In a matter of days, Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Florida, will become something of a ghost town. Next spring, the LA Dodgers will move their preseason to Glendale, AZ, ending decades of Brooklyn and LA Dodger history in Florida.
The move will leave memories, history and some might say specters -- phantoms, ghosts. Talk about an old haunt.
Writers Mickey Bradley and Dan Gordon have chronicled baseball ghost stories in their carefully researched and engagingly written book, Haunted Baseball: Ghosts, Curses, Legends and Eerie Events. Their collection of baseball ghosts stories opens on Crescent Lake's Huggins-Stengel Field, a care-worn old baseball field named for two Yankee coaches -- Miller Huggins and Casey Stengel. The authors draw a cinematic portrait of Babe Ruth, Stengel, DiMaggio, Lou Gehrig and other Yankee greats still inhabiting their old spring training facility.
We could have held this brief review for the end of the season -- closer to Halloween -- but the story of Dodgertown and the book's opening with spring training persuaded me that this is a book for now and later.
When the book arrived in our home, my 10-year-old son quickly took the book for himself to read. I told him he could read it first so long as he agreed to write a short review. Below is his write-up.
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Haunted Baseball is not your ordinary ghost book. It doesn’t feel corny and unreal like all of that “real ghost stories” fiction. It actually makes you believe that there could be something, or someone rocking that chair.
It makes you think that maybe that’s not “just the wind." Yet it doesn’t try to make readers scared, maybe just happy that Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth are still walking around Yankee Stadium, helping the Yankees when all seems lost (unless you’re a Red Sox fan).
And Mickey Bradley and Dan Gordon have gotten so many quotes from players and coaches that you start to believe right along with them. I don’t know, maybe it’s just a coincidence, but before I read this book I thought that there couldn’t possibly be any such thing as a ghost or a spirit, but after I read it, I started to think…
Some examples of stories are former Cape Leaguer, Jim Thome, saying he saw former Indians trainer, and good friend Jimmy Warfield come back to earth as a seagull.
Haunted Baseball is a great book for anybody who likes baseball, and maybe getting a little chill down their spine.