At the end of December, I always look back and review the books I read over the past year. I have been keeping track of the books I have read since 1989. Keeping these lists has been wonderful for it allows me to look back over the many books I have read in my adult life. Through this exercise I get to remember great passages, great themes, and great ideas. When I look back, I also remember the titles and authors I have particularly enjoyed which often brings me back to read those same books again. I love reading and believe that our lives are infinitely richer through the books we read.
Here is a list of the best books that I read in 2018 with a short summary of each. (Quick note – not all of the books listed below are pictured in the graphic.)
MY FAVORITE BOOKS 2018
Continue reading “The Best Books I Read in 2018”
(This story is also published at www.startspreadingthenews.blog)
We were in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Amish Country, with many family members to celebrate my father’s 80th birthday.
Our family started to gather in the hotel lobby so we could head off to dinner. Sitting at the center of it all, proudly wearing his Red Sox hat, was Dad, basking in the joy of togetherness. He had his wife and children with him – and a few of the grandkids. My dad loves his family even more than he loves the Red Sox (although he has loved the Red Sox longer than any of us. Dad’s love of the Sox goes back to 1946. He met my mom in the late 1950’s and my sister and I came more than a decade after that.)
Continue reading “A Yankees Fan, A Red Sox Fan, and a Very Special Baseball Bat”
A few months ago, I shared how people who I will never know might be impacted by the words I read from my basement in the early hours before school each day. I read a health report and share words of inspiration for a radio show in the Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania area.
As a high school kid, when I dreamed of being a radio announcer, I thought I’d be doing things a little differently than what I’m doing now. I also thought that if I was on the radio, I’d be talking about baseball – especially the Yankees.
Continue reading “Radio Star II”
(This post was originally published on the Start Spreading the News Yankees blog.)
On Thursday night, SSTN writer Michael Saffer and I attended a live taping of Yankees Hot Stove at the Yogi Berra Museum in Montclair, New Jersey. It was a great event.
The theater/studio at the Yogi Berra is a great venue. It’s small and intimate. A person in the audience gets the sense that the presenters (in this case the Yankees Hot Stove Team) are actually talking with you – and at times they were.
Located in that studio is a replica Yankee Stadium scoreboard. (See the picture above.) Each time I attend an event at the Yogi Berra Museum, I wonder what game that scoreboard is supposed to reflect. As such, I decided that I would figure it out using the wonderful tools at BaseballReference.com, my Yankees knowledge, and some common sense.
Continue reading “Being a Baseball Detective”
(This post can also be found on NYY_Report (“Start Spreading the News”):
We are sports fans. There is something special and wonderful and unique about being a sports fan. We love our teams and certain players. We get excited by special moments.
And when disappointment hits, it hits hard – and it often hurts.
Continue reading “Saying Goodbye to Matsui & Meb”
(The following passage was included as part of the monthly newsletter that I send out to the parents of my school community.)
It is no secret that I enjoy sports, mostly baseball, and that I have always been a big fan of the New York Yankees. There is something about baseball that resonates with me. The ebb and flow of the game, the simplicity, the day-to-day consistency… Like a good friend, from April through September, baseball is a constant companion. I love it.
One of the big stories that has come out of this year’s baseball season has been the fact that a rookie on the New York Yankees, a certain Aaron Judge, recently set the record for the most home runs ever hit in one’s first season. No player had ever hit 50 home runs as a rookie until Aaron Judge accomplished that feat. Amazing.
Continue reading “The Judge”
(The following is a modified (slightly shortened and less school specific) version of the message I sent to my teaching staff as we begin to prepare for the opening of the 2017-18 school year in a few weeks. The message applies to all individuals in all walks of life and all professions.)
When I was a child growing up in the late 1970’s, the Houston Astros had very cool uniforms.
I was a Yankees fan (that is deep-seated in my blood), but there were times when I wished the Yankees could at least be a little more colorful. I, of course, love the Yankees’ midnight blue pinstripes and the interlocking NY, but for a kid, that Astros rainbow uniform was a lot more eye-catching!
The Astros also were also a pretty unique team. They played in the only domed stadium (The Astrodome), they played on fake grass (Astroturf), they had exciting players like Nolan Ryan, J.R. Richard, and Cesar Cedeno (pictured above). The Astros were even featured in one of the Bad News Bears movies!
None of that influenced me enough to be an Astros fan, but it is undeniable that there was a certain appeal to rooting for the Houston Astros.
Continue reading “The Houston Astros and You!”
(This passage comes from my upcoming book, “The Least Among Them,” a unique and original history of the New York Yankees. The manuscript is in the editing stage. Literary agents and/or publishers interested in learning more about this project are encouraged to reach me at drpaulsem AT hotmail dot com.)
Mordecai Brown was an ace pitcher on the Chicago Cubs teams that dominated baseball in the earliest days of the Twentieth Century. Brown won twenty or more games in six consecutive seasons between 1906 and 1911. One of baseball’s great pitchers, Mordecai Brown won 239 games. He was elected to the Hall-of-Fame in 1949. But none of that is why he is remembered today…
As a youngster, Mordecai lost one finger and damaged another during an accident with a feed chopper on a farm. It was because of these “deformities,” that he became known as “Three Finger” Brown. Many believed that the unique grip he had on a baseball contributed to his success. But Mordecai Brown was not baseball’s only three-fingered pitcher.
In 1934, the New York Yankees had a prospect named Floyd Newkirk. Like the great “Three Finger” Brown, Newkirk had only three fingers on his pitching hand. Like Brown, Floyd lost his two fingers in a childhood accident of his own. Also like Brown, the injury did not dissuade Floyd Newkirk from playing, and ultimately achieving success, through pitching a baseball.
Continue reading “One Day Yankee – Floyd Newkirk”
I truly believe we can all be almost anything we want to be. I think it just takes hard work, perseverance, some creativity, and, maybe, a little luck. Sometimes, I think, we also have to modify our dreams a little. Last week, I got to live out, in a sense, one of my childhood dreams.
Continue reading “Living A Dream”