Baseball history hits a home run

“Hometown Heroes” by Clay Sigg
“Hometown Heroes” by Clay Sigg

Clay Sigg of Granite Bay has the résumé that qualified him to compile his informative coffee-table book “Hometown Heroes” (Newtype, $60, 380 pages). He’s a member of the Society for American Baseball Research and holds a place in the University of California, Davis, Baseball Hall of Fame.

He explains: “Throughout the history of baseball, over 18,000 ballplayers have seen action in a major league uniform, yet only 177 men have spent their entire big-league careers exclusively with a single team. This pays homage to an exceptional fraternity.”

A violent visit with Ma Barker

Author-screenwriter Chris Enss of Grass Valley has written more than 30 nonfiction books about the frontier, including her latest, “Ma Barker: America’s Most Wanted Mother” (TwoDot, $17, 240 pages). Amazingly, Enss writes, Kate Barker orchestrated the Depression-era evil-doings of 24 gang members for 20 years, yet “she was never arrested.” She and a son, Fred, were killed by FBI agents in a shootout in 1935.

From early California, with love

Linda Price Williams of Lincoln has compiled the treasure trove of love letters exchanged between her maternal grandparents between 1903 and 1908 – and Northern California history – in “California Love Letters” (CreateSpace, $20, 250 pages, with 165 vintage photos; order at (916) 645-2209 or

William Rittler and Lida O’Brien met at a ball in December 1902 in Monterey, where he was an Army officer at the Presidio. She was a concert pianist new in town. They wed in June. When he left the Army, she remained in Monterey while he crisscrossed California searching for a new career. They kept their love burning through passionate (for the day) correspondence.

A couple of excerpts: From him to her: “Suppose I would start my letter ‘Dear Lida’ – just those two words, but no I won’t. I need about a million sweet words to tell you how dear and true you are.”

From her to him: “Dearest, darling boy, I am out on the porch in a negligee and sunshine. Feel gloriously happy in just loving you.”