The 34-Ton Bat

The Story of Baseball as Told Through Bobbleheads, Cracker Jacks, Jockstraps, Eye Black, and 375 Other Strange and Unforgettable Objects
By Steve Rushin (Hardcover Book, 2013)
An unorthodox history of baseball told through the enthralling stories of the game's objects, equipment, and characters.

No sport embraces its wild history quite like baseball, especially in memorabilia and objects. Sure, there are baseball cards and team pennants. But there are also huge balls, giant bats, peanuts, cracker jacks, eyeblack, and more, each with a backstory you have to read to believe. In THE 34-TON BAT, Sports Illustrated writer Steve Rushin tells the real, unvarnished story of baseball through the lens of all the things that make it the game that it is.

Rushin weaves these rich stories--from ballpark pipe organs played by malevolent organists to backed up toilets at Ebbets Field--together in their order of importance (from most to least) for an entertaining and compulsive read, glowing with a deep passion for America's Pastime. The perfect holiday gift for casual fans and serious collectors alike, THE 34-TON BAT is a true heavy hitter.
  • Little, Brown and Company
    • Format: Hardcover Book

    • Price: $25.00 US/$28.00 CAN

    • ISBN-13: 9780316200936

    • On Sale Date: 10/15/2013

    • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

    • Imprint: Little, Brown and Company

    Formats Available: Hardcover Book, Electronic Book

  • Newsletter

    Don't miss updates about our authors, including book tour info and new book releases.

An unorthodox history of baseball told through the enthralling stories of the game's objects, equipment, and characters.

No sport embraces its wild history quite like baseball, especially in memorabilia and objects. Sure, there are baseball cards and team pennants. But there are also huge balls, giant bats, peanuts, cracker jacks, eyeblack, and more, each with a backstory you have to read to believe. In THE 34-TON BAT, Sports Illustrated writer Steve Rushin tells the real, unvarnished story of baseball through the lens of all the things that make it the game that it is.

Rushin weaves these rich stories--from ballpark pipe organs played by malevolent organists to backed up toilets at Ebbets Field--together in their order of importance (from most to least) for an entertaining and compulsive read, glowing with a deep passion for America's Pastime. The perfect holiday gift for casual fans and serious collectors alike, THE 34-TON BAT is a true heavy hitter.

Steve Rushin has been writing for Sports Illustrated for the last 25 years and was the 2006 National Sportswriter of the Year. His work has been collected in The Best American Sports Writing, The Best American Travel Writing, and The Best American Magazine Writing. He lives in Connecticut.
  • One of ESPN's Best in Baseball Books of 2013

    "THE 34-TON BAT tells a history of baseball through its equipment, as only Rushin could. That is to say... creatively and amusingly....THE 34-TON BAT will be a tremendous comfort to fans by the fireside while waiting for the snow to melt and pitchers and catchers to report." (ESPN).

  • One of The Tampa Tribune's Top 10 Baseball Books of 2013

    "A refreshing look at the game.... The 34-Ton Bat is Rushin at his best: crisp and snappy writing, and a wide-angle view of baseball that will make you stop and think - and in some cases, laugh out loud." (The Tampa Tribune).

  • "Rushin approaches his passion with a mischievous gleam in his eye, a point of view captured perfectly in this anecdote-filled account of the sport's odd corners.... In an era of sports literature when societal significance and statistical algorithms aren't always as fun as we'd hoped, Rushin has reintroduced readers to silliness. Read it with a smile." (Booklist (starred review)).

  • "The 34-Ton Bat is full of bits of information that will give even the most knowledgeable fan a new understanding of the game and those who have played it.... Certain elements of the game will never seem quite the same after reading Mr. Rushin's book." (Wall Street Journal).

  • "A lot of the fun in Rushin's exhaustively researched, very readable history comes from learning about the people behind the innovations.... Rushin's exuberant prose describes the continuous evolution of baseball paraphernalia." (Publishers Weekly).

  • "Few objects escape the notice of Rushin, who invests each not only with the skill of a career sportswriter, but also with the passion of a fan... Not just sportswriting, but also graceful and gripping cultural history." (Kirkus).

  • "Rushin delights trivia buffs with little-known knowledge and a wicked sense of humor....THE 34-TON BAT is a perfect hit for fall." (The Daily Herald).

  • "[Rushin] expertly shows baseball's omnipresence at every turn of modern American history with an eye for the eccentric and flowing anecdotal prose. The 34-Ton Bat is a sheer delight, tailored to the sports fan but sure to enthrall any reader with a taste for the weird, wacky and wonderful." (Shelf Awareness).

  • "I got so addicted to The 34-Ton Bat, I wished the book weighed 34 tons. I'd have happily finished that, too." (Rick Reilly).

  • "That subtitle is like some strange, enticing tin toy gleaming in a tinker's window, Rushin being the ultimate tinkerer with language. And the book indeed proves to be the ultimate toy shop for baseball fans....Rushin throws ideas at you like Gaylord Perry spitballs: unpredictable and mesmerizing but alarmingly accurate. He turns phrases as if they were double plays. (Like that, for example. Only better.)" (David Vecsey, New York Times' The 6th Floor).

  • "The perfect vehicle to speed you along toward pitchers and catchers...the kind of baseball book that makes baseball fans grateful to be baseball fans." (The New York Post).

  • "Rushin started his love of baseball at 13 by cooking hot dogs for the Minnesota Twins. And he can turn a phrase as deftly as he turned a dog." (The Louisville Courier-Journal).

  • "Die-hard baseball fans will want to pore through every page...This unorthodox history of the game delves into memorabilia - some quite famous and others lesser known - to give a unique perspective on the national pastime." (Good Housekeeping).

  • "Do not drink liquids as you read this book, because you will spew them in hilarity. I kid you not. This is a dangerously funny book, made brilliant by the fact it is also the genuine history of baseball, true as ash. Above all, it is Steve Rushin's love letter to the Great American Game--perfumed with the odor of hot dogs (the ones he cooked as a kid employee at the `Met' in Minneapolis), glove oil, Frosty Malts, and exotic things like splattered grapefruits dropped from the Washington Monument. This is Rushin throwing from the outfield to the plate, at his wordsmith best. I'm serious about the laughter. My stomach feels like it's been hit by that 68,000-pound bat." (Rick Telander, Sports Columnist, Chicago Sun-Times ).

  • "A real delight." (New York Post).

  • "An amusing history of baseball told through the game's objects, equipment, and characters." (The Hartford Courant).

  • "A humorous and hyperbolic collection of essays.... Without this book you would have never known about these stories that are so incredibly interesting and rich." (ChatSports).

Formats

Product Details

The 34-Ton Bat
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Price: $25.00 US/$28.00 CAN
  • Pages: 352
  • Physical Dimensions: 5-1/2" x 8-1/4"
  • ISBN-13: 9780316200936
  • On Sale Date: 10/15/2013
Also By This Author
The 34-Ton Bat