What is your opinion of the A.J. Pierzynski signing?
MJH on accountability
Hey guys, Just finished a very good book called "Big hair and plastic grass" by Dan Epstein and I'm now looking for another one before the season starts. Anyone has been reading on baseball lately? Thanks
What type(s) of books are you looking for? Understanding the game? Good stories? Trivia? Tell-all?
"Boys of Summer" and "Nice Guys Finish Last"... a must.Ken Burns revised "Baseball" DVD's are a great treasure.
Bill Jame's Historical Baseball Abstact, and the classic tell alls- The Bronx Zoo and Ball Four
The Book: Playing the Percentages in Baseball by Tango, Lichtman, and Dolphin
On the other side of the coin is "Seasons In Hell" by Mike Shropshire. This is the North Dallas 40 of baseball. If you can find the book get it and read it. Seriously some of the best written baseball behind the scenes stuff I have ever read without getting trashy.
The two best I have read this year are The Soul of Baseball and 56. Neither of these are understand the game type books, but really are more about life intertwined with baseball. Soul of Baseball is about a summer with Buck O'Neil as he is basically traveling the country promoting the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. O'Neil's observations about life and baseball, his perception of the needs of others and his optimism in the face of a monumental disappointment are all very uplifting and memorable. If you read The Soul of Baseball you will never walk by a red dress or listen to the crack of the bat the same way as before. 56 is the story of the DiMaggio hit streak. Sounds kind of boring, but I though the author did a great job bringing in a good picture of America in those times and really showcasing what DiMaggio was all about, both his memorable qualities and his shortcomings. I loved both of those books.
Ritter, The Glory of their Time. Incredible oral history of the early days of baseball. As good as anything Studs Terkel wrote.
Anything by Roger Angel. Don't overlook his work in the New Yorker.
The Natural. The Great Gatsby of baseball fiction. Far superior to the movie.
Mark Harris. The Southpaw is good. Bang the Drum Slowly is great.
I second anything by James. The Historical Abstract is timeless but his annual abstracts, though dated, are worth reading and show how far sabremetrics has developed. Available for next to nothing on EBay and Abebooks.
Baseball Lives, out of print and inconsistent, but the chapter on Roger Maris is immensely compelling.
Thomas Boswell. Nice writing very much influenced by Angel.
If you like those who wax poetic about the game, I loved A Great and Glorious Game: Baseball Writings of A. Bartlett Giamatti . He was very romantic in the way he wrote about baseball and it's a small, quick read.
My favorite excerpt because I don't get to share baseball poetry often....
“...It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops.”
Damn, if I don't tear up everytime. God, I miss baseball. 40 days until Pitchers & Catchers report. Woo!
From Seasons in Hell (which is available at Amazon, btw):
“Even before the start of spring training, Herzog had said, ‘If Rich Billings is the starting catcher again, we’re in deep trouble.’ When that evaluation was passed along to Billings, he simply nodded and said, ‘Whitey, obviously, has seen me play.’”
This is one of the most entertaining baseball books ever written and it just happens to be about our little team. Can't go wrong with this one.
Great quetion Frederic! I'm going to have to look some of these suggestions up myself.
As for my recommendations, it was already listed here but I can't recommend The Natural enough. If you've seen the movie and think you're good, you're wrong. I read the book before I watched the movie and I couldn't believe how much they changed for the movie. The book is way, way better.
Also, I know they're the hated Yankees, but Pride of October: What it Was to be Young and a Yankee is really good. It's not so much about baseball as it is about the baseball players and how they came to be Yankees and what it was like to be a Yankee. Really entertaining read.
Okay, here are a few:
The Unwritten Rules of Baseball by Paul Dickson and The Baseball Codes by Jason Turbow and Michael Duca were both fascinating reads that shed a lot of light on the game. You probably already know some of the "unwritten rules", but even the ones you already know are worth reading. Quite a few mentions of Rangers, by the way.
I still haven't read The Book from cover to cover, but that's only because the rights are up in the air and thus it's not available as an ebook right now. Baseball Between the Numbers by Jonah Keri and others at BP is another read in the same vicinity that I'm enjoying right now.
Also, if you haven't read Moneyball, it's a good read, in spite of all the hype and some people calling it overrated (which it might be). There's significantly more to the book than just the story that was made into the movie.
My favorite baseball books include "A False Spring" by Pat Jordan and "Bottom of the 33rd" by Dan Barry.
Thanks a lot, some very interesting stuff.
Andy, I'm looking for story telling. I love stats but I'm not that much into sabermatric.
I guess I will go with Seasons in hell. Being a fairly recent Rangers fan (2005), my Rangers knowledge isn't that good. As badspellr wrote, it is available on amazon.
Going to bookstore, I've always look at Boys of summer and will for sure be added to my wish list. I'll write down the other titles for future read. Everything looks good.
I'll also put an asterisk beside Buck O'neil's book. I always tought he looked like a very friendly person. I've visited the Negro league museum 2 years ago and found it very interesting. Being a HUGE Rush fan, I was especially amazed at Geddy Lee baseball collection. I knew he had a lot of signed balls but had never heard about that particular collection.
For those who never read it, I agree that Ball four is a must. I used to read it every February for mayber 3 years. Great read. Another very good one from Bouton is Strike zone. It's fictional. It's about an umpire working a Phillies-Cubs game. Very funny.
@Michelle. Forgot all about Giamatti. Take Time for Paradise is also excellent. I wonder how baseball would have approached PEDs if he did not die so soon.
Give Bill Lee's "The Wrong Stuff" a try. It's a hoot.
Ball Four Jim Bouton great. All MY Octobers Mickey Mantle Good. Men at Work George Will great
Especially since its the Hall of Fame time of year I also would highly suggest Politics of Glory by Bill James. Its a very interesting case based study. A little stat driven still, but iirc, not really hard core pressing on them except in comparative ways.
No doubt about it. Politics of Glory is a good book. People forget that in addition to being the father of sabermetrics, James is a fine writer. He makes things interesting. I liked the inside stuff in that book about some of the people who worked at the Hall of Fame and how the museum originated.
I really like Josh Lewin's "Ballgame". it takes you behind the scenes with his time as the rangers broadcaster and also rangers history. Also, Reversing the Curse is a very in depth book about the 2004 red sox, and in depth with their rivalry with the Yankees. I thought it was a great read.
The Brothers K by David James Duncan is a great book. It is totally fictitious but has some great baseball intertwined with politics and other stuff in the 1960's.
I got Brothers K on my bookshelf here.
"Men At Work: The Craft of Baseball" by George F. Will. A great book that talks about the work that exceptional baseball players and managers put into the game. It's a perfect pre-season warmup (along with my annual ritual of watching "Bull Durham")!
A great book on the more story telling side of things is "Out of My League" by Dirk Hayhurst. He really shows the struggle of what an average baseball player goes through in his struggle to get Noticed and make it in the majors. My favorite quote in the book goes a little something like this. "I needed someone to tell me I was the one they wanted! I was the one someone needed, it was my turn to get the chance, dammit Dirk Hayhurst is the man we need!"
It a great book and I recommend It for anyone looking at a players perspective on the behind the scenes aspect of the struggle to get into the majors. I haven't read his "Bullpen Chronicles" but it is supposed to be very good as well.
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