NOTE: I have been posting these things long enough now that a few have commented that the introductory section isn’t necessary anymore. But I’m leaving it in because, to paraphrase Joe DiMaggio when asked why he played so hard all the time, there may be people who’ve never read the best-seller entries before. So on with the show…
Caveat 1: Print editions only (at least for now); because I’m old school.
Caveat 2: Since the rankings are updated every hour, these lists might not longer be 100 percent accurate by the time you read them. But it’ll be close enough for government work.
Caveat 3: Sometimes they’ll try to pull one over on you and include a book within a category that doesn’t belong. I’m using my discretion to eliminate such titles from my list. For example, for some reason a recent listing included Tarnished Heels: How Unethical Actions and Deliberate Deceit at the University of North Carolina Ended the “The Carolina Way”, which, far as I can tell, is not at all about baseball, at least not in the main.
- Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, by Michael Lewis. In looking for items for the “Throwback Thursday” entries, I found this review I had done on Moneyball for the Elysian Fields Quarterly in 2003. Totally slipped my mind.
- The Best Team Money Can Buy: The Los Angeles Dodgers’ Wild Struggle to Build a Baseball Powerhouse, by Molly Knight
- The Science of Hitting, by Ted Williams
- Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball’s Last Hero, by David Maraniss
- Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty, by Charles Leerhsen
- The Season of Pepsi Meyers, by Abie Rotenberg
- Intangiball: The Subtle Things That Win Baseball Games, by Lonnie Wheeler. Look for a BookShelf Conversation with the author over the next few weeks.
- The Mental Game of Baseball: A Guide to Peak Performance, by H.A. Dorfman
- Big Data Baseball: Math, Miracles, and the End of a 20-Year Losing Streak, by Travis Sawchik
- Nolan Ryan’s Pitcher’s Bible: The Ultimate Guide to Power, Precision, and Long-Term Performance
Totally out of the blue is Rotenberg’s novel set 40 years in the future. This one will not be for everyone, but for this landsman, I’ll definitely take a look. Seems like an appropriate title right now as we approach Yom Kippur and Jewish ballplayers fall under scrutiny regarding whether they will play on the holiest day on the Jewish calendar. This year marks the 50th anniversary since Sandy Koufax decided not to take the ball for Game One of the World Series for that reason. You can read more about what that meant to the community here. (Note: A much larger version featuring more interviews will be posted to my Kaplan’s Korner bog in the near future.
New York Times: On the September list, Knight’s Dodgers book drops from the number three slot to eighth place and remains the only baseball title in the top 10 sports books. Filip Bondy’s Pine Tar Game is #13, with Jeter’s Unfiltered drops to #16 with Dick Flavin’s Red Sox Rhymes: Verses and Curses at #18 and Pedro Martinez’s eponymous memoir right behind .
Not on either list? 501 Baseball Books Fans Must Read before They Die. As of this post, the ranking is a shocking 414,461, up substantially from last week’s 1,120,717. Mille grazie.
If you have read 501, thanks, hope you enjoyed it, and please consider writing a review for the Amazon page. There haven’t been any in awhile. Doesn’t have to be long (or even complimentary, if you didn’t like it), but anything would be appreciated. And thanks to those who have.