Reply Fri 2 Apr, 2010 12:59 pm
Quote:
1. Eight Men Out, by Eliot Asinof. This story of the "Chicago Black Sox" and the fixing of the 1919 World Series is more than just a great baseball book. It's also an eminently readable examination of life in America at a particular moment in time.

2. The Natural, by Bernard Malamud. It's almost impossible not to like this dark but poetic novel by Pulitzer Prize-winner Bernard Malamud about a naturally gifted baseball player who, outside the ballpark, proves only too human.

3. The Boys of Summer, by Roger Kahn. Roger Kahn writes about the mid-20th-century Brooklyn Dodgers " the team that integrated Major League Baseball and also the team that Kahn covered for the New York Herald Tribune. A Monitor reviewer wrote of "The Boys of Summer" that it "isn't a book; it's a love affair between a man, his team, and an era."

4. Summer of '49, by David Halberstam. As I noted, this is a great tale of both a particular chapter of baseball history and a moment in a great baseball rivalry.

5. Clemente, by David Maraniss. If you are a baseball fan of a certain age, you probably remember exactly where you were and what you were doing the moment that you heard about the death of Hall of Fame right fielder Roberto Clemente. This may not be Maraniss's best book, but Clemente deserves a spot on the list nonetheless.

6. Game Time, by Roger Angell.
7. Bang the Drum Slowly, by Mark Harris.
8. Ball Four, by Jim Bouton.
9. Moneyball, by Michael Lewis.
10. Men at Work, by George F. Will.

Marjorie Kehe is the Monitor's book editor.

For the descriptions of books 6 through 10....
http://www.csmonitor.com/Books/chapter-and-verse/2010/0402/Yankees-Red-Sox-rivalry-Read-all-about-it
 
djjd62
 
  1  
Reply Fri 2 Apr, 2010 01:16 pm
i enjoyed

Faithful: Two Diehard Boston Red Sox Fans Chronicle the Historic 2004 Season

Faithful is a book co-written by Stephen King and Stewart O'Nan. It chronicles exchanges between King and O'Nan about the Red Sox's upcoming 2004 season, beginning with an e-mail in summer 2003, and throughout the 2004 season, from Spring Training to the World Series.
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2010 09:58 am
@djjd62,
I loved that book as well!
0 Replies
 
Gargamel
 
  4  
Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2010 10:14 am
Absolutely ridiculous that this list doesn't include, The Glory of Their Times: The Story of the Early Days of Baseball Told by the Men Who Played It, by Lawrence S. Ritter.

http://www.amazon.com/Glory-Their-Times-Baseball-Played/dp/0061994715/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1270483633&sr=1-1

Just a fascinating oral history of the early days of the game. First published in the late 60s, I think, baseball's Golden Era, this book brought names like Rube Marquard out of the dark and into the limelight, ensuring the game's pioneers got the recognition they deserved.

These guys had become so obscure, Ritter had to hunt them down. Guys like Sam Crawford, who for some time had been living in a little desert hut. And their anecdotes are wonderful. Crawford himself reminisces about his late 19th Century childhood, in which he and other village boys would ride a horse and cart to the next village miles away, play their team, cook meat patties over a fire, sleep on the wagon, and the next day travel to the next village.

And the game's early days features the best cast of cads. Like Rube Waddell, who could be found downing pints before the game. He would then hop over the center field fence to the roar of fans, hustle to the bench, change his clothes, and throw a shutout.
0 Replies
 
Gargamel
 
  2  
Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2010 10:20 am
Speaking of cads, at the moment I'm reading Dock Ellis in the Country of Baseball, by former poet Laureate Donald Hall, somehow the only author I've encountered who can actually capture in writing the poetry of the sport.

http://www.amazon.com/Dock-Ellis-Country-Baseball-Donald/dp/067165988X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1270484192&sr=1-1

Though Dock is best known these days for the no hitter he allegedly threw while tripping on LSD, I prefer to think of him as the guy who beaned the first three batters he faced in May of 1974, when his Pirates faced the Reds. He was audacious, but always for a reason. He was concerned that his team was becoming soft. He didn't like to see his teammates chatting it up with Rose and Morgan before the game. They were losing their edge.

The beaning would, later that year, prompt a brawl against the Reds, a game that signaled a dramatic turnaround for the Pirates, as they then went on to move from last to first in the season's final months.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  4  
Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2010 10:27 am
@tsarstepan,
I can't comment on the books in that list, as I've only read two of them (Eight Men Out and Ball Four, both good books). I get rather tired of the tendency of some writers who wax nostalgic about baseball in the 1950s, as if that was baseball's "golden age." Well, it might have been if you were a New York baseball fan, not so much if you were anywhere else.

Harold Seymour's two volume history of the rise of professional baseball from the 1860s to 1920 was a groundbreaking work that treated the sport as serious history -- one of the first examples of that genre. It is certainly dated, and more research has occurred in the intervening years which has revised or expanded upon some of Seymour's conclusions, but it is still a solid piece of scholarship.

Robert Whiting's You Gotta Have Wa is another early work that has since been overtaken by events. So much has changed in Japanese baseball since the book's original publication in the late 1980s that Whiting's account is more of a historical artifact than anything else. Still, it's a very entertaining and informative look at the game as played in Japan.

On the other hand, the Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract is, hands down, the best book ever written about baseball. Not including it in the list of the ten best baseball books is like leaving Babe Ruth out of the list of the ten best baseball players.
0 Replies
 
maporsche
 
  1  
Reply Mon 5 Apr, 2010 10:44 am
I've only read Moneyball; but did enjoy it a lot. I even bought a 2nd copy and mailed it to my brother. If you're a number cruncher, than the book is sort of a validation for you.
0 Replies
 
fbaezer
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 May, 2010 07:46 pm
Loved Moneyball.

Another great baseball book is: Béisbol, Latin Americans and the Grand Old Game, by Michael and Mary Oleksak

http://www.amazon.com/Beisbol-Latin-Americans-Grand-Game/dp/1561119261
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Wed 19 May, 2010 08:12 pm
I've only read Roger Angell, always in the new yorker, not read the book Game Time.

I cut my teeth as a teen reading Sports Stories of the Year, 1943 (etc.) from the public library. Basic compilations of sports writers of the time, usually over the top stuff.
0 Replies
 
tsarstepan
 
  2  
Reply Fri 28 May, 2010 08:37 pm
@tsarstepan,
If and when I get a new iPod or get my old iPod brought back from the dead, I would love to get the unabridged audiobook, The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron.

Quote:
For baseball junkies, “The Last Hero’’ offers enough about ballplayers of the era and the game to amply satisfy. But fortunately this book offers more. This is not mere hagiography. This is the tale of a man performing in the public eye, laboring under a persona projected by others with preconceptions of their own, but who gradually moves forward in his quest for self-determination. Only when he’d reached the end of his career, when there was “after Ruth, nothing left to chase,’’ was Aaron able to take stock of himself and truly begin to find his own way.

Bill Nowlin, Boston Globe, May 17, 2010.
http://www.boston.com/ae/books/articles/2010/05/17/the_last_hero_looks_at_the_private_henry_aaron_behind_the_baseball_legend/
LionTamerX
 
  2  
Reply Fri 28 May, 2010 09:07 pm
Two books which did not make the list, but are my all time favorite baseball books.

The Universal Baseball Association Inc. by Robert Coover
I think a must read for fans of fantasy baseball, as it gives the term a new meaning.

Can't Anybody Here Play This Game by Jimmy Breslin
The story of the early years of the New York Mets told in hilarious and touching detail.
0 Replies
 
tsarstepan
 
  2  
Reply Fri 28 May, 2010 10:04 pm
@tsarstepan,
I also wish that Jason Turbow's The Baseball Codes: Beanballs, Sign Stealing, and Bench-Clearing Brawls: The Unwritten Rules of America's Pastime makes it into audiobook format.

Sounds like a great book and I would have a better chance at getting to read it and finishing it if it was in the audiobook format.
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=126241825
0 Replies
 
 

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