Surveying the Boys of Summer Books

The New Dickson Baseball Dictionary
By Paul Dickson.
Harcourt Brace & Co., 579 pp., $35 hardcover, $20 paper.

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With an approach that's two parts Noah Webster and one part Lenny Webster, Dickson traces how words migrate from the outside world to the diamond (see cheese), and vice versa (see screwball), and even affect the way the game is played (see hit for the cycle). But don't get the impression that the DBD is merely a reference book. Chock-full of significant trivia (who coined the phrase good field, no hit and to whom was he referring?) and serious silliness (the new thesaurus section informs us that hen house hoist is a synonym for a fowl, um, foul ball) this is the season's best bathroom baseball book, and that, my friends, is high praise indeed. — A.S.J.

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