Nero Wolfe: Bluster, Beer, and Brilliance

Mark Richardson — Classic detective fiction has occupied a lot of my time during this year of pandemic. I have always loved good detective fiction, and I have taken this opportunity to re-read many of my old favorites—Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Ross Macdonald, Harry Kemelman, and the magnificent Rex Stout, creator of the reclusive, impatient, pompous, obese genius, Nero Wolfe and his eyes, ears, and … Continue reading Nero Wolfe: Bluster, Beer, and Brilliance

Baseball’s New Analytics

Mark Richardson — Baseball is played very differently today than when I was young. There has been a revolution going on for several years that has fundamentally changed the way players and managers approach the game, how it is taught, and how fans watch it. The changes began around the year 2000, when a group of devoted baseball fans had, some years previously, formed a … Continue reading Baseball’s New Analytics

Picture of Ty Cobb at bat.


Mark Richardson — Ty Cobb has long been considered by many to have been the greatest hitter, and possibly the greatest all-around player, in major league baseball history. His tumultuous life both on and off the field has been examined and reexamined, but very few have succeeded in getting to the core of Tyrus Raymond Cobb, “The Georgia Peach.” Rather than examining Cobb himself, the … Continue reading Peach

Baseball and Murder Mysteries

Mark Richardson — Mickey Rawlings is a baseball player. He’s also a sleuth. He does not solve murders because he has a yen to be a detective. Rather, he has murders thrust upon him–murders which neither the police nor anyone else seems to want solved. And that leaves Mickey to solve them. Rawlings is a major league utility infielder whose skills are good enough to … Continue reading Baseball and Murder Mysteries

Baseball’s Ol’ Perfessor

Mark Richardson — Marty Appel, author of Munson, the acclaimed biography of former New York Yankees catcher Thurman Munson, has done it again. This top-notch profiler of Yankees past has given us what may prove to be the baseball book of the year with his new work, Casey Stengel: Baseball’s Greatest Character. It is an extensive in-depth look at the “Ol’ Perfessor,” one of the … Continue reading Baseball’s Ol’ Perfessor

The Hard Boiled Detectives

Mark Richardson — Edgar Allan Poe is generally regarded as the father of the detective fiction genre. In his classic stories, The Murders In the Rue Morgue, The Mystery of Marie Roget, and The Purloined Letter, Poe created the first mystery solving detective in literature, the inimitable C. Auguste Dupin. Poe was followed in short order by such unforgettable and still impressive mystery writers as … Continue reading The Hard Boiled Detectives

Winter Reading: Tolstoy and Mann

Mark Richardson — When I was seventeen years old, I set as a goal for myself the reading of all of the works of a certain group of authors. This group included all of the Nobel Prize in Literature laureates, a large group of classic authors whose writing lives preceded the awarding of the Prize, a large collection of modern and contemporary authors who have … Continue reading Winter Reading: Tolstoy and Mann

Lefty, Scooter, and Hankus Pankus: Three Baseball Legends

Mark Richardson — My late fall/early winter reading has recently focused on classic fiction, Tolstoy and Mann, but I have found time to squeeze in three baseball biographies, and all three are worthy of note. Biographies have always been at the forefront of the game’s literature, but in recent years there seems to have been an explosion of life stories of the diamond’s greats. This … Continue reading Lefty, Scooter, and Hankus Pankus: Three Baseball Legends

My Mom, Baseball, and Me

Mark Richardson — I came to baseball, or baseball came to me, as a very young boy. My dad was never much of a baseball fan, at least until he was in his 60s and he discovered the entertainment that was Harry Caray’s broadcasting, but my mom was an avid Chicago Cubs fan all her life.  Her grandpa (my Great-grandpa Cashore), her dad (my Grandpa … Continue reading My Mom, Baseball, and Me

Faith and Baseball

Mark Richardson — Every now and again one stumbles upon a book that addresses issues which have flitted through one’s mind throughout his/her life, but which have never solidified into one’s thought in any cohesive way. Such a book is John Sexton’s Baseball as a Road to God: Seeing Beyond the Game (2013). Mr. Sexton is the president of New York University and a former law clerk … Continue reading Faith and Baseball

A Carefully Crafted Life

Mark Richardson —   “Moe could speak twelve languages, but he couldn’t hit in any of them.” Such was the scouting report on Moe Berg, the subject of Nicholas Dawidoff’s The Catcher Was A Spy: The Mysterious Life of Moe Berg.”   Berg was a notoriously poor hitter, a defensive wizard behind the plate who played in the major leagues for fifteen years , and most … Continue reading A Carefully Crafted Life

Whittaker Chambers by Sam Tanenhaus

Mark Richardson — In the current political atmosphere, in which angry conservatives seem to be claiming that the way to “make America great again” is to stifle the free expression of any ideas that are not theirs and to squash dissent, it appears to me to be a good time to look back at our history, to a time when Senator Joseph McCarthy and his … Continue reading Whittaker Chambers by Sam Tanenhaus

Baseball and the Literati: Runyon, Lardner and Farrell

Mark Richardson —     We are all aware of Ernest Hemingway’s expression of affection for Joe DiMaggio in The Old Man and the Sea, of Phillip Roth’s extensive and extended baseball metaphors in The Great American Novel, and of Bernard Malamud’s employment of the national pastime as a conveyance for his morality play The Natural, but baseball’s appeal to the literati predates these classics by decades. Before he was America’s … Continue reading Baseball and the Literati: Runyon, Lardner and Farrell

Baseball in America: Two Books

  Mark Richardson — The Summer of Beer and Whiskey, a riveting history of the early days of professional baseball,  tells the story of the American Association, an early league, founded in 1883, which came to be called The Beer and Whiskey League as a result of the daring policy adopted by the club owners of being the first league ever to allow the sale of … Continue reading Baseball in America: Two Books