For baseball fans, there are plenty of books to choose from, ranging from memoirs and biographies to history books and instructional manuals.
Here are 55 baseball books that every fan should read. From autobiographies by some of the game's greatest players to historical accounts of landmark moments in baseball history, these books provide a comprehensive overview of the sport.
So put on your jersey and crack open one of these amazing titles today!
Written by: Jim Bouton
Published: 2000 (1970)
Baseball has a long and colorful history, with many great players and moments to remember. But one book stands out from the rest: Ball Four by Jim Bouton. This tell-all account of Bouton's season as a pitcher for the Seattle Pilots and the Houston Astros is one of the most fascinating, revealing, and honestly written sports books ever written.
It's also one of the most controversial, as he exposed the dirty secrets of Major League Baseball - from drugs and alcohol to rampant cheating. But that's what makes it such an essential read - it shows fans just how complex and fascinating baseball really is.
After writing this book, Bouton basically became a pariah and survived out of baseball. If you're looking for an eye-opening look at America's favorite pastime, then this is the perfect starting point.
Written by: Jonathan Eig
If you are a fan of professional baseball, you have probably heard of Lou Gehrig. And if you haven't, you've heard of A.L.S., which is also known as Lou Gehrig's disease because he died from it.
Gehrig achieved many accolades in his short career, including two M.V.P. Awards and a World Series championship. He was one of the greatest players to ever step on the diamond and is still considered one of the luckiest men to have ever lived.
However, his life was cut tragically short by a disease that bears his name. This disease robbed Gehrig of his ability to play ball, but it could not take away his spirit or sense of humor.
This powerful book tells the story of Lou Gehrig's life and death at the young age of 37 and is an essential read for any fan of baseball history.
Written by: David Halberstam
David Halberstam is known as a historian’s historian. He is so much more than just a sports writer since he also chronicles the times surrounding the game. The 1960s were a time of turmoil, assassinations, and war that would change the way the U.S.A. existed as a country.
He chronicles the 1964 World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the New York Yankees in this book. You'll meet the players, the managers, and others who made it so special.
This was near the ending of Mickey Mantle's career and when Bob Gibson was one of the most dominant pitchers in the game. Instead of just it being a championship, it is an exploration of how the American League seemed not to want to sign people of color. Meanwhile, the National League was more forward-thinking and realized that the Yankees would doom themselves because they would leave the best players for the National League.
Framed in this turbulent era, it gives a deep look into the leagues and the country. The photos are excellent.
Written by: Michael Lewis
Moneyball is a book by Michael Lewis that was published in 2003. The book chronicles the Oakland Athletics' 2002 season and their approach to assembling a team using Sabermetrics, which applies statistical analysis to baseball records.
Despite having one of the smallest payrolls in Major League Baseball, the Athletics made the playoffs in 2002 and maintained a successful team over several seasons using these methods.
Moneyball has been praised for its insights into baseball strategy and its portrayal of Sabermetrics as a powerful tool for analyzing player performance.
This innovative method destroyed the usual way baseball was played and let the field become equal between the wealthy and the small market teams. Because it worked so well, the other teams realized they also had to start using it or lose. It changed the game of baseball.
Written by: Jeff Passan
Anyone who loves baseball knows how vital a pitcher is to their team. Anyone who loves baseball also knows how easily a pitcher's arm can blow up and ruin their year…or end their career. This book focuses on what seems so simple: An arm.
However, it is even simpler than that since it is a ligament, the ulnar collateral, that can tear and leave players left with the choice of having Tommy John surgery or giving up.
Jeff Passan investigates how this injury happens and goes in search of how to stop it and keep players safe. He interviews pitching heroes like Sandy Koufax, but whose Hall of Fame career ended much too early because of this injury.
He follows a few players recovering from the injury and goes overseas to see how pitchers in Japan are treated since it is a baseball-devoted country like the U.S.A. There is so much to know and so much to learn that this book is an excellent start at figuring it out.
Written by: Roger Kahn
Most people know about the Los Angeles Dodgers, but not so much the Brooklyn Dodgers. Back in the 50s, the Dodgers played in Brooklyn and were a fascinating and diverse group of players. Instead of just reporting about the past, Kahn worked for the Herald Tribune in 1951 and basically lived with the team as he wrote on them both at home and away.
Because of this, he has insights into the team that no one else could have ever had.
He writes about the players, the coaches, and management since he could see everything, even behind the scenes. He delves into a few of the seasons in the early 50s and the social and political issues surrounding that era.
This includes players like Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese, and others. Because Jackie Robinson was the first African American to play baseball, this book is important enough for that alone.
Lastly, Kahn revisits many of the players, almost two decades later, so you can see what has happened and how their lives have changed outside of baseball.
Written by: Bill Veeck and Ed Linn
Published: 2001 (1962)
Baseball is a game of tradition, and for as long as the game has been around, there have been changes. Some of those changes have come from people who love the game and want to see it succeed. Others come from people who are looking to make a buck.
In the case of Bill Veeck, he was both. As an owner of multiple baseball teams over the years, Veeck was known for his promotions and antics that kept fans in their seats and entertained. One of the most famous was "Disco Demolition Night," where they blew up a bunch of disco records on the field. Read that sentence again.
As you can tell by the title, Veeck has a sense of humor and the ability to make fun of himself at any time. His book Veeck as in Wreck chronicles his career in baseball and provides a unique perspective on how the game has evolved over time.
And it also chronicles how he was decades ahead of many of these changes but was almost always in the wrong place at the wrong time. Whether you're a fan of baseball or not, this book is sure to entertain and educate.
Written by: David Maraniss
This book is an exhaustively researched biography of Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Roberto Clemente. Though Clemente died in a plane crash on New Year's Eve in 1972, he remains one of the most beloved players in baseball history.
This book paints a portrait of a complicated and passionate man who was as devoted to his family and Latin heritage as he was to the game of baseball.
Despite countless obstacles—from poverty to racism to segregation—Clemente became one of the best players in the major leagues, winning 12 Gold Glove Awards and earning three M.V.P. Awards. He also dedicated himself to helping others, establishing several charities that continue to bear his name today.
Written by: Joe Posnanski
This wonderful book takes a journey through the life of the late Buck O'Neill and everything he had to endure during his playing years in the Negro Leagues and beyond. Instead of just sitting and writing it out, Posnanski and O'Neill go on a road trip to see the places that mattered to him and the memories that they brought up.
It is touching and beautifully written with a great sense of humor and reverence for the game and O'Neill's experiences. Some critical issues are dealt with in this book, such as many of the best Negro League players not being inducted into the Hall of Fame.
This is an integral part of our history, and even though things seem to be more equal in sports today, it is still relevant and essential.
Written by: Jane Leavy
Jane Leavy offers a comprehensive biography of one of the most iconic pitchers in baseball history. Through meticulous research and personal interviews with Koufax himself, Leavy provides an intimate look at the life and career of a legend. Born in Brooklyn in 1935, Sandy Koufax showed early promise as a pitcher but struggled when brought to the majors.
After a few years, he became a dominant pitcher and threw four no-hitters and a perfect game.
Even though his pitching prowess was unheard of, there was much more to the man. An example is his devotion to being Jewish, and that he refused to pitch the opening game of the 1965 World Series since it landed on Yom Kippur.
Leavy also delves into the pain, and anguish, caused by the many injuries throughout his career. After four successful seasons with the Dodgers, Koufax stunned the sports world by retiring at the age of 30, citing health concerns.
Written by: Ben Bradlee, Jr.
Ted Williams is one of the most famous and was one of the most feared players in the game of baseball. He had a batting average of .406 in 1941 and has the highest batting average for any player with more than 500 home runs. In other words, he could basically hit anything that he saw and could have set so many more records if World War II hadn't happened.
Because of it, he became a Marine pilot in it and Korea, so he missed five years of playing time.
This book isn't only about his achievements. However, it also shows the darker side of someone who wouldn't let anything get in his way. This includes his arguments and clashes with the fans and the media, his hiding his Mexican heritage instead of embracing it, and his difficult domestic life.
He became a hero over his 22 years with the Red Sox, but there is so much more to the man than just that. This book explores it all with class and elegance.
Written by: Bill White with a foreword by Willie Mays
Bill White was never given anything when he grew up since his father was not a part of his life, and he was raised in the South during the 30s when racism was rampant. However, this wouldn't stop him as he went to college because he was a great baseball player and stood up to the racists when he entered the Carolina League.
He became a thirteen-year major leaguer, a broadcaster for eighteen years, and the National League President for five years after that. Because of that, he has a history and knowledge of the game, both on the field and off of it, rivaled by few.
In this book, he discusses many of the most influential people in the sport during his times, including George Steinbrenner, Phil Rizzuto, and Bud Selig. It is fascinating to see his viewpoints on baseball from his decades of playing and observing it.
Written by: Tim Wendel
This is not just the story of a season. This is a story of a year that changed the U.S.A. forever: The Vietnam war, the presidential election, and the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy.
This is the setting for this incredible book about the Detroit Tigers and the St. Louis Cardinals. Just the year before, Detroit had been home to massive riots and devastation. Meanwhile, St. Louis had white, Latin, and African American players all on one team.
Known as the "Year of the Pitcher" with Denny McLain winning 31 games and Bob Gibson having an E.R.A. of just over 1, it was going to be an incredible series. The games and the strategy that went into figuring out how to make the right move are examined and enthralling.
For those that know their history, this is the series where Curt Flood made the famous Game 7 error.
Written by: Charles Leerhsen
Ty Cobb has been called one of the greatest ballplayers ever. But he was also one of the most vicious men in America-so vicious that even Babe Ruth, his great rival, feared him.
In this stunning biography, Charles Leerhsen shows that Cobb was not the hot-tempered brute of legend but a master strategist who played ruthlessly because he had to-to win.
Drawing on a wealth of newly discovered archival material and interviews with surviving family members and friends, Leerhsen reveals the many sides of Cobb: athlete, celebrity, businessman, father, and horrible racist.
During this era, he brings us inside the tight-knit community of baseball players and chronicles Cobb's complex relationships with teammates and enemies to show the real Ty Cobb. For those that want their heroes to be all roses, be ready for some very serious thorns.
Written by: Ron Rapoport
In the world of baseball, there are few players as revered and respected as Ernie Banks. "Mr. Cub" was a Hall of Fame shortstop who spent his entire career playing for the Chicago Cubs and is remembered as one of the best players in the game's history.
A first-ballot Hall of Famer, he played in fourteen All-Star games, twice led the majors in home runs and runs batted in, and won the M.V.P. twice. And he always did everything with a smile on his face even though he spent his whole career with the Chicago Cubs and never won a World Series.
This book by Ron Rapoport tells the story of Ernie Banks' life both on and off the field and offers an in-depth look at one of baseball's most beloved icons. Starting from his childhood raised in poverty and dealing with racism, you see him try to rise above it.
This in-depth book of his life includes interviews with him hundreds of others, including family members, court records, and more. This is one of the best ways to learn about the man who always said, "Let's Play Two!" no matter when or where.
Written by: Jacob Kornhauser
For those that don't know, "A Cup of Coffee" in baseball terminology means that you were able to make it into Major League Baseball, but sometimes only for one day. In this book, Stuart Shea takes a closer look at the lives and careers of eleven little-known players who all had one thing in common: they each had a cup of coffee in the major leagues.
From an outfielder who couldn't hit to a pitcher with control issues, these players were given a chance to play in The Show and made the most of it. Shea brings these players' stories to life with exciting anecdotes and insightful analysis.
Unlike so many of the success stories in this list, these eleven men went through so much to get to the height of their profession, only to have it taken away quicker than they could have imagined. The interviews with the players and their friends and family members are incredibly wonderful and caring.
Written by: Willie Mays and John Shea
Willie Mays is often regarded as the greatest baseball player ever since he could hit for average, home runs, steal bases, and was a defensive dynamo.
However, this is just the public perception of this remarkable man. Written in a series of twenty-four chapters, being that was the number on his uniform, this book dives into how he overcame poverty, racism, and many other issues that stood in his way.
This book examines his friendships with other players, such as Willie McCovey, Mickey Mantle, and others. It also describes some of his most fantastic feats, such as catching a baseball hit over his head so he could barely see it while running full speed towards the wall, and more.
Last but not least, as someone who refused to stop, he gives advice and suggestions on how to follow your dreams and master your craft.
Written by: Jason Turbow
Instead of being an owner that supported and praised his players, Charlie Finley basically treated them like objects and berated them. And yet he was also able to assemble a team that would win three straight World Series. The question is how this happened, and why would anyone want to play for an owner like this.
Being that this team was so talented and disliked Finley so much, he basically created a team that would focus their hatred on him instead of each other. That being stated, there were arguments and disagreements between team members, and even physical altercations, because this team was so volatile. And yet this is the same group of players that once threatened to boycott a World Series game and also to go on strike.
These teams were the perfect example of the craziness of Finley, the times, and everything else that went along with it.
Written by: Dwight Gooden
For anyone that was a fan of the New York Mets during the 1980s, you know the name do Dwight “Doc” Gooden. He was one of the best pitchers during that era and possibly of all time. Doc writes about the wild times with the Mets, his winning three World Series, and so much more.
Instead of keeping it on a surface level, Doc writes about his depression, alcoholism, and drug abuse struggles. He starts with his childhood and then up to the present day and how he is still trying to cope.
One of the essential parts of his healing started when family and friends confronted him. He realized that he needed to change, and he continued to use that to help himself and to help others.
It is intriguing to see the development of a man who was known as a party animal and how he became a caring, reflective adult who does everything he can to help others not go down the road to destruction that almost killed him.
Written by: Bill Pennington
Few athletes in any sport have had the highs and lows that Billy Martin experienced throughout his career. Martin was also fired from four jobs as a manager, a five-time World Series champion. His successes and failures were often due to his volatile personality, which could erupt at any time.
But for all his flaws, Martin was also one of the most brilliant minds in baseball history.
He was a master of strategy and tactics, outwitting opponents time and again. This book looks at some of Martin's most memorable moments – both good and bad – and helps you to understand what made him one of the game's most fascinating figures.
Written by: Edward Achorn
Few people know about the early days of baseball in the 1880s and everything that went along with it. This book focused on the summer of 1883 when the newly formed American League decided to go up against the National League.
Many of the owners were characters unto themselves, such as the St. Louis Browns (now the Cardinals) owner Chris Von der Ahe, a German immigrant who realized he could sell more beer if he had a team.
Now, as one would expect, baseball was very different back then. Most of the games were played without gloves, pitchers could hit batters since there wasn't a rule that would give them first base, and you were even allowed to trip players!
It was pure mayhem which both the fans and the players loved since they could do just about anything. Trust us; once you read this book, you'll never look at the sport in the same way again.
Written by: Robert Creamer
Published: 1992 (1974)
Babe Ruth is one of the most legendary figures in baseball history. His record-breaking performances and larger-than-life personality have made him an icon among fans and players alike. Now, for the first time, Babe's story is being told in its entirety.
This starts with his humble beginnings to his unparalleled achievements on the diamond.
Written by acclaimed sports journalist Robert Creamer, Babe offers an intimate portrait of a flawed and extraordinary man. Through never-before-seen photos and stories from Ruth's colleagues, family members, and opponents, this book brings readers inside the mind and heart of America's most outstanding athlete.
Written by: Tim Hornbaker
No one knows precisely what happened on the afternoon of September 29th, 1919. That's when Joseph Jefferson Jackson--better known as "Shoeless Joe"--allegedly participated in a game of baseball that would forever change his life.
Some say Jackson and his fellow Chicago White Sox players intentionally threw the World Series to the Cincinnati Reds even though Jackson had an almost impossible batting average of .375 during it.
Others maintain that a better team simply outmatched them. But no matter which story you believe, there's no denying that what followed was nothing short of a tragedy.
In this incredibly well-researched book, author John Buechner sheds light on the truth behind Shoeless Joe Jackson's fall from grace--and offers an intimate glimpse into the heart and mind of one of America's most beloved athletes.
Written by: Jon Pessah
In Yogi: A Life Behind the Mask, author Jon Pessah takes an in-depth look at the life and career of one of baseball's most iconic players. Since Yogi won ten World Series during his career, his exploits on the field are well-known. However, his personal life is not so much.
Drawing on interviews with Yogi Berra himself and family members and former teammates, Pessah pieces together a portrait of a man who was much more than just a Hall of Fame catcher.
From his early days playing ball in St. Louis, where no one thought he'd ever amount to anything to his years as a successful manager and coach. Yogi is revealed as a complex figure whose wit and humor were often masking personal pain and insecurity.
This compassionate biography offers new insights into one of America's favorite sports heroes.
Written by: Bill Madden
In 1954, Willie Mays joined the New York Giants and became one of baseball's most celebrated athletes in history. Not only that but Larry Doby Indians, a team composed of both African American and white players, beat the Yankees and went on to play Mays’ Giants.
That same year, a landmark civil rights case made its way to the Supreme Court. Brown v. Board of Education declared that segregated schools were unconstitutional, marking the beginning of a new era for black Americans.
These two events – one on the playing field and one in the courtroom – helped shape the course of American history. Bill Madden looks at both stories in-depth, painting a vivid portrait of an iconic year in American sports and society by using interviews, documents, and more to bring it all to life.
Written by: Mike Shropshire
Most people don't remember what baseball was like back in the 70s, but it was very different. In 1975, there was no salary cap in baseball (even though players were paid scraps), no free agency, and no designated hitter. The Texas Rangers, who Shropshire highlights in this book, were crazy and more than willing to live life to the fullest.
This was also before steroids, and performance-enhancing drugs became an issue in sports, so players like Hank Aaron and Reggie Jackson could simply dominate their opponents without any help. If you're looking for a trip down memory lane or just want to see how things used to be done, check out Mike Shropshire's book about the 1975 baseball season.
Written by: John Heidenry
In the 1930s, the St. Louis Cardinals were known as the Gashouse Gang for their rowdy behavior both on and off the field. This team was known for its antics and "red hot" playing style. Led by pitcher Dizzy Dean, first baseman Leo Durocher, and outfielder Pepper Martin, the Cardinals became one of baseball's most successful teams, winning three World Series championships.
Despite their wild reputation, the Gashouse Gang was also one of the most talented groups of players in baseball history. They helped to shape modern baseball with their aggressive style and athleticism. Being that the U.S.A. was in the middle of deep depression and dealing with other issues, thanks to these ballplayers, St. Louis fans had plenty to cheer about in the 1930s!
Written by: Frank Deford
The 1904 New York Giants were a team of destiny. Led by manager John McGraw and pitcher Christy Mathewson, they steamrolled their opponents on their way to the World Series championship. This was an era when baseball was still in its infancy, and teams traveled by train between games.
The Giants were one of the first teams to embrace modern methods like batting cages and psychological training techniques.
Their success on the field was thanks in part to these innovations, as well as McGraw's shrewd game management and Mathewson's devastating fastball. Mathewson was so impressive that he pitched three straight shutouts in the World Series, a feat that has never been duplicated.
This is a must-read for those who love the good old days of baseball.
Written by: Luke Epplin
The year was 1948, Cleveland won the World Series, but that isn't at all where the story begins or ends. It is about their somewhat insane owner, Bill Veeck, who would do anything to fill the stands while winning. This includes fireworks, bringing a donkey to the game, and so much more. You could probably justify Veeck as being that man who ushered in so many of the fun events that are taken for granted in today's game.
Just as importantly, this book focuses on Veeck wanting to integrate baseball. An example of this is Larry Doby. He was the second African American to make the big leagues and was treated worse than Jackie Robinson. Veeck also brought up Satchel Page, the first African-American pitcher and who could possibly be one of the greatest pitchers ever.
The stories of what these men and the team went through to win it is a masterpiece.
Written by: Ila Jane Borders and Jean Hastings Ardell with a foreword by Mike Veeck
This is an incredible story that needs much more attention. Ila Jane Borders was one of the best players on any team she was on, male or female. However, she was constantly told she could never "make it" in the big leagues.
This goes into her career but also her personal life. Some of the issues she dealt with include dealing with the media, being a gay athlete in a Christian university, and how being a groundbreaker can be mentally and physically brutal.
The son of the aforementioned Bill Veeck, Mike Veeck took a chance and signed Ila Jane Borders to a Major League Baseball team. She played on four different teams during her career and ended up being the first woman to win a game in it.
She is a hero that should be celebrated but is often overlooked in history.
Written by: Robert Weintraub
In many ways, 1945 was the year of baseball's redemption. The end of World War II brought the golden age of baseball, as the game recaptured its former popularity. America's favorite pastime had been on the wane in recent years, but things were changing.
This year marked the end of the war and the beginning of a new era—an era that would see baseball reign supreme. 1945 was indeed the light at the end of the tunnel as heroes such as Ted Williams, Joe DiMaggio, and Stan Musial returned to the field.
The season ended in a fantastic seven-game World Series between the Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals. It was the beginning of a new day and era.
Written by: Eliot Asinof
Published: 2000 (1963)
No one knows who threw the game, but eight White Sox players were accused of throwing the 1919 World Series. In Eight Men Out: The Black Sox and the 1919 World Series, Eliot Asinof tells the story of this infamous scandal and its consequences.
Drawing on interviews with the players and other sources, Asinof provides a compelling account of what happened and offers insights into the characters of those involved. While many people know about the Black Sox Scandal, it is an essential read for anyone interested in baseball history or understanding human nature.
Written by: Jeff Pearlman
Did the bad guys really win? That's the question Jeff Pearlman tackles in his latest book, "The Bad Guys Won!" The author takes an unflinching look at the famed 1986 New York Mets, a team that was chock-full of flawed individuals but somehow managed to pull off one of the greatest baseball seasons in history.
This book includes all the sordid details on and off the field. And it makes what happened on the field look like child's play.
Drawing on extensive interviews and never-before-seen documents, Pearlman reveals how these players—many of whom were notorious hotheads and rule-breakers—overcame their individual demons to become a cohesive unit. Was it pure luck that led to their championship?
Written by: Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance WilliamsWritten
In this incredibly well-researched book, investigative journalist Mark Fainaru-Wada offers an in-depth look at baseball's most explosive steroid scandal. This must-read account is a riveting read that takes you behind the scenes of one of America's most prominent sports stories.
Fainaru-Wada provides damning evidence against Barry Bonds and other athletes involved in the BALCO steroids ring, painting a detailed picture of how the doping culture permeates professional sports.
Even if you rooted for your favorite players and all the colossal home runs he hit during this era, you would be amazed at the lengths these athletes went to deceive and cheat.
Written by: Lawrence S. Ritter
Published: 1992 (1966)
No other sport in America can claim the rich and storied history that baseball enjoys. The game has been around for well over a century, and its popularity is only increasing. What is it about baseball that has kept fans coming back generation after generation? One reason may be the nostalgia associated with the early days of baseball.
Fans can read about the players, teams, and games from a time when the sport was just beginning to take off.
They can experience all the excitement and wonder of those first few steps on what would become a long journey. Ritter paints a picture of those early days of baseball, using firsthand accounts from some of the greatest players who ever played the game.
He also isn’t afraid to look at the darker side of baseball regarding racism, such as when Jim Thorpe, one of the greatest athletes ever, was Native American and has so much taken from him and his career.
Written by: Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller
Many baseball lovers know about Fantasy Baseball or may even play it. Well, what if you had the chance to live out that game in real life? That is what these two authors did when they took over the Sonoma Stompers and were allowed to run it using stats and data instead of on gut feelings.
It is interesting to see how this experiment works out, but it is even just as interesting to meet the characters involved in this game inside the game. They prove that using data is easy but dealing with people in real life is much harder to master.
You'll even get a guest appearance by none other than Jose Canseco. If that isn't enough to read this hilarious and touching book, then you are missing out.
Written by: Jared Diamond
The Steroid Era in baseball is a topic that has been discussed ad nauseam. Fans, players, and the media alike have all had their say on the matter. But what about the home run revolution that has taken place since steroids were so prevalent?
This book goes into how hitters have had their swings remade, often by unknown hitters who never made the big times, and how that has changed the game.
Diamond provides an in-depth look at the players and teams that helped usher in baseball's golden age of home runs. With firsthand interviews and meticulous research, Diamond takes readers inside the minds of these legends and offers a never-before-seen perspective on this amazing period in baseball history.
Whenever you hear the term "Launch angle," you'll never think of it the same after reading this book.
Written by: Dirk Hayhurst
This autobiography is funny, touching, and pretty much perfect if you want to see how the fight to become a major leaguer can be insane. This book focuses on the author's time in baseball's minor leagues from 2005 to 2007.
Unlike what the pros and the media show to the audience, being in the minors is a battle every day as the pay is terrible, the conditions are awful, and most everything else can be terrible.
Since Hayhurst wasn't blessed with natural talent, he had to fight and scratch for everything. The beauty of this book is his ability to rise above it all and endure and even make it to the major leagues while seeing that life is also just a game.
However, using satire and a very self-effacing attitude towards his life, Hayhurst makes it a joy to read about, especially since it isn't happening to you. Trust us, and you'll end up laughing and wondering how anyone makes it through the minors after reading this.
Written by: Larry Tye
In the world of professional sports, there are a few names that transcend the game and become larger-than-life icons. One of those is Satchel Paige. Tye's new biography documents the improbable life of this baseball legend.
From his hardscrabble beginnings in the cotton fields of Alabama to his triumphant entrance into the big leagues, Paige's story is one for the ages.
So much more than just a baseball player, he was famous for living the wildlife, having lots of romantic affairs (sometimes a new one for each day he pitched), being stylish and sophisticated, and doing pretty much anything he wanted.
Because of racism, when he finally did make the majors at age 39, he was the oldest rookie ever. None other than Joe DiMaggio said he was "the best and fastest pitcher I've ever faced." At his prime, he was basically invincible. His accomplishments on and off the field make him an American icon.
Written by: Buster Olney
Detailing the Yankee teams from 1996 to 2001, this is an in-depth exploration of the characters, and we do mean characters, who helped this team be such a powerhouse. He looks at how the critical members of the teams were both positive and negative to the building of these teams.
He also examines how George Steinbrenner, often known as a blowhard and jerk, really seemed to be one but still would win.
The book is written to focus on the Yankees' loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks in Game 7 of the 2001 World Series. However, it is broken down so that you get a bit of everything that leads up to it.
It is enlightening to read about how the games were managed and how the Yankees won so many pennants and World Series.
Written by: Andy Martino
The 2017 Houston Astros had to cheat to win the World Series. They honestly had to cheat even to get there, and they didn't deserve to have a Championship. How do we know this? Because Andy Martino dissects all their lies, cheating, and ways to get around without being caught.
This book investigates how everyone on the team, including the coaches, managers, and ownership, knew there was cheating and did everything they could to conceal it. This book also looks at how the Red Sox and Yankees did the same thing.
However, none of these teams were indeed punished as the MLB Commissioner at the time, Bud Selig didn't want the face of baseball to be tarnished, being that the steroid era had ended. It is an incredible look into what can go so wrong in the game without redemption.
Written by: C.C. Sabathia
No one knows what the future holds. That's a cliché statement that is usually said to offer comfort during a difficult time. However, that sentiment rings especially true when it comes to professional athletes. Athletes are constantly at the mercy of their bodies; one wrong move could mean an abrupt end to a stellar career.
Few people know this better than New York Yankees pitcher C.C. Sabathia. In this book, Sabathia details his journey from wide-eyed rookie to seasoned veteran, all while living with the knowledge that his career could come to a sudden halt at any moment.
Through it all, Sabathia has kept a positive attitude and fought for every win–both on and off the field.
Written by: Devin Gordon
The New York Mets are a mess. Sometimes a horrible mess, and sometimes a beautiful mess, but always a mess. And that is just one of the reasons that their fans love them, and sometimes hate them, because one never knows what will happen next.
Starting in 1962, this team has had its up and downs, including winning a World Series just seven years later while also having a season where they lost 120 games.
Gordon does a great job looking at these lovable losers through the eyes of a true fan. However, he isn’t biased, and this book will make you laugh out loud, no matter which team you love in baseball, because of all the craziness that has surrounded the Mets since their first day.
As Gordon names them the “best worst team," he shows how they can often snatch defeat from the jaws of victory instead of the other way around.
Written by: Paul Goldberger
If you want to understand baseball and America, then you need to read Ballpark. Written by renowned architecture critic Paul Goldberger, the book looks at how our national pastime has been shaped by the cities where it is played. It also looks at the times and what social issues were going on around them.
From iconic stadiums like Fenway Park and Wrigley Field to modern marvels like Baltimore's Camden Yards, Goldberger shows how baseball venues have mirrored and influenced their respective cities' development.
Whether you're a die-hard fan or just someone interested in learning more about our cultural history, Ballpark is a must-read.
Written by: Jesse Dougherty
Almost no one thought that the Washington Nationals had a chance of winning the World Series in 2018, let alone even winning their division. They were a truly terrible team, with over-the-hill players and others that may not have made other teams.
However, using analytics, gut feelings, and incredible management, they did win it and did it in record fashion.
Dougherty basically followed every single story about the team, and you feel like you are in the dugout and hearing every conversation directly from the people involved. The team chemistry, the unwillingness to give up no matter the odds, and the silliness that made them unlike any other team is a joy to experience and read about in it.
Written by: Felipe Alou
Felipe Alou's autobiography, Alou: My Baseball Journey, tells the story of his life in baseball and offers insights into the game that can only come from someone who has played it at the highest level for over 50 years. It also examines how different it can be for a Latin American player compared over these years and provides insight into what has changed for many.
Alou provides a unique perspective on baseball as both a player and manager, and he offers valuable advice for anyone looking to improve their own game. Being inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006, it is a story of determination, hard work, and resilience in the face of great adversity.
Written by: Kevin Cook
For anyone that knows the history of baseball, no matter which team you love, you will still like the Chicago Cubs because they have one of the most historic parks in history. It is also one of the easiest to hit home runs out of when the wind blows. And on May 17th, 1979, the wind was blowing out at over 30 miles per hour. It was bound to be a wild one with some players that would later be in the Hall of Fame.
Because of this, the Phillies would score seven runs in the first inning, and that was just the start to the insanity that would follow. The Cubs wouldn't give up, even though the score was 21 – 9 in favor of the Phillies at one point and tied it up at 22 all.
This was before Wrigley Field had lights; the game had to be finished before nightfall. What happened? You'll have to read the book and find out!
Written by: Brad Balukjian
This is one of the strangest and yet most fun books on this list. Why? Because Brad Balukjian doesn’t just write about the past, he writes about the present using the past. Deciding to learn more about the players he loved, he opened up a set of baseball cards from 1986.
He looked at them, figured out where they lived, and then decided to make an almost 12,000-mile road trip to meet them.
Instead of just meeting them, he truly interacted with them. Most weren't famous or headed for the Hall of Fame, but relatively lesser-knowns such as Rance Mulliniks, Garry Templeton, Randy Ready, or others. The stories these men tell, and others who are much more famous such as Dwight Gooden, Vince Coleman, and Rick Sutcliffe, are fun and impressive.
However, it is almost more fun to see the "nobodies" and what they did after their life in baseball compared to the times they were playing.
Written by: Tyler Kepner
Which pitch is the most important in baseball? The fastball? The curveball? The slider? According to Tyler Kepner, all ten pitches are essential to the game since one without the other would leave pitchers vulnerable and unable to get outs or wins.
In his book, Kepner delves into the history and importance of each pitch, revealing how they've evolved over time and influenced the sport as we know it.
With insights from pitchers such as Bob Gibson, Nolan Ryan, Clayton Kershaw, Mariano Rivera, and others, you’ll never look at a simple pitch the same way again. Whether you're a fan of baseball or just enjoy good sports read, this book is sure to entertain.
Written by: Jason Turbow
The 1981 season is unforgettable for so many reasons that it is almost impossible to chart them all, yet Jason Turbow has done it. This is the year when part of the season was halted because of a strike by the players, a bunch of almost over the hill players making a final run at greatness, and Fernandomania swept Los Angeles since he was so young, so unique, and so weird in his pitching style.
Fernandomania, for those that don't know, is what Fernando Valenzuela caused when he arrived in the pros. Just 20 years old, with one of the strangest windups and pitches in baseball, he was unstoppable.
And as a Latin American player, he was a perfect representation of Los Angeles and the culture. With Tommy LaSoroda as manager, who acted more like a cheerleader, this was a team of destiny and a season of insanity that would win it all.
Written by: Ken Samelson Bert Randolph Sugar
Published: 2010 (2004)
Baseball is a game of statistics. Sure, there's the action on the field that draws fans in, but much of baseball's appeal comes from what happens off the field. Players and teams are constantly competing against one another to see who can amass the best stats.
This is where books like The Baseball Maniac's Almanac come in handy.
Written by Bert Randolph Sugar, this book is a complete guide to all things baseball-related Stat geeks and casual fans alike will appreciate its comprehensive look at America's favorite pastime. Whether you're looking for historical data or insights into how players perform today, you'll find it all in The Baseball Maniac's Almanac.
NOTE: Depending on the date published, some of the stats may be outdated.
Written by: Thomas Wolf
After being taunted by the Chicago Cubs fans in the 1932 World Series, most baseball fans know that Babe Ruth pointed to the outfield and then hit a massive home run directly into it. However, most don’t know the rest of the story of that season or of the other players.
Some of the exciting characters and events include the shooting of Billy Jurges by an upset lover, Violet Popovich. Others include the famous gangster John Dillinger sneaking into the bleachers using a fake name to watch his beloved Cubbies.
There are so many others it is hard to describe them. And there is always the lingering question of whether The Babe did call his shot or not…you’ll have to read on to find out!
Written by: Rick Allen
Seattle's baseball history is full of ups and downs. The city has seen its share of great players and teams, but it also has its share of disappointments. Perhaps no team in Seattle's history was as disappointing as the Seattle Pilots.
This book looks at the unfortunate team, from their inception all the way to their sale to Bud Selig, who later became the MLB commissioner, and their move just one year later to Milwaukee.
Inside Pitch provides a unique perspective on this team, told by people there from the very beginning. This means the people in ownership, management, and players. There are stories that will blow your mind, and you'll be amazed that they actually won 68 games and ended up second to last instead of last.
This should be a sad book about a tragic franchise, but it is a deep and often humorous look at everything that could go wrong definitely going wrong.
Written by: Joe Posnanski
There has never been a baseball book like The Baseball 100. One of the most widely respected sportswriters in America, Joe Posnanski spent many years researching and writing this massive tribute to the greatest players in baseball history.
Featuring stunning photographs and detailed biographies, The Baseball 100 is a must-read for every fan of America's favorite pastime.
Being that this book is more than 800 pages long, you will learn just about everything possible about each player named in it. The best part is that some of these players have been long forgotten and are finally getting their due.
It is also fun to compare players from one era to another and how they would have fared against each other. This includes African Americans who were stuck in the Negro Leagues because many were just as talented, if not more so than the white players.
Written by: Jonah Keri
Not many people know that the Washington Nationals used to be the Montreal Expos. But Jonah Keri, who grew up an Expos fan, wants the world to know about their 36-year history while in Canada. This starts with many players who have been forgotten since the team began in 1969.
This book also goes into the players and the games that were so important to this team. It has loads of fun regarding the goofiness and silliness that came along with the players in the 1980s who were so impressive.
It then goes into how the team was built, how it became a powerhouse while never reaching its full potential, and how management basically destroyed it by trading away its best players. And you will know these players as some of them became All-Stars and Hall of Famers.
Using documents and interviews, Keri shows how the team was doomed because of greed by Jeffrey Luria, who wouldn't help financially to keep them afloat.
Of course, it ends with the team moving to Washington in 2004 after it could no longer survive in Montreal.