Game Worn: Baseball Treasures from the Game’s Greatest Heroes and Moments (Smithsonian Books, $34.95) brings baseball history to life through its iconic memorabilia. By Stephen Wong, a lifelong collector of baseball artifacts and the author of Smithsonian Baseball, and photographer Dave Grob, this collection of essays and photographs features one-of-a kind relics from throughout the 20th century, from Ty Cobb’s sharpened spikes to David Cone’s crisp and pristine game uniform, charting the evolving look and recalling the major moments of the game. Richly nostalgic and lovingly rendered, this book will bring baseball fans of all ages back to their youth. Go, team!
Fans of David Foster Wallace’s epic novel, Infinite Jest, know that tennis is a firm presence in the author’s life and work. Wallace was a highly-ranked junior tennis player in the Midwest, and along with his celebrated fiction, wrote essays about tennis. Whether explaining the hazards and vicissitudes of playing in the tornado alleys of his youth, the trials of a player trying to qualify for the US Open, or the sublimity of Roger Federer’s game, the five pieces included in String Theory are literary and journalistic treats, and often very funny. Don’t overlook the (lengthy) footnotes—mini masterpieces of their own.
Tennis, more so than basketball or football, is a game of physics (angles, spin, torque, velocity, force, vectors), played with athleticism and high precision on a frustratingly small court. And thus tennis fans, more so than those of basketball or football, obsess about technique. We daydream, for example, about the effortless way the perfectly-directed momentum of a racquet-head imposes a trajectory upon a yellow felt ball. This is a book for tennis fanatics looking to geek out over technique, or for a gift-giver to bind the tennis fanatic in his or her life to undying loyalty.