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

How Baseball Happened: Outrageous Lies Exposed! The True Story Revealed

How Baseball Happened Wins 2020 CASEY Award!

January 20, 2021 
Cincinnati, Ohio
Spitball is pleased to announce that How Baseball Happened: Outrageous Lies Exposed! The True Story Revealed, written by Thomas W. Gilbert and published by David R. Godine, has won the 2020 CASEY Award for Best Baseball Book of the Year. The ground-breaking history won in a landslide, garnering two first-place votes and one third-place vote from the three Judges.
    Judge Lorine Parks called it "By far the best - brilliant, stimulating, funny. Does for baseball what David McCullough did for U.S. history: places baseball firmly in the mainstream of American culture." Judge Greg Gajus called the book "a worthy successor to Baseball in the Garden of Eden" and said it added a lot of original insights to what we already knew about the period in a most entertaining way.
Spitball Editor Mike Shannon concurred, adding, "We congratulate Mr. Gilbert and his publisher David R. Godine for a book that clearly makes a major contribution to baseball literature. From the very first page of How Baseball Happened, the reader knows he is in for an exciting, often witty and amusing, ride through the game's earliest years. I know that Spitball supporters throughout the Cincinnati area, some of the most knowledgeable baseball fans to be found anywhere, are now looking forward to hearing Mr. Gilbert speak in March. I also congratulate Judges Parks, Gajus, and Rob Neyer on a job well done. They did exactly what they were called upon to do: compare superb books of different genres to determine which one makes the greatest overall contribution to baseball literature. Kudos all around!" 
    Bouton: The Life of a Baseball Original, written by Mitchell Nathanson and published by the University of Nebraska Press, received the other first-place vote from the Judges and finished in second place.
    The 38th Annual CASEY Awards ceremony will take place at 2:00 PM on Sunday, March 14, 2021, at Poor Michael's Pub & Restaurant in Fairfield, Ohio, a suburb of Cincinnati, Ohio. For more information about the event and the CASEY Award program, please contact Mike Shannon at spitball5@hotmail.com.

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: A LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

Spitball: The Literary Baseball Magazine is planning a special issue for the Spring of 2021 that we hope will be devoted to MEMOIR.
This is non-fiction prose and can be about anything you have experienced as long as it is baseball-related:
a Little League memory;
any game playing high- or low- light of yours or anybody else you witnessed;
a Major or minor League game you watched that sticks in your memory for some reason;
a close encounter with a famous baseball player;
your dad or mom or grandpa (whoever) introducing you to the game, instilling a love for it;
a baseball collecting experience or favorite card/bat/glove, card show attended, etc. etc.;
your complaints, recommendations for improving the game;
the bb trip of a lifetime;
a radio (or tv) listening/watching memory/experience;
your experience in writing or reading or researching the game.
I could on but you get the drift here. Anything with YOU basically at the center of the piece, at least as the reporter, is fair game.
We don't usually publish much non-fiction in Spitball (other than the columns, which are staff written), so THIS IS YOUR CHANCE to get such a piece published in the Magazine.
As for length, give us one Spitball page at least, two would be even better, and 3-5 pages would be fine. Anything over that length, the writing and story have to be increasingly good for us to justify the added space needed.
Deadline will be the end of February 2021.
Please observe all other requirements for submissions to Spitball, which you can find on the website, if you are not already familiar with them.
This is your shot: don't go up to bat looking for a walk. Get into your stance and take your best rip at ... we've tipped the pitch off to you ... our spitball!
Thanks, Mike Shannon, Ed.


November 23, 2020
Cincinnati, OH 

ISSUE # 86 in the Mail

The Fall 2020 issue of Spitball, #86, was mailed today to all subscribers, contributors, advertisers, and publishers whose books are reviewed in the issue. While the issue is a complete SELL OUT, we retain a few extra copies to remedy delivery failure. If you do not receive your copy of this issue by December 5, 2020, please contact Spitball immediately.


November 5, 2020
Cincinnati, OH

Finalists for 38th CASEY Award Announced




Spitball: The Literary Baseball Magazine is pleased to announce that the following books have been Nominated as Finalists for the 2020 CASEY Award for Best Baseball Book of the Year:

Billy Ball: Billy Martin and the Resurrection of the Oakland A's * by Dale Tafoya * Lyons Press;

Bouton: The Life of a Baseball Original * by Mitchell Nathanson * University of Nebraska Press;

The Cactus League (a novel) * by Emily Nemens * Farrar, Straus & Giroux;

Dalko: The Untold Story of Baseball's Fastest Pitcher * by Bill Dembski, Alex Thomas, & Brian Vikander * Influence Publishing;

How Baseball Happened: Outrageous Lies Exposed! The True Story Revealed * by Thomas W. Gilbert * David R. Godine, Publisher;

Issei Baseball: The Story of the First Japanese American Ballplayers * Robert K. Fitts * University of Nebraska Press;

Mutt's Dream: Making the Mick (novel) * by Howard Burman * Ascend Books;

Swing Kings: The Inside Story of Baseball's Home Run Revolution * by Jared Diamond * William Morrow;

Tom Seaver: A Terrific Life * by Bill Madden * Simon and Schuster;

The Wax Pack: On the Open Road in Search of Baseball's Afterlife * by Brad Balukjian * University of Nebraska Press; and

A Year of Playing Catch: What a Simple Daily Experiment Taught Me about Life * by Ethan D. Bryan * Zondervan Books.

Spitball Editor Mike Shannon had this to say about the announcement: "We are thrilled with this list of great baseball books that it is our honor to recognize, and we are pleased with the range of genres and subjects. As always, it was a huge challenge to narrow the contenders to a list of Finalists that the Judges can deal with in a thorough and timely manner, and we are confident that the Judges will single out the one book that deserves a bit more than the others to join the lineup of past CASEY Award winners. We congratulate all the Nominated authors and publishers and wish them luck in the competition. We also wish to tip our caps to all the authors of baseball books released in 2020, especially the ones whose books just missed making the final cut; and we thank all publishers who sent us review copies of their books for review and CASEY Award consideration (please see the "Current Baseball Books" page for a list of these publishers).

The 38th annual CASEY Awards celebration will take place in March of 2021, and details about the exact date and location of the ceremony will appear on this website in the near future.


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.




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!


NEW MAILING ADDRESS

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.



BACK ISSUE SET
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.

   
 LIFETIME SUBSCRIPTION 
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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