A few years ago, when Brooklyn native Jon Lindenblatt, an avid baseball fan, was asked by his cousin to teach her preteen son about baseball, he went to local bookstore in search of a children’s book about the history of each team. Recalling that his own knowledge of geography was almost exclusively gained through researching baseball teams, Lindenblatt sought to set the youngster on the same path.
Lindenblatt searched far and wide, but couldn’t find an appropriate one. Though he found other ways to get the information, it stuck in his mind that the kind of book that might make introducing kids to the game and its history didn’t exist.
So he wrote his own.
“I would be at work, at home, daydreaming that I could do better,” said the practicing media attorney. “That’s my inspiration for this book.”
And do better, he has. Colorfully illustrated by noted sports artist Brian Kong, Trolley Dodgers, Pinstriped Yankees, and Wearing Red Sox: How MLB Teams Got Their Names dedicates a page to each team, noting the derivation of the team nickname, and noting several other interesting facts about the respective franchise.
“I’m not sure everyone knows why teams were named the way they were,” said Lindenblatt. “And some of the other stories and notes about each team may be new to adult fans as well, like why the original Yankees were called the Highlanders, or the fact the Mets’ orange and blue colors were borrowed from the departed Giants and Dodgers.”
The ability to license MLB logos and mascot images through Lindenblatt’s publisher Mascot Books enhances the look and adds further legitimacy to Trolley Dodgers, while Kong’s art adds a unique feel that will resonate with youngsters and adults.
“I want this book to be something that kids and adults go back to over and over again,” added Lindenblatt, who also noted that the ideal starting age to introduce the book is around seven. “It will help kids learn the game when they have so many questions. Instead of having to make up the answers, parents can have them here.”
Lindenblatt decribes the work as a “labor of love,” and though the derivations of the Mets and Yankees team names are not particularly special as compared to some of the more colorful scenarios, New York fans will appreciate the tidbits of history about their favorite teams and learning about the others.