Baseball Books for the Long Winter
With free agency just beginning and the topics to discuss for the Royals few and far between, I thought I’d go a little different direction today. I’ve been reading a new book with baseball as its backdrop and I think a lot of you are big readers as well, so I thought I’d talk about a few great books to get you through the winter and keep you in the baseball spirit. These aren’t necessarily the best baseball books out there, but I’ve enjoyed all of them, and I hope you enjoy them, too. A quick plug for the site, though. If you do choose to purchase any of these books through Amazon.com, please click one of the ads on the site and purchase through there to help support Pine Tar Press. We appreciate all the help!
- The Art of FieldingÂ by Chad Harbach – This is a book I’m currently enjoying but came to me with great recommendation and is not disappointing one bit so far.Â Henry Skrimshander is a great defensive shortstop who, as far as I’ve gotten, learns to hit a little bit and I’m guessing he goes onto a career in the big leagues. This book, so far, is so good that I don’t even mind how much he loves the St. Louis Cardinals.
- The Greatest Show on Dirt by James Bailey – This book is a look at a man who was sick and tired of his life and decided to go back to work in the minor leagues. It’s set in Durham and basically tells the story of life working in the minor leagues before it got asÂ glamorousÂ as it is today. And it isn’t glamorous today.
- Moneyball by Michael Lewis – I imagine many of you have already read this one or at the very least seen the movie. I recommend this book for a second, third or fourth read. It’s just such a great look at everything about the Oakland Athletics and the way they built their team in the early 2000s. The only thing I dislike about this book is the fact that it’s made people believe that the “Moneyball way” is all about on base percentage. And that people think Billy Beane wrote the book. It’s still a great read.
- Ball Four by Jim Bouton – This is a great book that shows an inside look at the way baseball works. When it was first published over 40 years ago, baseball as an establishment absolutely hated it because it showed so much that people didn’t want the world to see. Amazingly, it’s still a fantastic read.
- The NaturalÂ by Bernard Malamud – Yes, this is the book that led to the movie. It is, of course, about the wildly talented Roy Hobbs and his comeback to lead a bad team to the pennant. The movie is great. The book is better.
- JuicedÂ by Jose Canseco – I’m not usually one to promote a guy like Jose Canseco, but this book is an entertaining read and when the offseason drags on and on like it is wont to do, sometimes its fun to read something that might be a little ridiculous. Regardless, it’s fun to read the names Canseco mentions and then think about it in the context of the era. It might make you a little more skeptical than you were before, but all in all it’s a light read that’ll kill a couple days.
- The Soul of Baseball by Joe Posnanski – I almost forgot to include this on the list, but I think if you’re that interested in this look at books you’ve probably read this already. Joe Posnanski basically shadowed Buck O’Neill and got to learn all the great stories that one of the most interesting men in baseball history had to offer. I can tell you that I read this book in the span of about three nights while I was in college (and yes, I did do some studying). It’s such a quick read that you’ll be disappointed when you reach the last page. You might even want to read it again.
- The Yankee Years by Joe Torre and Tom Verducci – I thought I’d hate this book, but it came highly recommended to me. It dragged at times, but Torre’s recollection of his first year in New York and how he almost lost his job countless times was just so interesting to keep me riveted through most of the book. Some of the stories are tough to relate to as a fan of the Royals, but Torre and Verducci do a surprisingly good job at making some of the Yankees seem like sympathetic figures.
Go ahead and list anything I may have missed in the comment section. In those cold, winter months, reading about baseball is all we have!
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