Book update No. 1 — sorting things out

You know that new book I’m working on? The one about baseballs? Well, I still haven’t picked a title, but I’m glad to say that the whole thing is finally starting to take shape. It looks like the book will have three parts:

1) Baseballs In The News
2) Historical & Factual Stuff
3) How To Snag Baseballs

I’m not sure what the three parts will end up being called (“Baseballs in the News” might make the final cut) but for now, at least I have an idea of how to organize everything.

This is a HUGE project, and I only have 10 more months to finish it. That’s why I haven’t attended any games in the past week. The weather’s been iffy here in NYC, so rather than going to Citi Field and taking a chance as to whether or not there’d be batting practice, I’ve just been staying at home and working on the book. I’m trying to average 100 hours of work on the book per month, and it’s not easy, especially during the baseball season.

So far I’ve written about 10,000 words–about three chapters in Part One–and as I mentioned before, the whole book has to be about 60,000 words. (Watching Baseball Smarter is about 64,000 words.)

This week I’ve been combing through a six-inch stack of ball-related articles from the Hall of Fame…so yeah, there’s lots of research involved here. (I just learned that Billy Hamilton once hit 29 consecutive foul balls!) But it’s fun.

Let me know if you have any ideas for the book, or if any crazy ball-related stories come to mind. I can’t promise what I’ll end up writing about, and even if I *do* write about something it might get cut by my editor, but it’s still early so anything’s possible.


  1. skikola

    Sounds AWESOME, man!!! I look forward this book.
    The one funny baseball story that comes to mind is related to the pine-tar incident, and how the pine-tar rule was one from the old days. Pine-tar up on the bat was getting on the ball upon contact, and the league didn’t want to/couldn’t afford to replace all the tarred balls.
    Good luck with the book AND the charity!

  2. gjk2212

    you could write a chapter about this kid may know him? and about how awesome he is at getting baseballs? and always saves you a spot in line? i heard he has around 200 lifetime but gaining quickly..

    but i mean, this is just offhand knowledge, could be total bs :P

  3. Cole

    You gotta include that one story of the guy that caught consecutive foul balls during a game. I can’t remember his name, but I remember reading about it. Truly inexplicable. 2 batted balls in a row found his mit. Pretty cool fact there you could throw in

  4. andersconrad12


    Here’s my advice to you, man. Check this book out — it’s a very good read. I brought it with when my dad and I ventured up to New York (from just outside Chicago) to see the Yanks play in The House, and I read it the whole trip. It’s jammed with awesome information that you could use.

    Just don’t copy the whole thing :P

    Yeah, it’s THAT good.

    Look forward to your new book!

    – Anders

  5. Stuart Jon

    Hey Zack,

    You should call your new book ‘Juiced’.

    I think that is plain and simple yet, a great title for a book on the baseball itself!

    Stuart Jon

  6. Txbaseballfan

    Well, just a small bit of history- I bought your last book (“Watching Baseball Smarter” for those of you reading that don’t know) on a whim, because I liked the title and didn’t know a thing about you. That opened me up to this whole snagging world. So to say that I am looking forward to your next book, would be an understatement. I realize you have deadlines to meet, but take as long as you need, because we will all be here to feed off of your baseball knowledge when it’s all said and done. Take care my friend!

  7. Txbaseballfan

    Isn’t that already a name of book? Jose Canseco related, I think.

  8. Stuart Jon

    Yeah it is, dam, it was so good it was already taken! Well back to my day job, which is not coming up with book names, thankfully!!

  9. baseballtourist


    Events to consider covering.mentioning in your new book:

    -Dave Winfileld and Randy Johnson Killing birds with thrown balls at the ballpark.

    -Players that reached hitting milestones with the same ball (i.e Paul Molitor and Joe Carter hit back-to-back pitches into play…same ball was returned after first hit…and it happened that Molitor hit a RBI milestone (1000?) and Carter a hit milestone (2000?) or vice versa…with that ball. They sawed it in half, so each would have a trophy! I was at the game and had a ticket, but can’t remeber when it happened.. 1995?

    -The advent and rartity of the commerative ball. I know you love getting new ones. I just read a DiMaggio biography and in it the author mentioned the “Mantle-Day” and “DiMaggio-Day” balls used in the late 1990’s for one game each, at Yankee Stadium.


  10. sportzfreeka

    Zack, I’m still pluggin my title, “Seams and Dreams: The Story of the Baseball” or something like that. It might just be me but that’s a killer title.


  11. bigglovebob

    Good luck with the book Zack, I am sure you are tracking just fine. I had a weird “snagging” experience today at the dome and I am deferring to my ballhawking elders to tell me whether or not they would count the ball or not. Weigh in at

  12. goisles

    Are you planning to add something about the 1951 Bobby Thomson HR off of Ralph Branca. I’m not sure if this qualifies as a Ball in the News or the Ultimate in Snagging. At the very least, I think you should interview the author.

    As an interesting sidelight (interesting to me anyway), Puck Collector’s grandfather was a good first baseman for NYU around the time Lou Gehrig was at Columbia, but his GF went on to law school instead of playing ball. His house number was 19 and he lived near Russ Hodges, the Giants announcer who made the famous call on Thomson’s HR, “The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!” In any event, Hodges gave a #19 lawn sign to Puck’s GF which still stands to this day!


    No fatherpuck- you are wrong.

    It was my great great grandfather

  14. Alex

    Zack, are you going to any of the Texas games next week at Yankee Stadium? The two teams with the most home runs in the majors (BP bomps), and with Texas having almost as many fans as Baltimore show up at home games, you can expect a crowd around 8,000 under capacity. I hope I can make one of the games.

  15. zackhample

    Thanks for all the suggestions. Now, to answer your questions…

    Yeah, the ball *was* branded, and yeah, I’m leaning toward going to D.C.

    I think that might be getting off topic…the whole idea of baseball accomplishments. Unless it’s directly related to the BALL itself, I’m not sure I’ll have room for it in the book. But thanks.

    I’m such an idiot. I stayed home tonight because I thought it was gonna rain. Stupid, stupid, stupid. And now I’m not even in the MOOD to work on this damn book. Stupid! I wish I were there right now with you.

    Yeah, I might include something about the Thomson/Branca ball. I’m certainly considering it, at least.

    Not sure. I might just skip Yankee next week and go to D.C. instead.

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