Storied Stadiums: Baseball’s History Through Its Ballparks

Storied Stadiums: Baseball’s History Through Its Ballparks (Carroll and Graf, 2001, 593 pages) is the definitive book on all major league ball parks, detailing each of the more than 140 major-league fields since the first enclosed park opened in Brooklyn in 1862. This look at baseball’s past, present and future homes includes a foreword written by broadcaster Bob Costas, an index, comprehensive appendix, and 36 beautiful four-color lithographs of many ballparks from Bill Goff Inc.

In a kinetic prose as full of surprises as a wind-aided knuckleball, the author begins with great wooden palaces that grew from modest roots soon after the Civil War. From there he segues to the golden era of classic parks like bandbox Fenway Park, raucous Ebbets Field, triple-tiered Yankee Stadium, and the surreal Polo Grounds.

Next, Smith etches the grotesque multi-sport stadiums of the 1960s through 1980s—cookie-cutters without intimacy or charm. Finally, we read of the “new old parks” of the last three decades like Camden Yards, Minute Maid Park, and PNC Park—urban, idiosyncratic, and personal—taking baseball back to the future. More than two of every three big-league sites have been built since 1992. Storied Stadiums puts a reader in them or every other park in big-league history.