Spitball Magazine

Spitball Baseball Magazine Bat

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

Fall Issue #86 at the Printer
October 11, 2020
Walton, KY

The Fall issue of Spitball is now at the printer and will soon be ready for us to mail to all subscribers, contributors, advertisers, and publishers whose books are reviewed in the issue. Once again, Donnie Pollard's stunningly beautiful artwork graces the cover, a portrait of 2020 Hall of Famer, Larry Walker in Montreal Expos garb, which looks very nostalgic now, doesn't it! This issue is jam-packed with great baseball reading: a review of the great baseball poetry chapbook, I Saw Rod Scurry; Mark Schraf's hilarious, must-read "Cooperstown Report" (yes, the Hall of Fame doesn't know it, but
Mark did cover the 2020 Inductions, in a manner of speaking!); wonderful short stories by Tim Tocher and Bob Mayberry; terrific poems by Edwin Romond, Ken Moon, Tony Gruenwald, Milton Jordan, Michael Ceraolo, LeeAnn Pickrell, Joel Glickman, Thomas M. McDade, and Thomas Reynolds; a memorable account of the annual Cobb-Jackson rivalry vintage baseball game by Nick Straatman; book reviews; a Card Blanche rumination on Mickey Rivers; and more. All in all, a fantastic lineup of great baseball writing you just won't find anywhere else. If you love baseball and literature and you are NOT a subscriber to the only magazine, established in 1981 and published continuously since then, that is devoted to literary writing, books, and art about baseball ... what in the heck are you waiting for?

October 10, 2020
Walton, Kentucky

2020 CASEY Award Judges Panel Seated

Spitball: The Literary Baseball Magazine is pleased to announce that the Judges for the 38th annual CASEY Award will be: Greg Gajus, Rob Neyer, and Lorine Parks. Greg Gajus (Batavia, OH) is a well-known baseball analyst who has contributed to numerous books and the Redleg Nation blog. He is also co-author of 2019 CASEY Award Finalist Baseball Revolutionaries: How the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings Rocked the Country and Made Baseball Famous. As a baseball analyst and writer Rob Neyer (Portland, OR) has worked for ESPN, SB Nation, Fox Sports, and STATS Inc. He is the author of seven baseball books, including Power Ball: Anatomy of a Modern Baseball Game, which won the 2018 CASEY Award. A graduate of Wellesley College and Columbia University, Lorine Parks (Downey, CA) taught English Literature at Saginaw Valley College. A lover of all sports and a Los Angeles Dodgers fan, she curates a weekly "Poetry Matters" column for the Downey Patriot. Spitball Editor Mike Shannon had this to say about the panel: "We could not be happier with or more confident in the abilities of the panel seated today to do the important work of judging this year's baseball books in order to determine the book most deserving of baseball literature's highest and most distinguished honor. This trio faces, as every CASEY Award panel does, a daunting task, but we feel that this group will come through splendidly, and we look forward to seeing the results of their hard work." Finalists for the 2020 CASEY will be announced in early November. Any author or publisher of a baseball book, published in 2020 and not already sent to Spitball for review and CASEY Award consideration, is reminded of this deadline and urged to send a copy of their book to the Magazine immediately!

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.

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.


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.


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!


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 15-17 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 $30, 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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