The Best Baseball Books of All Time
5 Books | by Matt Heinz
The Lords of the Realm
"The ultimate chronicle of the games behind the game."—The New York Times Book Review Baseball has always inspired rhapsodic elegies on the glory of man and golden memories of wonderful times. But what you see on the field is only half the game. In this fascinating, colorful chronicle—based on hundreds of interviews and years of research and digging—John Helyar brings to vivid life the extraordinary people and dramatic events that shaped America's favorite pastime, from the dead-ball days at the turn of the century through the great strike of 1994. Witness zealous Judge Landis banish eight players, including Shoeless Joe Jackson, after the infamous "Black Sox" scandal; the flamboyant A's owner Charlie Finley wheel and deal his star players, Vida Blue and Rollie Fingers, like a deck of cards; the hysterical bidding war of coveted free agent Catfish Hunter; the chain-smoking romantic, A. Bartlett Giamatti, locking horns with Pete Rose during his gambling days of summer; and much more. Praise for The Lords of the Realm "A must-read for baseball fans . . . reads like a suspense novel."—Kirkus Reviews "Refreshingly hard-headed . . . the only book you'll need to read on the subject."—Newsday "Lots of stories . . . well told, amusing . . . edifying."—The Washington Post
The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract
When Bill James published his original Historical Baseball Abstract in 1985, he produced an immediate classic, hailed by the Chicago Tribune as the “holy book of baseball.” Now, baseball's beloved “Sultan of Stats” (The Boston Globe) is back with a fully revised and updated edition for the new millennium. Like the original, The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract is really several books in one. The Game provides a century's worth of American baseball history, told one decade at a time, with energetic facts and figures about How, Where, and by Whom the game was played. In The Players, you'll find listings of the top 100 players at each position in the major leagues, along with James's signature stats-based ratings method called “Win Shares,” a way of quantifying individual performance and calculating the offensive and defensive contributions of catchers, pitchers, infielders, and outfielders. And there's more: the Reference section covers Win Shares for each season and each player, and even offers a Win Share team comparison. A must-have for baseball fans and historians alike, The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract is as essential, entertaining, and enlightening as the sport itself.
Tim McCarver's Baseball for Brain Surgeons and Other Fans
Tim McCarver, major league baseball's premier analyst, has been surprising and delighting viewers for years with his remarkable insight. Fans who once were content to merely watch baseball were stimulated into wanting to think baseball as well. McCarver brings to the booth a combination of twenty-one years of major league service and nearly twenty more in broadcasting. There is nobody better at explaining the game than McCarver, and it is a rare game in which the viewer does not learn something new and unusual. Now he is putting down on paper all he knows about the sport, producing this unique perspective on how America's pastime should be played and watched. With his unmistakable wit and storytelling verve, McCarver succinctly explains the fundamentals and proper mechanics of baseball at the level necessary for success in the major leagues. Once the skills have been learned, the viewer can devise smart strategies, getting into the heads of the players, coaches, and managers: When should a player or manager be conservative or aggressive; what factors change as the count goes deeper; how do you set up an effective running game, and how can a defense try to sabotage it? This book is a gold mine for all fans, from brain surgeons and rocket scientists to beginners who want to start with the basics. (Even major leaguers will be able to pick up some pointers.) With a deeper knowledge and understanding of baseball, any fan will be able to watch it like a pro.
The Glory of Their Times
Baseball was different in earlier days—tougher, rawer, more intimate—when giants like Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb ran the bases. In the monumental classic The Glory of Their Times, the golden era of our national pastime comes alive through the vibrant words of those who played and lived the game.