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Baseball Books

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  • 14-02-2013 12:57pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 13,332 ✭✭✭✭


    Hi all,

    Just wondering if anybody has any recommendations of good baseball books either biography or research?

    I just got my copy of Francona: The Red Sox Years delivered today and am looking forward to reading it. However I normally go for more research-based reading (I'm a member of SABR so regularly trawl through their archive of articles). So I figured I'd reach out to the forum.

    Books I would recommend would be:

    Wizardry: Baseball's All-Time Greatest Fielders Revealed - Excellent analysis of the effect of fielding on runs scored

    Baseball Prospectus 2013 - 2013 edition not out yet but it's an annual publication

    Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract - I have a pretty old edition but still go back to it from time to time

    Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game
    - Probably one of the most read and accessible books on baseball in recent years and one I've probably read about 3 times by now. Worth owning for sure.

    Also if you are serious about baseball research I think it's essential to own Lee Sinins' Complete Baseball Encyclopedia. Not a book, but a database of records that he will mail out to you. It has it's own interface but you can also view the raw database if you want to set up your own queries or macros or whatever. And the great thing is he updates it daily during the season.

    So any good recommendations? I'll let you know how Tito's book is when I read it! I'm expecting slight bias.....


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,708 ✭✭✭Waitsian


    http://dirkhayhurst.com/books/

    First two worth a read, he's very articulate and funny.


  • Registered Users Posts: 13,332 ✭✭✭✭8-10


    mod9maple wrote: »
    http://dirkhayhurst.com/books/

    First two worth a read, he's very articulate and funny.

    Awesome, thanks! I actually have Out of my League in my Amazon 'wishlist' but haven't gotten around to ordering it yet. I probably just heard it mentioned on a podcast or something.

    I'll take a look at the other one too, cheers.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,687 ✭✭✭✭jack presley


    I think I posted something similar to this before but here's a list of some of baseball books I've read and would recommend.

    Baseball - A History of America's Game by Benjamin G. Rager - It is what it says, a history of the game up to about the time when steroids began rearing their ugly heads. A great read for anyone wanting to know why the game is so popular and how it got to where it is today.

    Watching Baseball Smarter by Zach Hample - A good reference book for people getting into baseball and not totally up to speed with everything that's going on (His follow up book about a baseball itself isn't that good).

    Game of Shadows by - Wada and Williams. A bit out of date now as there's been a trial since but this gives the history of Balco and Barry Bonds.

    Jackie Robinson by Arnold Rampersad, Wille Mays The Life The Legend by James Hirsch and The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron by Howard Bryant - 3 great biographies of 3 legends of the game. Essential reading!

    The Baseball Codes by James Turbow - Probably my favourite baseball book (along with the history one mentioned above). It's basically about the unwritten rules that players follow, e.g. when to throw at a player, don't showboat, and basically the etiquette of the game. If you only read one book on this list, I'd recommend this one!

    Brit at the Ballpark by Peter Taylor - This one's very good too.More of a travel book about a bloke from England who spends a summer in America going to games (both major and minor league) in all 50 states.

    As they See 'em by Bruce Weber - A book about the lives of umpires and how it's even tougher for them to make the majors. Very good too!

    Eight Men Out by Eliot Asinof - About the Black Sox scandal in 1919.

    Is this a Great Game or What by Tim Kurkjian - Anyone who likes him on Baseball Tonight will like this

    Minor Players, Major Dreams by Brett Mandel - About a journalist who plays on a independent league minor league team for a season. Very good

    Small Town Heroes by Hank Davis - Bloke who travels around the minor leagues and reports on teams and players and their lives.

    The Last Best League by Jim Collins - About a summer league in Cape Cod where all the best college players go before they get drafted.

    Baseball for Brain Surgeons by Tim McCarver - A bit of a nerdy view on the game. Been a while since I read it and don't remember much about it so it mustn't have made too much of an impression.

    Bottom of the 33rd by Dan Barry - I haven't read this one yet but it's next on my reading list. It's about one of the longest games ever and the players involved. It's got great reviews so I'm looking forward to reading it.

    I've a couple of other NY Mets ones but unless you're a fan of them, they probably won't interest you.

    EDIT - I forgot Moneyball but everyone's probably familiar with that one at this stage. Still worth a read though.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,626 ✭✭✭rockonollie


    I enjoyed Pete Rose: Baseball's Charlie Hustle (Great American Sports Legends) by Mike Towle


  • Registered Users Posts: 642 ✭✭✭Jamie OD


    The Baseball Codes by James Turbow - Probably my favourite baseball book (along with the history one mentioned above). It's basically about the unwritten rules that players follow, e.g. when to throw at a player, don't showboat, and basically the etiquette of the game. If you only read one book on this list, I'd recommend this one!

    This one sounds like one I would really enjoy. I saw a small feature about the unwritten rules once during a game on ESPN America over the summer and have been fascinated with them ever since.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 13,332 ✭✭✭✭8-10


    8-10 wrote: »

    Baseball Prospectus 2013 - 2013 edition not out yet but it's an annual publication

    Just got this delivered! Surprised as it wasn't expected until April so delighted.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,687 ✭✭✭✭jack presley



    Bottom of the 33rd by Dan Barry - I haven't read this one yet but it's next on my reading list. It's about one of the longest games ever and the players involved. It's got great reviews so I'm looking forward to reading it.

    Just to follow up on this, I've finished reading this book now and would highly recommend it. It's very easy to read and perfect for a holiday or just some easy to digest relaxing reading.

    It's an account of the longest baseball game ever back in 1981 that not only tells the story of the game but also the stories before and after of everyone involved, from the players (Cal Ripken jr. and Wade Boggs were two who played in the game) to the announcers, bat-boys, wives of players, owner of the team and the some of the few fans who were left when it eventually ended.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 504 ✭✭✭LeftBlank


    I found the Hayhurst books to be a bit disposable. Interesting stories but his writing style doesn't really endear itself to re-reading.

    A book I really enjoyed was 27 Men Out by Michael Coffey. A book about all the modern era perfect games up until David Cone's one in 1999. Not only does it tell the story of the games themselves but also gives a history of baseball around the time of each game, so it actually turns into a pretty good history of baseball itself.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,687 ✭✭✭✭jack presley


    Just to add another book to this list that I just finished and I think is worth reading. It's called "I don't care if we never get back" by Ben Blatt & Eric Brewster.

    It combines to things I love, baseball and road trips and is basically about two blokes on a mission to see a game in every major league stadium in 30 days. So they're up against rain outs, games going to extra innings etc. And only one of them is a baseball fan, the other fella has no interest. It's very amusing.


  • Registered Users Posts: 899 ✭✭✭FrKurtFahrt


    I've just come across this thread, and want to add my personal favourite:

    http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/602735.Hitter.

    I had lived near Boston back in the mid 80s and fell in love with the Red Sox and its history - and, by extension, the game itself. After I came back home in 87, I gorged on Baseball books. Mostly they were books like 'Greatest Games' 'Greatest Moments' and books of records and such like.

    The above book I enjoyed hugely, because Ted Williams was an icon - a Baseballing genius and maverick, and unique in almost everything he did (on AND off the diamond).

    I still have the book, together with about another 20 Baseball themed books - if anyone wants any, I'll happily forward them.


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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,687 ✭✭✭✭jack presley


    Another good (but short) read if anyone's interested. "The Grind" by Barry Svrluga.

    It's a book written after he spent a season with Washington and as the title suggests, goes through the grind of the long season from different perspectives within the organisation, from the different players, the scouts, GM and even the locker room attendant.

    As I said it's very short, only about 190 pages long and can be read in a couple of hours but it is very interesting and well worth a look.


  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]


    I just started R.A Dickeys 'Wherever I wind up" a couple of nights ago - flying through it, an interesting you life.

    The prologue is just him talking about his first start for the Rangers, going through each inning - gruesome but really, really good


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,708 ✭✭✭Waitsian


    I just picked up The Boys of Summer by Roger Kahn, in a charity shop in Newry. For 2 quid. Non-fiction about the Robinson era Dodgers. Really good stuff.


  • Registered Users Posts: 13,332 ✭✭✭✭8-10


    I just started R.A Dickeys 'Wherever I wind up" a couple of nights ago - flying through it, an interesting you life.

    The prologue is just him talking about his first start for the Rangers, going through each inning - gruesome but really, really good

    Yep good read. Picked it up myself again a couple of weeks ago


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,687 ✭✭✭✭jack presley


    I enjoyed that on too. You think you know someone and then you read about the time he tried to swim across the river.


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,665 ✭✭✭Bonniedog


    mod9maple wrote: »
    I just picked up The Boys of Summer by Roger Kahn, in a charity shop in Newry. For 2 quid. Non-fiction about the Robinson era Dodgers. Really good stuff.


    It is brilliant book.

    There is another book about the Dodgers from that period by Anne Kearns Godwin - "This Time Next Year" I think its called? Brilliant read, not just about baseball but her family and NY at the time.

    Also good fictional read is Don de Lillo's "Underworld" which begins with a young fella from Harlem getting the ball Thomson hit to win the pennant for Giants against the Dodgers in 1951. Not exactly a "baseball" book but baseball is at the heart of it.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,687 ✭✭✭✭jack presley


    Currently reading Keith Law’s Smart Baseball book. I’m only on the first section where he ridicules the main stats still used (batting average, pitcher wins, defensive average etc.).

    It’s very good


  • Registered Users Posts: 6,665 ✭✭✭Bonniedog


    Currently reading Keith Law’s Smart Baseball book. I’m only on the first section where he ridicules the main stats still used (batting average, pitcher wins, defensive average etc.).

    It’s very good


    Anyone who bets seriously on the game would mostly ignore those stats, as indeed do teams themselves when trying to build a roster. Much of that of course is reflected in betting odds although you occasionally get games like last night between Atlanta and Cubs where you get decent odds on outsiders who are currently ahead on key indicators.

    Only read reviews of Law's book but seems to concentrate mostly on individuals, rather than how individuals fit into a team?


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 13,687 ✭✭✭✭jack presley


    Bonniedog wrote: »
    Anyone who bets seriously on the game would mostly ignore those stats, as indeed do teams themselves when trying to build a roster. Much of that of course is reflected in betting odds although you occasionally get games like last night between Atlanta and Cubs where you get decent odds on outsiders who are currently ahead on key indicators.

    Only read reviews of Law's book but seems to concentrate mostly on individuals, rather than how individuals fit into a team?

    Don't know yet. Only finished the first section.


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 1,469 ✭✭✭ShyMets


    Don't know yet. Only finished the first section.

    All round an excellent book. Gets a little technical when he starts discussing the new stats. But none the less fascinating stuff.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,585 ✭✭✭circular flexing


    Just done a second reading of this book

    https://www.amazon.com/Ballpark-Baseball-American-Paul-Goldberger/dp/0307701549

    It's an outstanding history of baseball stadiums from an architecture standpoint.


  • Registered Users Posts: 13,332 ✭✭✭✭8-10


    Just done a second reading of this book

    https://www.amazon.com/Ballpark-Baseball-American-Paul-Goldberger/dp/0307701549

    It's an outstanding history of baseball stadiums from an architecture standpoint.

    Damn I want that


  • Registered Users Posts: 3,432 ✭✭✭Steve_o




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