‘The 34-Ton Bat’ Is 2013’s Buried Treasure

Posted January 16th, 2014 by Tom Owens and filed in 34-Ton Bat, Danny Goodman, Los Angeles Dodgers, Steve Rushin

How did I miss this one?

Author Steve Rushin has unearthed untold diamond history in The 34-Ton Bat: the Story of Baseball, As Told Through Bobble Heads, Cracker Jacks, Jock Straps, Eye Black & 375 Other Strange & Unforgettable Objects (Little & Brown, $25).
This is a “Me, too!” book, answering questions we’ve all had about baseball’s beginnings. He’s captured classic stories about the PEOPLE behind these baseball traditions. 
Here’s one that stands out. 
Years ago, I landed an assignment to write about history of Dodgers souvenirs for the team yearbook (you can look it up!). A huge part of that story was the late Danny Goodman, the merchandising wizard who showed the world all the logoed goodies Los Angeles Dodgers fans could enjoy. In the early 1970s, I’d save my allowance to mail-order team memorabilia that was 10-15 years old, at bargain prices. Little did I know that the man sending out the price list helped invent these collectibles!
I spoke to a high-ranking team employee, someone who’d been in the Dodgers family since the L.A. transplant. 
“Why do you want to know about him? He died years ago,” I was informed.
Therefore, I know Rushin’s task wasn’t easy. Writing about baseball’s unsung heroes is one huge challenge. 
Here’s something autograph collectors should consider. Many of these history makers are still alive, and would be easy to track down. Write to them. Do they know they’re getting recognition, at last? Tell them you read about them. They may not be baseball cards of them, but that doesn’t lessen their claims to fame.
Spring training isn’t here yet. If you need a book to get you through the last days of baseball-less winter, Steve Rushin is your author.

One Response to “‘The 34-Ton Bat’ Is 2013’s Buried Treasure”

  1. Hackenbush says:

    I’ve just started it but I can already say I love it. My favorite story so far is the one about Hank Greenberg’s mother promising to make 61 gefilte fish when he broke Babe Ruth’s HR record in 1938. Of course Hank came up a bit short. There’s obviously a lot of heart in the book as well as humor.

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