(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

DIAMONDS is the history book of ballparks, following the development of baseball diamonds from the Elysian Fields of 1845 to Joe Robbie Stadium, constructed in 1993. Chapters are arranged chronologically, around breakthroughs in stadium architecture or an important development in baseball. At the beginning of each chapter, a time line recounts major events in baseball and the world. Within chapters, subtopics and inserts provide interesting information but make the book somewhat difficult to read. A time line covering the construction of all recorded major league ballparks and their dimensions after 1900 is included at the end.

Chapter 1, “Green Pastures,” covers the period from 1845 to 1875, discussing the first rules and fields of America’s favorite pastime created by Alexander Cartwright and his New York Knickerbockers. Chapter 2 covers the formation of the National League in 1876, and two chapters later “The Birth of the American League” in 1901. In the sixth chapter, covering 1912 to 1914, Gershman introduces the first stadiums used by modern teams, Tiger Stadium, Fenway Park, and Wrigley Field. Chapter 7 discusses the first “Superstadiums and Major Improvements,” including the construction of Braves Stadium in 1915, Yankee Stadium in 1923, and Lakefront Park (Cleveland Stadium) in 1932. These new stadiums used steel and concrete to form larger foundations for their much larger wooden grandstands and seats. The last three chapters of the book cover modern stadiums, including Camden Yards in Baltimore, 1992, and the Skydome in Toronto, 1989. These modern stadiums used concrete and steel, not only for foundations but also for triple-deck stands and domes. Throughout, this coffee-table book is well illustrated with rare photographs, many from an aerial view.