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Baseball Books: Reading About the Diamond

Baseball books are everywhere – the bookstore, airports, shopping malls, smartphones.  It is all a matter of what team, player, year, or story you wish to read about.  And now weather you want a book in your hands on a book on the screen of the phone in your hands.

There are so many baseball books that have been written, and I have tried to compile a formidable and complete list of them here.  Some have been turned into movies (Moneyball) while others have probably been used as a doorstop.  Regardless of weather a book is about the New York Yankees, which is about every other baseball book written, or the infamous Black Sox scandal, they are all worth consideration for a baseball fan somewhere.

Aces Baseball Books The Baseball JournalAces: The Last Season on the Mound with the Oakland A’s Big Three — Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder, and Barry Zito – Mychael Urban

Aces is the documentary of the final season that Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder, and Barry Zito all pitched for the Oakland Athletics.  Obviously, if you are an A’s fan, this will be a great read that brings back old memories.  The Big Three were a formidable pitching trio that inevitably came to an end once it was renewing each of their contracts was on the brink.  This book focuses mainly on three pitchers, but it is also near the same time frame as another famous $ baseball book about the Oakland A’s.

Moneyball Baseball Books The Baseball JournalMoneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game – Michael Lewis

This book is probably better known for the movie of the same title, but Michael Lewis has a gem in explaining the transition of scouting and roster management in Moneyball.  The book is a little difficult to read through, with the charts and statistics, but the story is what makes the book a classic.  Lewis has a way to take non-fiction and turn it into fiction like reading.  Billy Beane is the protagonist who tries to get a small budget team to compete and win against the big budget teams.

The Life You Imagine Derek Jeter Baseball Books The Baseball JournalThe Life You Imagine: Life Lessons for Achieving Your Dreams – Derek Jeter

Derek Jeter has his own publishing company, but before he was a surefire Hall of Famer, this former New York Yankee wrote one of the most memorable books for kids in the early 2000s.  This book has details about Jeter’s upbringing up through his early years with the Yankees.  There are pictures to go along with the easy read.  Today’s youth only know Jeter  as an aging and retired old timer, and the material is too amateur for an adult.  If you read this book as a child, you definitely remember buying it at your school’s book fair.

Art of Fielding Baseball Books Baseball JournalThe Art of Fielding – Chad Harbach

This is a fiction novel that centers on a college baseball player that is a defensive guru.  He runs into problems both on and off the field, which makes for an interesting read.  The progress of the book is both predictable and unpredictable.  While it is a nice beach novel, it could be passed on if you’re looking for a focus on the baseball diamond.  Although baseball is the backdrop, the book appeals to general readers more than baseball enthusiasts.  There are themes that should be familiar with and appeal to many college athletes.

 Out of My League Baseball Books Baseball JournalOut of My League – Dirk Hayhurst

This memoir by Dirk Hayhurst gives an insight of the unlikely journey to the Majors by a witty and talented pitcher.  Hayhurst details the ups and downs from being drafted to the toiling in the minors to the call that every minor league player strives for: being called to The Show.  There is ample humor to go along with the the anecdotes that make this a good light-hearted read for baseball fans.  This is one of three novels by Hayhurst, and he used the success of his books to garner an analyst position on TBS for the MLB playoffs.

Odd Man Out Baseball Books Baseball JournalOdd Man Out: A Year on the Mound with a Minor League Misfit – Matt McCarthy

Odd Man Out is another minor league memoir by a baseball hopeful.  This particular book takes place in Provo, Utah, a Mormon town that is home to a minor league affiliate of the Angels.  Matt McCarthy discusses his journey from Yale University to the strenuous rules of his new hometown.  It is filled with things you would only find in the locker room, which makes it even more entertaining hearing closed door stories that involve familiar baseball names.  Some players would be upset about the kiss and tell information, and that is what makes it even harder to put down.

Extra 2 Percent Baseball Books Baseball JournalThe Extra 2%: How Wall Street Strategies Took a Major League Baseball Team from Worst to First – Jonah Keri

While this book seems to be a spin-off of Moneyball, The Extra 2% has its own agenda as a short history of the Tampa Bay Rays.  It chronicles the change in culture and atmosphere of the once proclaimed Devil Rays into an AL East contender.  The theme of a small town and small budget team competing with the big spenders is shown through the strategies used by unlikely baseball personnel.  It is another look at how statistics have changed how teams utilize players and assemble their rosters.

 Calico Joe Baseball Books Baseball JournalCalico Joe – John Grisham

This novel by John Grisham is short and sweet.  It is about a once promising superstar who has his career cut short by a traumatic injury.  His post career is spent trying to overcome the pain of what could have been and move on from the hopes of a professional career.  Grisham does a nice job of telling a story with enough background to give depth to the main character, while keeping it short enough to make the reader wanting more.  A quick read, this book has a different feel from the typical happy ending stories that line the book shelves.  It has the makings for a script to be written to turn this into a drama on the big screens.

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