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The Boys of Summer
"At a point in life when one is through with boyhood, but has not yet discovered how to be a man, it was my fortune to travel with the most marvelously appealing of teams." Sentimental because it holds such promise, and bittersweet because that promise is past, the first sentence of this masterpiece of sporting literature, first published in the early '70s, sets its tone. What follows only gets better, deeper, more sentimental, and more bittersweet. The team, of course, is the mid-20th-century Brooklyn Dodgers, the team of Robinson and Snyder and Hodges and Reese, a team of great triumph and historical import composed of men whose fragile lives were filled with dignity and pathos.
SATCHEL: The Life and Times of an American Legend by Larry Tye
He is that rare American icon who has never been captured in a biography worthy of him. Now, at last, here is the superbly researched, spellbindingly told story of athlete, showman, philosopher, and boundary breaker Leroy “Satchel” Paige. Tye shows Paige barnstorming across America and growing into the superstar hurler of the Negro Leagues, a marvel who set records so eye-popping they seemed like misprints, and spent as much money as he made. In unprecedented detail, Tye reveals how Paige, hurt and angry when Jackie Robinson beat him to the Majors, emerged at the age of forty-two to help propel the Cleveland Indians to the World Series. He threw his last pitch from a big-league mound at an improbable fifty-nine. (“Age is a case of mind over matter,” he said. “If you don’t mind, it don’t matter.”)
Game Time: A Baseball Companion by Roger Angell,
In Game Time, Roger Angell’s essays illuminate baseball’s heart and history in careful prose that New Yorker readers have grown to anticipate each spring. The collection spans the forty-plus years of Angell’s baseball writing career and includes many of his favorite pieces as well as never-before-published material.
Wait Till Next Year - A Memoir
When historian Goodwin was six years old, her father taught her how to keep score for "their" team, the Brooklyn Dodgers. While this activity forged a lifelong bond between father and daughter, her mother formed an equally strong relationship with her through the shared love of reading. Goodwin recounts some wonderful stories in this coming-of-age tale about both her family and an era when baseball truly was the national pastime that brought whole communities together.
The Glory of Their Times: The Story of the Early Days of Baseball Told by the Men Who Played It
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. 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.
Billy Beane, the Oakland A’s general manager, is leading a revolution. Reinventing his team on a budget, he needs to outsmart the richer teams. He signs undervalued players whom the scouts consider flawed but who have a knack for getting on base, scoring runs, and winning games. Moneyball is a quest for the secret of success in baseball and a tale of the search for new baseball knowledge—insights that will give the little guy who is willing to discard old wisdom the edge over big money.
Willie Mays: The Life, The Legend
This is the definitive Mays biography. Mays was a transcendent figure who received standing ovations in enemy stadiums and who, during the turbulent civil rights era, urged understanding and reconciliation. More than his records, his legacy is defined by the pure joy that he brought to fans and the loving memories that have been passed to future generations so they might know the magic and beauty of the game. With meticulous research and drawing on interviews with Mays himself as well as with close friends, family, and teammates, Hirsch presents a brilliant portrait of one of America’s most significant cultural icons.
The Brothers K
While this is not a pure "baseball book", baseball provides the central metaphor for this huge hypnotic novel. It is a stunning work: a complex tapestry of family tensions, baseball, politics and religion, by turns hilariously funny and agonizingly sad. The novel is narrated by Kincaid Chance, the youngest son in a family of six, the children of Hugh Chance, a discouraged minor-league ballplayer whose once-promising career was curtained by an industrial accident, and his wife Laura, an increasingly fanatical Seventh-Day Adventist. The plot traces the working-out of the family's fate from the beginning of the Eisenhower years through the traumas of Vietnam.
When first published in 1970, Ball Four stunned the sports world. The commissioner, executives, and players were shocked. Sportswriters called author Jim Bouton a traitor and "social leper." Baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn tried to force him to declare the book untrue. Fans, however, loved the book. And serious critics called it an important social document. Today, Jim Bouton is still not invited to Oldtimer's Days at Yankee Stadium. But his landmark book is still considered a classic baseball related read.
Scandal on the South Side: The 1919 Chicago White Sox
The Black Sox Scandal is a cold case, not a closed case. When Eliot Asinof wrote his classic history about the fixing of the 1919 World Series, Eight Men Out, he told a dramatic story of undereducated and underpaid Chicago White Sox ballplayers, disgruntled by their low pay and poor treatment by team management, who fell prey to the wiles of double-crossing big-city gamblers offering them bribes to lose the World Series to the Cincinnati Reds. Shoeless Joe Jackson, Buck Weaver, Eddie Cicotte, and the other Black Sox players were all banned from organized baseball for life. But the real story is a lot more complex. We now have access to crucial information that changes what we thought we knew about “baseball’s darkest hour” — including rare film footage from that fateful fall classic, legal documents from the criminal and civil court proceedings, and accurate salary information for major-league players and teams. All of these new pieces to the Black Sox puzzle provide definitive answers to some old mysteries and raise other questions in their place.