[Review] 10 Best Baseball Books 2020

10 Best Baseball Books 2020

Poetic and traditional in its own right, it is no surprise that the sport of baseball has become the subject behind classic literature. More than any other American sport in history. However, what would be the best baseball books that every fan should read? Reading is an excellent way to unwind and relieve some stress. However, it’s way better when that book pertains to America’s pastime. These are the 10 best baseball books which we recommend every baseball fan needs to read, in no particular order:

1. The Glory of Their Times by Lawrence Ritter ( Classic book)

The Glory of Their Times: The...
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Ritter, Lawrence S. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Widely acclaimed as one of those classics in baseball publication history, The Glory of Their Times is one of the most comprehensive and detail-oriented books of the 20th century. Ritter, a Columbia University professor at the time, made it his mission in life to traveling the U.S. and interview as many aging ballplayers as possible. Between 1962 and 1966, Lawrence interviewed 26 players, including Hall of Famers such as Sam Crawford and Hank Greenberg. The result of those interviews turned in an oral history for America’s pastime. Many reporters have attempted to imitate what Lawrence Ritter did back in the’60s, however, the success of The Glory of Their Times has since to be reproduced.

2. The Summer Games by Roger Angell ( Classic book)

The Summer Game (Bison Book)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Angell, Roger (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

From spring to autumn and from decade to decade, baseball shifted in the mezzo decades between 1962 and 1972–the hot summer when leagues were growing, franchises were moving, owners were becoming wealthier, players were becoming bigger, and the tv was shifting the game. The New Yorker author’s pitch-perfect essays from the 1960s gave birth to modern baseball writing, the way that A.J. Liebling was the heavyweight of boxing literature. Read Angell, and you can practically feel the summer breeze blowing through the outfield bleachers. The smell of spring is in the atmosphere.

3. Moneyball, by Michael Lewis 

Moneyball: The Art of Winning...
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Lewis, Michael (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

The Oakland Athletics’ bargain basement, “Let us overflow the dugout sewers” approach to team-building has yet to win any championships. But it helped spur one of the more unique, compelling books in baseball history. It came from an unusual source, with author Michael Lewis having composed mainly about Wall Street and never baseball prior to connecting with Billy Beane and company.

4.  “Lords of the Realm: The Real History of Baseball” by John Helyar

The Lords of the Realm: The...
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Helyar, John (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Helyar’s novel is all about the economics of baseball. To most, that may seem a tad mundane, but it’s far from it. John Helyar goes into excellent detail concerning the labor relations of MLB, the roots of free agency, the Reserve Clause, and the way the Player’s Association fought to overturn the Reserve Clause. The Lords of the Realm is filled with narration from owners, players, and brokers that give an insightful account of the history of player’s rights up until the 1994 strike. Anyone with a passion for the game of baseball ought to know why this happened and how the debate on labor relations will always threaten the great sport of baseball.

5. The Boys of Summer by Roger Kahn

The Boys of Summer (Aurum...
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Kahn, Roger (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

“I’ve seen the Brooklyn Dodgers / Perform in Ebbets Field,” Tom Waits croaked as if it had been a privilege. It was. It is more than this: it is a myth. To relive the legend, you want Kahn’s The Boys of Summer, the story of titans like Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, and Carl Erskine, gods in their glory days who’d soon see the twilight. “I see the boys of summer in their ruin lay the gold tithings barren,” as Dylan Thomas said.

6. Ball Four, by Jim Bouton ( Classic book)

Ball Four (RosettaBooks Sports...
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Bouton, Jim (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Jim Bouton’s playing journal of the 1969 season with the Seattle Pilots and Houston Astros seems a little tame by today’s standards. However, revelations upon its 1970 introduction that players popped pills and had affairs on the road caused a stir. The San Diego Padres burned a copy in the Astros’ locker room when Bouton came through town with all the team. Bouton also wasn’t invited to Yankee Old Timer Days for several years. However, it helped make a diminishing relief pitcher immortal in the baseball world

7. The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract

The New Bill James Historical...
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • James, Bill (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Among the most extensive baseball volumes ever written, this is the history of baseball prior to the 21st century, including reviews of this game by decade and a list of hundreds and hundreds of player profiles with career cliff notes for the inquisitive baseball fan who wants a bite-size response to”who was that man?”

Admittedly its encyclopedic structure is a little outdated. This quantity is a search engine before Google. However, this really is a relic retaining objective value and worthy of reverence. A must-add for any baseball library.

8. The Only Rule is it Has to Work (Modern baseball book)

The Only Rule Is It Has to...
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Lindbergh, Ben (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Lindbergh and Miller, two”numbers man” writers, earn the opportunity to run baseball operations for the Sonoma Stompers, an independent minor league baseball team comprising scraps such as resources, a battle of unforgettable personalities and an unparalleled license to experiment.

The result is an ebbing and flowing story of a baseball team finding its way. It is a timely look into the present condition of baseball within its wider context. Lindbergh and Miller’s alternating perspectives keep things refreshing as the story develops. Not to mention they are equally talented, experienced writers with exceptional self-awareness and humility.

This publication is a whole lot of fun.

9. The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

The Art of Fielding: A Novel
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Harbach, Chad (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

What if all baseball players were like Hamlet? Would you discipline a ball if you think of it? That is the existential tragedy that strikes Henry Skrimshander, the prodigious shortstop of the Division III Westish College Harpooners, who one day finds himself suddenly and without reason or cause, unable to scoop up a routine grounder. No such illness for Harbach–this first publication flows like Albert Pujols’s swing, and may very well reflect the start of a new wave of baseball lit. Here’s to the future.

10. A History of Baseball in Ten Pitches (Modern baseball book)

K: A History of Baseball in...
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Kepner, Tyler (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

Among the best baseball books of 2019. Kepner weaves a joyous story of baseball through 10 chapters, each characterized by a pitch: slider, fastball, curveball, knuckleball, splitter, screwball, sinker, changeup, spitball and filler.

The book is littered with excellent testimony and quotations from legendary players and coaches. A treasure trove for enthusiasts of this baseball personality.

I was particularly drawn to the chapter about the screwball pitch awarded its history and its own inquisitive practitioners. Kepner dubs it the sasquatch of baseball. Accurate.

The favorite part of this book is the pure exuberance and enthusiasm for the game emanating from each page. It is a celebration of baseball and you’re going to have a grin on the entire way.

Final words

These are good reads. If you’re feeling uninspired by run-of-the-mill fiction, biographies or heavy classic literature it’s always nice to have a baseball book to pluck off the shelf and revisit. Keep them in your rain delay arsenal.

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