Spring training games are still a month away. The Super Bowl won’t be here for almost two weeks. Basketball remains at mid-season.
It’s a good time to do some reading and for collectors, a new book might be worth picking up. “A History of American Sports in 100 Objects” takes the reader on a ride through time by way of iconic memorabilia.
Author Cait Murphy tracked down some sports-related items that had an impact on society, helped spur technological change or changed perceptions.
It’s a book that’s part sports, part history and part sociology but collectors should definitely appreciate seeing the stories associated with the invention of basketball, jerseys worn by Jackie Robinson and Hank Aaron, Yogi Berra’s catcher’s mitt, the program from the first night baseball game or Red Grange’s first pro football game. You’ll also find items not associated with traditional team sports including Alan Shepard’s moon-used golf club.
Important moments are captured and stories told through items associated with the founding of the AFL, the Ice Bowl, Super Bowl II, Monday Night Football and Roberto Clemente, whose story is told through a baseball card labeling him as “Bob”, a sad part of Clemente’s history.
Women’s sports and forgotten heroes are part of the story, too, from the invention of the bicycle that gave women newfound freedom to Billie Jean King’s victory over Bobby Riggs and beyond.
Some of the more interesting items are those you might not expect. President Lincoln’s handball, anyone?
The History of Sports in 100 Objects is 384 pages long and can be ordered here.