Absolutely loved Baseball Confidential as a kid. Picked it up again a couple of years ago and it is still terrific: a bunch of behind-the-scenes stories, both about playing the game and about stuff that happens off the field.
Baseball Between the Numbers is a wonderful primer on sabermetrics that’s much more accessible than The Book. I’m sure Jonah didn’t want to pimp the book he edited, though, so that’s why I’m doing it here.
Veeck as in Wreck is phenomenal. I’m currently reading Bill Veeck’s “The Hustler’s Handbook” which is also quite good. His stories about players and general managers, many of whom I had never heard of prior, are hilarious.
No baseball book list is complete without Soul of Baseball. I cried so much during that book, I lost count. Posnanski is truly one of the best sportswriters, and probably one of the best writers in general, I’ve ever read.
Can’t agree with you more. I need to read the updated version that goes over the 1994 strike. You read that book and you realize how much baseball just doesn’t get it and how the owners are addicted to less than skillful commissioners.
Two awesome rec’s. I need to consider rereading Brothers K. Duncan is such an awesome, awesome writer and I recommend “The River Why” without qualifications as well. Great writer and has a heart and soul as well.
Kudos for your for picking “The Summer Game”. I think I was directed to that book by the Bill James Historical Abstract you’ve got on your list. It’s a great book and totally makes you realize how the lack of how the hustle to get stuff out quickly these days has come at the expense of rich and expressive language. Also, I appreciate that book so much because it talks a lot about the fan experience. “The Go Shouters” that praise the early days of the Mets fans reminds you about how much that franchise has strayed from its roots.
Anything Bill Veeck is classic as well. Didn’t realize how much a progressive he was in helping diversity in the game.
I’d also recommend the Satchel Paige biography. [Can’t remember the author offhand] and The Big Bam which is a great biography of Babe Ruth.
Pafko At The Wall By Don DeLillo
It became the opening chapter of Underworld. Bobby Thompson’s home run and the launch of Sputnik. Brilliant writing.
If I never Get Back by Daryl Brock
A guy somehow gets sent back in time and travels with the 1875 Cincinatti Reds, the first pro baseball team. Mark Twain puts in an appearence as does the transcontinental railroad.
Oldie but goodie:
Boys of Summer by Roger Kahn
tracking down the ’55 Dodgers years after the fact.
Good Enough to Dream by Kahn
Kahn owns an unaffilated team in short season single A NY-Penn league.
Books I have acquired since this post:
The Glory Of Their Times
Veeck–As In Wreck
The Bullpen Gospels
I think I’m going to start with the Bullpen Gospels, which I think Jonah is only just starting. Scorecasting isn’t really a baseball book I suppose, but it’s all the rage with its homefield advantage study, so I thought I’d take a look too.
Only the Ball Was White — still the best and most accessible general look at the Negro Leagues. And I really loved the set of Baseball Stars of the Deadball Era put out by SABR. Fantastic research and incredibly readable.
Also, it’s not really a book, but there’s a great play by Lee Blessing called Cobb. It features three actors playing Ty Cobb at different stages of his life, fighting to tell his story in their own way. This process is interrupted by a fourth character — Oscar Charleston.