PETER C. BJARKMAN AUTHOR

CUBAN BASEBALL HISTORIAN AND JOURNALIST


Click above image to access Peter Bjarkman's Amazon Page

Book Awards



SABR Eduardo Valero Latino Committee Award (2008)

Cuban (Matanzas) Palmar de Junco Award (2007)

SABR Robert Peterson Negro Leagues Committee (2007)

The Sporting News-SABR Award (2004)

SABR-Macmillan Award (1994)

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
No world leader has had the impact on his nation's leading pastime to the same degree that the half-century rule of Fidel Castro would produce in the baseball fanatic island of Cuba.
“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
Pioneering bilingual editions (English and Spanish volumes) edited by Peter C. Bjarkman and Bill Nowlin and drawn from SABR Biography Project archives on legendary Cuban ballplayers. Features portraits of many of Cuba's most legendary pre- and post-revolution stars.
"Truly a triumph of research and good writing, this gem should be on the reference shelves of any library boasting a serious baseball collection." — Paul Kaplan, 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." — amazon.com
"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."
Pete Bjarkman also edited the popular early-1990s collection of baseball short stories entitled Baseball & The Game of Life (which appeared in both English and Japanese editions)
An ultimate guide to the top figures (on the court and off) timed for the sports collegiate centennial and also covering the first half-century of the professional game.
The composite story of American collegiate basketball, written on the occasion of the sport's centennial and later reissued in an attractive paperback edition.
Five-decade illustrated history of major league baseball's most successful and popular post-expansion-era franchise
Colorful review of one of pro basketball's most-storied franchises, focusing equally on the Russell-Cousy-Auerbach unparalleled dynasties years during the strife-torn Sixties and the rebirth of glory under Larry Bird and Robert Parrish in the Eighties and Nineties.
Early Bjarkman coffee table pictorial team history volumes include books on the Toronto Blue Jays, Brooklyn Dodgers, Cincinnati Reds and Los Angeles Dodgers (the latter pair published in the Brompton Book's "Baseball Great Dynasties Series).
A quintet (appropriately enough) of pro and college basketball volumes representing the author's free-lance work in the final decade of the 20th century, before the siren-call of baseball in Cuba.
A collection of additional baseball and basketball volumes edited by the author, plus major contributed chapters and a handful of volume "introductions" contributed over the years.
Bjarkman's several dozen SABR BioProject articles (on-line and forthcoming) are all linked here (Cuban and Japanese players). The author's Bios for Cuban big leaguers are also linked above on the separate Cuban Baseball Legends book page.
Nine early Bjarkman authored sports biographies for Young Adult Readers produced in the early and mid-1990s
The author's work has also appeared extensively in Spanish, including numerous journal articles. Several of his books have also been translated into other foreign-language editions (Japanese, French and Polish)

ADDITIONAL LINKS

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SELECTED BOOKS BY PETER C. BJARKMAN

"A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people." — Thomas Mann, German Nobel Prize Laureate

Smoke made a large impact on the island of Cuba

Cuba's Baseball Defectors: The Inside Story
MLB’s much ballyhooed steroids scandal of the 1990s and early 2000s was largely a temporary diversion and a much-trumpeted media entertainment of the type the sport seemingly enjoys every new generation (like introduction of the lively ball, or the DH, or artificial turf, or the sport’s hijacking by television). But in the end Bud Selig’s “steroid legacy” impacted only on the game’s sacred record books and had little currency outside the small world of professional baseball. No human lives were lost or even threatened, no serious impact on the world of international politics transpired. But now that MLB has begun to sully its hands in the sordid world of human trafficking and illegal immigration a far more serious scandal has begun to immerge.


Fidel Castro and Baseball (in progress)
In this important and ground-breaking new work Chadwick Award Winner Peter Bjarkman establishes the baseball side of Fidel Castro's immense legacy. Covered here is the mythology of Fidel Castro as big league pitching prospect, the true of Fidel in guiding and rebuilding island baseball culture after the 1959 Communist Revolution, Fidel's success and failures at "beating the Americans at their own national game, reviews of the popular literature treating Fidel's actual and fiction life, and an insightful look at how baseball recent seeming collapse in Cuba and the flight of star players the Major League Baseball was intimately tied to Castro's health crises, departure from power (at the acme of Cuban baseball potency in early 2006) and eventual death (a decade later in late 2016).


The Yanqui in Cuba's Dugout: Travels Inside Fidel Castro's Baseball Empire (in progress)
A long-awaited memoir of author Peter Bjarkman's two decades on the ground in Cuba, providing an insider's revealing details on the inner workings of Cuban baseball and offering an intimate portrait of the long-forbidden Communist bastion across its slow wind-down toward inevitable détente with the great empire to the north.


A History of Cuban Baseball, 1864-2006 (hardcover and paperback editions)
The seminal and most comprehensive history of Cuban baseball, from its origins on the island in 1864 through the 45 seasons of "amateur league" competitions and national team triumphs following the 1959 communist revolution. Details on every pre- and post-revolution Cuban season and records of all international appearances by Cuban national teams. Touted by Library Journal (February 1, 2007) as "the definitive work" on Cuban baseball and featured on Havana's RADIO COCO Cuban League website. Recipient of the 2007 Robert Peterson Recognition Award from the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) Negro Leagues Committee.


Cuban Baseball Legends (SABR Digital Library)
These ground-breaking English and Spanish editions (SABR's first-ever such effort) capture the mystique and colorful history of Cuba's unparalleled baseball saga across the 20th and 21st centuries. Also featured are several background essays by Bjarkman providing the necessary background on Cuban baseball lore, including a history of the post-1962 Cuban League and Bjarkman's detailed essay on the baseball contribution of the island's half-centurt leader and revolutionary icon, Fidel Castro.


Diamonds around the Globe: Encyclopedia of International Baseball
The first comprehensive encyclopedia of baseball as a world sport, with detailed histories of the game in all baseball-playing countries and coverage of all major international tournaments (Olympics, World Cup, Intercontinental Cup, Pan American Games, etc.). The first and still the only volume of its type to chronicle the international version of Cuba's and North America's avowed "national pastime." Winner of The Sporting News-SABR Baseball Research Award (2004) and Finalist for CASEY Award (2005).


Smoke — The Romance and Lore of Cuban Baseball (co-authored with Mark Rucker)
An award-winning coffee table pictorial revealing the history of Cuban baseball with both rare vintage photographs and informative historical text. This book has become a valued collectible on the island of Cuba, especially among an older generation of baseball aficionados. A finalist for CASEY Award and SABR-Seymour Medal (Best Baseball Book of the Year).


Baseball with a Latin Beat: A History of the Latin American Game
The first comprehensive history of baseball in Latin America and Latinos in the major leagues, with detailed accounts of baseball in each of the major Caribbean Rim ballplaying countries. A ground-breaking book in the early 1990s and also the basis for Bjarkman's later scholarship on Latin American and Cuban League baseball. Winner of the Macmillan-SABR Baseball Research Award (1994).


The Baseball Scrapbook (Four Editions)
This volume is 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. Four sections cover the following themes: (1) The Magic of Baseball, (2) The Art of Baseball, (3) The Baseball family, and (4) Take Me Out to the Ball Game.


Baseball & the Game of Life (Edited Fiction)
An inspiring collection of short baseball fiction featuring some of the games most renowned "wordsmiths" and including the editor's introductory essay providing an early 1990's guide to the world of baseball fiction.


The Biographical History of Basketball
Comprehension late 20th-century guide to the leading figures of NBA and NCAA basketball, plus the author's chapter-length articles capsulizing the rich history of the favorite American winter sport on both the collegiate and professional levels.


Hoopla: A Century of College Basketball
By virtually any measure, basketball in the late 20th century was becoming the nation's favored sport. More prople watched basketball at the high school. collegiate and professional levels than any other form of athletic competition. Bjarkman chronicles (in the late 1990s) over 100 years of the college game that has evolved from peach baskets nailed to the wall to today's slam dunk.in-your face, trash-talking version of American athletic ballet.


New York Mets Encyclopedia
Comprehensive history of one of baseball's most beloved franchises, including numerous photos and statistical summaries as well as a rich and detailed narrative text (with the book's 2013 Third Edition updated through 2012 season). Fifty years of New York Mets history colorfully documented in a single attractive volume. A half-dozen additional Bjarkman-authored team histories are also found here.


Boston Celtics Encyclopedia
The story of professional basketball - in the large bulk of its chapters - reduces nearly to the story of the Boston Celtics. In the late Fifties through the decade of the Sixties, here was not only the firsy great dynasty club of the infant professional round-ball sport, but arguably the greatest dynasty in the full history of American sports.


Additional Baseball Team Histories
Bjarkman's post-academic writing career was launched in the early 1990s with a series of work-for-hire coffee table pictorials on the Toronto Blue Jays, the Cincinnati Reds, and the two manifestation of the franchise known on both coasts as The Dodgers.


Miscellaneous Basketball Books
Written in the 1990s, before his interest turned more exclusively the Cuba and Caribbean baseball, Bjarkman authored additional (most coffeetable) books on such varied hoops topics as an NBA pictorial history, a pair of collegiate conference histories (Big ten and ACC), an entertaining portrait of the sport's idolized slam-duck specialists, and the emerging career of NBA big-man hero Shaquille O'Neal.


Edited Books, Chapters and Introductions
In addition to several above-listed volumes, the author has contributed major introductions to both William Brashler's paperback reissue of the classic novel Bingo Long and the Travelling All-Stars and Severo Nieto's tome on Early U.S. Blackball Teams in Cuba. Included here also are numerous contributed chapters in various sports anthologies and team history volumes.


SABR Biography Project
SABR's Baseball Biography Project is an ongoing effort to research and write comprehensive biographical articles on people who played or managed in the major leagues, or otherwise made a significant contribution to the sport. The project is run by the SABR's BioProject Committee and the 4000-plus on-line articles represent efforts of admittedly varying scholarly depth and literature quality.


Sports Books for Young Adult Readers
Roberto Clemente is an award-winning biography for young adult readers (picked by the New York Public Library as a 1991 top choice for Young Adult Readers) and also one of four Bjarkman titles in the Chelsea House Baseball Legends Series of the early 1990s. The author's other titles in the same series include Duke Snider, Ernie Banks and Warren Spahn. Bjarkman is also author of five additional Young Adult sports titles for Enslow Publisher.


Bjarkman in Spanish (Additional Translations)
The author's work has also appeared extensively in Spanish, including numerous journal articles. Several of his books have also been translated into other foreign-language editions (Japanese, French and Polish)