books 5.JPGThere are books about umpires, the minor leagues, certain years of winning teams, biographies of all the big names – and even some of the not so big names … books about ‘how to’ in baseball – how to hit, how to catch, how to coach . . . histories of stadiums and team histories that go into deep detail. The ones listed here are favorites – I own some of them and others have been pulled at the local library. (Aren’t you glad we have libraries with sports sections in them?) There are so many more — Please recommend some to me when you’re done scanning my list.
I own these books, each a collection of writings by Thomas Boswell, a sports writer who can turn a phrase about baseball as well as anyone. One of the best is his essay that gives the second book its name – HOW LIFE IMITATES BASEBALL … and let me tellya, it’s accurate.
THE BOYS OF SUMMER (By Roger Kahn) Centering quite a bit on the Brooklyn Dodgers, but so much more.
A DONALD HONIG READER (By Donald Honig) Another sportswriter offers us a collection of his work.
MONEY BALL (By Michael Lewis) The Oakland A’s and General Manager Billy Beane (a former Twins ballplayer, by the way) adopt a mathematical way to build a winning team. This is very interesting in that it gives us a look at baseball from the front office angle, and how there was an ‘old school’ way of scouting and building teams and the new way that Beane and the A’s used to much success. As boring as the business side of baseball may be, Lewis writes it all out in an informative and relevant way that makes it a good read. The movie version, starring Brad Pitt as Billy Beane, is a fine adaptation to the screen.
THE GLORY OF THEIR TIMES (By Lawrence Ritter) A collection of stories about the ‘old timers’ of the day. The best players of back when my dad was a kid, and that I only heard about.
BALL FOUR (By Jim Bouton) One of the first baseball books with a truly mature approach to baseball. Jim Bouton was a fireballing pitcher for the Yankees in the mid 1960s who suffered severe arm injuries, forcing him to the outer edges of baseball teams. He tells of his own struggles with owners and other team mates, and relates rather touchy matters that happen in the clubhouse and on the team bus..
A NICE LITTLE PLACE ON THE NORTH SIDE (by George Will) This is the latest baseball book I read, and yes, it is a history of Wrigley Field and the Chicago Cubs, bless their heart.
THE LONG SEASON (By Jim Brosnan) One of the first “my story” books. Jim Brosnan, a pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds in 1961 shares that year’s efforts as the Reds enjoy a successful year in baseball.