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Burial at Home Plate Book Review

Don’t judge me:  I have to confess that I’m not a big fan of baseball.  So I was surprised when I liked this book.  Bob Fulton’s Buried at Home Plate:  An Oddball History of the Pittsburgh Pirates is a compendium of anecdotes that make readers amused, surprised, and feeling oddly smarter.  Now I know, for example, how the Pirates got their team name.  It has nothing to do with buried gold, but it does point us toward the daring feats and sly moves that we all admire about pirate culture.  I was able to connect the current frenzy about Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce to the brief but highly publicized relationship between Pittsburgh Pirate Ralph Kiner and movie star Janet Leigh. And from this anecdote and others, I learned that crooner Bing Crosby was a minority owner of the Pirates for decades until his death. Bring on trivia night!


The tone is conversational and the pace is brisk.  Fulton deftly develops these characters and the twists and turns of history with the timing of an experienced journalist who wants not just to inform but to engage his readers.  In bits and pieces, readers come to understand how the many layers of business, media coverage, fandom, player talent, and management create the kinds of moments that comprise an “oddball history.”


If you like a particular anecdote in this book and want to share it, you’ll need to jot down what page it’s on.  While each little story is titled, there are no chapters and no index.  I haven’t discerned a clear organizational structure; in a page or two, the events described could range over a century.  So you might want to invest in some of those little, sticky, page markers to slap onto your favorite spots.  Plan to buy a lot of them—you’ll have lots of favorite places to mark!  Even someone like me—let’s just call me “baseball neutral”—wound up following family members around the house carrying Fulton’s book , saying, “Hey! Did you know that…?”   


Join the Historical Society on June 18, 2024 at 6:30 p.m. for an evening that is sure to appeal to baseball fans young and old as we host author, Bob Fulton. Please RSVP to the event for planning purposes.

 

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