Baseball books
April 27, 2024 4:51 PM   Subscribe

My parents always bought each other books for Christmas/birthdays, and after several years of mom buying dad a book about baseball (could be about its history, a collection of newspaper columns, etc) it turned into a running joke where dad would open each present asking “Is this my baseball book?” Mom died a few years ago so I’m reviving the tradition. What are some of the best books that have been written about baseball in the last five years?
posted by skycrashesdown to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
last 5? Nope. But last days of summer is a terrific baseball novel.
posted by j_curiouser at 5:01 PM on April 27 [1 favorite]

If your father is interested in New York City there is "The New York Game: BASEBALL AND THE RISE OF A NEW CITY" by Kevin Baker published in March.

Baseball is “the New York game” because New York is where the diamond was first laid out, where the bunt and the curveball were invented, and where the home run was hit. It’s where the game’s first stars were born, and where everyone came to play or watch the game. With nuance and depth, historian Kevin Baker brings this all vividly back to life: the still-controversial, indelible moments—Did the Babe call his shot? Was Merkle out? Did they fix the 1919 World Series? Here are all the legendary players, managers, and owners, in all their vivid, complicated humanity, on and off the field. In Baker’s hands the city and the game emerge from the murk of nineteenth-century American life—driven by visionaries and fixers, heroes and gangsters. He details how New York and its favorite sport came to mirror one another, expanding, bumbling through catastrophe and corruption, and rising out of these trials stronger than ever. From the first innings played in vacant lots and tavern yards in the 1820s; to the canny innovations that created the very first sports league; to the superb Hispanic and Black players who invented their own version of the game when white baseball sought to exclude them. And all amidst New York’s own, incredible evolution from a raw, riotous town to a new world city. The New York Game is a riveting, rollicking, brilliant ode to America’s beloved pastime and to its indomitable city of origin.
posted by DanSachs at 5:19 PM on April 27 [1 favorite]

A new biography of Pete Rose just came out last month--Charlie Hustle by Keith OBrien
posted by WithWildAbandon at 5:22 PM on April 27 [1 favorite]

Full Count: The Education of a Pitcher

David Cone former NY Yankee, NY Met, Toronto Blue Jay, current YES (Yankees) and ESPN broadcaster story. Written with Jack Curry, former NY Times baseball beat writer. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Cone threw a perfect game for the Yankees, and was an equally good party-er.

I am an old (60s) and after I read it, one of my kids enjoyed it too.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 6:44 PM on April 27

2017, so a bit outside your range but this one is great: The Only Rule Is It Has to Work: Our Wild Experiment Building a New Kind of Baseball Team
posted by googly at 8:10 PM on April 27 [3 favorites]

Why We Love Baseball: A History in 50 Moments by Joe Posnanski

The Grandest Stage: A History of the World Series by Tyler Kepner

Banana Ball: The Unbelievably True Story of the Savannah Bananas by Jesse Cole with Don Yaeger

Older (2018) but worth considering if your dad is also a WWII and/or aviation buff The Cloudbuster Nine: The Untold Story of Ted Williams and the Baseball Team That Helped Win World War II by Anne R. Keene

There have also been recent books that focus on Joe Madden, Bo Jackson, Rickey Henderson, Shohei Ohtani, and Aaron Judge, if any of them are likely to particular hits with your dad.
posted by the primroses were over at 10:18 PM on April 27 [1 favorite]

2017, so a bit outside your range but this one is great: The Only Rule Is It Has to Work: Our Wild Experiment Building a New Kind of Baseball Team

Seconding this book; it's so good.
posted by Gadarene at 12:01 AM on April 28

The Baseball Mysteries is a book of logic puzzles and where you get a box score and a question.

So for example from the bos score you know how many runs were scored in each inning, how many hits of each type/walks etc. we're scored overall by each player and you might be asked "who drove in the run that scored in the 5th"?

That's not something the box score would tell you directly but can it can be logically deduced. So maybe you start from the 9th and work backwards: nobody scored and two players were lob (I can't remember of box scores tell you lob by inning but let's say) so you know by the number of plate appearances each player had that these must have been the players the ninth. In the eight inning no one left on base but 3 runs scored. Ok so three runners who came in plus 3 outs (all plate appearances must end with an out, a run, or a lob) means the previous six players in the lineup were up in the eighth. And among those six you see that one has only a bb, one has only a single in the game and one has only a hr and 3 rbis. Ok so those rbis must be for a home run in the eighth and can't be from the fifth inning. So not that guy.

Maybe at this point you see there's only one other player with an rbi in the game so you know it's him with an rbi in the fifth. Or maybe there are more rbis unaccounted fir and you need to keep working it out.

(Ok I think this example is wrong because I just checked and the box score doesn't give you lob by inning. I went to check that because I was thinking of examples of other kinds of questions it asks you to deduce and I thinking how many players lob in inning X is a kind of question it asks.)

But anyway you get the idea. You should buy your dad this book and keep.him busy til.his next birthday.ĺ
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 6:51 AM on April 28

I forgot the link. I suspect there might be more than one "Baseball Mysteries" book.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 7:00 AM on April 28

The Baseball 100.
posted by Fuego at 7:36 AM on April 28

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