OT: MGoCrowdSource list of baseball books

Submitted by LLG on May 13th, 2018 at 12:29 PM

A week ago, I asked for everyone's recommendations on baseball books.  I put together the list and categorized it for those interested.  I really appreciated all the suggestions. 

Top Recommendations

Ball Four: My Life and Hard Times Throwing the Knuckleball In the Big Leagues by Jim Bouton and Leonard Shecter

The Boys of Summer by Roger Kahn

Men at Work: The Craft of Baseball by George Will

The Glory of Their Times: The Story of the Early Days of Baseball Told by the Men Who Played It by Lawrence S Ritter

You Gotta Have Wa by Robert Whiting

Where Nobody Knows Your Name: Life in the Minor Leagues of Baseball by John Feinstein

Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty by Charles Leerhsen

Only the Ball Was White: A History of Legendary Black Players and All-Black Professional Teams by Robert Peterson

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach (Fiction)



Babe: The Legend Comes to Life by Robert W. Creamer

Ted Williams: The Biography of an American Hero by Leigh Montville

Hustle : The Myth, Life, and Lies of Pete Rose by Michael Sokolove

Veeck--As In Wreck: The Autobiography of Bill Veeck  by Bill Veeck & Ed Linn

The Catcher Was a Spy: The Mysterious Life of Moe Berg by Nicholas Dawidoff

It's What You Learn After You Know It All That Counts : The Autobiography of Earl Weaver by Earl Weaver and Berry Stainback

Nice Guys Finish Last by Leo Durocher

Fear Strikes Out by Jim Piersall

The Truth Hurts by Jimmy Piersall

The Phenomenon: Pressure, the Yips, and the Pitch that Changed My Life by Rick Ankiel

Now Pitching, Bob Feller: A Baseball Memoir by Bob Feller

Yaz: Baseball, The Wall And Me by by Carl Yazstrzamski

Some of My Best Friends Are Crazy: Baseball's Favorite Lunatic Goes in Search of His Peers by Jay Johnstone

Willie Mays: The Life, The Legend by James S. Hirsch;



The Summer of Beer and Whiskey: How Brewers, Barkeeps, Rowdies, Immigrants, and a Wild Pennant Fight Made Baseball America's Game by Edward Achorn (Author)

Crazy '08: How a Cast of Cranks, Rogues, Boneheads, and Magnates Created the Greatest Year in Baseball History by Cait N. Murphy and Robert W. Creamer

The Pitch That Killed: Carl Mays, Ray Chapman and the Pennant Race of 1920 by Mike Sowell

3 Nights in August: Strategy, Heartbreak, and Joy Inside the Mind of a Manager by Buzz Bissinger

Summer of '49 by David Halberstam

The Kid from Tomkinsville (The Brooklyn Dodgers series) by John R. Tunis

October 1964 by David Halberstam

Is This a Great Game, or What?:  From A-Rod’s Heart to Zim’s Head--My 25 Years in Baseball by Tim Kurkjian

I'm Fascinated by Sacrifice Flies Tim Kurkjian

The Machine by Joe Posnanski

Dollar Sign on the Muscle by Kevin Kerrane

Big Hair and Plastic Grass: A Funky Ride Through Baseball and America in the Swinging '70s by Dan Epstein

The Chicago Cubs: Story of a Curse by Rich Cohen

The Chrysanthemum and the Bat by Robert Whiting

The Summer Game by Roger Angell

Can't Anybody Here Play This Game?: The Improbable Saga of the New York Mets’ First Year by Jimmy Breslin

The Baseball Whisperer: A Small-Town Coach Who Shaped Big League Dreams by Michael Tackett

Dynasty: The New York Yankees, 1949-1964 by Peter Golenbock

Baseball: An Illustrated History by Geoffrey C. Ward and Ken Burns

The First Fall Classic: The Red Sox, the Giants, and the Cast of Players, Pugs, and Politicos Who Reinvented the World Series in 1912 by Mike Vaccaro;



Bang the Drum Slowly by Mark Harris (Author, Introduction)

Shoeless Joe by W. P. Kinsella (the book that became Field of Dreams)

If I Never Get Back by Daryl Brock

The Teammates: A Portrait of a Friendship by David Halberstam

The Pitch That Killed: Carl Mays, Ray Chapman and the Pennant Race of 1920 by Mike Sowel

Five Seasons: A Baseball Companion by Roger Angell

Eight Men Out: The Black Sox and the 1919 World Series by Eliot Asinof (reconstructed the story)


Baseball Prospectus 2018

Baseball Between the Numbers: Why Everything You Know About the Game Is Wrong by by Baseball Prospectus Jonah Keri

Extra Innings: More Baseball Between the Numbers from the Team at Baseball Prospectus  by The Baseball Prospectus and Steven Goldman

The Extra 2%: How Wall Street Strategies Took a Major League Baseball Team from Worst to First First by Jonah Keri

The Book: Playing the Percentages in Baseball by Tom Tango, Mitchel Lichtman, and Andrew Dolphin

Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair by Michael Lewis



So You Think You're a Die-Hard Tiger Fan by Joe Falls

The Detroit Tigers: An Illustrated History by Joe Falls

Baseball Fever: Early Baseball in Michigan by Peter Morris


Youth Adult or Younger

"The Kid Who Only Hit Homers" by Matt Christopher

"Catcher with a Glass Arm" by Matt Christopher

Hang Tough, Paul Mather by Alfred Slote

Tony and Me by Alfred Slote

The Fox Steals Home by Matt Christopher

The Berenstain Bears Go Out for the Team by Stan Berenstain and Jan Berenstain



May 13th, 2018 at 1:18 PM ^

Eight Men Out involves a lot of fiction. If you're interested in reading about the scandal I would recommend Burying the Blacksox by Gene Carney.

As far as tools to that show website traffic, I would say no. You will really only get accurate data of that if you have admin access to the website. I know for various websites I own the estimated traffic from tools like semrush or ahrefs aren't even in the same ballpark as what I actually get.

Robbie Moore

May 13th, 2018 at 2:43 PM ^

LLG! A few titles in particular I heartily recommend:

Veeck As In Wreck. The PT Barnum of baseball. The guy who sent a midget to the plate in St. Louis when he owned the Browns. Eddie Gaedel, number 1/8.

Crazy 08's. The story of the 1908 baseball season with a large dollup of life in 1908 Chicago.

The Catcher Was A Spy. Amazing story about Moe Berg, an amazing guy.

Also, the movie Eight Men Out was outstanding. John Sayles has never gotten his due as a film maker.




May 13th, 2018 at 9:29 PM ^

One other great book is Last Best League by Jim Collins. It’s one season of the Chatham A’s of the Cape Cod Baseball League. If you’re unfamiliar, CCBL is a summer wooden bat league for college baseball’s elite. The book covers the history of the league while following a team from roster selection through the following MLB draft. It’s a damn-near perfectly written baseball book.

Side note: last year’s CCBL champs were the Brewster Whitecaps, who won the 3 game championship series on the backs of two wins by UM’s Will Tribucher (Game 1 in relief, Game 3 as a starter), and a Game 3 save from UM’s Troy Miller. Go Blue.

rob f

May 14th, 2018 at 9:44 AM ^

and posting your list, LLG. As I see that one of the books you listed is the Leehrsen book about Ty Cobb, I found a very good article from 2011 by writer Gilbert King @ Smithsonian.com about Cobb and Al Stump (the "writer" who ripped off Ty Cobb in so very many ways, right up until his own death in 1995). . . . . https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/the-knife-in-ty-cobbs-back-65618… . . . . Like I posted in your first OP over a week ago, Cobb had a lot of faults and warts, but most of what Stump wrote was lies. Stump was the real demon, not Cobb.

S.D. Jones

May 14th, 2018 at 9:54 AM ^

The Universal Baseball Association, Inc., J. Henry Waugh, Prop. by Robert Coover. Man creates tabletop baseball game and a whole fantasy around it. Then a really bad roll shakes up his world(s).

The Iowa Baseball Confederacy by W.P. Kinsella. Baseball magic in the Hawkeye State goes into extra innings. Like, thousands of them.

matty blue

May 14th, 2018 at 9:59 AM ^

starting around 1980, bill james essentially created the modern baseball analytics movement. would it have occurred anyway?  yeah, probably, but he definitely took it mainstream.  it's a bit of a leap (but not a huge one) to suggest that the growing acceptance of the approach that he spawned led to more robust statistical analysis in other sports, as well.

reading some of the annual abstracts now (and i have them all, starting when he got his first big book deal in 1982), it's pretty clear that the statistical analysis is that of a science in its infancy, at least partially due to the lack of information available at the time.  fielding data and pitch-by-pitch data, for example, simply weren't available - james did much of his early work based on the stat lines you would find in the macmillan encyclopedia or on the back of a baseball card.  the basic tenets hold up, though.

with that said, i've been a stathead for 40 years, but what really grabs you is the writing.  the guy is just a really good writer.  ignore the stats, if you think they're too basic, but the rest is still terrifically re-readable.

S.D. Jones

May 14th, 2018 at 10:31 AM ^

I still have one of the early 80s editions sitting around, a mom-bought relic from a rainy day long, long ago. I read the the thing straight through back then and loved it, though as I a Yanks fan I was miffed when he wrote that Omar Moreno had an arm like a limp noodle. Don't know why that's the one thing I remember.