Books by Sun writers: baseball and a Ravens' home

November 22, 1998|By Michael Pakenham

"Baseball in Baltimore: The First 100 Years," by James H. Bready (Johns Hopkins. 246 pages. $34.95).

"Gaining a Yard: The Building of Baltimore's Football Stadium," by Jon Morgan, photography by Doug Kapustin (Baltimore Sun. 157 pages. $29.95).

Out of concern for credibility and fairness, these pages recognize books written by staff members of The Sun, but we do not attempt to scrutinize them as with books by outsiders. We wish our colleagues well. The fact that they write for this newspaper may be taken to mean that we admire their professionalism and artfulness.

Newest among those are a book on the rich, more-or-less ancient history of baseball in Baltimore and another on the newest sports artifact in the region: the professional football stadium that was built this year.

James Bready is an institution within The Sun. He officially retired in 1985, after 40 years on the staff of The Evening Sun. He had worked as a local and features reporter and then spent 34 years writing editorials. Throughout that time, he had an acute interest in local history. Unrelenting, neither Bready nor The Sun let retirement prevent him from making continuing contributions to the paper, to its readers - and to his fellow staffers.

He has continued to write occasional opinion pieces for the Op-Ed pages and articles for other parts of the paper, drawing richly on an immense store of experience and insight. From the time I arrived at The Sun, almost exactly four years ago, Jim has been unstintingly forthcoming and wise with counsel about the Baltimore community - or many communities. A learned and indefatigable bookman, he writes a regular column on "Books of the Region."

All those strengths have been brought to bear in Jim's new "Baseball in Baltimore." Illuminated by some 150 illustrations and at least as many enchanting anecdotes, it traces the National

Pastime from its beginnings here in 1859 until 1954, when after a 52-year absence of any major league team, the Orioles rejoined the American League.

"Gaining a Yard" is not really a sports book at all. It is about a building, to begin with, one of the largest ever constructed in Maryland. But it is far broader than that. Morgan, a Sun staffer since 1987, covers the business of sports. He tracked and reported the conception and construction of the Ravens' stadium from beginning to completion.

His text is straightforwardly reportorial, full of fact. But beyond that, it is full of people, the human dramas of a mighty enterprise and a massive project.

Some of Doug Kapustin's photographs, as with Morgan's reporting, appeared in The Sun. Readers will recognize those - artful, dramatic, evocative. On large pages of slick paper - this is a presentation book - they are unforgettable.

Pub Date: 11/22/98

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