Haunted Baseball: Ghost, Curses, Legends, and Eerie Events
By Mickey Bradley and Dan Gordon
Copyright 2007 – The Macmillan Company

Regardless of whether you are a believer of the paranormal or a skeptic, if you’re a fan of America’s pastime, “Haunted Baseball” is a book that will satisfy both sides of the fence.  Not only does it investigate reports of hauntings and other accounts of ghostly activity, it discusses legends and some curses that you might not be familiar with.

Every fan knows about the famous curses in baseball; the Cubs and their Wrigley Field Goat, the Red Sox and their “Bambino” curse, and the White Sox curse dating back to the 1919 Black Sox scandal.  The latter two have apparently been “broken” with World Series victories by both teams.  But how about the Tampa Bay Rays and the rumors of a curse about their original team name, the “Devil Rays”?  Did you know about the St. Louis Cardinals’ “Curse of Keith” or the Indians’ “Curse of the Rock”; these and others are addressed in “Haunted Baseball”. 

I will tell you straight up that I am a total skeptic when it comes to ghosts, curses, and anything that involves superstition.  You cannot tell me that Nomar Garciaparra’s ridiculous batting glove ritual before every pitch makes him see or hit the ball better.  The thing about a superstition though is that it doesn’t matter if its real or not to me, it matters to the individual.  I don’t believe in Nomar’s antics, but if he does and he feels it gives him an advantage, then it is in fact real.

Let’s get me off of my soapbox; Gordon and Bradley are the experts on this subject.  And besides, regardless of if you believe in superstitions, ghost, or curses, they are fun to read about.  Many of these stories are news to me and being a lifelong fan of the game I also find this book interesting in the historical sense.

The writing is smooth and the chapters are long enough to be informative but short enough not to lose your interest.  Additionally I could not tell what teams Gordon or Bradley were fans of, which to me is always important in non-fiction books about the Major Leagues.  They were completely objective in their reporting and storytelling which will appease the skeptics.  At the same time though, it is interesting enough that believers in the paranormal will find it a great read too.

Both Dan Gordon and Mickey Bradley are seasoned authors who have written about the paranormal before, this ain’t their first rodeo.  They seamlessly switch from writing about ghosts and eerie events to touching stories about life and baseball meeting at a crossroads.

Chapter two is the touching story about Cleveland Indians’ trainer Jimmy Warfield and the influence he had on players such Jim Thome, Omar Vizquel, Sandy Alomar, and others that played for the Tribe from the early 1990s until Warfield’s sudden death in July of 2002. 

In chapter 10, Bradley and Gordon devote the entire chapter to stories about the occurrences surrounding some of the games played following the tragic events of September 11th, 2001.  These accounts are written with such care and emotion that even a cynical skeptic such as myself got goose bumps.

And then there is chapter 24 and the story about Becky Cornelius; it’s inspiring but at the same time a little disconcerting.  Becky’s relationship with the Triple “A” Iowa Cubs is something you will just have to read for yourself and form your own opinion.  I will say this though, if you ever make it to an Iowa home game and Becky is there, do not root against the Cubs!

All in all “Haunted Baseball: Ghosts, Curses, Legends and Eerie Events” is a great book for all levels of baseball fans.  It not only takes you into the world of the paranormal, but also touches your heart and gives you a few lessons in history too.  In the rating scheme, I give it “three and a half balls”.  Mickey Bradley and Dan Gordon have collaborated on a very interesting and unique book that would make a great gift to any fan of the game, including yourself. 

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