Thursday, April 17, 2008

6 BOOKS about the grand old game by Cait Murphy

Cait Murphy is the author of Crazy '08: How a Cast of Cranks, Rogues, Boneheads, and Magnates Created the Greatest Year in Baseball History, which I recently recommended. Below, she kindly offers a list of her six (or seven, or eight) favorite baseball books.
The Glory of Their Times by Lawrence Ritter

An oral history of early 20th century baseball. Just marvelous; I am told this is also available on audio-cassette, so you can hear the actual voices. (Beware, though: Rube Marquard's account is full of artful untruths!)

Casey and Babe by Robert Creamer

Mr. Creamer has become a friend of mine, but these would make the list anyway. In particular, check out his explanation of a Casey Stengel riff - hilarious. And while Leigh Montville's recent biography of the Babe (The Big Bam) is also excellent, I still plump for Creamer's.

Touching Second by Johnny Evers

Recently republished, this came out in 1912 and is a wonderful insight into the game before the Babe, with lots of interesting stories. (Along the same lines: Pitching in a Pinch by Christy Mathewson, also recently republished.)

Ty Cobb by Al Stump

The second one, not the authorized one. Some people have said the portrait Stump draws is overwrought. I don't know; what I do know is that it is completely compelling.

The Cultural Encyclopedia of Baseball by Jonathan Fraser Light

Perfect for the off-season, this has exhaustive entries on everything and everything to do with baseball, from Aaron, Hank; to hot dogs; to wild pitches. Tons of fun.

The Ultimate Baseball Book by Dan Okrent and Harris Lewine

A delightful mix of text and graphics.

(For a more contemporary book, I liked Seth Mnookin's Feeding the Monster -- A good account of the 2003-04 Red Sox, and I learned a great deal about how John Henry and Co. took over the team.)



Blogger David said...

A good list (at least as far as the couple on it that I've read go), to which I would add "The Soul of Baseball" by Joe Posnanski. It's a wonderful portrait of former Negro Leaguer and baseball ambassador Buck O'Neil, and well worth reading.

7:26 PM  

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