Awards Shelf

Major Bjarkman Books

“Daring, honest, exceptional… Peter C. Bjarkman has written a must-read primer for anyone considering the truth behind Cuban baseball’s impact on Major League Baseball.”—Ray Otero
“Nobody knows more about the intertwining of politics and baseball in Cuba than Peter Bjarkman ...”—Omar Minaya
"Bjarkman delivers the definitive work on Cuban baseball"—Library Journal
"... this gem is truly a triumph of research and good writing ..."—Library Journal
"Smoke is visual, visceral energy ... Rarely does a baseball book offer so much ..."—Sports Collectors Digest
"An unrivaled definitive history of the Latino invasion of the North American pastime."—
"A celebration of the powerful grip that America's game has on its millions of fans, and an attempt to recreate baseball history as it lives in our memory and imagination."
Five-decade illustrated history of major league baseball's most successful and popular post-expansion-era franchise
Nine early Bjarkman authored volumes on basketball history, including a popular illustrated history of the Boston Celtics and what some in the late-1990s called a definitive history of college basketball
Nine early Bjarkman authored sports biographies for Young Adult Readers produced in the early and mid-1990s


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Peter C. Bjarkman, Author and Traveler

"All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dream with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did." — T.E. Lawrence

PETER C. BJARKMAN (born in Hartford, Connecticut on May 19, 1941) is author of 40-plus books on sports history, including academic histories, coffee table pictorials, and biographies for young adult readers. He is perhaps best known in recent years as the leading authority on post-revolution Cuban League baseball and is also the first American to write regular columns and analysis on two "official" Cuban League baseball websites. His 2007 book, History of Cuban Baseball, 1864-2006 is universally recognized as the definitive work treating the history of Cuba's national pastime.

Bjarkman's earlier pictorial history of Cuban baseball entitled Smoke: The Romance and Lore of Cuban Baseball (1999, Total Sports, with photographer Mark Rucker) is widely recognized as a landmark achievement in the field. His more recent volume, Diamonds around the Globe: The Encyclopedia of International Baseball (2005, Greenwood), was winner of The Sporting News-SABR Baseball Research Award and a finalist for Spitball magazine's CASEY AWARD as "Baseball Book of the Year." Bjarkman's 1994 study, Baseball with a Latin Beat: A History of the Latin American Game (McFarland), earned the Macmillan-SABR Baseball Research Award. He is a frequent radio/​television guest and invited speaker on international baseball, plus a regular columnist for the Spanish-language monthly periodical Béisbol Mundial (New York).

Bjarkman—who splits his year between Lafayette, Indiana; Zagreb, Croatia; and Havana, Cuba—has traveled extensively throughout Cuba (30-plus visits) over the past decade and was the first American interviewed extensively about Cuban baseball on Cuban national television (2001-2005) during the 45-year history of the Cuban Socialist Revolution; he today ranks as the leading authority on the history of post-1962 Cuban League and Cuban national team baseball. Bjarkman has attended numerous major Olympic-style international baseball tournaments over the past ten years and recently covered Baseball World Cup XXXVI in The Netherlands (September 2005) for the Prensa Latina (Havana, Cuba) English-language website and the MLB World Baseball Classic (March 2006) for the Spanish-language magazine Béisbol Mundial. His latest books, entitled A History of Cuban Baseball, 1864-2006 (2007), Baseball's Other Big Red Machine: A History of the Cuban National Team (Forthcoming, 2009), and Who's Who in Cuban Baseball, 1962-2006 (Forthcoming, 2009) are published by McFarland & Company. Bjarkman writes and lectures in both English and Spanish.

A native New Englander, Bjarkman earned his Ph.D. in Linguistics (University of Florida) in 1976, M.A. in English (Trinity College, Hartford) in 1972, M.Ed. in Educational Administration (University of Hartford, Summa Cum Laude) in 1970, and B.S.Ed. in Education (University of Hartford, Magna Cum Laude) in 1963. He has been married since 1985 to Purdue University linguistics professor Ronnie B. Wilbur, a leading researcher and authority on deaf sign languages, and has two adult children. His avocations include model railroading (HO and N scale) and building the most extensive existing collection of Cuban League game-worn baseball uniforms.

Bjarkman is a member of The Author's Guild (2006) and the SABR, the Society for American Baseball Research (since 1987).

Major Writing Awards

2016 Winner – SABR Baseball Research Award (for Cuba's Baseball Defectors: The Inside Story, Rowman & Littlefield, 2016)

2008 Winner – SABR Latino Committee Eduardo Valero Memorial Award (for “Best Article of 2008” in La Prensa, newsletter of the SABR Latino Baseball Research Committee)

2007 Recipient – Robert Peterson Recognition Award by SABR’s Negro Leagues Committee, for advancing public awareness of Negro league baseball (for A History of Cuban Baseball, 1864-2006, McFarland & Company Publishers, 2007)

2005 Finalist – Spitball CASEY Award (for Diamonds around the Globe: The Encyclopedia of International Baseball, Greenwood Press, 2005)

2004 Winner – The Sporting News-SABR Baseball Research Award for “Best Baseball Research” (for Diamonds around the Globe: The Encyclopedia of International Baseball, Greenwood Press, 2005)

(2002) Reconocimiento al Mérito “Palmar de Junco” Monumento Nacional. Special citation and merit award (“Palmar de Junco” National Monument, Matanzas) presented jointly to Peter Bjarkman and Mark Rucker in honor of contributions as historians of Cuban baseball, offered by the Peña Deportiva (Sports Club) of Matanzas, Cuba, at the site of the mythical first baseball game on Cuban soil. Presented on February 28, 2002, in appreciation of Smoke: The Romance and Lore of Cuban Baseball (1999)

2000 Finalist – SABR Seymour Medal (Nominated with co-author Mark Rucker for Smoke—The Romance and Lore of Cuban Baseball, Total Sports Illustrated, 1999)

1999 Finalist – Spitball CASEY Award (with Mark Rucker for Smoke—The Romance and Lore of Cuban Baseball, Total Sports Illustrated, 1999)

1994 Winner – Macmillan-SABR Baseball Research Award (for Baseball with a Latin Beat: A History of the Latin American Game, McFarland & Company, 1994)