Baseball is a national pastime in USA. It is played and followed all across the country. There are thousands of books on every aspect of the game. Here are some titles.
1. Baseball in the Garden of Eden: The Secret History of the Early Game by John Thorn
The author is the official baseball historian for Major League baseball. He debunks the myth that the modern version of the game started with Abner Doubleday and Alexander Joy Cartwright. He informs readers that in the early days, there were many versions of the game, and how the New York version became more popular than the others.
2. The Unforgettable Season by G.H. Fleming
This book is about the National League games in1908. The author has compiled reports from newspapers in New York, Chicago and Pittsburgh.
3. A Day in the Bleachers by Arnold Hano
This is a first person account of the first game of the 1954 series, featuring the Giants versus the Indians. The author was fortunate enough to witness the incredible catch taken by Willie Mays. He has also included interesting conversations with other spectators and vendors.
4. The Long Season by Jim Brosnan The author was a Major League baseball pitcher.
In this book, he offers readers a realistic account of life in a major league. Right from negotiating the new contract and training, through to the whole season, Brosnan relates his interactions with fellow team mates, coaches and managers.
5. Eight Men Out:
The Black Sox and the 1919 World Series by Eliot Asinof Gamblers and eight Chicago White Sox players conspired to fix the World Series. This has been the biggest scandal in baseball to date. The author has presented the circumstances which led to the players’ misdemeanours, the investigation and exposure of the scandal, and the trial.
6. Ball Four by Jim Bouton
When this book was published, it created a storm. This is written by a former player, struggling to find a niche in the Major League. It tells of the everyday problems players face, including their drinking and womanising. The authorities tried to pressurise the author to label the book a work of fiction.
7. A Great and Glorious Game by A. Bartlett Giamatti
The author was president of Yale University. He went on to head the National League and became Commissioner of Baseball shortly before he passed away.
8. October 1964 by David Halberstam
This was the year when the Civil Rights movement was changing the way people looked at race relations. The victory of the Cardinals, which had many black players, was especially triumphant.
9. Boys of Summer by Roger Kahn
This book records the lives of players from the Brooklyn Dodgers teams in the 1950s. The race barrier was breached with the inclusion of Jackie Robinson. The author does not merely focus on the stars during their spotlight moments. He tells of the also-rans, and has included details of players in their retirement.
10. Babe: The Legend Comes to Life by Robert Creamer
Babe Ruth came from an orphanage in Baltimore. These humble beginnings could do nothing to diminish the larger than life persona that this amazing player occupied. This acclaimed biography traces his rise and decline.
11. Joe Di Maggio: The Hero’s Life by Richard Ben Cramer
Though the Di Maggio family grew up in hardship, Joe and two of his brothers became Major League player. Joe Di Maggio has gone down in baseball history as a legend. This book outlines his meteoric rise in the game, and also shows his human qualities.
12. Breaking Into Baseball: Women and the National Pastime by Jean Hastings Ardell
The author examines the involvement of women at various levels of this male dominated sport. She has profiled players, owners and umpires, among others.
13. Wait Till Next Year by Doris Keane Goodwin
This distinguished lady is a historian, political commentator and baseball fan. She recalls her childhood days as a fan of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Readers see how baseball was woven into the fabric of American social life.
The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis The movie based on this book is better known, even by those who know nothing about baseball. The author documents the success of general manager Billy Beane, who defied the odds with his unusual methods of selecting players.
15. You Gotta Have Wa by Robert Whiting
Baseball is very popular in Japan. The author points out the similarities and differences between the game in USA and Japan.