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Sunday, December 15, 2019

The Best Baseball Books of 2019

Ernie Banks was one of the most loved players in baseball history. Ron Rapoport examines the complex man in “Let’s Play Two: The Legend of Mr. Cub, the Life of Ernie Banks.”

Banks was portrayed as an optimistic person, but there was much more to him than that.

Paul Goldberger, the longtime architecture critic for The New Yorker, has written an extensive review of stadiums in “Ballpark: Baseball in the American City.”

Oriole fans will love his take on Camden Yards and its design, and there’s a lot about classic ballparks, too.

There are no shortage of books written to please Yankees and Red Sox fans, but this year there are three that stand out.

One is “Chumps to Champs: How the Worst Teams in Yankees History Led to the ’90s Dynasty” by Bill Pennington.

Pennington, who several years back wrote a fascinating biography of Billy Martin, liberally quotes Buck Showalter, who managed the Yankees from 1992-1995.

In one chapter, Showalter describes how George Steinbrenner attempts to hire him back as Yankees manager days after he hired Joe Torre to replace Buck.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 15, 2019 at 03:07 PM | 7 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: books

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   1. bob gee Posted: December 16, 2019 at 12:30 PM (#5908990)
I'm in the process of reading MVP Machine which seems quite good. Only a couple chapters in so far.
   2. DL from MN Posted: December 16, 2019 at 01:02 PM (#5908998)
It seems like nobody is allowed to write a baseball biography of a player who debuted in the 80s or later. I grew up reading biographies of the star players and it seems like they're still making biographies of those same players.
   3. Rusty Priske Posted: December 16, 2019 at 03:06 PM (#5909045)
While this doesn't count, since it came out in 2017, I am quite enjoying 'Making My Pitch' by Ila Borders and Jean Ardell.
   4. Starring RMc as Bradley Scotchman Posted: December 16, 2019 at 03:15 PM (#5909048)
Paul Goldberger, the longtime architecture critic for The New Yorker, has written an extensive review of stadiums in “Ballpark: Baseball in the American City.”

Just finished this, and it's excellent. It looks like a textbook...makes me want to take a Ballparks course at the local community college! (Or maybe teach one!)

One is “Chumps to Champs: How the Worst Teams in Yankees History Led to the ’90s Dynasty” by Bill Pennington.

That's right, kids, the Yankees actually once had an unfathomably long streak of losing seasons...four. (Why, they even finished in last place in one of those years! Horrors!)

Actually, I refuse to buy any Yankees books until they own up to the fact they were once the Baltimore Orioles. (And I don't care what John Thorn says!)
   5. Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: December 16, 2019 at 03:34 PM (#5909055)
It seems like nobody is allowed to write a baseball biography of a player who debuted in the 80s or later. I grew up reading biographies of the star players and it seems like they're still making biographies of those same players.


Yeah, but there are a lot of autobiographies. Pedro Martinez has a good one.

Maybe a lot of recent players just don't have interesting lives. Unless it's a "colorful" player like David Wells who wants to tell a bunch of funny stories. I keep thinking I'd like to read the autobiography of, like, Matt Williams but there might not be anything there to read about.

Books written in the third person seem to be more like Roger Angell spending a season with David Cone, or John Feinstein spending a season with Mike Mussina and Tom Glavine.

Update: Matt Williams is now a manager in Korea. Finally some material.
   6. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: December 16, 2019 at 03:39 PM (#5909058)
A lot of recent players just don't have interesting lives.
I'm really liking "My Seasons: A Detailed Weather Journal of My Career" by Mike Trout. The chapters in Tampa Bay get a little slow, but other than that it's a real page-turner.
   7. Starring RMc as Bradley Scotchman Posted: December 16, 2019 at 03:54 PM (#5909062)
Being both a weather nut and a baseball nut, I wish this book actually existed.

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