Part of the challenge of collecting is knowing where to look to find answers. What we want to do at MEARS is to provide you with focus, information and the ability to answer some of your own questions. This list of books represents ones that we recommend you consider adding to your library or at least thumbing through. Our goal is to update this a few times a year and you will find the permanent link to this page on the website shortly.
Baseball by Roger Angell with photographs by Walter Looss, Jr.
Coffee table book with 133 pages of clear color images of stars from the 1960’s and 1970’s. The “MVP” (Most Valuable Photo) is actually a misdated image of Pete Rose on page 107. The caption states “Wrigley Field 1964.” The photo is actually from 1967 since the style jersey Rose is wearing was not worn by the Reds until 1967, the last year that MacGregor made the road uniforms for the Reds. The thick two-hole buttons on the jersey are unique to MacGregor jerseys – great picture of those.
Baseball: An Illustrated History by Geoffrey C. Ward and Ken Burns, 1994.
Wonderful print companion to the documentary of the same name. Would highly recommend on VHS or DVD. For the book, I would like to list a couple of “MVPs” (Most Valuable Photos). Page 340 shows a color image of Brooklyn Dodger number style variation with #35, Sal Maglie. Page 403 is a real favorite showing the Milwaukee Brewers at home on Opening Day April 7, 1970. This shot shows the first of three variations worn by the Brewers that year. (Three variations include: #1. carry over Pilots sleeve braid, with no number, #2. single band of blue/gold/blue braid replacing the elaborate Pilots sleeve trim with no player numeral on the front, and #3. single band of blue/gold/blue braid replacing the elaborate Pilots sleeve trim with player numeral on the front). Page 425 shows a nice picture of Roberto Clemente wearing a MacGregor road jersey (notice the buttons).
Baseball: A Celebration by James Buckley Jr. and Jim Gigliotti, 2001.
Very similar in construction and content to the Ken Burns book. Some wonderful vintage color images. Page 284 shows a very young Mickey Mantle wearing a Yankees road jersey (#6) with very long sleeves. Pages 324-325 feature the three DiMaggio brothers wearing SF Giants road jerseys. Notice the difference in the buttons between what Dom is wearing versus Joe and Vince….who’s wearing MacGregor? What did players wear when playing on Astroturf in the 1970 World Series? Cleats, spikes or perhaps both? (page 413 Paul Blair and Boog Powell). Always look for shots with player’s in action, since jersey’s becoming untucked will often reveal tagging…page 595 shows Derek Jeter wearing Russell at home, but no “R” on the sleeve.
Baseball as America by The National Baseball Hall of Fame & National Geographic.
Not much to go on as far as uniforms, but the MVP of this book is clearly on page 286. It shows a Joe DiMaggio 1951 home uniform in great clarity and completeness (Spalding manufacturers tag and laundry instructions, player ID and year chain stitched in tail, and original 1951 AL Golden Anniversary Patch).
Baseball’s Prime-Time Stars by Saul Wisnia, 1999.
Oversized coffee table book featuring color shots of many contemporary stars from the mid to late 1990s. MVP is of Pedro Martinez with the Expos on page 92. Notice how Pedro cut his sleeve on his pitching arm.
Baseball: 100 Classic Moments in the History of the Game in Association with the National Baseball Hall of Fame, 2000.
Among other things, this book offers examples of styles that you don’t often see alone or together. Page 110 depicts both examples of button and zipper front 1947 Brooklyn Dodger uniforms. Page 152 shows another example of a zippered Boston Red Sox road jersey.
Black Baseball: A History of African Americans & the National Game by Kyle McNary.
Nice source if you are looking at Negro League uniforms or some of the players who began their careers there. MVP is on page 157 and is a nice color shot of Jackie Robinson. Take note of the cotton elastic underarms versus the more common four-hole gusset vents.
Celebrating 70: Mark McGwire’s Historic Season The Sporting News, 1998.
Being a Sporting News Publication, the images are, of course, incredible. Best thing about this book is the completeness it provides many game specific photos. Pictures like those on page 88 are wonderful if you are looking for examples of how a players cap is marked on the underside of the brim.
Classic Baseball: The Photographs of Walter Looss Jr. , 2003.
Clear crisp images from Looss once again. Some nice shots that you don’t often see, page 75 of the NY Yankees in spring training (note the MacGregor buttons on Joe Pepitone). For the bat guys, page 142 depicts Roberto Clemente hitting (“label away”). Page 185 is a favorite since it shows Reds Manager Fred Hutchinson wearing a very popular 1950’s style Reds jacket in the 1960’s (circa 1964).
Greatest Moments in Baseball by Joel Zoss, 1987.
Nice chronological look at some of baseball’s highlights. Combination of color and black and white shots. MVP is Johnny Vander Meer on page 27 showing a high leg kick that reveals a cotton/elastic material used to ventilate the crouch area.
Jackie Robinson: An Intimate Portrait by Rachel Robinson with Lee Davis, 1992.
A great book for Brooklyn Dodgers fans with very clear black and white images. MVP is on page 108 showing a team picture from 1955. Note the smaller numbers on the front of the jerseys worn by Duke Snider(4) and Jackie Robinson(42) in the third row and Carl Furillo (6) in the second row.
Low and Outside: Baseball In The Depression, 1930-1939 by William B. Mead, 1991.
A vintage look at part of the Redefinition series. Clear black and white images and interesting reading. Fascinating picture on page 86 of Johnny Mize and Terry Moore, who played together from 1936-1941. The style of the jersey and the lack of a patch seem to place the picture between 1940-1941, but notice the style of cap they are wearing – a style that is often attributed only to 1943. For the bat lover in you, check out page 124 to see a young Joe Dimaggio, in what is most likely a picture from spring training, with a hand full of Hanna Bat Rite lumber.
Red Sox vs Yankees: The Great Rivalry by Harvey Fromer and Frederic J. Fromer.
Mostly glossy black and white images of guess what? Page 124 captures a rare shot of the Red Sox in a road jersey that features a zipper. Players are Sam Nede, Ted Williams, Stan Spinee and Dom Dimaggio.
Ted Williams: The Seasons of the Kid by Richard Ben Cramer, 1991.
Books like this are good not only because they are about a single player, but often include shots of them before they achieved prominence. Wonderful shots of Williams with both San Diego and Minneapolis, a Minor League jersey of “The Kid.”
The Autobiography of Baseball: The Inside Story from the Stars Who Played the Game by Joseph Wallace, 1998.
Classic coffee table book with very clear black and white images and no color pictures. Like many books of this style, the feature photos are from the National Baseball Hall of Fame, so expect to see many of the same images. One exception is on page 21 featuring a very young Willie Mays in what looks to be the Minneapolis Millers Minor League locker room with a nice shot of jerseys hanging in the locker behind him.
The Baltimore Orioles: Memories and Memorabilia of the Lords of Baltimore by Bruce Chadwick and David M. Spindal, 1995.
This book, and the others they have done for additional teams, are for collectors. Very nice assortment of clear color images of various items. The MVP as far as uniforms goes can be found on page 76 with home (1961) and road (1960) flannels of Brooks Robinson (notice tagging in the collar). A close second would be found on page 83 with a 1967 road flannel and a 1969 home flannel vest of Boog Powell. The 1969 home jersey is folded so you can see the 1967-73 Wilson manufacturers label as well as “year-set” identification.
The Baseball Companion by Angus G. Garber III. 1990.
Oversized coffee table book featuring some vintage black and white images with the focus on color shots of stars of the late 1980s. MVP is clearly the shot of Nolan Ryan on page 13 wearing a Rawlings road jersey on the mound (see “Rawlings” embroidered in blue thread on the right arm). Page 65 shows Charlie Hough in the same style of Rawlings road jersey. While most likely spring training pictures, the photos are evidence to the contrary belief that Ryan only pitched in Goodman jerseys.
The Braves Encyclopedia by Gary Caruso, 1995.
Oversized coffee table book. The center of the book is the star. Seven (7) glossy oversized pages featuring:
1933 Wally Berger “National League” All Star uniform (Black Spalding label)
1935 Babe Ruth Boston Braves road jersey by Draper-Maynard
1947 Clyde Shoun’s Satin home jersey by Horace-Partridge
1979 Phil Niekro home jersey with 1979-1985 Wilson manufacturers label in collar
1945 Ed Wright road jersey by Horace Partridge
1957 Eddie Mathews road jersey by Wilson (not separate laundry instruction tag)
1974 Hank Aaron home jersey by Wilson (size 42 and Wilson 1974-78 tag in collar)
The Inside Game: Baseball’s Master Strategists by William B. Mead, 1991.
Part of series of books put out by Redefinition in 1991. Wonderful assortment of black and white as well as color shots featuring many of the great managers of the game. MVP here is a “patch shot” on page 54. Clear black and white image of the rare one-year style “Pilgrim Hat” worn by the 1930 Boston Braves. Many wonderful shots of Casey Stengel over the years as well.
The Sluggers: Those Fabulous Long Ball Hitters by John Holway, 1991.
Another in the series by Redifinition, but not just for uniforms, as the title would suggest. Plenty of good bat information as well. Fairly rare picture of Roger Maris using a batting glove on page 174. Page 149 depicts a nice picture of a 1987 Twins road jersey made by Rawlings. Notice that “Rawlings” is applied to a patch that is sewn onto the jersey opposed to being embroidered directly to it.
Speed: Baseball in High Gear by Steve Fiffer, 1991.
Famous base stealers in the Redefinition series of books. Heavy on Lou Brock and Maury Wills, but it also features a nice shot of Bobby Bonds on page 41. He is wearing his “00” on the left sleeve of this two year Cardinal style in 1980.
The Golden Age of Baseball 1941-1964 by Bill Gutman, 1989.
Large coffee table style with only black and white images, and one of my favorites. A number of great shots, but for the MVP it would have to be on page 28, clearly showing Stan Musial in the 1944 World Series wearing a button up style jersey when most for this period featured a zipper front. Page 83 shows Gehrig wearing a Spalding jersey with the label clearly visible in the back of the collar. Another worth-while shot is on page 87, note the difference in the style of # “1” worn by Billy Martin and the other numerals featuring “1”.
The National League/The American League: A Complete History by Joel Zoss and John Bowman, 1992.
Two-book coffee table size collection with both volumes featuring a combination of black and white and color images, as expected. A large number of which come from the National Baseball Hall of Fame. My National League MVP can be found on page 152 of the NL 1976 100th Anniversary Patch. Notice the patch on either sleeve. The AL choice is similar and can be found on pages 193-194 of that volume. Be sure to notice things like the difference in the patch worn on the home and road Oakland A’s uniforms.
The Story of Baseball by John M. Rosenburg (1966 edition).
All black and white images with many nice shots of the stars from days gone by. The MVP is page 113 and features a shot of Lou Gehrig and Joe McCarthy on July 4, 1939. Notice the raglan sleeves on Gehrig’s uniform and the set-in sleeves on McCarthy’s.
The New York Yankees by Donald Honig, 1987 (Revised Edition).
Easy to say to whom this book will appeal…plenty of pinstripes and NY crests to compare. Many of the older pictures allow you to look at caps very closely for items such as the crest, number and style of vented holes in the top, and bill style and length. For the bat guys, page 186 shows the following Yankees at home in 1952 (50th Anniversary Patch-Yankee Stadium façade in back ground), Berra, Mantle, Collins, Bauer, and Woodling. Okay, nothing special right? Well Mantle is holding a Hanna Batrite Bat. No single great uniform picture, but many for comparison depending on your project.
This Great Game by Rutledge Books, 1971.
Mostly color shots from the 1969-1971 seasons. No clear MVP but a very nice reference for the 1970 World Series and some pictures of first year Pirate knits.
61* The Story of Roger Maris, Mickey Mantle and One Magical Summer by Ron Smith, 2001.
This is a Sporting News Publication so the photographs are clear and vivid. Bat guys will love this one as well, especially page 61 (funny how that worked out) featuring Maris putting his bat back into the rack at Yankee Stadium. Clear color image that lets you read other player’s models on the knobs of bats. My favorite picture on page 14 highlights something I encourage you to look for, which shows Maris from the side as he is finishing his swing. Notice the rear of the neck-line, and the rectangular gathering of material -player name in collar?
A Portrait of Baseball Photography by Marshall Fogel, Khyber Oser and Henry Yee, 2005.
This wonderful guide to collecting vintages baseball photographs is a must have for the black and white photo collector. The first book of its kind to guide you through the do’s and don’ts of collecting baseball photographs. Only here will you learn to identify captions, stampings, and editorial markings. Learn how to accurately date photos and decipher the nuances of different generations of photographs. This book also not only discusses the great sports photographers, but is brimming with many of the most memorable images from baseball history. Absolutely packed full of incredible images and a wealth of information.