For many baseball fans, their support of the sport does not wean once the television has been shut off and the stadium stands cleared. Baseball has been a favored sport for viewing and has grown in popularity for reading as well. Here are five books baseball fans should get their hands on today.
The Glory of Their Times, (1966), Lawrence Ritter
Lawrence Ritter, an American writer and at-the-time Columbia University Professor, compiled and edited oral baseball histories from 26 baseball players, including baseball Hall of Famers Sam Crawford and Hank Greenberg. This compilation of oral histories is written in first person narration, adding personal depth to the classic baseball narratives.
Ball Four, (1970), Jim Bouton
Written by Jim Bouton, a former professional baseball player, this provocative and thought-provoking book provides behind-the-scenes insight to America’s favorite pastime. Becoming a best-seller during the time of its publication, Big Four changed the game for sports literature and journalism, revealing intricacies of the sport without embellishing the narrative.
The Boys of Summer, (1972), Roger Kahn
As a reporter for the New York Herald Tribune, Roger Kahn tracked the lives of the 1950’s Brooklyn Dodgers. This close coverage resulted in a work that includes memorable players such as Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, Billy Cox, and Pee Wee Reese, and explores the lives of such players during their prime and their post-playing days as well.
Lords of the Realm, (1994), John Helyar
John Helyar, an American journalist who has worked for The Wall Street Journal, Fortune magazine, and ESPN, was well-apt to write a book covering the economics of baseball. Pulling narration players, agents, and owners, the book accounts the history of baseball player’s rights up until 1994.
Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, (2003), Michael Lewis
With a background in nonfiction and financial journalism, Michael Lewis captures the narrative of the low-budget Oakland Athletics, and Billy Beane, their general manager. The book follows Billy Beane’s statistical strategy for trading for underappreciated players, a model that has been adopted by many currently Major League Baseball teams. Lewis has melded an influential baseball narrative with business.