Suggested Reading List
The Baseball Codes: Beanballs, Sign Stealing, and Bench-Clearing Brawls: The Unwritten Rules of America's Pastime
Author: Turbow, Jason and Duca, Michael
Description: Everyone knows that baseball is a game of intricate regulations, but it turns out to be even more complicated than we realize. What truly governs the Major League game is a set of unwritten rules, some of which are openly discussed (don’t steal a base with a big lead late in the game), and some of which only a minority of players are even aware of (don’t cross between the catcher and the pitcher on the way to the batter’s box). In The Baseball Codes, old-timers and all-time greats share their insights into the game’s most hallowed—and least known—traditions. For the learned and the casual baseball fan alike, the result is illuminating and thoroughly entertaining.
At the heart of this book are incredible and often hilarious stories involving national heroes (like Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays) and notorious headhunters (like Bob Gibson and Don Drysdale) in a century-long series of confrontations over respect, honor, and the soul of the game. With The Baseball Codes, we see for the first time the game as it’s actually played, through the eyes of the players on the field.
With rollicking stories from the past and new perspectives on baseball’s informal rulebook, The Baseball Codes is a must for every fan.
The Kid: The Immortal Life of Ted Williams
Author: Bradlee, Jr., Ben
Description: At long last, the epic biography Ted Williams deserves--and that his fans have been waiting for.
Williams was the best hitter in baseball history. His batting average of .406 in 1941 has not been topped since, and no player who has hit more than 500 home runs has a higher career batting average. Those totals would have been even higher if Williams had not left baseball for nearly five years in the prime of his career to serve as a Marine pilot in WWII and Korea. He hit home runs farther than any player before him--and traveled a long way himself, as Ben Bradlee, Jr.'s grand biography reveals. Born in 1918 in San Diego, Ted would spend most of his life disguising his Mexican heritage. During his 22 years with the Boston Red Sox, Williams electrified crowds across America--and shocked them, too: His notorious clashes with the press and fans threatened his reputation. Yet while he was a God in the batter's box, he was profoundly human once he stepped away from the plate. His ferocity came to define his troubled domestic life. While baseball might have been straightforward for Ted Williams, life was not.
THE KID is biography of the highest literary order, a thrilling and honest account of a legend in all his glory and human complexity. In his final at-bat, Williams hit a home run. Bradlee's marvelous book clears the fences, too.
The Glory of Their Times: The Story of the Early Days of Baseball Told by the Men Who Played It
Author: Ritter, Lawrence
Description: The voices of the game's distant past continue to reverberate with a distinct freshness in Lawrence S. Ritter's The Glory of Their Times. An oral history of the game in the first two decades of the century, Glory sends out its impressive roster of players to tell their own stories, and what stories they tell--the story of their times as well as of their game; the scorecard includes Rube Marquard, Babe Herman, Stan Coveleski, Smoky Joe Wood, and Wahoo Sam Crawford. A delight from cover to cover, Glory is the next best thing to having been there in the days when the ball may have been dead, but the personalities were anything but.
Author: Halberstam, David
Description: The bestselling follow-up to the classic The Summer of ’49, illuminating the heart-pounding 1964 World Series between the Yankees and Cardinals.
David Halberstam, an avid sports writer with an investigative reporter’s tenacity, superbly details the end of the fifteen-year reign of the New York Yankees in October 1964. That October found the Yankees going head-to-head with the St. Louis Cardinals for the World Series pennant. Expertly weaving the narrative threads of both teams’ seasons, Halberstam brings the major personalities on the field—from switch-hitter Mickey Mantle to pitcher Bob Gibson—to life. Using the teams’ subcultures, Halberstam also analyzes the cultural shifts of the sixties. The result is a unique blend of sports writing and cultural history as engrossing as it is insightful.
Summer of '49: The Yankees and the Red Sox in Postwar America
Author: Halberstam, David
Description: Halberstam’s classic #1 bestseller, about the magical summer when baseball’s fiercest rivalry captured the nation’s imagination, and changed the sport forever
The summer of 1949: It was baseball’s Golden Age and the year Joe DiMaggio’s New York Yankees were locked in a soon-to-be classic battle with Ted Williams’s Boston Red Sox for the American League pennant. As postwar America looked for a unifying moment, the greatest players in baseball history brought their rivalry to the field, captivating the American public through the heart-pounding final moments of the season. This expansive story captures an era, incorporating profiles of the players and their families, fans, broadcasters, baseball executives, and sportswriters. Riveting in its blend of powerful detail and exhilarating narrative, The Summer of ’49 is Pulitzer Prize–winner David Halberstam’s engrossing look at not only a sports rivalry, but at a time when America’s very identity was wrapped up in its beloved national game.
The Bronx Zoo: The Astonishing Inside Story of the 1978 World Champion New York Yankees
Author: Lyle, Sparky and Golenbock, Peter
Description: After winning the American League Cy Young Award in 1977, Lyle, a left-handed reliever, was rewarded with a place on the bench as the high-spending New York Yankees acquired Goose Gossage from the Pittsburgh Pirates. Bad news for him, good luck for us, as the bullpen bench was the perfect perch from which to observe the wild 1978 season, in which the Yankees overcame a 14-game midsummer deficit and a midseason managerial change to win the pennant and their second consecutive World Series. Would Lyle have written the book if he’d had more playing time? It’s an intriguing question. The quality of the prose isn’t great, but it definitely has spark. As he recounts fights, firings, pranks, and even baseball games, offering forthright assessments of Reggie Jackson, George Steinbrenner, and Billy Martin (the last fares best), Lyle seemingly can’t help but offer his honest opinion on all of it. And the following season? Strangely enough, Lyle finally got what he wanted most of all, a trade to another team. Frankly fascinating and forthrightly funny.
7,000 Clams: A Novel
Author: Irby, Lee
Description: Frank Hearn is a down-on-his-luck bootlegger and bruiser, looking for the big score in the heart of the Roaring Twenties. When he loses a shipment of top-quality booze to a double-crossing government thief, Frank hunts him down, roughs him up, and finds something that catches his eye. What at first appears to be a scrap of paper is actually a handwritten and unmistakably authentic IOU for $7,000, signed by Babe Ruth.
Seven-thousand clams is a lot of money--and when Frank gets a tip that the Yankees are about to begin spring training in St. Petersburg, Florida, he wastes no time leaving New Jersey to track down the Babe. Frank thinks he's covered his bases: Along for the ride is a dangerous and curvy blonde named Ginger DeMore. She’s smart, she packs a snub-nose pistol in her purse, and she’s the perfect accomplice to help convince the Babe to cough up the dough. It seems like the perfect plan, but Frank and Ginger aren’t the only ones seeking their fortunes in Florida. 1920’s St. Pete is a veritable nest of vipers. Hustlers, gamblers, Yankee fans, and even a sociopath are lurking in the booming burg—not to mention a team of gangsters sent by a prominent Chicago mobster named Al Capone (who’s instructed his boys to scour the town for a curvy dame by the name of Ginger DeMore).
In this taut Roaring Twenties crime novel, filled with colorful characters both real and imagined, Lee Irby takes readers straight into the authentic heart of the era, bringing to life all the sizzling style—from the slang and the fashions to the smell of bathtub gin. Worthy of a place at Elmore Leonard’s table, 7,000 CLAMS is an enormously entertaining tale and a superb fiction debut.
The Big Bam, The Life and Times of Babe Ruth
Author: Montville, Leigh
Description: He was the Sultan of Swat. The Caliph of Clout. The Wizard of Whack. The Bambino. And simply, to his teammates, the Big Bam. From the award-winning author of the New York Times bestseller Ted Williams comes the thoroughly original, definitively ambitious, and exhilaratingly colorful biography of the largest legend ever to loom in baseball—and in the history of organized sports.
Babe Ruth was more than baseball’s original superstar. For eighty-five years, he has remained the sport’s reigning titan. He has been named Athlete of the Century . . . more than once. But who was this large, loud, enigmatic man? Why is so little known about his childhood, his private life, and his inner thoughts? In The Big Bam, Leigh Montville brings his trademark touch to this groundbreaking, revelatory portrait of the Babe.
Based on newly discovered documents and interviews—including pages from Ruth’s personal scrapbooks —The Big Bam traces Ruth’s life from his bleak childhood in Baltimore to his brash entrance into professional baseball, from Boston to New York and into the record books as the world’s most explosive slugger and cultural luminary. Montville explores every aspect of the man, paying particular attention to the myths that have always surrounded him. Did he really hit the “called shot” homer in the 1932 World Series? Were his home runs really “the farthest balls ever hit” in countless ballparks around the country? Was he really part black—making him the first African American professional baseball superstar? And was Ruth the high-octane, womanizing, heavy-drinking “fatso” of legend . . . or just a boyish, rudderless quasi-orphan who did, in fact, take his training and personal conditioning quite seriously?
At a time when modern baseball is grappling with hyper-inflated salaries, free agency, and assorted controversies, The Big Bam brings back the pure glory days of the game.