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

March 4th, 2018

Sellout Crowd Packs Crosley's Sports Bar To Watch Marty Appel Accept Casey Award

Another sellout crowd packed Crosley’s Sports Bar & Eatery yesterday in Cincinnati, Ohio, for the 35th annual CASEY Awards banquet, at which Marty Appel was honored for having penned the Best Baseball Book of the Year (2017).

After the usual preliminary festivities, including a shout-it-out trivia quiz based on 2017 baseball books and another command comic performance by BALLZAK, the Magnificent (aka, Steve Blessinger), Appel mesmerized the audience with a discussion of his CASEY-winning book, “Casey Stengel: Baseball’s Greatest Character.” During his acceptance speech and a lengthy Q-&-A session afterwards, Appel related numerous fascinating anecdotes connected to his subject and the writing of the biography: such as Stengel’s revamping the image of a young and unappreciated Yogi Berra by speaking of him with great respect in front of sportswriters; his serving the inaugural Mets basically as a figurehead and gate attraction, rather than a game manager; and Stengel’s California home now being occupied by actress Jenna Fischer of the hit show “The Office.” The third two-time winner of the CASEY, Appel won his first CASEY Award in 1996 for “Slide, Kelly, Slide: The Wild Life and Times of Mike ‘King’ Kelly”. Among those attending the event was former Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds great Dave Parker. Spitball congratulates Mr. Appel and his publisher, Doubleday, as well as all the authors and publishers whose books were Nominated as Finalists for the 2017 CASEY. Special thanks goes to the Judges of the 2017 CASEY Award for a job well done: Steve Hermanos, Rich Puerzer, and Al Turnbull. For more information on past winners, please visit the CASEY Awards page of this website.

November 2, 2017

Finalists for 2017 CASEY Award Announced

Spitball Magazine is pleased to announce that the following books have been named as Finalists for the 2017 CASEY Award for Best Baseball Book of the Year:

Casey Stengel: Baseball’s Greatest Character * Marty Appel * Doubleday

Dynastic, Bombastic, Fantastic: Reggie, Rollie, Catfish, and Charlie Finley’s Swinging A’s * Jason Turbow * Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Electric October: Seven World Series Games, Six Lives, Five Minutes of Fame that Lasted Forever * Kevin Cook * Henry Holt

Lefty O’Doul: Baseball’s Forgotten Ambassador * Dennis Snelling * University of Nebraska Press

Leo Durocher: Baseball’s Prodigal Son * Paul Dickson * Bloomsbury

Lost Ballparks * Dennis Evanosky and Eric J. Kos * Pavilion

The Pride of the Yankees: Lou Gehrig, Gary Cooper, and the Making of a Classic * Richard Sandomir *Hachette Books

Smart Baseball: The Story behind the Old Stats that Are Ruining the Game, the New Ones that are Running It, and the Right Way to Think about Baseball * Keith Law * William Morrow

The Streak: Lou Gehrig, Cal Ripken Jr., and Baseball’s Most Historic Record * John Eisenberg * Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

The Year of the Pitcher: Bob Gibson, Denny McLain, and the End of Baseball’s Golden Age * Sridhar Pappu * Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Spitball Editor-in-Chief Mike Shannon crowed about the list, while lamenting that other excellent books did not make the cut: "Every year it is a difficult task to whittle the list of Finalists down to only ten books. This year especially outstanding books got left out, but it is almost inevitable if the Judges are to be given a manageable work load. We are very excited about the quality of the books that did become Finalists, and we thank everyone who contributed to the process by making nominations. Now it's up to the Judges to make the final selection, and we have every confidence that they will identify the one book on the list that deserves more than the others to become the 35th winner of the CASEY Award, the oldest and most prestigious award a baseball book can be given."

The 35th annual CASEY Awards Banquet will take place in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Sunday, March 4, 2018. For information on the process and history of the CASEYs, please visit the CASEY Award page of this website. Congratulations to all the authors and publishers of the Nominated Finalists for the 2017 CASEY Award.

October 16, 2017

Fall Issue #81 Mailed
Spitball Issue #81

The Fall issue of Spitball, #81, was mailed  from Cincinnati, Ohio, today to all subscribers. If you are a subscriber and do not receive your copy within the next two weeks, please contact the Editor Mike Shannon asap at spitball5@hotmail.com. This wonderful issue featuring a FULL COLOR painting of new Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell by the super-talented Scott Hannig is jam packed with great and interesting reading about baseball that is available no where else. The editors of Spitball thank all the contributors whose work grace the pages of issue #81, one of the best the Magazine has ever put together. If you are a baseball fan but not a subscriber to Spitball ... what in the name of Bob Uecker are you waiting for!!!

September 27, 2017

2017 CASEY Award Judges Announced

Spitball is pleased to announce the installation of the following Judges' panel for the 2017 CASEY Award for Best Baseball Book of the Year;
STEVE HERMANOS - Hermanos (Sausalito, CA) is the author of three acclaimed baseball poetry collections about the San Francisco Giants' three recent World Championship seasons; as well as the author of four novels, including the forthcoming baseball novel Going, Going, Gone! Steve obtained a Master's degree in English from the University of Colorado and a MFA degree in film from Columbia University.
RICH PUERZER - An Associate Professor and the Chairman of the Department of Engineering at Hofstra University, Puerzer (Metuchen, NJ) was also the Co-Director of The 50th Anniversary of the NY Mets Conference held
at Hofstra. Rich is a longtime member of SABR, and his baseball writings have appeared in numerous books and journals.
AL TURNBULL - Turnbull (Casstown, OH), who enjoyed a 40-year career in HR management, is an avid collector of baseball films (with 250+ titles in his collection) and a Dayton Dragons season ticket holder since the inception of the team 18 years ago. Al is also a member of the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame, The Baseball Reliquary, and the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Spitball Editor-in-Chief Mike Shannon had this to say about the panel: "We are thrilled to have such a qualified trio of baseball experts to decide which book and author receives baseball literature's greatest honor this year, which is what the CASEY Award represents. Judging the CASEY is a very tough job because all the Finalists are deserving, but I have every confidence that this panel will identify the one book in a very outstanding field of contenders that stands a little taller than all the rest."

September 19, 2017


Publishers are hereby advised that the process to determine the Finalists for the 2017 CASEY Award for Best Baseball Book of the Year will soon be underway, meaning that they should immediately send to Spitball review copies of any of their baseball books released in 2017 which Spitball has not already received. Publishers can check to see which of their books have been received by Spitball by visiting the "Current Baseball Books" page of this website. If a book is NOT listed there, Spitball has not received it. Keep in mind that ALL BOOKS RECEIVED ARE AUTOMATICALLY CONSIDERED FOR THE CASEY. Authors too should check to make sure that Spitball has received their books. All books should be sent to:
Spitball Magazine
536 Lassing Way
Walton, KY 41094

August 9, 2017

Hall of Fame Sale on Back Issue Sets

Spitball wishes to congratulate the newest members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame: Jeff Bagwell, Ivan Rodriguez, Tim Raines, John Schuerholz, and Bud Selig. Spitball was there, in Cooperstown, for their big day, and a full report (by crack staff reporter Mark Schraf) will be featured in the Fall 2017 issue, now in preparation. Don't miss this "poetic" account of the 2017 Inductions. To celebrate the ultimate baseball honor being bestowed on the Hall of Fame class of 2017, Spitball is running a 1/2 price sale on Back Issue sets, for a limited time. Normally $60, the Back Issue set of 15-20 issues is now $30, postpaid by us.

March 12, 2017
Crosley's Sports Bar & Eatery
Cincinnati, Ohio
Michael Leahy Wows Sold-out Crowd at 34th Annual CASEY Awards Banquet!
34th Casey
Michael Leahy, author of The Last Innocents: The Collision of the Turbulent Sixties and the Los Angeles Dodgers (published by HarperCollins), accepted the 34th CASEY Award for Best Baseball Book of the Year here today in front of an enthusiastic and sold-out crowd of passionate and literate baseball fans. Leahy, who copped the 2016 CASEY with an impressive score of two first-place votes and one third-place vote, spoke for thirty minutes about the genesis of his book and the seven players who formed the nucleus of the work, especially Sandy Koufax, Maury Wills, and Wes Parker. Mr. Leahy mesmerized the crowd with poignant tales about the adversities the players faced and the feeling he had that their willingness to open up to him during interviews was a direct result of a sense of their own mortality. The Last Innocents makes a convincing argument for a reassessment of Wills' merit for induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and Leahy also urged the audience to use their influence as serious students of the game to support Wills' cause. After his riveting acceptance speech, Mr. Leahy fielded questions for another half hour and then patiently signed numerous copies of his book for those in attendance. Once again, CASEY Banquet attendees proved that the best baseball fans anywhere are to be found in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Editors of Spitball congratulate Michael Leahy and all the other nominated authors for the 2016 CASEY Award and thank the CASEY Banquet's gracious host, Scott Schmidt of Crosley's, as well as all those whose attendance helped make the event an unforgettable afternoon.

January 22, 2017

Michael Leahy is the winner of the 2016 CASEY Award for Best Baseball Book of the Year for The Last Innocents: The Collision of the Turbulent Sixties and the Los Angeles Dodgers (published by HarperCollins Publishers). In garnering two first-place votes and a third-place vote (for a five point total), Leahy handily outdistanced the formidable competition. Spitball Editor Mike Shannon said, "Mr. Leahy gives us such a transformative view of a famous team and the struggles its key players endured that it's like encountering them for the first time. Even San Francisco Giants fans will experience new appreciation for these admirable Dodgers. The Judges clearly recognized the achievement represented by the book." As Judge Zach Sanzone said, "The Last Innocents succeeds in mixing history with an examination of important social attitudes that are as relevant today as they were in the 1960s. All the Finalists' books demonstrated excellent insight into the world of baseball, but the level of scholarship,  writing, and depth found in Michael Leahy's book made it stand out above the others." The Arm by Jeff Passan finished second (nine points), while The Selling of the Babe by Glenn Stout finished third (11 points).
    The 34th annual CASEY Awards Banquet will take place on Sunday afternoon (2:00 pm) March 12, 2017, at Crosley's Sports Bar & Eatery (4901 Vine Street, Cincinnati, OH 45217) in the St. Bernard Square shopping center. Attendance is open to the public, and tickets will be available at the door for $10 per person. Admittance includes a one-year subscription to Spitball: The Literary Baseball Magazine. The Editors of Spitball congratulate all ten Nominated Finalist authors and publishers of 2016, and thank the 2016 CASEY Award Judges (Avery Comarow, Zach Sanzone, and Jeff Singleton) for a job well done!

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.