Books About the Craft, Magic, and Art of Baseball

shelved under Sports

As player salaries soar and the nation's attention shifts to other sports, it's nice to remind oneself that it wasn't always this way: once upon a time, baseball was more than just America's pastime, it was king.

 

Summer of '49

by David Halberstam

Hal Steinberg from McLean, VA says:

As long-time Yankee fan, there is nothing like reliving the year the team came from behind and, on the final weekend of the year, snatched the pennant from the hated Red Sox. Casey Stengel in the first year of his unequaled string of winners; legends like Dimaggio, Henrich, Rizzuto, Berra; fabled pitchers like Raschi, Reynolds and Joe Page come alive and give you all the glory of the fabled Yankees.

 

The Boys of Summer

by Roger Kahn

Growing up in New York in the 40s and 50s, my Dad was a congenital Dodger hater... but even he said this was a great read. Kahn provides considerable baseball detail about the Dodger greats of that era — Robinson, Campanella, Snyder, Newcombe, Reese — plus enough of their human side to make them into likable real people, even to a Yankee fan.

 

Wait Till Next Year: A Memoir

by Doris Kearns Goodwin

My late mother grew up a Brooklyn Dodgers fan in the late 40s and early 50s — and with two brothers to boot. She told me some great stories about how crazy it could get in the house listening to the games on the radio and left me wanting to hear more. This book, probably because it was written by a woman of the same age and era, reminds me of my mom's stories.

 
 

Men at Work: The Craft of Baseball

by George F. Will

Hal Steinberg from McLean, VA says:

This is a fascinating read. With his ever-present eye for detail, plus his typical insight, George Will has readers realizing that baseball managers and players are constantly thinking about what is happening and projecting that into what might happen next. I used to think they ballplayers just playing a game. Now I see they are really "at work."

 

Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

by Michael Lewis

Finally, this is a much more modern book but it proves the point that winning at baseball doesn't require a gargantuan payroll... sometimes there's more than one way to solve a problem.