MLB Network, I Love You

109_1191I’m not sure what to say today.  I’m waaaaaaay too happy that the MLB Network has finally arrived.

Should I be this excited?

Is this Heaven? (3:42)

I started a thread (its still on-going) at TheBaseballStars.com today about my giddiness, but it reached a whole new level while watching Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series. While watching this game,  I saw a Gillette shaving blades commercial, and in it was a special offer for the Vest-Pocket Encyclopedia of Baseball, a free gift with your purchase of blades.

Well, as it turns out, I actually own that freakin’ encyclopedia!

While making my blog rounds earlier in the day, I stumbled upon Cardboard Junkie’s post about the Network and the Gillette commercials. While reading it, I wondered what the hell he was talking about. But while watching the commercial for myself, I realized that I had the object that a few others were clamoring over earlier today — the damn encyclopedia.

Like many of the cool things I own, I found this badboy (pictured above) at a flea market. The price: $1. I would have paid $10 if the seller asked for it, but I handed the man a single bill and walked away with a smile on my face.

At the time I was just giddy that I had tracked down a really neat item, a mini encyclopedia that held stats of players that were current as of the start of the 1956 season.

The very first player listed in the book is “Aaron, Henry Louis”, a young strapping slugger who’d played all of one season when this little gem was produced. At the time there was no indication that he’d eventually become a Home Run Champion.

Anyhow, here are a few images from what is within. The first few pages are ramblings of the presidents of the American and National leagues, and then we get into a bunch of stats, many of which are incomplete by today’s standards. Of note, home runs are NOT one of the stats listed here. Just year, team, position, league and what appears to be batting average.

109_1193

109_1196

The coolest part about the little book is the stuff at the end: The records (guys who hit .400, 50 homers, etc.), and especially the diagrams of the stadiums. How neat is this:

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And a few closeups:

Fenway Park (Boston Red Sox)

fenway

Ebbets Field (Brooklyn Dodgers)

[Posted specially for Greg at Night Owl Cards]

ebbets

Polo Grounds (New York Giants)

polo

Milwaukee County Stadium (Milwaukee Braves)

[Posted specially for Dave at Cardboard Junkie)

bravesstadium

Yankee Stadium (New York Yankees)

[Posted for TheJon, my co-writer at TheBaseballStars]

yankee

Connie Mack Stadium (Phildelphia Phillies)

[Posted in honor of the 2008 World Champs, and specially for Chris Harris of Stale Gum, who also posted on dayf’s blog today.]

phills

UPDATE: It’s been brought to my attention (via the comments section below) that this item is pretty hot on eBay right now. It should be noted that when I purchased this thing, there were a dozen of them on eBay for less than $15, most with Buy It Now prices of $5-$10.

15 Responses to “MLB Network, I Love You”

  1. That is awesome!!!!!!! Thanks for mentioning all the little details about it. I was fascinated as well after seeing it on the MLB Network.

  2. AAAWWWWEEEESSSOOOOMMMMEEEEEEEEEEE

  3. Thanks. Some of those exact same stadium diagrams (the ones of the stadiums that were still around anyway) were in the Official 1976 Baseball Encyclopedia that I had when I was a kid. They must’ve just reprinted them for each edition.

    (I’ve been glued to MLB Network, and the Larsen game, too. I keep hoping one of the Dodgers will sneak one through the infield).

  4. Nice heads up on this. I don’t have the MLB Network (and that sucks) but that book rules! I immediately went to trusty ebay to check it out and saw this one at 50 dollars with more than 4 days to go!

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Vest-Pocket-Encyclopedia-of-Baseball-1956_W0QQitemZ260339694599QQcmdZViewItemQQptZVintage_Sports_Memorabilia?hash=item260339694599&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=66%3A2%7C65%3A1%7C39%3A1%7C240%3A1318

    A quick advanced search found me one in a lot with a “Buy it now” of 15 Bucks!

    SCORE!

    It is won, paid for and now on the way.

  5. However, if that other auction keeps going up, I might have to let it go after thoroughly thumbing through it.

  6. They were selling for $5 three months ago

  7. That’s what I was assuming was the reason that lot was sitting. The MLB network gave it a temporary push. That’s exactly the reason why I might throw it back on when I get it to ride the wave before it crashes. If I can roll it into a solid Vintage Rose I probably will do it. But, I wanted to look at first.

  8. Btw – They are both up to 60 already. I have a feeling I just got a nice 65′ Rose for 15 bucks. And I get to keep the other book. 🙂

  9. I watched the MLB network for about 4 hours straight last night. I couldn’t turn it off. Between the Larsen game (which was incredible), the ads for Ken Burns’ Baseball documentary (which I literally jumped up and down for) and Hazel Mae (…) I’m already hooked. And the season hasn’t even started yet!

  10. 447′ to straight-away center at Connie Mack? That’s a shot!

  11. Seriously. It never ceases to amaze me the kind of numbers players were putting up back in the 40s, 50s and 60s with the larger ball parks and seemingly inferior equipment.

  12. I agree with you about every aspect of the MLB Network. I wrote this article last night for another site, echoing your opinion. Check it out : http://bleacherreport.com/articles/99547-mlb-network-the-best-10-i-ever-spent

  13. Awesome book, but where’s the diagram of Tropicana Field from 1956? 🙂

  14. I too have been enjoying the heck out of the MLB network (Prime 9 is unwatchable though) and I became fascinated by this little book. Thank you so much for posting your pictures. This was a very fun post!

  15. My dad had one of these books when I was a kid. He wasn’t even interested in it so he let me have it. I think I almost memorized it. I think it had all the hall of fame members listed in it too, if I remember correctly. I just happened to think of it this evening and Googled it to find this site. I think I’m going to see if I can pick one up for a buck myself!

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