501 Baseball Books Fans Must Read Before They Die

Author: Ron Kaplan
Publisher: U of Nebraska Press
ISBN: 9780803246485
Release Date: 2013-04-01
Genre: Sports & Recreation

Propounding his “small ball theory” of sports literature, George Plimpton proposed that “the smaller the ball, the more formidable the literature.” Of course he had the relatively small baseball in mind, because its literature is formidable—vast and varied, instructive, often wildly entertaining, and occasionally brilliant. From this bewildering array of baseball books, Ron Kaplan has chosen 501 of the best, making it easier for fans to find just the books to suit them (or to know what they’re missing). From biography, history, fiction, and instruction to books about ballparks, business, and rules, anyone who loves to read about baseball will find in this book a companionable guide, far more fun than a reference work has any right to be.

Hank Greenberg in 1938

Author: Ron Kaplan
Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
ISBN: 9781613219928
Release Date: 2017-04-25
Genre: Sports & Recreation

“Hammerin’” Hank Greenberg was coming off a stellar season where he’d hit 40 home runs and 184 RBIs, becoming only the thirteenth player to ever hit 40 or more homers (and one of only four players to have 40 or more home runs and 175 or more RBIs in a season). Even with his success at the plate, neither Greenberg nor the rest of the world could have expected what was about to happen in 1938. From his first day in the big leagues, the New York-born Greenberg had dealt with persecution for being Jewish. From teammate Jo-Jo White asking where his horns were to the verbal abuse from bigoted fans and the media, the 6-foot-3 slugger always did his best to shut the noise out and concentrate on baseball. But in 1938, that would be more difficult then he could have ever imagined. While Greenberg was battling at the plate, his people overseas were dealing with a completely different battle. Adolf Hitler, who had been chancellor of Germany since 1933, had taken direct control of the country’s military in February of ’38. He then began his methodic takeover of all neighboring countries, spreading Nazism and the early stages of World War II and the Holocaust. Hank Greenberg in 1938 chronicles the events of 1938, both on the baseball diamond and the streets of Europe. As Greenberg’s bat had him on course for Babe Ruth’s home run record, Hitler’s “Final Solution” was beginning to take shape. Jews across the US, worried about the issues overseas, looked to Greenberg as a symbol of hope. Though normally hesitant to speak about the anti-Semitism he dealt with, the slugger still knew the role he was playing for so many of his people, saying “I came to feel that if I, as a Jew, hit a home run, I was hitting one against Hitler.”

The Jewish Olympics

Author: Ron Kaplan
Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
ISBN: 9781632208552
Release Date: 2015-07-07
Genre: Sports & Recreation

Having grown from 390 athletes from fourteen countries to nine thousand athletes from seventy-eight countries, the Maccabiah Games (or the “Jewish Olympics,” as it has come to be known) continue to gain popularity. The Maccabiah Games, which take place in Israel, first began in 1932, and the latest games took place in July of 2013, with the debut of participants from Cuba, Albania, and Nicaragua. Sports range from table tennis to ice hockey, basketball, chess, and much more. Past participants have included former NBA coach Larry Brown, Olympic swimmers Mark Spitz and Jason Lezak, and Olympic gymnast Mitch Gaylord, among others. The Jewish Olympics details the history of the Maccabiah Games, including how they began, how they have grown in popularity, how they have impacted the Jewish community worldwide, and much more. In addition, it highlights the countless special achievements of the athletes over the course of the nineteen games. The Jewish Olympics is a detailed and fascinating history that will interest any sports fan, as well as individuals interested in cultural events. Skyhorse Publishing, as well as our Sports Publishing imprint, is proud to publish a broad range of books for readers interested in sports—books about baseball, pro football, college football, pro and college basketball, hockey, or soccer, we have a book about your sport or your team. In addition to books on popular team sports, we also publish books for a wide variety of athletes and sports enthusiasts, including books on running, cycling, horseback riding, swimming, tennis, martial arts, golf, camping, hiking, aviation, boating, and so much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to publishing books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked by other publishers and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.

Deadly Fantasy

Author: Andrew Wolfenson
Publisher:
ISBN: 0615971636
Release Date: 2014-03-01
Genre:

Over 33 million people in the United States participate in fantasy baseball and/or football leagues; these leagues are a two billion dollar per year industry. Some take their participation in such fantasy leagues more seriously than others, suspending reality as they try to fulfill their dreams of serving as a major league owner or General Manager. For Jeff Goldstein, however, this is not just a game; participation in the league takes over his life. His obsession with winning his fantasy league, and its $150,000 prize, consumes his every thought and threatens his relationship with his girlfriend, his friends, and his job. How far will Jeff go in his desire to win the league? What actions will he take, or ask others to take, as he struggles to separate fantasy from reality? Deadly Fantasy: A Baseball Story is both an examination of one man's obsession with winning his fantasy baseball league, as well as a critical comparison of the current statistic-based views of rating baseball players as opposed to the more traditional, "human" views of player selection. Here's what others are saying about "Deadly Fantasy: A Baseball Story" - "As a sports attorney I work regularly with athletes who are passionate about their sport. Jeff Goldstein takes this passion to a whole new and disturbing level. If there really were a fantasy league player like Jeff, then I would fear for the safety of my clients." - Jordan S. Solomon, Esq. "Who would ever think a game amongst friends would turn to deception and murder? ... Andrew Wolfenson takes loyalty and the American Pastime where they've never been before by playing Fantasy League Baseball with a life and death scoreboard, unquestionably making this book a home run." - Jon D'Amore, Author, "The Boss Always Sits In the Back" "Andrew Wolfenson's Deadly Fantasy combines the fixations of Coover's Universal Baseball Association with the suspense of Alfred Hitchcock in a taut tale of obsession and insanity." - Ron Kaplan, Author, "501 Baseball Books Fans Must Read Before They Die"

Memories of Summer

Author: Roger Kahn
Publisher: Diversion Books
ISBN: 9781938120473
Release Date: 2012-10-28
Genre: Sports & Recreation

Acclaimed baseball writer and bestselling author Roger Kahn gives us a memoir of his Brooklyn childhood, a recollection of a life in journalism, and a record of personal acquaintance with the greatest ballplayers of several eras. His father had a passion for the Dodgers; his mother’s passion was for poetry. Somehow, young Roger managed to blend both loves in a career that encompassed writing about sports for the NEW YORK HERALD TRIBUNE, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, the SATURDAY EVENING POST, ESQUIRE, and TIME. Kahn recalls the great personalities of a golden era—Leo Durocher, Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Jackie Robinson, Red Smith, Dick Young, and many more—and recollects the wittiest lines from forty years in dugouts, press boxes, and newsrooms. Often hilarious, always precise about action on the field and off, MEMORIES OF SUMMER is an enduring classic about how baseball met literature to the benefit of both. Praise for Roger Kahn: "As a kid, I loved sports first and writing second, and loved everything Roger Kahn wrote. As an adult, I love writing first and sports second, and love Roger Kahn even more." —Pulitzer Prize winner, David Maraniss "He can epitomize a player with a single swing of the pen." —TIME magazine "Roger Kahn is the best baseball writer in the business." —Stephen Jay Gould, New York Review of Books "Kahn has the almost unfair gift of easy, graceful writing." —BOSTON HERALD

Intangiball

Author: Lonnie Wheeler
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 9781451696028
Release Date: 2015-08-11
Genre: Psychology

"Longtime baseball writer and observer Lonnie Wheeler explains that there are unquantifiable elements in the game of baseball -- intangibles -- and shows how these immeasurable elements can bring success both to individual players and to teams"--

Perfect Victims

Author: Bill James
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 9780857203922
Release Date: 2011-07-07
Genre: True Crime

The Black Dahlia case. The Manson murders. The Zodiac Killer. The slaughter of JonBenet Ramsay. These killings, among many others in Bill James's astonishing chronicle of the history of American crime, have all created a frenzy of interest and speculation about human nature. And while many of us choose to avoid the news about gruesome murders, Bill James contends that these crime stories, which create such frenzy (and have throughout history), are as important to understanding our society, culture and history as anything we may consider to be a more 'serious' subject. The topic envelopes our society so completely, we almost forget about it. James looks at the ways in which society has changed by examining the development of how crimes have been committed, investigated and prosecuted. The booktakes on such issues as the rise of an organized police force, the controversial use of the death penalty, the introduction of evidence such as fingerprinting and DNA, and the unexpected ways in which the most shocking crimes have shaped the criminal justice system and our perceptions of violence.

All Our Names

Author: Dinaw Mengestu
Publisher: Knopf
ISBN: 9780385349994
Release Date: 2014-03-04
Genre: Fiction

From acclaimed author Dinaw Mengestu, a recipient of the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 award, The New Yorker’s 20 Under 40 award, and a 2012 MacArthur Foundation genius grant, comes an unforgettable love story about a searing affair between an American woman and an African man in 1970s America and an unflinching novel about the fragmentation of lives that straddle countries and histories. All Our Names is the story of two young men who come of age during an African revolution, drawn from the safe confines of the university campus into the intensifying clamor of the streets outside. But as the line between idealism and violence becomes increasingly blurred, the friends are driven apart—one into the deepest peril, as the movement gathers inexorable force, and the other into the safety of exile in the American Midwest. There, pretending to be an exchange student, he falls in love with a social worker and settles into small-town life. Yet this idyll is inescapably darkened by the secrets of his past: the acts he committed and the work he left unfinished. Most of all, he is haunted by the beloved friend he left behind, the charismatic leader who first guided him to revolution and then sacrificed everything to ensure his freedom. Elegiac, blazing with insights about the physical and emotional geographies that circumscribe our lives, All Our Names is a marvel of vision and tonal command. Writing within the grand tradition of Naipul, Greene, and Achebe, Mengestu gives us a political novel that is also a transfixing portrait of love and grace, of self-determination and the names we are given and the names we earn. This eBook edition includes a Reading Group Guide.

Hank Greenberg

Author: John Rosengren
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 9781101614921
Release Date: 2013-03-05
Genre: Sports & Recreation

Baseball during the Great Depression of the 1930s galvanized communities and provided a struggling country with heroes. Jewish player Hank Greenberg gave the people of Detroit—and America—a reason to be proud. But America was facing more than economic hardship. Hitler’s agenda heightened the persecution of Jews abroad while anti-Semitism intensified political and social tensions in the U.S. The six-foot-four-inch Greenberg, the nation’s most prominent Jew, became not only an iconic ball player, but also an important and sometimes controversial symbol of Jewish identity and the American immigrant experience. Throughout his twelve-year baseball career and four years of military service, he heard cheers wherever he went along with anti-Semitic taunts. The abuse drove him to legendary feats that put him in the company of the greatest sluggers of the day, including Babe Ruth, Jimmie Foxx, and Lou Gehrig. Hank’s iconic status made his personal dilemmas with religion versus team and ambition versus duty national debates. Hank Greenberg is an intimate account of his life—a story of integrity and triumph over adversity and a portrait of one of the greatest baseball players and most important Jews of the twentieth century. INCLUDES PHOTOS

Sometimes You See It Coming

Author: Kevin Baker
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 0061736821
Release Date: 2009-10-13
Genre: Fiction

Based in part on the life of baseball legend Ty Cobb, this book belongs in the pantheon of great baseball novels. John Barr is the kind of player who isn't supposed to exist anymore. An all-around superstar, he plays the game with a single-minded ferocity that makes his New York Mets team all but invincible. Yet Barr himself is a mystery with no past, no friends, no women, and no interests outside hitting a baseball as hard and as far as he can. Not even Ellie Jay, the jaded sportswriter who can out-think, out-drink, and out-write any man in the press box. She wants to think she admires Barr's skill on a ballfield, but suspects she might be in love with a man who isn't really there. Barr leads the Mets to one championship after another. Then chaos arrives in the person of new manager Charli Stanzi, well-known psychopath. Under Stanzi's tutelage, the team simply falls apart. Then Barr himself inexplicably starts to unravel. For the first time in his life, his formidable skills fail him, and only Ellie Jay and another can help - if he will let them. Hanging in the balance are his sanity, the World Series, and true love.

The Arm

Author: Jeff Passan
Publisher: HarperCollins
ISBN: 9780062400383
Release Date: 2016-04-05
Genre: Sports & Recreation

Yahoo’s lead baseball columnist offers an in-depth look at the most valuable commodity in sports—the pitching arm—and how its vulnerability to injury is hurting players and the game, from Little League to the majors. Every year, Major League Baseball spends more than $1.5 billion on pitchers—five times more than the salary of every NFL quarterback combined. Pitchers are the game’s lifeblood. Their import is exceeded only by their fragility. One tiny band of tissue in the elbow, the ulnar collateral ligament, is snapping at unprecedented rates, leaving current big league players vulnerable and the coming generation of baseball-playing children dreading the three scariest words in the sport: Tommy John surgery. Jeff Passan traveled the world for three years to explore in-depth the past, present, and future of the arm, and how its evolution left baseball struggling to wrangle its Tommy John surgery epidemic. He examined what compelled the Chicago Cubs to spend $155 million on one arm. He snagged a rare interview with Sandy Koufax, whose career was cut short by injury at thirty, and visited Japan to understand how another baseball-mad country treats its prized arms. And he followed two major league pitchers, Daniel Hudson and Todd Coffey, throughout their returns from Tommy John surgery. He exposes how the baseball establishment long ignored the rise in arm injuries and reveals how misplaced incentives across the sport stifle potential changes. Injuries to the UCL start as early as Little League. Without a drastic cultural shift, baseball will continue to lose hundreds of millions of dollars annually to damaged pitchers, and another generation of children will suffer the same problems that vex current players. Informative and hard-hitting, The Arm is essential reading for everyone who loves the game, wants to keep their children healthy, or relishes a look into how a large, complex institution can fail so spectacularly.

Charlie Chan s Poppa

Author: Barbara Gregorich
Publisher: Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
ISBN: 1983943452
Release Date: 2018-02-02
Genre: Chan, Charlie (Fictitious character)

When she was sixteen years old Barbara Gregorich discovered the Charlie Chan novels of Earl Derr Biggers on the "local authors" shelf of the Warren Public Library. She fell in love with the wisdom, humor, and perceptiveness of the amiable Chinese-Hawaiian police detective, and she admired the author who created him. Although seldom given credit for it, Biggers was one of the first writers to help create mystery's Golden Age on the American side of the Atlantic. His six Chan novels were serialized in The Saturday Evening Post, published by Bobbs-Merrill, and sought by Hollywood, and he received fan mail from thousands. Wanting to know more about Earl Derr Biggers and how he came to write his mysteries, Gregorich researched the Bobbs-Merrill Archives at the Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington. There she read all the correspondence between Biggers and his editor - correspondence which brings to life the author's struggles to satisfy the Chan-hungry public.

Things Invisible to See

Author: Nancy Willard
Publisher: Open Road Media
ISBN: 9781480481503
Release Date: 2014-04-22
Genre: Fiction

The first novel by Newbery Award–winning author Nancy Willard: A stunning story of magic and miracles, and a testament to the enduring power of faith and love Ben and Willie Harkissian are twin brothers (think Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau) growing up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, on the eve of World War II. A baseball launched into the October sky sets in motion a series of events that transforms many lives. Ben leaves for the front and faces death—figuratively as well as literally. Left behind is Clare Bishop, who has been paralyzed from the waist down. But in exchange she receives some very special gifts. She can see the future, be at one with animals, and chat with Death. Willie Harkissian remains in Michigan as well, though his relationship with his brother will never be the same. A love story interrupted by war, this is also a novel about discovering the ordinary in the extraordinary and finding the miraculous in everyday life.