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Thread: Best Books by Team

  1. #1
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    Best Books by Team

    Here's an opportunity to get a few recommendations for books and find out about books you might not know about for teams you don't often read about.

    A few ground rules:

    1 - A biography can represent any team the player played for, so yes, you may include a book on Babe Ruth for the Braves. If the player is still active, however, the book may only be listed for the teams they played for at the time the book came out.

    2 - Any team that switched names, cities, or both may be included for a book about one of their previous incarnations. For example, any book about the 1900-1950's Washington Senators covers the Minnesota Twins. Any books about the 1960-1970's Washington Senators will be filed under the Texas Rangers.

    3 - Minor league teams get a separate category covering minor league baseball.

    4 - Books featuring a compilation of stories about many teams can qualify for any teams listed in the book, and as often as necessary.


    Here is my short list so far:

    Atlanta Braves: We Could've Finished Last Without You by Bob Hope
    Boston Red Sox: Faithful by Stephen King and Stewart O'Nan
    Baltimore Orioles: Perfect I'm Not by David Wells
    Chicago Cubs: Crazy '08 by Cait Murphy
    Chicago White Sox: Veeck as in Wreck by Bill Veeck
    Cincinnati Reds: Eight Men Out by Eliot Asinof
    Detroit Tigers: Perfect I'm Not, again
    Houston Astros: Ball Four by Jim Bouton
    Los Angeles Dodgers: Bums by Peter Golenbock
    Milwaukee Brewers: Ball Four. Is there really any other choice?
    New York Mets: The Bad Guys Won! by Jeff Pearlman
    New York Yankees: I'd Rather be a Yankee by John Tullis
    Oakland Athletics: Moneyball by Michael Lewis
    Pittsburgh Pirates: Crazy '08
    San Francisco Giants: Love Me, Hate Me by Jeff Pearlman
    St. Louis Cardinals: Are We Winning? by Will Leitch
    Texas Rangers: Seasons in Hell by Mike Shropshire

    That's what I can come up with so far. As you can probably tell, my access to good baseball books where I live now isn't exactly unlimited.
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  2. #2
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    I haven't read as many baseball history books as alot of guys (and gals) here but Dynasty: The New York Yankees 1949–1964 by Peter Golenbock is the best book I've read about the Yankees let alone baseball.
    If I had only spent a tenth of the time studying Physics that I spent learning Star Wars and Baseball trivia, I would have won the Nobel Prize.

  3. #3
    Roger Craig's Inside Pitch and Sparky Anderson's Bless You Boys are both fine diaries on the 1984 season. I have signed versions of both.

    I liked Balls by Graig Nettles for the Yankees and Jay Johnstone's Temporary Insanity has some funny stuff about the Dodgers as well as a complete transcription of Cubs Manager Lee Elia's famous meltdown.
    Bill Tom George Mark Bob Ernie Soupy Alex Sparky
    Joe Gary MCA Emanuel Sonny Dave Earl Stan
    Jonathan Neil Roger Anthony Ray Thomas Art Don
    Gates Philip John Warrior Rik Casey Tony Horace
    JEDI

  4. #4
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    Golenbock has written several team histories. Some good (Dynasty, Bums, Wrigleyville). Some so-so (Spirit of St Louis). Some not very good (Fenway, Amazin')

    I would take Golenbock with a grain of salt, however, because I think he has a tendency to be a print the legend type of author, especially in his earlier book. I think this is most apparent in Bums when he writes about Jackie Robinson in 1947. It's interesting to contrast what he writes about 1947 in Bums and then in Spirit of St Louis.

  5. #5
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    Glad I'm not the only one who didn't think highly of Amazin'.
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  6. #6
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    Amazin' had so many obvious factual errors that it and the author were hard to take seriously.

  7. #7
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    A few votes....


    New York/San Fran Giants - The Echoing Green - Joshua Prager and Miracle Ball - Brian Biegel. No way I can pick just one of these two masterpieces, the first being about the sign stealing scheme leading up the The Shot Heard Round the World and it's subsequent life altering effects on pitcher and batter, with the second book SOLVING the search for the elusive ball hit into the left field stands that day, and never seen again.

    St. Louis Browns/Baltimore Orioles - Even The Browns - unsure of author - about the 1944 season
    "Herman Franks to Sal Yvars to Bobby Thomson. Ralph Branca to Bobby Thomson to Helen Rita... cue Russ Hodges."

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by PVNICK View Post
    Amazin' had so many obvious factual errors that it and the author were hard to take seriously.

    yuppp, it was a bad joke. I lost alot of respect for Golenbock as an author after "Amazin" came out. An INCREDIBLE amount of obvious factual errors, most of them you didnt even need an encyclopedia to verify. If you had a decent knowledge of Mets history going in to it, you spotted them right away.
    "all the mets road wins against the dodgers this year have occured at Dodger Stadium"---Ralph Kiner

    "Blind people came to the park just to listen to him pitch"---Reggie Jackson, talking about Tom Seaver

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by EdTarbusz View Post
    I would take Golenbock with a grain of salt, however, because I think he has a tendency to be a print the legend type of author, especially in his earlier book.
    Very true. Although I will stand by what I said about Dynasty, I also recognize that he wrote the recent Mickey Mantle novel, "7." I found it in the Biography section of my local library and have been lobbying ever since to get it moved to the Sports Fiction section.
    If I had only spent a tenth of the time studying Physics that I spent learning Star Wars and Baseball trivia, I would have won the Nobel Prize.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allie Fox View Post
    Very true. Although I will stand by what I said about Dynasty, I also recognize that he wrote the recent Mickey Mantle novel, "7." I found it in the Biography section of my local library and have been lobbying ever since to get it moved to the Sports Fiction section.
    I re-read Dynasty every couple of years. Sometimes I gloss over Golenbock's encounters with the former Yankees, although I think his encounters with Ryne Duren, Roger Maris and Joe DiMaggio's brother are especially good.

    Have you ever read Dog Days by Philip Bashe? It takes the Dynasty approach and covers the Yankees year by year from 1964 to 1976. It is basically a sequel to Dynasty.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by EdTarbusz View Post
    I re-read Dynasty every couple of years. Sometimes I gloss over Golenbock's encounters with the former Yankees, although I think his encounters with Ryne Duren, Roger Maris and Joe DiMaggio's brother are especially good.

    Have you ever read Dog Days by Philip Bashe? It takes the Dynasty approach and covers the Yankees year by year from 1964 to 1976. It is basically a sequel to Dynasty.

    Id be interested in reading something like that. Those are the yankee years you dont hear anything about. Would definitely be interested in an account of them.
    "all the mets road wins against the dodgers this year have occured at Dodger Stadium"---Ralph Kiner

    "Blind people came to the park just to listen to him pitch"---Reggie Jackson, talking about Tom Seaver

  12. #12
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    I'll have to keep an eye out for Dog Days.
    The Evil Empire shall strike back again!
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  13. #13
    Golenbock also strikes me as a bit of an arrogant, and possibly jealous fellow as well. Heard him on an NYC radio show when the movie The Bronx Is Burning was being shown on ESPN, and he mentioned that there WOULD BE the obvious followup in 2008 with his and Sparky Lyle's The Bronx Zoo.

    We are still waiting for that one to even reach the "announced" stage, let alone pre-production/development hell!

    So either he was acting the part of a jealous guy that someone writes this essentially more of a social/cultural history book that can be perceived as "above" his realm (not by me or anyone here of course, but I'll wager the NYT Book Review gives more weight to Jonathan Mahler than Peter Golenbock) and the sports portions got turned into a major ESPN movie, or he was being so arrogant to say something was going to happen before it got finalized (if it was ever discussed in the first place), which generally is a big no-no (think the no-hitter jinx, especially if you say it on a local radio station).

  14. #14
    Gosh, when I think Yankees I think of only one book: Ball Four by Jim Bouton. Fabulous!

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