reproductions of score cards of both famous and not-so-famous games are included, adding a lot of visual interest. I'm definitely passing along a recommendation to my father.

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