I don’t know who Matthew Price is, but he recently contributed this piece which appeared on the Newsday website on “11 books every New York Mets fan should read.”
As a fan of the team myself, I believe every Mets devotee should read just about every book they can on the ball club, so I was a bit surprised at his selections:
- Baseball Maverick: How Sandy Alderson Revolutionized Baseball and Revived the Mets by Steve Kettmann.
- The Bad Guys Won: A Season of Brawling, Boozing, Bimbo Chasing, and Championship Baseball with Straw, Doc, Mookie, Nails, the Kid, and the Rest of the 1986 Mets, the Rowdiest Team Ever to Put on a New York Uniform — and Maybe the Best by Jeff Pearlman.
- Mookie: Life, Baseball, and the ’86 Mets by Mookie Wilson with Erik Sherman.
- Doc: A Memoir by Dwight Gooden and Ellis Henican.
- Straw: Finding My Way by Darryl Strawberry.
- Long Shot by Mike Piazza with Lonnie Wheeler.
- The Worst Team Money Could Buy: The Collapse of the New York Mets by Bob Klapisch and John Harper.
- Gil Hodges: A Hall of Fame Life by Mort Zachter.
- The Complete Game: Reflections on Baseball and the Art of Pitching by Ron Darling.
- Summers At Shea: Tom Seaver Loses His Overcoat and Other Mets Stories by Ira Berkow.
- Can’t Anybody Here Play This Game?: The Improbable Saga of the New York Mets’ First Year by Jimmy Breslin.
As I said, I’d happily recommend all of these titles, although at least three of them include the Mets without necessarily being totally about the Mets.
Certainly there are a lot of good books missing here, With the exception of Breslin’s Can’t Anybody Here Play This Game?, there’s nothing about the team prior to 1986, leading me to wonder how old Mr. Price is.
Here’s a list I composed seven years ago, so it’s obviously a bit out of date and by no means complete. Nevertheless, it definitely includes a lot of older titles missing from Price’s suggestions.
A couple of things to note: Some of his 11 titles is included here; I’m just too lazy to winnow them out. Many of these books span more than one category. And, finally, I make no judgment here about the quality of the material.
Have at it.
General team histories (an overview of the Mets over the long haul)
- Dana Brand, Mets Fan (McFarland, 2007). See Faith and Fear.
- Brad M. Epstein, New York Mets 101, Brdbk., 2007. See Mets Essential
- Richard Grossinger, The New York Mets: Ethnography, Myth, and Subtext (Frog Books, 2007). A scholarly memoir that, quite frankly, aims at an elite audience.
- George Kalinsky, The New York Mets: A Photographic History (Macmillan Publishing Company, 1996).
- Jack Lang and Peter Simon, The New York Mets Twenty-Five Years of Baseball Magic, World Series ed., Rev. and updated ed. (Henry Holt & Co, 1987). Coffee table book, well-illustrated, featuring year-by-year recaps.
- Michael Lichtenstein, Ya Gotta Believe!: The 40th Anniversary New York Mets Fan Book, First Edition. (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2002).
- Bruce Markusen, Tales from the Mets Dugout (Sports Publishing LLC, 2007). Another collection of anecdotes about the lovable losers (see Janet Paskin’s Tales from the 1962 New York Mets and Mets Pride.).
- Phil Pepe, Rusty Staub, and Foreword by Keith Hernandez, Few and Chosen Mets: Defining Mets Greatness Across the Eras (Triumph Books, 2009). The authors pick the top five Mets at each position. A sure argument-starter.
- Greg Prince, Faith and Fear in Flushing: An Intense Personal History of the New York Mets (Skyhorse Publishing, 2009). Prince characterizes many fans of a similar stripe in this heart-felt memoir.
- Alan Ross, Mets Pride: For the Love of Mookie, Mike, and David Wright (Cumberland House Publishing, 2007). Little anecdotes about the team; see
- Matthew Silverman, Mets Essential: Everything You Need to Know to Be a Real Fan! (Essential (Triumph Books, 2007). Silverman has a cottage industry on the team, with several titles covering different aspects of the ball club.
Event-driven team profiles (looking at a specific event, season, or group of seasons)
- Jeff Pearlman, The Bad Guys Won! A Season of Brawling, Boozing, Bimbo-chasing, and Championship Baseball with Straw, Doc, Mookie, Nails, The Kid, and the Rest of the 1986 Mets, the Rowdiest Team Ever to Put on a New York Uniform–and Maybe the Best (HarperCollins, 2004; Harper paperback 2005).
- Stanley Cohen, A Magic Summer: The Amazin’ Story of the 1969 New York Mets (Skyhorse Publishing, 2009).
- Jacob Kanarek, From First To Worst: The New York Mets, 1973-1977 (McFarland, 2008).
- Jimmy Breslin, Can’t Anybody Here Play This Game?: The Improbable Saga of the New York Met’s First Year (Ivan R. Dee, Publisher, 2003).
- Bill Bill. Miracle Year, 1969: Amazing Mets and Super Jets (Sports Publishing LLC, 2004).
- Janet Paskin, Tales from the 1962 New York Mets: A Collection of the Greatest Stories Ever Told (Sports Publishing LLC, 2004).
- Steven Travers, The 1969 Miracle Mets: The Improbable Story of the World’s Greatest Underdog Team (The Lyons Press, 2009).
- William J. Ryczek, The Amazin’ Mets 1962-1969 (McFarland, 2007).
- Evan T. Pritchard, The Boys of Shea: The Unforgettable Story of the 2006 Mets–As Remembered by a Fan (CreateSpace, 2008).
- Bob Klapisch and John Harper, The Worst Team Money Could Buy (Bison Books, 2005).
- Ross Adell and Ken Samelson, Amazing Mets Trivia, 1st ed. (Taylor Trade Publishing, 2004).
- Mike Getz, New York Mets Trivia (Quinlan Pr, 1987).
- Mike Lupica, Heat (Puffin, 2007). A twin-biography on Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry during their rise and fall in the mid-1980s.
- John Feinstein, Living on the Black: Two Pitchers, Two Teams, One Season to Remember (Little, Brown and Company, 2008). Feinstein’s examination of Tom Glavine’s and Mike Mussina’s 2007 season.
- Adam Rubin, Pedro, Carlos, and Omar: The Story of a Season in the Big Apple and the Pursuit of Baseball’s Top Latino Stars (The Lyons Press, 2006).
- Keith Hernandez, Pure Baseball (Harper Perennial, 1995). One of two books by Hernandez on “inner baseball.”
- Jeff Merron, So We Met Again: Tommie Agee and Cleon Jones, 2007.
- Gary Carter and Phil Pepe, Still a Kid at Heart: My Life in Baseball and Beyond (Triumph Books, 2008).
- Michael Sokolove, The Ticket Out: Darryl Strawberry and the Boys of Crenshaw (Simon & Schuster, 2006).
- Phil Pepe, The Wit and Wisdom of Yogi Berra (Triumph Books, 2002).
- Tug McGraw and Don Yaeger, Ya Gotta Believe: My Roller-Coaster Life As a Screwball Pitcher and Part-Time Father, and My Hope-Filled Fight Against Brain Cancer (NAL Hardcover, 2004).
- Matthew Silverman, 100 Things Mets Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die (Triumph Books, 2008).
- David Green, 101 Reasons To Love The Mets (Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2008).
- Fred Klein with a foreword by Rusty Staub, For the Love of the Mets: An A-to-z Primer for Mets Fans of All Ages (Triumph Books, 2009). A picture book in verse.
- Frank Messina, Full Count: The Book of Mets Poetry (The Lyons Press, 2009).
- Scott Simon, Home And Away: Memoir Of A Fan (Hyperion, 2001).
- Jon Springer and Matthew Silverman, Mets by the Numbers: A Complete Team History of the Amazin’ Mets by Uniform Number (Skyhorse Publishing, 2008).
- Jason D. Antos, Shea Stadium (NY) (Arcadia Publishing, 2007). A look back at the Mets’ home since 1964 as the arrival of their new ballpark loomed.
- Triumph Books, So Long Shea: Five Decades of Stadium Memories (Benchmark Pr, 2008).
- George Plimpton, The Curious Case of Sidd Finch: A Novel (Da Capo Press, 2004).
- Bjarkman, Peter C, The New York Mets Encyclopedia, 2nd ed. (Sports Publishing LLC, 2003).