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My recommendations

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  • My recommendations

    I've read a lot of books in my time. Here are some recommendations if people are interested.

    All-time top 5; could read a million times and never, ever get tired of them:
    - Glory of Their Times (Larry Ritter)
    - "Baseball" series (Harold and Dorothy Seymour), especially the last one which was written almost completely by her
    - Only The Ball Was White (Robert Peterson)
    - Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract (Bill James)
    - Ball Four (Jim Bouton)

    Top 5 biographies:
    - Clemente (David Maraniss) -- he's not a Pulitzer winner for nothing, folks ... jaw-dropping research here
    - Judge and Jury (David Pietrusza) -- on Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis; also make sure to read his book "Rothstein"
    - Satchel (Larry Tye) -- most definitive work on one of the most important and mysterious figures in baseball history
    - Sandy Koufax (Jane Leavy) -- masterful biography of a reclusive star; the "Sinatra Has A Cold" of baseball
    - Babe (Robert Creamer) -- the first modern sports biography; still one of the best
    EDIT: And an honorable mention here goes to "Bill Veeck: A Baseball Maverick", by Paul Dickson, which came out a month ago and I haven't read yet but is getting amazing reviews. I strongly suspect if you asked me a year from now to revise this list, the Veeck bio will be prominently placed.

    Top 5 recently published:
    - Fenway 1912 (Glenn Stout) -- on the building of Fenway Park; doesn't get much better than this
    - Luckiest Man (Jon Eig) -- on Lou Gehrig ... more jaw-dropping research; also read Eig's "Opening Day" about Jackie Robinson
    - Chief Bender's Burden (Tom Swift) -- amazing story on a Hall of Famer and discrimination against native Americans
    - Baseball Before We Knew It (David Block) -- groundbreaking work on the origins of baseball
    - The Soul of Baseball (Joe Posnanski) -- spending a year with the wise and wonderful Buck O'Neil

    Top 5 stats/sabermetrics:
    - The Numbers Game (Alan Schwarz) -- brings to life all the great statisticians over history, like F.C. Lane, Allan Roth, Pete Palmer, etc.
    - The Hidden Game of Baseball (John Thorn/Pete Palmer) -- simply revolutionary. Pete's innovations have forever changed baseball, and few fans know who he is.
    - The Book (Tango/Dolphin/Lichtman) -- why is "not making outs" be-all, end-all for statheads? Read this.
    - Baseball Between The Numbers (Baseball Prospectus) -- so many thought-provoking articles
    - The Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers (Rob Neyer/Bill James) -- definitive work on pitcher repertoires, patterns, histories

    Top 5 myth-busters:
    - A Game of Inches (Peter Morris) -- I keep this by my desk at all times; THE most important resource on everything from the history of the bullpen phone to the warning track to when home teams began batting last to the evolution of the general manager position.
    - The Politics of Glory (Bill James) -- The story of the Hall of Fame, warts and all
    - Baseball in the Garden of Eden (John Thorn) -- destroys the Abner Doubleday/Alexander Cartwright legends
    - Burying the Black Sox (Gene Carney) -- destroys all the falsehoods in Eight Men Out
    - The Imperfect Diamond (Lee Lowenfish) -- comprehensive history of baseball's labor wars

    Misc. old titles, but all still hold up very well:
    - Men In Blue (Larry Gerlach) -- wonderful oral history interviews with umpires
    - Nine Innings (Dan Okrent) -- watching the game from every perspective
    - Summer of '49 (David Halberstam) -- among many other reasons, it's a Bart Giamatti love letter to baseball
    - The Fix Is In (Dan Ginsburg) -- exhaustive history of baseball gambling scandals
    - Baseball's Great Experiment (Jules Tygiel) -- classic on the integration of baseball in 1947

  • #2
    This is great. Thanks for sharing. I am reading October 1964 by Halberstam. I don't read much, but it's enjoyable. I remember reading a Mickey Mantle paperback when I was a kid. It was detailed. I enjoyed it and pretended I was Mickey Mantle during Wiffle Ball games. I have plans to tear through this list.


    • #3
      Yes, my thanks as well for sharing. Some of these fill gaps in my reading list.
      My blog -


      • #4
        Yeah "The Glory Of Their Times" was my favorite too.
        "(Shoeless Joe Jackson's fall from grace is one of the real tragedies of baseball. I always thought he was more sinned against than sinning." -- Connie Mack

        "I have the ultimate respect for Whitesox fans. They were as miserable as the Cubs and Redsox fans ever were but always had the good decency to keep it to themselves. And when they finally won the World Series, they celebrated without annoying every other fan in the country."--Jim Caple, ESPN (Jan. 12, 2011)


        • #5
          I am currently reading "Fifty-nine In '84" Old Hoss Radbourn, Barehanded Baseball, and The Greatest Season A Pitcher Ever Had by Edward Achorn. An excellent read about one of the games greatest pitchers and what is was like to play in that era. I'm also reading Fenway 1912 by Glenn Stout a must read for the red Sox fan.


          • #6
            Thanks for sharing. I'll be adding a few of these to my "to read" list.
            Baseball Journeyman


            • #7
              George H Ruth, its good to see someone else mention The Hidden Game of Baseball (John Thorn and Pete Palmer). That one is my alltime fave. The majority of my top ten is Roger Angell, so I would offer a second congratulations on having a diverse collection.
              Catfish Hunter, RIP. Mark Fidrych, RIP. Skip Caray, RIP. Tony Gwynn, #19, RIP

              A fanatic is someone who can't change his mind and won't change the subject. -- Winston Churchill. (Please take note that I've recently become aware of how this quote applies to a certain US president. This is a coincidence, and the quote was first added to this signature too far back to remember when).

              Experience is the hardest teacher. She gives the test first and the lesson later. -- Dan Quisenberry.


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