Baseball Best-Sellers, October 20, 2017

October 20, 2017

Wow, has it really been more than a month since the last one of these? Yikes.

As you may have notice, these entries have been falling off in the last several weeks. My apologies. A new full-time job — very different from what I had been doing as the sports and features editor of a weekly community newspaper in suburban New Jersey — has put new and strange demands on my time. More about that at another time perhaps.

In the meantime…

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.

  1. Image result for the year of the pitcherThe Chicago Cubs: Story of a Curse, by Rich Cohen
  2. The Cubs Way: The Zen of Building the Best Team in Baseball and Breaking the Curse, by Tom Verducci
  3. Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, by Michael Lewis
  4. The Greatest Baseball Stories Ever Told: Thirty Unforgettable Tales from the Diamond, by Michael Silverman
  5. Teammate: My Journey in Baseball and a World Series for the Ages, by David Ross with Don Yeager
  6. Leo Durocher: Baseball’s Prodigal Son, by Paul Dickson
  7. Smart Baseball: The Story Behind the Old Stats That Are Ruining the Game, the New Ones That Are Running It, and the Right Way to Think About Baseball, by Keith Law
  8. The Year of the Pitcher: Bob Gibson, Denny McLain, and the End of Baseball’s Golden Age, by Sridhar Pappu
  9. The Science of Hitting, by Ted Williams and John Underwood
  10. I Never Had It Made: An Autobiography of Jackie Robinson, by Jackie Robinson with Alfred Duckett

It’s only natural the the Cubs return to the post-season generate renewed interest in those books, although they’ve been pretty popular for the past year. Reading the Cohen book right now and thoroughly enjoying it. Hope there’s an audio version, because the writing style really lends itself to that forum.

Recently finished The Year of the Pitcher (here’s my review from Bookreporter.com). Very reminiscent in the serious and dark tone of The Last Innocents: The Collision of the Turbulent Sixties and the Los Angeles Dodgers, by Michael Leahy, winner of Spitball Magazine‘s coveted Casey Award. I spoke with Pappu last week and will be posting that as a podcast very soon.

There are no baseball titles on the current New York Times monthly sports bestseller list.

Not on either the Amazon or Times‘ lists? 501 Baseball Books Fans Must Read before They DieToday: 1,364,205; last time: 1,226,181. Hank Greenberg in 1938: Hatred and Home Runs in the Shadow of War ranks 348,522, up from the last time I check (1,065,631). I’ll be speaking at the St. Louis Jewish Book Festival next month at their Sports Night program with John Florio and Ouisie Shapiro, co-authors of One Nation Under Baseball: How the 1960s Collided with the National Pastime. Perhaps that’s where the bump came from.

If you have read either of those books, thanks, hope you enjoyed it, and please consider writing an Amazon review; it’s never too late. (And thanks to those who have.) Doesn’t have to be long or even complimentary, if you didn’t like it. Although I would warn you to understand what it is you’re reading. My editor tells me I shouldn’t worry over bad reviews and normally I don’t. But one Greenberg reviewer complained because apparently he felt it wasn’t long enough and that it wasn’t a full biography. Sorry, but caveat emptor: The title clearly states this book covers just one season in his career. If you’re disappointed for that reason, then that’s on you.

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