An exhilarating, splendidly illustrated, entirely new look at the history of baseball: told through the stories of the vibrant and ever-changing ballparks where the game was and is staged, by the Pulitzer Prize-winning architectural critic.
From the earliest corrals of the mid-1800s (Union Grounds in Brooklyn was a “saloon in the open air”), to the much mourned parks of the early 1900s (Detroit’s Tiger Stadium, Cincinnati’s Palace of the Fans), to the stadiums we fill today, Paul Goldberger makes clear the inextricable bond between the American city and America’s favorite pastime. In the changing locations and architecture of our ballparks, Goldberger reveals the manifestations of a changing society: the earliest ballparks evoked Victorian society in the accommodations — bleachers for the riffraff, grandstands for the middle-class; the “concrete donuts” of the 1950s and 60s made plain television’s grip on the public’s attention and the new need for stadiums that could also accommodate football; and more recent ballparks, like Baltimore’s Camden Yards, signal a new way forward for stadium design and for baseball’s role in urban development. Throughout, Goldberger shows us the ways in which baseball’s history — its concurrent rise with the railway system, the origins of the American and National Leagues, the first stolen base — is clued into the important architectural, material, engineering, and site details and requirements that shaped our most beloved stadiums.
A fascinating, exuberant ode to the Edens at the heart of our cities — where dreams are as limitless as the outfields.
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