Spitball Magazine

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Spitball is a literary baseball magazine founded in 1981 and dedicated to poetry, short fiction, prose, art, and book reviews; all devoted to baseball. In 1983 Spitball established the CASEY Award to honor the authors and publishers of the best baseball books published each year. The CASEY was the first award of its kind, and it is widely recognized as the most prestigious award that a baseball book can be given.

 A key component of Spitball's mission is the timely publication of authoritative, lively, and appreciative reviews of quality baseball books. These reviews can be found in our Baseball Books Reviewed section. We also publish short and to-the-point reviews of current baseball books in the "Baseball Book News" column at the back of each issue of Spitball Magazine.

Spitball's Latest  News

Jeremy Beer Accepts 37th CASEY Award for "Oscar Charleston: The Life and Legend of Baseball's Greatest Forgotten Player"

    On Sunday, August 30, 2020, Jeremy Beer accepted the 37th annual CASEY Award for Best Baseball Book of the Year from Spitball Editor Mike Shannon at Wiedemann's Brewery and Restaurant in Cincinnati, Ohio. Mr. Beer spoke for 25 minutes before a knowledgeable and appreciative crowd of Cincinnati-area baseball fans about the subject of his important biography, which has rescued one of the game's greatest players from the dust bin of baseball history. Beer explained that Charleston must be considered among a handful of the very best players, black or white, because of his unmatched resume. He said that Charleston's greatness consisted of four factors: his unmatched playing ability as an all-around great hitter, defender, and base runner/base stealer; his supremacy as a championship manager in Negro League baseball; his pioneering status as the first black scout employed by a team in the white major leagues; and the difficulties he routinely and bravely overcame to achieve his many accomplishments. At the conclusion of his remarks Mr. Beer took questions from the crowd for another 20 minutes and took a few practice swings with his beautiful blue & gold Louisville Slugger CASEY Award baseball bat. He now joins the pantheon of previous CASEY Award winners.

    Prior to the presentation of the CASEY Award to Mr. Beer, the "Spitball Magazine crowd" once again displayed its amazing knowledge of baseball history during a shout-it-out trivia quiz, based on questions taken from 2019 baseball books; and Greg Gajus, Deron Grothaus, John "Hondo" Skurkay, and Rob Langenderfer took home "Baseball Trivia King" certificates, "suitable for framing." All 2019 baseball books received by Spitball for review were on display; and, as usual, BALLZAK, the Magnificent (aka Steve Blessinger) wowed the crowd with his humorous prognosticating abilities. Greg Gajus also accepted a Finalist Nomination Award for Baseball Revolutionaries: How the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings Rocked the Country and Made Baseball Famous. Spitball thanks the 2019 CASEY Award Judges, Dave Grob, Michael Leahy, and C.W. Spooner, for a job well done; Jon and Betsy Newberry of Wiedemann's Brewery for graciously hosting the 37th annual CASEYs; Jim Crowley, Doug King, and Eric Soergel for a great job as pinch-hit introducers of the Nominated Finalists during the official program; and especially all the patrons of the CASEY Awards who braved "the elements" to attend the event.

April 24, 2020


The Spring 2020 issue with the Dave Parker cover was mailed to all subscribers, contributors, and advertisers on Friday, April 24. If you do not receive your issue(s) within two weeks at the longest, please contact us asap at: spitball5@hotmail.com.

It's Always Baseball Season Here!

Yes, here at Spitball we too are disappointed that the baseball season hasn't started yet. But the postponement of the season due to the current health crisis doesn't mean that there is no baseball. Not when a new issue of Spitball: The Literary Baseball Magazine is right around the corner. The new, Spring 2020 issue is at the printer, and we hope to send it off to all subscribers soon. And what an issue it will be! In the "Spitball Interview" baseball travel writer Chris Epting tells us about his dream job, while in "Brushes with Baseball" innovative baseball card artist Matthew Lee Rosen gives us insight into how he creates his mind-blowing display pieces. Rich Puerzer provides a wonderful short story about the immortal Satchel Paige, that is beautifully counter-balanced by Dennis Bartel's amusing memoir about trying to even foul tip a Tom Seaver batting practice pitch. Terrific poems by Lorine Parks, Ken Moon, William Derge, Bill Keen, James Scruton, Chris Fahy, Joe Carriero, Mike Ceraolo, Douglas Malan, Thomas Reynolds, and Editors Mike Shannon and Mark Schraf round out the pleasurable reading. Add a "Card Blanche" rumination about the classic 1955 Topps Doubleheader set, another superb short story illustration by Richard Tomasic, and cover artist Donnie Pollard's show-stopping portrait of Dave Parker, along with his cover design that simply reeks with nostalgia for 1970s era baseball ... and you have an antidote to the season delay that will help you survive the baseball doldrums in style. If you consider yourself an intelligent baseball fan but you are not a subscriber to Spitball ... what in the heck are you waiting for! 
    And if you want to know the latest about the new crop of baseball books that have been released already for 2020, then check out the "Current Baseball Books" page on this website. The new books for this spring are all listed there ... just another service provided for those who love baseball and literature provided by Spitball: The Literary Baseball Magazine.

Friday March 13, 2020

37th Annual CASEYs Postponed

Spitball: The Literary Baseball Magazine regrets to announce that the 37th annual CASEY Awards ceremony has been postponed.

The event will re-scheduled for a later date at Wiedemann's Brewery, once the current health crisis has been averted.

Please continue to check this website for the re-scheduled date and additional information as it becomes available.

Wiedemann's Brewery New Host of the CASEYs

March 15, 2020

Spitball is pleased to announce that Wiedemann's Brewery in St. Bernard, Ohio, will host the 37th annual CASEY Awards Banquet on Sunday, March 15, 2020. Doors open at 1:30, and the event will begin at 2:00 pm. A one-year subscription to Spitball: The Literary Baseball Magazine for 2020 is included in the $10 donation for admission. CASEY winner Jeremy Beer will be on hand to accept his CASEY, deliver a speech about his subject Negro League great Oscar Charleston, and sign copies of his CASEY-winning book. Join us for a great afternoon of baseball talk and camaraderie.

January 29, 2020

Jeremy Beer and the University of Nebraska Press Win 2019 CASEY Award for Oscar Charleston: The Life and Legend of Baseball's Greatest Forgotten Player

Spitball Magazine is pleased to announce that the 2019 CASEY Award for Best Baseball Book of the Year has been won by Jeremy Beer and the University of Nebraska Press for Oscar Charleston: The Life and Legend of Baseball's Greatest Forgotten Player. In garnering 1st, 1st, and 2nd place votes, Oscar Charleston received the most near-unanimous ballot in the 37-year history of the CASEY Award. The win is also the first for the University of Nebraska Press after several high finishes previously. In praise of Mr. Beer's superb biography, Judge Michael Leahy said: "Sometimes a book appears that feels like the product of a miraculous archaeological dig -uncovering a largely forgotten community and its people, leaders, and legends. Such is the power of Jeremy Beer's Oscar Charleston -his biography of the tragically little-known but extraordinary Negro League titan whose baseball talent ought to place him among the game's immortals- that we feel Oscar's on-field intensity, his off-field joys and frustrations, his anger, humiliations, and ultimately his dogged triumphs. Beer's unadorned, often raw prose carries a power that makes it the perfect match for his blunt and resolute subject. Oscar Charleston is an outstanding work richly deserving of the CASEY Award." Ron Rapoport's wonderful biography of former Chicago Cubs star Ernie Banks, Let's Play Two: The Legend of Mr. Cub, The Life of Ernie Banks, finished in second place, with 1st, 2nd, and 8th place votes. In thanking the 2019 CASEY Award Judges panel, Spitball Editor Mike Shannon said, "We knew that, in Dave Grob, Michael Leahy, and Chuck Spooner, we had a first-rate panel, and they didn't disappoint. They did what the panel is supposed to do: identify the one book out of a wide field of worthy contenders that stands apart from the others. We are grateful for their hard work and congratulate them on a job very well done. We also congratulate Mr. Beer and Nebraska and all the Finalists for the 2019 CASEY." The 37th annual CASEY Awards Banquet will take place in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Sunday March 15 at 2:00 pm, at which Mr. Beer will accept his 2019 CASEY Award, a specially made and -engraved gold & "Spitball blue" Louisville Slugger baseball bat. Wiedemann's Brewery (4811 Vine St.) will be the host of the 37th annual CASEY Awards Banquet.

Novermber 19, 2019

Cincinnati, Ohio

Finalists for 2019 CASEY Award Announced

Spitball Magazine is pleased to announce that the following books have been named as Finalists for the 2019 CASEY Award for Best Baseball Book of the Year:

Ballpark: Baseball in the American City (Alfred A. Knopf) by Paul Goldberger;

Baseball Revolutionaries: How the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings Rocked the Country and Made Baseball Famous (Baseball Revolutionaries Press) by Greg Rhodes, John Erardi, and Greg Gajus;

Chumps to Champs: How the Worst Teams in Yankees History Led to the 90’s Dynasty (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) by Bill Pennington;

Homegrown: How the Red Sox Built a Champion from the Ground Up (William Morrow) by Alex Speier;

Inside the Empire: the True Power behind the New York Yankees (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) by Bob Klapisch and Paul Solotaroff;

K: A History of Baseball in Ten Pitches (Doubleday) by Tyler Kepner;

The Legendary Harry Caray: Baseball's Greatest Salesman (Rowman & Littlefield) by Don Zminda;

Let’s Play Two: The Legend of Mr. Cub, The Life of Ernie Banks (Hachette Books) by Ron Rapoport;

The MVP Machine: How Baseball’s New Nonconformists Are Using Data to Build Better Players (Basic Books) by Ben Lindbergh and Travis Sawchik;

Oscar Charleston: The Life and Legend of Baseball’s Greatest Forgotten Player (University of Nebraska Press) by Jeremy Beer;

Scouting and Scoring: How We Know What We Know about Baseball (Princeton University Press) by Christopher J. Phillips; and

They Bled Blue: Fernandomania, Strike-Season Mayhem, and the Weirdest Championship Baseball Had Ever Seen (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) by Jason Turbow.

Spitball Editor Mike Shannon had this to say about the announcement: “We are highly pleased and indeed impressed with this year’s field of Finalists. The range and quality of the baseball thought, research, and writing represented by these 12 books is spectacular. Each and every one of these books is an achievement to be proud of, and this year’s list confirms that we are still truly living through the “Golden Age” of baseball books, which began in the 1980s. (Forget the length of the current bull stock market which pales in comparison and is fraudulent anyway!) Picking the CASEY winner from this list of winners will be no easy assignment; fortunately, we have a distinguished Judges panel that we are certain will be up to the task. We congratulate all the Nominated authors and the publishers of these fine books, and wish them luck in the competition. Finally, we applaud and sympathize with the authors and publishers of other outstanding baseball books released in 2019 not on the list; our only excuse for leaving them out is the necessity of whittling down the list of contenders to something the Judges can properly handle in the time permitted.”

            The 37th annual CASEY Awards Banquet will take place on a Sunday afternoon at Crosley’s Sports Bar & Eatery in Cincinnati, Ohio, in March 2020. A specific date for the Banquet will be announced on this website after the Judges have chosen the winner of the 2019 CASEY Award.


November 15, 2019

Cincinnati, OH

Fall Issue #85 Has Arrived at the Office and Will Be Mailed November 22


We have finally received from the printer the Fall issue, #85, with the beautiful Mickey Mantle cover by our good buddy, Todd Doney; and it will be mailed to all subscribers, advertisers, and publishers of books which are reviewed in the issue on Friday, November 22. The issue contains Mark Schraf's always scintillating "Cooperstown Report"; another installment of "Chapbook Corner" (Jim LaVilla Havelin's "What The Diamond Does Is Hold It All In"); wonderful short stories by Tim Tocher and Steve Myers; amusing memoirs by Pete Cava ("Ninth Man Out: Remembrances from the Filming of Eight Men Out") and Chris Ladd ("Baseball and the Brothel"); poems by Thomas Reynolds and Michael Meagher; reviews of 2019 baseball books; and more. As always, it will provide many moments of pleasurable baseball reading. It will also be an immediate sell-out, so if you are not a subscriber, better sign up today!

August 16, 2019

Cincinnati, OH 

Judges' Panel for 2019 CASEY Award Announced

Spitball is pleased to announce that the Judges for the 2019 CASEY Award for Best Baseball Book of the Year will be Dave Grob (Woodbridge, VA), Michael Leahy (Centreville, VA), and C.W. Spooner (Aliso Viejo, CA). Dave Grob is a retired Army Officer currently employed in a civilian capacity by the Department of Defense at the Pentagon. A native Cincinnatian and lifelong Reds fan, Grob is the co-author of Game Worn: Baseball Treasures from the Game's Greatest Heroes and Moments, a past CASEY Award Finalist. He is also the nation's foremost authenticator of vintage major league baseball uniforms. A long time writer for the Washington Post and Washington Post Magazine, Michael Leahy has won numerous awards for his perceptive and empathetic writing. The author of the best book about Michael Jordan (When Nothing Else Matters), Leahy has had work selected for the Best American Sports Writing anthology four times. The Last Innocents, his book about the L. A. Dodgers, won the 2016 CASEY Award. C. W. Spooner is the author of two novels, '68, and Street Cred, two collections of short stories, and a collection of essays, memoirs, and poems (Yeah, What Else? ). He has published several short stories in Spitball and is a Lifetime Subscriber to the Magazine. Editor Mike Shannon had this to say about the panel for 2019: "We could not be more pleased to sit this panel of highly qualified Judges who are passionate about baseball and good writing. They have a tough task ahead of them, but we have every confidence they will perform like Hall of Famers and identify the book which deserves to be considered the Best Baseball Book of the Year. We are grateful for their willingness to serve." The list of Finalists for the 2019 CASEY Award will be announced in early November.

June 3, 2019

Cincinnati, OH

ISSUE # 84 SOLD OUT (almost)

Spitball's latest issue, the special devoted to the 1919 Chicago Black Sox World Series, has been published and mailed to all subscribers. This scintillating issue, #84, features five outstanding short stories by Tim Tocher, Joe Zureick, Sean Carroll, Mark Walling, and Jeff Stanger on various aspects of the scandal; as well as striking "Black Sox" poems by David S. Pointer, Joseph Stanton, and Tim Peeler; a prose musing by ex-Los Angeles Dodger Wes Parker; and a mini-graphic "Black Sox" novel, illustrated by the inimitable Scott Hannig. Wonderful Shoeless Joe Jackson art by the talented, nationally recognized Thom Ross graces the cover. This issue is almost completely SOLD OUT. The few copies that remain for sale are available at $15 each, one copy per customer; and may be ordered only through the US mail. Send a check or M.O. to Spitball Magazine, 536 Lassing Way, Walton, KY 41094.

March 4, 2019

Cincinnati, OH

Rob Neyer Wows 'em at 36th Annual CASEY Awards Banquet 

The 36th annual CASEY Awards Banquet was another sold-out affair and was highlighted by CASEY Award-winner Rob Neyer's fascinating and wide-ranging discussion of his winning book, Power Ball, and recent analytical trends which have dominated the game at the major league level and caused some fans to consider that game less interesting than its predecessor. The usual festivities were part of the afternoon, including door-prize give-aways, a shout-it-out trivia quiz based on 2018's baseball books, a display of all baseball books published in 2018, an appearance by BALLZAK, the Magnificent, a rundown of all books Nominated as Finalists for the 2018 CASEY, and Mr. Neyer's acceptance speech. After his formal remarks, Neyer took questions from the audience for almost 45 minutes. Author John Erardi was also on hand and accepted a Nomination Award for his biography, Tony Perez : From Cuba to Cooperstown. It was another very special event, and Spitball thanks all the Nominated authors and publishers, everyone who helped stage the event, especially Scott Schmidt of Crosley's Sports Bar & Eatery, and all those loyal fans of baseball literature who attended. It's because of that latter group that the CASEY Awards Banquet has become the premier Hot Stove League event on the baseball calendar!

January 23, 2019

Cincinnati, OH

ROB NEYER WINS 2018 CASEY Award for Powerball

Spitball is pleased to announce that the winner of the 2018 CASEY Award for Best Baseball Book of the Year is Rob Neyer and HarperCollins for Powerball: Anatomy of a Modern Baseball Game. In a field crowded with outstanding contenders, Powerball beat out the second-place finisher, The Big Fella by Jane Leavy, also by Harper, by two points; and the third-place book, Baseball in a Grain of Sand by Bill Gruber and McFarland and Co., by three points. Judge Mike Miller singled out Powerball for "holding my attention from the first to last word," and Judge Luke Salisbury called it a "must-read for fans desiring to learn more about the new analytics." Spitball Editor Mike Shannon praised the book about a single major league game as "an astute up-date on an ingenious type of baseball book with a impressive tradition. Rob took an idea first used brilliantly by Arnold Hano and Dan Okrent, and he made it thoroughly his own, turning in a virtuoso performance." Shannon also praised the Judges of the 2018 CASEY Award, Bob Mayberry, Miller, and Salisbury, for a job well done: "Judging the CASEY is always a Ruthian task, but this year the Judges had to work overtime since the normal field of ten books was expanded by two books. We are grateful for their service and the time and effort they put into the job." Spitball congratulates all the authors and publishers Nominated as Finalists for the 2018 CASEY Award. The date of the 36th Annual CASEY Awards Banquet will be announced on this website in the near future.

October 10, 2016 
Walton, KY

It's official: Spitball now has a new mailing address, and all books for review, submissions, and correspondence should be mailed to:
536 Lassing Way
Walton, KY 41094
Please make a note of our new address.

Complete sets of Spitball Magazine are not available, as numerous past issues are completely SOLD OUT. We do, however, offer back issue lots, containing 15-20 different back issues. The differing number of issues available is the result of supplies on hand and finds/repurchases of past issues. The current price of the Back Issues Lot is $60, postpaid.

PayPal Function Available for Purchase of Sample Copies
Sample copies may now be purchased via the PayPal function on this website. Simply go to the Store page and scroll down until you see "Sample Copy: $6" right below the "Lifetime Subscriber" offer.

New Price in Effect; Recognition for Lifetime Subscribers Coming Soon
When you invest in a LIFETIME Subscription to Spitball, you not only avoid the hassle of renewing every year, thereby saving us the trouble of reminding you to do so, you also guarantee that you will never miss an issue of the magazine. Ever. Most important of all, you help support the second oldest all-baseball periodical extant and the only one that is of a literary nature. The price for a LIFETIME Subscription has gone up $25 to $125, but that is still a remarkable value. Make yourself the envy of all your baseball buddies by becoming a Spitball LIFETIME Subscriber today! Visit the store page of this website to order your lifetime subscription.  

Lifetime Subscribers are now acknowledged on a special page on the Spitball website. In addition, each Lifetime Subscriber is presented, as a token our appreciation, with a handsome certificate, meant to be framed and hung proudly in his home or office. Thanks to all subscribers and especially to those who have made a lifetime commitment to the Magazine.

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