Last week I said I was gonna be sharing some big news…remember?

Well, the news is that I now officially have a new baseball book in the works! I haven’t signed a contract yet, but it’s basically a done deal.

Earlier this winter (in case you’re wondering about the process leading up to this), I wrote a 20-something-page book proposal and sent it to my agent. She then looked it over and suggested some edits, and we sent it back and forth a few times. Once we felt we had it right, she passed it along to the people at Vintage. (That’s the company that published Watching Baseball Smarter.) They took a couple months to review it and finally made an offer last week, which I accepted after a brief negotiating process.

That’s how it all went down. Pretty standard procedure. And now I have exactly 12 months to write it. From start to finish. 60,000 words. Ouch. And then 12 months after THAT it’ll be published. (That’s March of 2011 for those of you who are keeping score at home.) Why so long? Because once I submit the manuscript, it’ll still need to be edited and illustrated and marketed and printed and distributed, etc.

What’s the book going to be about? I’m not quite sure how to describe it, so let me ramble on for a bit and hopefully that’ll give you an idea. It’s sort of going to be like my first book–How to Snag Major League Baseballs–except ten times better. It’s sort of going to be like my second book–Watching Baseball Smarter–except it’s going to focus on THE BALL itself. So, in addition to having a huge how-to-snag section in there, I’ll be writing about historical facts and anecdotes and trivia and wacky/funny/quirky stuff…all related to the ball. I’m even going to try to visit the Rawlings factory in Costa Rica and write about that, although it might be impossible. (Maybe the Rockies will at least give me a tour of their humidor at Coors Field.) I plan to have a whole section called “Death By Baseball” where I talk about all the players, coaches, fans, and animals that have been killed by balls. Stuff like that. I plan to have a section of snagging-related controversies. I might even have a section that profiles other legendary ballhawks. It’s hard to say. I still haven’t even discussed the specifics with my editor, but we’re planning to talk later this week, and then I’m going to plunge in.

Right now the book is tentatively titled…

THE BASEBALL: Five Ounces and 108 Stitches of Glory

…but that will probably change. If you have suggestions for what the book should be called, feel free to leave a comment and share them with me. If your title ends up getting picked as THE title, I’ll send you two signed copies of the book when it comes out and mention your name in the acknowledgments. (Sorry, I can’t promise you a percentage of the royalties, but hey, at least that’s something, right?) I’m hoping to make this whole process interactive, at least to the extent that Vintage allows it, so stay tuned for more updates.

And get ready for some other big baseball-related news within the next week or two…


  1. thomasb.

    The Baseball: The Ball of America’s Past Time
    That was the first title I thought of. Sorry if it is too close to your title. Congratulations on a new book! As soon as it comes out it will be on the top of my reading list (behind all of my school required books of course).


    no contract! be like manny and hold out for 25 mil!!!!
    hardball? white gold (idk like black gold?)

  3. .

    Zack, that is awesome man! Another step up for Mr. Hample. I’m not sure how many times I have said the word, “Congratulations!” to you since I’ve been reading your blog for close to a year now, but, sir, CONGRATULATIONS! hahaha. As for the title, I would just delete ‘5 Ounces’ and keep the title, ‘THE BASEBALL: 108 Stitches of Glory.’ First of all, the 108 stitches of glory part sounds awesome and it’s describing the baseball. I understand 5 ounces describes the baseball, but to me, 108 Stitches of Glory is ALL you need my brotha!

    – Donnie

  4. districtboy

    That’s awesomely awesome. I can’t wait either. I don’t have any completely original titles, but if it were me I would take out “THE BASEBALL” and “5 Ounces” so it would just be “108 Stitches of Glory”. Or I guess it could “5 Ounces of Glory” as well.
    Just thinking a loud:
    Are you going to have someone write a foreword? (Maybe Chris Los lol)
    I can’t think think of any legendary ballhawks other than Artie and John Witt. I guess I’ll have to buy the book though.


  5. ayellen

    I like the idea of a title that is really catchy to the average person in the book store. As much as I like your title, it isn’t quite there.

    I’m thinking work off the awesome chapter title, though:

    DEATH BY BASEBALL and other fun facts: the ultimate guide to the 5.5 ounces that shape American culture.

    (or something of the sort)

    Exciting news, though! It means you are now by a long shot the most relevant interview I have thus far for my radio peice!

  6. ayellen

    and I have no idea what the deal with ‘yayaeosedf’ is…I told it to change my nickname to ‘ayellen’, which it used to be and suddenly isn’t! Weird…


  7. Alex

    I don’t think the 5 ounces and 108 stiches is right. It sounds too technical for a title. You could include it as the subtitle. It could be like:
    The Orgin of the Pitch (title)
    A Look at the 108 Stitches of Glory

  8. baseballtourist

    Nice Zack! I am sure it will be an interesting read and an exciting procees for you. As far as title suggestions go – how about:
    -“Dead Ball to Long Ball – Ultimate Ballhawk Guide to the Baseball!”
    -(or a play on Keyshawn Johnson’s -“Give Me the Damn Ball”) – “I Need That Baseball! – and why the other 30,000 fans want it too”



    W/ all that hype, I would’ve thought you had a deal w/ The Baseball Network….Get in there.

  10. wewill1992

    Hey Zack, my name is Zac and I am a first time writer and long time reader. I am excited that you are writing another book. As for titles, here are some ideas:

    1. The game within the game: The truth about the baseball

    2. Have a ball or two: The true story of the baseball

    3. On the ball: Zack Hample on the baseball

    4. Big things come in small packages: The baseball

    5. 108 stitches of glory

    6. All things baseball

  11. stlfan

    Awesome Zack,
    It sounds like it’ll be an amazing book.

    I’m not trying to be rude, and don’t hate me for this cuz I’m a huge fan. But the “by death” part could get some people upset, I don’t care about that, I think it would be cool, but some parents may think differently.
    Also you should do a stadium by stadium look, and talk about each one. Like where its best, give field demensions, show where is best to snag and give fun facts. Maybe when you come to Colorado you can do a thing on their humidifier. Stuff like that. Maybe write, from your experiances, which players are nicest. Who signs balls and stuff. This just came to me also, write the different ways to ask for balls, in different languages. Like how to say it in chinese, then how to pronounce it and stuff. Is gonna be awesome.

  12. rockiesfanatic14

    That is awsome Zack. I can’t wait to read it. I wish it didn’t take so long. Anyway… “108 stitches of America” “The ultimate souvenir” “What America doesn’t know about America’s sport” or something like that would be cool. I think your’s is cool now but I don’t really like the “five ounces” part.
    By the way my name is Noah and I just started reading this blog and in the last month I have read all of your old entries.

  13. ladod4ever

    Congrats zack for your new book,I can’t wait till it comes out and I’ll be at my local barnes n nobles so I can get my copy of it.When do you plan to be in LA?

  14. goisles

    The name of the book should be “Six Ounces of Vulcanized Rubber.”
    Oops. Wrong blog.
    Congratulations anyway!

    By the way, Puck Collector says your first book ridiculed puck collecting by saying it’s easier to catch a puck in your teeth than in your hands. We hockey fans hope for a little more respect this time around.

  15. dhbball

    This is awesome, because the other day when you said basebll knews, I was thinking hmm. Zack needs another book for me to read (sorry about the selfishness) but congratulations Zack, you once again make me jealous, and look up to you as a person and baseball fan.

    On another note my high school baseball season started today here in cold West BY GOD Virginia (yes believe it or not we do have sports her. But as all of you probably feel now it is just a great feeling to get back in the game that we all love and obsess over. Anybody going to WBC in Toronto?

  16. dannymb87

    Hey Zack, I’ve been reading your blog since before the beginning of last season and can’t wait for this season to begin. I live in Flagstaff, Arizona so, accordingly, I’m a D’backs fan. It’s awesome that you’re writing a new book. I’ve been mulling over the name of your new book. I’ve got two ideas:
    From the Leather to the Cork: The Mind Within the Baseball


    Good job, Z! Title ideas, huh? How about: Zack’s guide to snagging, video gaming, and… lovin’. : )

  18. goislanders4

    wow, in 2013 we’ll all be looking at this thinking how weird this plan is now that the book is already out. thats the way i felt after reading watching baseball smarter and then looking at entries from a while back and seeing your first ideas for the cover. anyway, congrats on the book and i think the title is great! but i agree with many people on here, the 5 ounces must go :(

  19. snagfan

    That sounds like it will be another awesome book by the Sultan of Snag, the god of grab, the Captain of Hook, the king of kling etc…..etc….
    I have been looking for a while now for a book that incorporates or focuses on the complete history of the baseball..(btw, Peter Morris has some very interesting data on the baseball and how it was incorporated into “Town Ball” back in the late 18th century).
    I am interested in what materials made up the first baseball, when did MLB switch from Spalding to Reach to Wilson to Rawlings….etc..
    A plant tour would be awesome..I know they did a documentary on the “How’s It Made” series on TV (They did one on aluminum bats, wood bats and baseball gloves also). You can find the series replayed on You Tube.

    Mike in Detroit..

  20. txfilmmkr

    Congrats. I will put it on my list of things to read now, so that by the time I read everything in front of it, the book will be ready to hit the shelves. I’ve got a pretty good sized lineup in front of you right now though. It’s amazing how much you neglect your personal reading when you’re in law school.

    As for title suggestions, how about “The Heart of America’s Pastime”, “The Center of the Universe” or go the Tom Clancy route and call it “Moving Target”, haha. For chapters, you could have one on autographs, but not so much the autos themselves, but the fact that the ball is the most common canvas for a baseball signature. You could even put in a chapter about Lena Blackburne’s baseball mud. As a matter of fact, you HAVE TO include a chapter on Blackburne’s mud or this book will be considered null and void. Just kidding…. no, really I’m not.

    Donny from Houston.

  21. alejandro8

    Hey Zack its Alejandro and
    I have 4 titles for your new book
    1.Baseball is life
    2.The Baseball: Pure Glory
    3.Baseball:Nothing like it
    4.Baseball the ultimate sport

  22. sportzfreeka

    The Baseball of Baseball
    The Ball that started it all (gee it rhymes)
    Seams and Dreams: The True Story of the Baseball

    Ha, just a few I came up with in like 2 minutes.

  23. Txbaseballfan

    Hey Zack! It’s been a while since my last comment. Congrats on the new book deal! Can’t wait to get my hands on it. As for the title; HampleBall, In Stitches (comedic reference), Baseball: To the Core. Just spitballing here, you’re a very clever guy, I’m sure whatever it turns out to be will be great. By the way, HURRY UP APRIL! Later, Brian



    I would name the book: Red, White and Baseball.

    The word red would obviously be red, the same for white, and baseball would be blue.

    hope you like it.

  25. gjk2212

    thats awesome! wow..

    st next week for me…7 games in 7 days

    btw zack, going back to last entry, im 99% sure i got you covered for the ticket to the college game. glitched on me the other day..i got a block of 6 seats, field box, immediately hit check out. then, it said time expired even though it just said 8 mins. i was livid. anyway, i got 6 more upstairs, so if you want, shoot me an email.

    congrats again

  26. gjk2212

    also, idk if anyone here is familiar with champion stadium for spring training, but i just called the box office about my tix and the guy said gates opem 3 hrs pregame. can anyone confirm that?


    Don’t forget about the mud rubbed on the balls that could be a book by itself.

    “Mud and other interesting baseball facts”


    gail: i love the smell of baseballs! one of my favorite parts about collecting is when i open the crate i have my baseballs in , and the leather smell hits me. its great!

  29. jerseyboy

    Hey man, just wanted to let you know, I just got back from spring training, one of the WBC exhibitions, and got a ball down there (at Detroit vs. Venezuela). Anyway, the ball is an official WBC 2009 ball, so you gotta get out to one of the parks to get yourself one. I’ll send you a pic if you’d like. Ben

  30. zackhample

    Wow, thanks for all the comments, and of course for all the title suggestions. If anything, I think the “five ounces” portion will be the first thing to go (thanks, Donnie), but it’s still so early that it’s hard to say. I really love all the suggestions. “Death By Baseball” especially jumped out at me (thank you, Mister Yellen), but there’s no way to say if it will make the cut. Unfortunately I don’t have time right now to respond to each comment individually, so I’m just going to answer the few in which people asked questions. But know that *did* read every single comment. Also, FYI, I have some more news to share (different type of news, but still baseball/snagging related). I’ll probably be posting a new entry about it within the next 24 or maybe 48 hours, so get ready.

    I like the Mets very much but I consider myself more of a “baseball fan” in general. I grew up rooting for the Mets but ended up rooting more for individual players regardless of their teams.

    No plans yet for a foreword writer. Nice suggestion.

    Just a personal “hello” since it’s your first comment. Thanks!


    May 18th, but I’m gonna be at that game with my family so I’ll probably be hanging out with them most of the time. Still…come say hi if you see me. Please!

    Wait, what’s the name of the book with the info on early baseballs? “Town Ball”? Also, I love the “kink of kling” type names you came up with. Any others?

    That is a gooood question, and it’s not gonna be easy. I’m going to be busier than ever this season, but I’ll find a way.

  31. thomasb.

    I have a question to ask this blog. Even though Barry Bonds used steroids (I mean, common, its obvious), is he still a very great hitter, if not one of the best? I just want to see people’s opinions.

  32. .

    I knew that’s not all you had up your sleeve Zack-a-roonie! Can’t wait for round two my dood! As for THOMASB, Barry Bonds is no question a very great hitter despite his steroid use and allegations. One of the best? Well, he’s only considered one of the best in the first place because of his HR status. If it wasn’t for the steroids, in my opinion, I believe Barry Bonds at this point in his career (2nd year jobless), would be just a tad over 500. So, 515/520…But that’s just my opinion.

    – Donnie


    i agree with you donnie. steroids dont help you hit the ball, but they help you hit it FARTHER. so it matters more if goes to a steroid user


    Hey everyone,
    I will be going to both Dodger games this weekend in AZ and was wonder how to get autos BEFORE the game. I know its a new stadium, but I’ve never tried it before and was wondering if anyone had any tips…

  35. gjk2212

    my spring training journey begins tomorrow morning..flying into orlando.

    march 7-cardinals at astros, osceola county stadium

    march 8-phillies at braves, champion stadium

    march 9-orioles at mets, tradition field

    march 10-braves at astros, osceola county stadium

    march 11-yankees at tigers, joker marchant stadium

    march 12-nationals at braves, champion stadium

    march 13-mets at tigers, joker marchant stadium

    if anyone has snagging or any sort of tips on any of these parks, leave a comment on here tonight. im so excited, i wont sleep tonight most likely. thanks guys.

    ps-anyone get through the vwr for mets exhibition tix this morning? i waited an hour and got a single ticket for friday night..ugh

  36. Jake

    I haven’t heard much about the stadium, but I heard that they make the players pretty accessible. I would just camp out by the dugout or the lines for autos. Good Luck!

    Hey, congrats on the new book. I’ve been to a couple Spring Training games this year and boy am I getting an itch for the regular season. Best of luck with the book and this upcoming baseball season!

  37. The Mets Poet

    Zack, congrats on the new book! As a writer, I think it’s great that despite this lousy economy, baseball related writers are getting published. I landed a book deal last year for Full Count: The Book of Mets Poetry. (Lyons Press, April 14, 2009). Over a hundred Mets poems. Lord help me!

    ps: you got a lot of balls! :)


    Hey Zack, I’m currently reading your book: How To Snag Major League Baseballs…….great book!…..anyway here’s a title for your new book…..Got Balls? or Got Balls!…..Frank

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