How does a relatively new to US sports fan become more in the know?
May 19, 2015 1:07 PM   Subscribe

I'm English. I have lived in the US since 2009. I am a big baseball and football fan. I know quite a bit about my teams and the seasons I've seen since moving here but nothing before that.

US sports fans LOVE their stats. I would really love to learn more about players/teams before my time but I'm not sure how to do that. Are there books anyone can recommend? I'd love to know more about previous seasons/teams/players. Where do I even start?
posted by shesbenevolent to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
You can go to the ESPN website, hover your mouse over your sport of choice and in the drop down menu, select "stats". You can select the particular season you are interested in knowing more about.
posted by ATX Peanut at 1:18 PM on May 19, 2015

Response by poster: Sorry promise I'm not thread sitting.
Rather than stats I was hoping for biographies, rundowns of seasons. That kind of thing.
I watch a lot of documentaries. 30 for 30s etc. Anything like that? Websites or books wise.
posted by shesbenevolent at 1:20 PM on May 19, 2015

Best answer: Esquire has a cool rundown of great baseball history books, of which there are thousands. (Check the comments too.)
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:20 PM on May 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

If you're looking for general history of a team, Wikipedia is a decent place to get a simplified overview, just search for the team name. Also, every big 4 team typically has lots of books written about their history.

In a more general sense, the Ken Burns Baseball documentary (on Netflix) is a good place to start, it hits all the major points up to the 90s.

For a purely statistical baseball perspective, you can look at Fangraphs, thats a good place to start.
posted by hobgadling at 1:22 PM on May 19, 2015 [3 favorites]

For baseball I'd try Bill James' work if you want a stat centric view of baseball history. For football try the Football Outsiders blog.
posted by maggiepolitt at 1:25 PM on May 19, 2015 [4 favorites]

Packers fans are blessed with some great beat writers, led by Bob Mcginn. His superbowl history book gets great reviews.

Amazon link
posted by dvrmmr at 1:37 PM on May 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

hobgadling is right on. I'd just add that you can start following your teams' sbnation blogs (Google team name + sbnation - many of them are not at the url). Getting into that will give you pieces and pieces of team history, with the added benefit of how that piece of information is relevant, which should help it stick.
posted by General Malaise at 1:39 PM on May 19, 2015 [2 favorites]

Ken Burns' Baseball is long (9 episodes, about 2 hours each) but great, and covers a ton of baseball history in a really engaging way. It was released in 1994 but his sequel The Tenth Inning covers 1994-2009.
posted by EmilyClimbs at 2:53 PM on May 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

There's a book by Nolan Ryan called "Kings of the Hill," all about various MLB pitchers. Some were the best of their era, some are just attached to a great story. I'm sure this book is out of print, but it might show up at a library or used-book store.

I also enjoyed Doug Glanville's "The Game From Where I Stand," which is both a biography and observations on baseball during the course of his career.

If you haven't read Jim Bouton's "Ball Four," it's probably worth checking out. It's considered the classic baseball "tell-all".
posted by epj at 5:17 PM on May 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

I think the best resource for each U.S. sport is to visit their respective hall of fame (note that the NHL's is in Canada, not U.S.). The full experience would be best to do in-person, but a virtual visit to their website(s) works too:

  • NBA:
  • NFL:
  • MLB:
  • NHL:

    There's so much to know about each sport that if you just google "History of baseball" or "History of American Football" you'll probably end up reading or watching a video about information that 90% of people that consider themselves die-hard fans, don't know.

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