Tuesday, July 13, 2010

16 Books on Baseball

I'm not going to lie to you - I don't know a lick of spit about baseball. I work at a stadium every summer now for three years (would've been four years if a certain former team didn't hire the crew back that one summer), and while I enjoy watching the crowd get riled up by the sport, I don't know what's really going on the field. 

My baseball job is more behind the scenes. My job - as well as the jobs of others who fall into my category - is important. While we're not exactly invincible - we can get fired and can be easily replaced - without people like us, then the game wouldn't be the same. We're the seller of peanuts, the cleaners of bathrooms and, in my case, the washer of clothes. Because this is a book blog and not a sports blog, I decided to do a little research about books on the subject of baseball. They are both fiction and nonfiction, extending from true stories about people who shaped the game and changed the way we see it to books dealing with how baseball works much like our lives, economics and so on. 

So grab a pencil bookworms - or better yet, just hit print - because I'm winging it here: 

  1. The Soul of Baseball: A Road Trip Through Buck O'Neil's America by Joe Posnanski
  2. Baseball and Philosophy edited by Eric Bronson and Bill Littlefield 
  3. The Red Sox and Philosophy edited by Michael Macomber
  4. I Never Had it Made: An Autobiography of Jackie Robinson by Jackie Robinson and Alfred Duckett 
  5. Blockade Billy by Stephen King 
  6. Watching Baseball Smarter: A Professional Fan's Guide for Beginners, Semi-Experts, and Deeply Serious Geeks by Zack Hample, a must book if you're anything like me. 
  7. The Boy Who Saved Baseball by John Ritter
  8. The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King
  9. Odd Man Out: A Year on the Mound with a Minor League Misfit by Matt McCarthy
  10. The Boys of Summer by Roger Kahn
  11. Summer of '49 by David Halberstam
  12. Line Drives: 100 Contemporary Baseball Poems edited by Professor Brooke Horvath PhD and Mr. Tim Wiles 
  13. Hub Fans Bid Kid Adieu: John Updike on Ted Williams by John Updike
  14. Fathers Playing Catch with Sons: Essays on Sport [Mostly Baseball] by Donald Hall
  15. Steinbrenner: The Last Lion of Baseball by Bill Madden
  16. Casey at Bat: A Ballad of the Republic Sung in the Year 1888 by Ernest L. Thayer.

Regardless who you are, Casey at Bat should've been your requisite introduction to baseball, which is why it is last on this list. While I've only skimmed through some of these books, they were selected not on merit of their title or subject, but by their rank on the best seller list on Amazon, as well as their importance to the game. You won't find the obvious here, either, minus the Jackie Robinson book. I did my best to steer clear of Babe, DiMaggio and the like. Some books were selected simply because while they pertain to the subject of baseball, they also interlock with life and morality. Most are nonfiction, some are poetry and fiction and books for children. 

Check out more books on the sport at Amazon:

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