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    $16.50 $14.70 list($25.00)
    1. Three Nights in August
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    2. Ladies and Gentlemen, The Bronx
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    3. Idiot : Beating "The Curse" and
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    4. Luckiest Man : The Life and Death
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    5. Cubs Nation : 162 Games. 162 Stories.
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    6. The Old Ball Game: How John McGraw,
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    10. License to Deal : A Year on the
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    14. The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty:
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    16. The Teammates
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    20. The Game: One Man, Nine Innings

    1. Three Nights in August
    by Buzz Bissinger
    list price: $25.00
    our price: $16.50
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0618405445
    Catlog: Book (2005-04-05)
    Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
    Sales Rank: 73
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    A Pulitzer Prize-winning author captures baseball"s strategic and emotional essences through a point-blank account of one three-game series viewed through the keen eyes of legendary manager Tony La Russa. Drawing on unprecedented access to a manager and his team, Bissinger brings the same revelatory intimacy to major-league baseball that he did to high school football in his classic besteller, Friday Night Lights.
    Three Nights in August shows thrillingly that human nature -- not statistics -- can often dictate the outcome of a ballgame. We watch from the dugout as the St. Louis Cardinals battle their archrival Chicago Cubs for first place, and we uncover delicious surprises about the psychology of the clutch, the eccentricities of pitchers, the rise of video, and the complex art of retaliation when a batter is hit by a pitch. Through the lens of these games, Bissinger examines the dramatic changes that have overtaken baseball: from the decline of base stealing to the difficulty of motivating players to the rise of steroid use. More tellingly, he distills from these twenty-seven innings baseball's constants -- its tactical nuances, its emotional pull.
    During his twenty-six years of managing, La Russa won more games than any other current manager and ranks sixth all-time. He has been named Manager of the Year a record five times and is considered by many to be the shrewdest mind in the game today. For all his intellectual attainments, he"s also an antidote to the number-crunching mentality that has become so modish in baseball. As this book proves, he's built his success on the conviction that ballgames are won not only by the numbers but also by the hearts and minds of those who play.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (16)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Terrific look at baseball behind the scenes
    3 Nights in August is an awesome look at baseball and why it is such a great game.Buzz Bissinger follows Tony LaRussa around and chronicles a 3 game series with the Cubs.There are plenty of asides - histories of players, coaches, strategy think sessions, etc.It really brought baseball to life for me.For too many years I have lived through "fantasy" baseball, numbers flying at me through the internet.That is no way to enjoy baseball.To enjoy it through the eyes of a manager and a team that love the game - that was something very fun.

    However, if you don't like baseball, you probably will be bored silly throughout this book.But you never know - give it a chance and you may appreciate the game a little bit more.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Great Read for Real Fans
    Buzz Bissinger is a talented journalist and writer, who knows how to tell good stories about the people who play and manage sports.He also has the ability to capture some of the beautiful complexity of baseball, as seen through the eyes of Tony LaRussa, and play it out in ways that make the book difficult to put down.He does not approach his subject with the sublime wit infused throughout Michael Lewis's Moneyball.Nor does he go so far as to deconstruct the whole game, like George Will did in Men at Work: The Craft of Baseball.While I rank those books above this one, you will find Three Nights in August a thoroughly satisfying read if you read and liked those books.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Great Look Behind the Scenes!
    This book is a great chance to see what goes on in the many hours between baseball games and the life of an athlete on the road.Stories of Rick Ankiel and J.D. Drew are great examples of the perils of the modern athlete, while the part about Daryl Kile will tear out your heart!Reading about the seeming indifference of a gifted athlete like Jose Canseco can make one question why they believe in baseball, but then there's the story of Albert Pujols to restore one's faith.By the way, Bissinger mentions about Canseco's apathy about playing during the 1990 season without following up with the Oakland A's getting swept by the mighty underdog Red in the Series that year.My big question after reading the book is, "How does Tony LaRussa continue to function while getting so little sleep?"

    5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent book
    It's hard to believe the Tony LaRussa in 3 Nights in August is the same expressionless man I see in the dugout every Cardinals game.

    I'm a huge baseball fan and a coach, and I recommend this book to every ball player before he begins playing in high school.The book was educational for me as a coach, and I wish I'd have read it when I was playing.As a fan, it's easy for me disagree with a manager's decisions when he puts in a .230 average utility infielder in a close game, but two of my favorite topics in the book are the importance of bench management and developing younger players.

    My only complaint about the book is Buzz Bissinger's vocabulary.I read because I enjoy it and it keeps my mind sharp.I have reasonable intelligence and a decent vocabulary.But I think Bissinger, like too many authors, sacrifices the flow of the story to boast his own vocabulary, and, in the process, he makes the reader feel intellectually-inferior.Any word that isn't used at least rarely in a conversation should be equally absent in a book.It's frustrating when I'm reading about baseball and I have to stop to figure out or look up the meaning of words like leitmotif.

    Aside from the abundance of unnecessary foreign words, I loved the book.Bissinger did a great job of showing the different personalities of the Cardinals players, coaches, and behind-the-scenes workers.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Already Seems So Long Ago
    Bissinger's book isn't as inspiring as FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS, but he's a careful stylist, and the depth of his take on manager Tony LaRussa may never be equalled.Tony's fights and reconciliations with his wife, Elaine, over family issues and how to work out a long distance marriage are part of the book, a big part, and any honest reader will see both sides to the story and will come away with admiration for both LaRussa's for trying to handle a difficult issue in public.

    Darryl Kile's death, which ironically occurred in Chicago, the city with which St Louis has such a great rivalry, is presented here in moving detail.I feel sorry for Flynn, Kile's lovely wife, and their children.Their little boy is maybe three or four now and yet he will never know his father.

    The story of Rick Ankiel is treated more lightly, and will keep you in stitches.Ankiel, the pride of Fort Pierce, comes off in Bissinger's aphoristic prose as a bit of a flake.

    The three games Bissinger writes about are thrillingly presented, but when I closed the book it all seemed to have happened so long ago, particularly because only in the past year or so has the issue really been broached about steroid use.LaRussa seems honest about this, but it's hard to tell how much he's covering his own ass about rampant steroid use on his team and what he knew about it.After Jose Canseco's book and congressional hearings into the matter, maybe the real story will have to wait until a few more players die brutal and unexpected deaths.Or perhaps, as Canseco implies, you're not really a man if you can't handle the drugs that go with baseball.

    I must also add a word in favor of LaRussa's work with the Animal Rescue people.No matter what people say about Tony, you know his heart is in the right place, and this animal work is nothing new for him, he's been into it for eons.Good for him.If St Louis ever tires of T, there's a place for him reserved at Rainbow Bridge. ... Read more

    2. Ladies and Gentlemen, The Bronx Is Burning: 1977, Baseball, Politics, and the Battle for the Soul of a City
    by Jonathan Mahler
    list price: $25.00
    our price: $16.50
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0374175284
    Catlog: Book (2005-04-15)
    Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
    Sales Rank: 1431
    Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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    New York City in 1977 was in the middle of wild upheaval on all fronts, from the hunt for the Son of Sam killer and the citywide blackout to a brutal mayor's race and the rise of punk rock and the zenith of disco. In Ladies and Gentlemen, the Bronx Is Burning, journalist Jonathan Mahler revisits all those storylines through another drama, which grabbed tabloid headlines all summer long: the outrageous--and pennant-winning--New York Yankees. The Yankees weren't the greatest baseball team ever assembled--they weren't even the greatest of the era (the talent-laden Cincinnati Reds were superior player for player). But no modern team has earned more type than the "Bronx Zoo" Yanks of the late '70s, thanks in no small part to such characters as meddling owner George Steinbrenner, firebrand manager Billy Martin, and flashy slugger Reggie Jackson.

    But what more is there to say about a ball club, even one as stormy and successful as the '77 Yanks? Mahler wisely strays out of the dugout and into the chaotic city to give his chronicle breadth and shape. Mahler deftly brings together a host of characters and developments--from doomed old-school catcher Thurman Munson to congressional hellraiser Bella Abzug, from media kingpin Rupert Murdoch to battling politicos Ed Koch and Mario Cuomo, from downtown punks to the glittery decadence of Studio 54. The result is a lively read that will entertain readers who wouldn't know an RBI from CBGB. --Steven Stolder ... Read more

    Reviews (9)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Takes one back
    I lived just outside of NYC, in New Jersey, during this summer of 1977, and reading Mahler's book was like traveling back in time.He captures the weirdness of the Yankee's season perfectly, in which one never quite knew whether Billy Martin was going to implode or not.He captures the tension of the blackout-related looting and the fear surrounding the serial-killings of Son of Sam.Looking back from this vantage point, it's somewhat amazing how far back from the brink NYC has come.Mahler chronicles the events of that time extremely well, and is a wonderful storyteller.My only question is:to what end?If he sees that year as a turning point, he was too subtle in discussing that significance.The takeaway is that he simply saw it as an interesting year, with large events occurring simultaneously, with no relation to one another, and little relationship to the outside world as a whole.If you were not there to witness -- or read about -- these events, you might say, "Interesting, but so what?"What was missing from the end of this book -- which so many books similar to this have -- is a "where-are-they-now" section.A coda such as that may have answered the question as to why these events and stories were significant and why we should care about them.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Big '77
    This book is for everyone who grew up in New York, survived the City's dark ages, graduated Jamaica High School, rode the 1 train to Columbia University, loved (or hated) the Yankees, remembered the blackout and the looting, didn't sit in parked cars because of the Son of Sam (first called the ".44 caliber killer"), danced to the "hustle" and the "walk," saw Star Wars fifteen times, tried to get into Studio 54, avoided 42nd Street, and wondered how the City didn't sink into the East River. Those were the good old days. I love this town, and The Big '77.

    4-0 out of 5 stars A year that stunned New York
    Jonathan Mahler's new book, "Ladies and Gentlemen, The Bronx Is Burning" is a terrific accomplishment that weaves together many fractured elements which helped to contribute to a year that was quite unlike most other years in New York City. It was, by and large, a depressing time for New York but the enormous boost New Yorkers received by the Yankees' World Series victory that October, coupled with a change in mayors shortly thereafter, began to lift the city out of the doldrums. As one who remembers New York in 1977 very well, Mahler has reminded us of a place which seems light years away from the present. It's a walk down memory lane for some of us.

    "The Bronx is Burning" is told in three parts and the least effective part is the first. Necessarily introductory, Mahler's narrative style in Part One never gains much traction. Betweenthe political landscape of the early part of the year and the problematic Yankees, the author doesn't quite bounce back and forth so much as he diarizes. If there is tension to be found in what's to come, it's not found here. Reggie Jackson's ego is certainly a reportable topic but Mahler spends far too much time on him. It's filler that doesn't quite sate. Mahler, however, has plenty of good stuff to come. With Part Two he begins to build a story of intense proportion. From this point on, I couldn't put down the book. He begins by giving us an account, rich in detail, about the first hour of the summer blackout and the hapless Con Edison systems operator who was at the heart of it. Continuing on through the night's ensuing riots, "The Bronx Is Burning" begins to breathe new life. From here the links in the book become clearer. As the events of July, August and September unfold, the city of New York is forced to take a sharper look at itself and there is no better focal point than the upcoming Democratic primary and its characters from central casting. Mahler brilliantly connects the dots at the same time adding an exceptionally good section about the murderer known as the "Son of Sam", who terrorized the city for over a year. The author's final chapters regarding the Yankees' championship are told with clarity and passion.

    It's hard to remember that all of these events happened in one calendar year but maybe we were so benumbed by those happenings that we tended to overlook their confluence. Jonathan Mahler has brought them all together in "Ladies and Gentlemen, The Bronx is Burning" and has done so in a way that puts that year back in some of our minds and gives a great account to those who were not yet around to experience it.

    1-0 out of 5 stars I'm a huge Yankee fan.
    I'm a huge Yankee fan and I read everything about them.I had high hopes for this book; the reviews I saw were good.But it was a major disappointment. Mahler can't keep his political leanings out of the story (please tell me what his antipathy to neoconservatives has to do with 1977) and that spoils it for me.
    If I want Ann Coulter or Al Franken, I'll buy their books.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Highly Addictive -- A Home Run
    Jonathan Mahler has hit a home run with this excellent examination of New York City politics, baseball and social life in 1977.The dual narrative focuses primarily on the titanic, four-way struggle for Gracie Mansion involving Koch, Cuomo, the incumbent Abe Beame and Bella Abzug, as well as the incendiary Steinbrenner-Martin-Jackson triangle of animus in the Bronx.

    The sweltering summer of 1977 also featured the Son of Sam serial murders and power-failure-induced rioting - the City's worst civic disorder since the Civil War - and Mahler skillfully weaves these compelling events into a captivating, past-faced narrative.Ground-zero of the rioting was the Bushwick section of Brooklyn - less than a decade before a stable, working class neighborhood - and Mahler provides a vivid portrait of the chaotic mayhem that took hold there (as well as in other poor communities) when the lights went out on July 13.

    Mahler also shows how the ghetto rioting transformed the Mayoral race.In mid summer, Ed Koch, then a relatively low profile Congressman, was fourth in the polls, mired in the low single digits. However, the erstwhile Greenwich Village liberal recognized that New Yorkers were ripe for a stern, law-and-order message. In particular, Koch's embrace of capital punishment and his get-tough policies generally found resonance with an electorate that had grown weary of the culture of lawlessness that increasingly pervaded their lives.The long-shot candidate - David Garth, his campaign guru, placed Koch's odds at no better than 40 to 1 - rode voter outrage to a first-place finish in the Democratic primary, and after besting Cuomo in a runoff, to City Hall.

    Meanwhile, up in the Bronx, the season-long hostilities between the egocentric Reggie Jackson and his combative manager flared famously in an ugly confrontation in the visitor's dugout at Fenway Park.Steinbrenner sided with his million-dollar superstar (Mahler calls Jackson New York's first black superstar; I'm not so sure), the fans overwhelmingly with the pugnacious Martin.Despite the team's success, the melodrama off the field eclipsed the drama on the field for much of the season - until Jackson's prodigious, three-homer performance in the last game of the World Series.Mr. October's Ruthian feat helped the Yanks capture their first world championship in 12 years and set everything right - at least until next season.

    I am a compulsive reader, but found this book especially addictive.I think you will, too. ... Read more

    3. Idiot : Beating "The Curse" and Enjoying the Game of Life
    list price: $24.00
    our price: $16.32
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 030723763X
    Catlog: Book (2005-04-04)
    Publisher: Crown
    Sales Rank: 2452
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (14)

    4-0 out of 5 stars OK Book
    Damon's book is not a challenge.It's not all that deep.But, it gives a great inside look into the Red Sox as they pursued the championship.It also tells a little of a ballplayers career and history.

    It's an entertaining book and it's an easy and fast read and worth the time.

    Also, read 3 Nights in August.

    2-0 out of 5 stars ehh....
    I am a huge Red Sox fan and I used to be a big Johnny Damon fan too. After reading this book, I dont see him in the same light. He is constantly talking about how he is such a great player, how the team couldnt win without him and blah blah blah. He loves himself a bit too much. It gets a bit boring throughout the book, and I found that hard and odd considering last season was very exciting. Having Damon talk about how they would have won more games if he had played those games shows that he is NOT a team player. Don't bother wasting money on this. This book was obviously written just to make a quick buck.....

    3-0 out of 5 stars Fun read, but so many mistakes...
    It's an interesting read, with some good anecdotes and inside-details about the team and their chemistry.But I can't fathom how they let this many mistakes get through - what was Peter Golenbock doing, sleeping through the whole thing?For example:

    - misspelling people's names (including Sox bench coach Brad Mills)
    - in the same paragraph referring to Jim Edmonds correctly and also as Jim Edwards
    - talking about David Ortiz hitting a 2-run homer in game 1 of the ALCS to bring the score to, it was a 2-run double
    - describing Mark Bellhorn's homerun in game 6 of the ALCS as going to, it went to left field.

    This is just the tip of the iceberg.Do you blame Damon for this?Maybe - shouldn't he know the name of his own team's bench coach?But again, Peter Golenbock supposedly contributed to this book, but I don't see how that's possible.

    It's still an enjoyable, if quick, read, but you will have to look past tons of mistakes.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Rushed to make a buck
    I'm a huge Sox fan, but hugely disappointed with this book. First, it's clear they rushed it to print to cash in on the recent WS win. Very poorly written (which isn't Damon's fault, as he's not a writer) The book jumps all over the place and repeats itself constantly. He continually talks about how the players don't care about the Boston media, but then focuses on it repeatedly. We all know Shaugnessey is an idiot. He didn't have to put it in the book 10 times.

    As someone else mentioned, he does come off very cocky. Pinpoints certain stats in certain years to make himself sound like the league MVP. He calls out teammates/ex-teammates for specific plays/decisions.

    I was hoping that this would be an "inside" look at the 2004 Sox from the player/clubhouse standpoint. Don't buy it if that's what you're looking for. Unfortunately, it's just an inside look at a player who thinks a lot of himself. I was surprised that he came off like this. I expect it from someone like Schilling, but really thought Damon was more down to earth. Oh well. I'll wait for Bill Mueller or Tim Wakefield to write a book before I buy another one.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Johnny is a Jerk
    Yes, that's right.My mistake as a die hard Red Sox fan was reading this book.I used to think of him as a smart intelligent baseball player, but after reading his autobiography, I flinch each time he steps up to the plate.

    REASONS WHY JOHNNY IS A JERK...he compares himself to Ted Williams, gets pissed off he didn't make the All Star team, admits for using a seperate cell phone for his one-nights stands (while mentioning his two year old twins only twice in the entire book....HE MENTIONS HIS HAIR more often that that), and solely credits himself for winning the much for team player!

    I am still a die hard Sox fan, and after reading Damon's book, I wish he never got a ring! ... Read more

    4. Luckiest Man : The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig
    by Jonathan Eig
    list price: $26.00
    our price: $17.16
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0743245911
    Catlog: Book (2005-04-01)
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster
    Sales Rank: 417
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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    Lou Gehrig started his professional baseball career at a time when players began to be seen as national celebrities. Though this suited charismatic men such as Babe Ruth and Joe DiMaggio, Gehrig avoided the spotlight and preferred to speak with his bat. Best known for playing in 2,130 consecutive games as well as his courage in battling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (a disease that now bears his name), the Iron Horse that emerges from this book is surprisingly naïve and insecure. He would cry in the clubhouse after disappointing performances, was painfully shy around women (much to the amusement of some of his teammates), and particularly devoted to his German-immigrant mother all his life. Even after earning the league MVP award he still feared the Yankees would let him go. Against the advice of Ruth and others, he refused to negotiate aggressively and so earned less than he deserved for many seasons. Honest, humble, and notoriously frugal, his only vices were chewing gum and the occasional cigarette. And despite becoming one of the finest first basemen of all time, Jonathan Eig shows how Gehrig never seemed to conquer his self-doubt, only to manage it better.

    Jonathan Eig's Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig offers a fascinating and well-rounded portrait of Gehrig, from his dugout rituals and historic games to his relationships with his mother, wife, coaches, and teammates. His complex friendship with Ruth, who was the polar opposite to Gehrig in nearly every respect, is given particularly vivid attention. Take this revealing description of how the two men began a barnstorming tour together following their 1927 World Series victory: "Ruth tipped the call girls and sent them on their way. Gehrig kissed his mother goodbye." Eig also shares some previously unknown details regarding his consecutive games streak and how he dealt with ALS during the final years of his life. Rich in anecdotes and based on hundreds of interviews and 200 pages of recently discovered letters, the book effectively shows why the Iron Horse remains an American icon to this day. --Shawn Carkonen ... Read more

    Reviews (15)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Extraordinary biography of a mythic figure
    Lou Gehrig has risen beyond mortality, into mythology. His life and death are part of our lore more than our common history. But Eig does a beautiful job of chronicling both in human, concrete terms, not in the poetic abstractions of baseball memory. Don't get me wrong: I love the poetic abstractions of baseball, but here we get a glimpse of the kind of flesh-and-blood hero we haven't had for a long time, engaged in a rise and fall unlike any we see in a media-saturated 21st century.

    Eig's writing is full of the pain, celebration, quiet nobility and raw physical strength that made Lou Gehrig. The fact that a sports figure remains a figure worth our money, time and interest 60 years after he died is testament to his contribution to the sport and the impact of his personal courage.

    Gehrig wasn't without flaws. Rather he was a perfect antithesis to teammate Babe Ruth, a significantly flawed fella who wasn't without his personal qualities. Together, they stand as icons of the golden age of the sport, and Eig's biography pointedly (and poignantly) paints Gehrig as a myth-in-the-making, utterly unaware of his deity-to-be.

    And that's how it should be.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A True Role Model
    Reading this book made me wonder, "Are there any men of this caliber of character in MLB today?"My immediate answer would be, "No."Who in today's big leagues would feel almost embarassed to get a raise?Who would play for such a quiet love of the game?

    A ballplayer from the 80s, Ryne Sandberg, does come to mind.Of course, he was nowhere the player of Gehrig (who is?), but he always seemed like a gentleman who gave it his all.

    God Bless Lou Gehrig and all he stood for.Read this book if you want to be inspired by a genuine American role model and hero.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Rise and Fall of the Iron Horse
    In his biography of Lou Gehrig, Jonathon Eig offers up a portrait of an iron willed individual, complex to a fault, who achieved the highest level of success in a sport dominated by oversize personalities such as Ruth, Cobb,and Alexander. Lou may not have had the talent of those men , but his work ethic and boy scout persona honed his skills to the extent he became the greatest offensive force in the game in the late 1920's and 30's. Not just a portrait of a superior athelete, Luckiest Manexamines Lou's struggles with the disease which would become linked with his name. A wonderful read which draws you into the golden age of sports,providing a link from Babe Ruth to Joe Dimaggio, Luckiest Man is a rare sports bio which offers adose of humanity of such a complex man .

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Great Read!
    Paints an informed and vivid picture of a complicated man with an inspiring and unbelievable work ethic.Great for baseball fans, but also great for anyone seeking inspiration in the face of adversity.Often when talented people are brought down in the prime of their lives, they become martyrs and their accomplishments are embellished over time.For the story of Lou Gehrig's life and death, martyrdom and embellishment are neither necessary nor appropriate, and Jonathan Eig skillfully avoids both of them.One can only wonder how long Lou Gehrig's streak would have lasted had he not been stricken at such a young age.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Well researched, great read!
    This is an amazing book.Eig has done a ton of research (check out the list of primary sources in the back!), and lets you see Gehrig as a man, not just through his stats as a baseball player.After reading this book, I really felt like I had some insight into Lou Gehrig's personality, his upbringing, his motivation, and especially his courage as he faced a slow death from ALS.By seeing Gehrig as a complete person, including his faults, I believe Gehrig becomes even more of a hero.

    This book is very well written and could be enjoyed by baseball historians, casual fans, and those who might only know the name Lou Gehrig.I'm proud to have this book on my shelf next to great baseball writers like Lawrence Ritter, Robert Creamer, and Harold Seymour. ... Read more

    5. Cubs Nation : 162 Games. 162 Stories. 1 Addiction.
    list price: $22.95
    our price: $15.61
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0385513003
    Catlog: Book (2005-04-12)
    Publisher: Doubleday
    Sales Rank: 2105
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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    Reviews (2)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Cub Nation Rocks!
    A great baseball book by a great writer! Gene Wojciechowski provides true-to-life experiences of an entire baseball season through the 2004 Chicago Cubs. Not just stories about the players, but all aspects surrounding a club throughout the season. All sports fans, not just baseball and Cub fans, will enjoy Cub Nation. Buy several copies for gifts!

    5-0 out of 5 stars As much fun as sitting in the bleachers with a cold one
    While the 2004 season wasn't good for the Cubs, this book is great for the fans. And not just Cubs fans (although there are plenty of us out there). Gene Wojciechowski manages to show why we're all fans in the first place.

    Wojciechowski uses a clever format -- 162 stories (one for each game of the season) on everyone and everything Cubdom from the ballhawks to the beer guy to the umpire's room attendent to the guy who parks the cars to the players to Dusty Baker to stream of Cubs consciousness with Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder to movie pitches with Bull Durham's Ron Shelton to beers at the Billy Goat -- and it's a book that is impossible to put down.

    Told from the fans' point of view -- and it's obvious Wojciechowski is a fan -- it's a book for us, about us, no matter who our favorite team is or where they finished in the standings.

    This is a must-read for any sports fan. ... Read more

    6. The Old Ball Game: How John McGraw, Christy Mathewson, and the New York Giants Created Modern Baseball
    by Frank Deford
    list price: $24.00
    our price: $16.32
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0871138859
    Catlog: Book (2005-03-10)
    Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press
    Sales Rank: 3964
    Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    In The Old Ball Game, America's most beloved sportswriter, Frank Deford, masterfully chronicles how a friendship between two towering figures in baseball helped make the sport a national pastime. At the turn of the twentieth century, every American man wanted to be Christy Mathewson. One of baseball's first superstars, he was clean-cut, didn't pitch on the Sabbath, and rarely spoke a negative word about anyone. He also had one of the most devastating arms in all of baseball. New York Giants manager John McGraw, by contrast, was ferocious. Nicknamed "the Little Napoleon," the pugnacious tough guy had been a star baseball player who helped develop the hit-and-run. When McGraw joined the Giants in 1902, the team was coming off its worst season ever. Yet within three years, Mathewson clinched New York City's first World Series title by throwing three straight shutouts over six days, an incredible feat that is often called the greatest World Series performance ever. Frank Deford, a senior contributing writer at Sports Illustrated and weekly commentator on NPR's Morning Edition, recounts the rise of baseball's first superstar, the Giants' ascent into legend, and the sport's transformation into a national obsession. ... Read more

    Reviews (3)

    3-0 out of 5 stars Not What I Expected
    Deford's book touches mostly on the personal lives of and relationship betweeen Mathewson and McGraw. If that's your principal interest, then it's a fine book. But the author says little of substance about the transition from the Deadball Era to the modern game. If that's your principal interest, then look elsewhere.

    2-0 out of 5 stars Could have been much more.
    I don't want to slam Mr. DeFord. He's obviously a very gifted writer and has made his career. But I was very disappointed in this book. I can only say that I feel a deep connection with both Mathewson and McGraw that this book did not satisfy. It basically reads like what it is - an expanded magazine article with lots of useless color thrown in and nothing substantive about Christy Mathewson or John McGraw that I haven't read any other place. I was hoping for some flesh and blood instead of a bunch of second or third-hand recollections. These men led hard lives with dignity and rage, honor and humiliation, and those vivid tones are only hinted at here. And DeFord's style is too-clever-by-half, enamored with his word play and forgetting to give me the meat. A lesser writer could have done this without injecting so much of his precious infatuation with the quaint language of turn of the century America. As I said, nothing against Mr. DeFord. I guess I was hoping for a deeper, different book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Baseball'sOdd Couple
    John McGraw and Christy Mathewson became two of baseball's most recognizable personalities with the arrival of the 20th century. McGraw made his name initially as a third baseman with the scrappy Baltimore Orioles in the 1890's.Mathewson was one of a very few college players, and found himself being tried as a first baseman along with pitching for the Giants when McGraw was brought to New York to lead the Giants for the next thirty years.Author Frank Deford manages to weave together these two diverse personalities as each left their imprint on the game during their short lives.McGraw died at the relatively young age of 60, although his bouts with the bottle made him appear much older than he was.Matty died at the youthful age of 45 due to tuberculosis, probably the result of breathing poisonous gas during a drill among soldiers while in France during World War I.The information provided on the old Baltimore Orioles can be found in numerous other books, most notably for me, Fred Lieb's history on the Baltimore Orioles as well as the information on Mathewson in other books.However, I feel Frank Deford does a good job in tying together the lives of these two giants of the game who became great friends as well.For all his crustiness, combativeness, and profane mouth, McGraw, who experienced tragedy as a young boy by seeing his mother and several siblings die of diptheria, had a sentimental side to him.He hung three pictures in his office of his favorite players (Christy Mathewson, Ross Youngs, and Mel Ott).The last sentence is not included in the book.Following his playing career Mathewson became manager of the Cincinnati Reds.He suspended one of his players, Hal Chase, because he believed him to be involved in fixing ball games.When Matty returned from France McGraw offered him a job as a coach on the Giants, only to find Hal Chase now a member of the team.McGraw had difficulty adjusting to the times as he bemoaned the modern (at that time) player, while the stature of his old Oriole teammates grew with the advancing years.You can find a lot of the information on these two baseball legends in other individual biographies, but this book will bring these two giants and close friends together in one well done (if you will) dual biography. ... Read more

    7. Coach: Lessons on the Game of Life
    by Michael Lewis
    list price: $12.95
    our price: $10.36
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0393060918
    Catlog: Book (2005-05-16)
    Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
    Sales Rank: 114
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    A story with a big heart about a boy, a coach, the game of baseball, and the game of life.

    "There are teachers with a rare ability to enter a child's mind; it's as if their ability to get there at all gives them the right to stay forever."

    There was a turning point in Michael Lewis's life, in a baseball game when he was fourteen years old. The irascible and often terrifying Coach Fitz put the ball in his hand with the game on the line and managed to convey such confident trust in Lewis's ability that the boy had no choice but to live up to it. "I didn't have words for it then, but I do now: I am about to show the world, and myself, what I can do."

    The coach's message was not simply about winning but about self-respect, sacrifice, courage, and endurance. In some ways, and now thirty years later, Lewis still finds himself trying to measure up to what Coach Fitz expected of him. 14 illustrations. ... Read more

    Reviews (4)

    4-0 out of 5 stars For Parents, Athletes and Coaches...(In That Order!)
    Having previously read Moneyball, I was keenly interested in Michael Lewis' tribute to his high school baseball coach.He did not disappoint.It is a brief, almost essay-like book that gives us snapshots of his coach and himself that reveal worlds about life, coaches, athletes, parents and rising to meet the challenge.

    He contrasts very effectively the experience he had with the experience of present-day players, and sets the coach and his ways in graphic relief against both. His admiration for his coach comes through the telling of the story, and not through a simple list of his accomplishments.

    The book does give important lessons on the game of life, thus fulfilling the promise of its' title.

    One of the book's strengths is also a weakness.It is too brief!This will make it more easily accessible for many, but this reader was left wishing for more...but isn't that the grand goal of most good authors?Michael Lewis has given us another gem.

    Highly recommended for athletes, coaches, and especially parents of athletes!Read, enjoy, learn...

    5-0 out of 5 stars I had a high school basketball coach just like Coach Fitz
    If you are a parent and are wondering if you're kids are going to grow up to be happy, but aren't sure if you're doing the right things for them, read this book.Coach Fitz is much in the same vein as Herb Brooks, the legendary Minnesota Hockey Coach - if you've seen the movice Miracle - I've lived through a wind sprint marathon myself when I played High School basketball.I can tell you unequivocally that this type of insistent compassion is rare but absolutely essential for people to learn to deal with pain.I have seen this type of leadership in the organization where I work as well, and can tell you it makes all the difference in how well an organization performs.

    5-0 out of 5 stars I know the coach
    I have recently began to train with Coach Fitz. Yes he is intimidating but i dont see why the parents would be mad at him. I understand why he pushes his players. His ace pitcher this year has already signed with Stanford but will probably go high in the draft. His pitcher wouldnt be what he is today if it wasn't for Coach Fitz. I am goin to pick up my copy of this book as soon as I can.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great book
    Author Michael Lewis does a great job showing how perseverence and determination leads to success. With illustrations and an easy to read approach, this book conveys a message of hope and stresses the importance of one's formative years. Highly recommend. ... Read more

    8. Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game
    by Michael Lewis
    list price: $13.95
    our price: $10.46
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0393324818
    Catlog: Book (2004-04)
    Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
    Sales Rank: 669
    Average Customer Review: 4.45 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    "One of the best baseball—and management—books out....Deserves a place in the Baseball Hall of Fame."—Forbes

    Moneyball is a quest for the secret of success in baseball. Following the low-budget Oakland Athletics, their larger-than-life general manger, Billy Beane, and the strange brotherhood of amateur baseball enthusiasts, Michael Lewis has written not only "the single most influential baseball book ever" (Rob Neyer, Slate) but also what "may be the best book ever written on business" (Weekly Standard).

    I wrote this book because I fell in love with a story. The story concerned a small group of undervalued professional baseball players and executives, many of whom had been rejected as unfit for the big leagues, who had turned themselves into one of the most successful franchises in Major League Baseball. But the idea for the book came well before I had good reason to write it—before I had a story to fall in love with. It began, really, with an innocent question: how did one of the poorest teams in baseball, the Oakland Athletics, win so many games?

    With these words Michael Lewis launches us into the funniest, smartest, and most contrarian book since, well, since Liar's Poker. Moneyball is a quest for something as elusive as the Holy Grail, something that money apparently can't buy: the secret of success in baseball. The logical places to look would be the front offices of major league teams, and the dugouts, perhaps even in the minds of the players themselves. Lewis mines all these possibilities—his intimate and original portraits of big league ballplayers are alone worth the price of admission—but the real jackpot is a cache of numbers—numbers!—collected over the years by a strange brotherhood of amateur baseball enthusiasts: software engineers, statisticians, Wall Street analysts, lawyers and physics professors.

    What these geek numbers show—no, prove—is that the traditional yardsticks of success for players and teams are fatally flawed. Even the box score misleads us by ignoring the crucial importance of the humble base-on-balls. This information has been around for years, and nobody inside Major League Baseball paid it any mind. And then came Billy Beane, General Manager of the Oakland Athletics.

    Billy paid attention to those numbers —with the second lowest payroll in baseball at his disposal he had to—and this book records his astonishing experiment in finding and fielding a team that nobody else wanted. Moneyball is a roller coaster ride: before the 2002 season opens, Oakland must relinquish its three most prominent (and expensive) players, is written off by just about everyone, and then comes roaring back to challenge the American League record for consecutive wins.

    In a narrative full of fabulous characters and brilliant excursions into the unexpected, Michael Lewis shows us how and why the new baseball knowledge works. He also sets up a sly and hilarious morality tale: Big Money, like Goliath, is always supposed to can we not cheer for David? ... Read more

    Reviews (209)

    4-0 out of 5 stars major eye opener onto the field of baseball
    This book is about the power of critical thinking. It traces the moves made by a general manager--Billy Beane--who, with the help of statistical geeks, was able to find undervalued players and dish off overvalued players. The author points out that players are commonly misappraised because their value is generally tied to things like "looks" and statistics like "batting average" and "rbis" and "saves" and "fielding percentage" which do not adequately reflect the extent to which a player's performance contributes to value to his team. For example, Mr. Lewis describes formulas which have been derived that accurately predict the number of runs a team will score over the course of a season, and these formulas do not depend on some very commonly used (or misused! stats) After you read this book you will get the point that on-base percentage is 3X more valuable than slugging percentage in the formulas. One drawback of the book is that the formulas discussed are not explicitely stated and their validity is not conclusively demonstrated. Another aspect of the book I also wish was expressed in more detail is the new set of pitching statistics that are devoid of any aspect of luck commonly built into today's commonly advertised stats, like "wins" and "era." In the end, the lesson of the book is that you must always ask, "why, why, why." Why do I care if this pitcher has 30 saves? Why do I care if this outfielder made 10 errors. This books explains in a fun way why you shouldn't necessary care about these questions at all!

    5-0 out of 5 stars Misleading Title, Great Book
    Even though I enjoyed Lewis' Liar's Poker, The New New Thing, and Money Culture, I wasn't planning to read Moneyball. I didn't really care about the economics of baseball. Then I found out that Moneyball is about the Oakland A's, computers, and statistics. I had to read it.

    Lewis reveals how the A's became (and have stayed) a top team even though they have one of the smallest payrolls in baseball. Billy Beane's (the general manager) method of using massive amounts of statistical information tells him what players to draft and what plays to execute under different conditions. The scouts and even the manager have become less important than his small staff of number-crunchers.

    By following certain statistically-determined rules such as "never sacrifice bunt," (the numbers show that historically, it doesn't pay off) the A's have gone to the playoffs year after year. Beane refuses to draft players out of high school, because they haven't faced enough real competition to determine, statistically, if they will be any good. It's only in college and the minor leagues that players compile meaningful stats.

    Not much money in Moneyball, just great writing, and a terrific story.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Thinking outside the box
    Michael Lewis deftly inserted himself into the A's front office to find out how a professional baseball team with a $40 million payroll can win 102 games and consistently 90 or more wins in subsequent years and compete with teams like the New York Yankees who have payrolls exceeding $130 million.

    What he reveals is that by approaching baseball in a more rational, analytical way and doing away with all the traditional conventions, you can compete with anyone who doesn't do the same. Too many GMs and coaches are seduced by speed, home runs, and batters who swing at bad pitches when the simple truth of it is that in baseball the most precious thing you have are your three outs per inning. Anything that risks losing one or more of those outs is something you should avoid. As a long-time fan of the game, it's hard for me to swallow some of the anti-traditional things Lewis describes in this book. But the proof is in the pudding as they say and the A's success over the past several years is hard to argue with.

    The focus of the book is A's GM Billy Beane, a former A's player himself who had a world of talent but could not transform that talent into a Hall of Fame career. He didn't have certain intangibles that are needed. Beane now recognizes those talents in the players he drafts, recruits and trades for. Beane's obsessive personality and unorthdox ways make for interesting reading. He's a man who seems horribly tortured by the game and yet thrives on his success in the game as well.

    There are excellent mini-biographies in the book including one on A's first baseman, Scott Hatteberg, a Red Sox catcher who was thought all but done with baseball after he ruptured a nerve in his throwing arm. The A's reclamation project recognized a diamond in the rough and brought him aboard to train him as a first baseman, mostly so they could benefit from Hattie's shrewd batting.

    Chad Bradford, the A's middle relief pitcher with the unorthodox pitching style and uncanny ability to get outs, is also profiled. A's minor league phenom Jeremy Brown, a former University of Alabama catcher who broke all sorts of NCAA records but wouldn't get a look from most pro teams, is also profiled. You get the sense from this book that there IS no traditional upbringing for a pro baseball player. The A's unusual collection of "misfits" all came from different backgrounds and most have taken a rather odd path to success.

    This book is a great insiders look at a pro baseball team and how they approach the game from a very unique perspective. The most fascinating thing of it is, the A's didn't invent what they're doing at all. They're exploiting baseball wisdom that was anyone's for the taking for the past 30 years. You just need to know where to look.

    If you're a baseball fan or just someone who can appreciate creativity and ingenuity in a world that promotes imitation, you'll enjoy this book.

    1-0 out of 5 stars Lewis Played Like a Banjo
    Michael Lewis seems unaware that the A's front office is hamming it up in front of him. Poor journalism if he couldn't figure it out.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great Reading!
    "Moneyball" is an oustanding read if your are interested in baseball, economics, and or statistics. Michael Lewis does a great job telling the story of the Oakland A's and just why a team with one of the smallest payrolls in baseball has compiled one of the best records. This was a book that I found almost impossible to put down and I know that everyone at work got sick of me talking about it, but it was fascinating!! Don't miss reading this one!! ... Read more

    9. Reversing the Curse
    by Dan Shaughnessy
    list price: $23.00
    our price: $15.64
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0618517480
    Catlog: Book (2005-05-23)
    Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
    Sales Rank: 369773
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    Book Description

    For more than eighty-five years, the Boston Red Sox have been the underdog in what ESPN named the number-one sports rivalry of all time. But in 2004 the snakebitten Sox finally got their revenge. After the stunning 2003 postseason matchup, which sent the Red Sox packing in history-making fashion, and the infamous deal that landed A-Rod, baseball"s highest-paid player, in pinstripes, the age-old rivalry escalated to dizzying new heights. The result was a season in which a plucky team of comeback kids improbably brought down the House That Ruth Built and a sports story that will long be etched in the minds and hearts of baseball fans around the world.

    From right on the sidelines, Dan Shaughnessy chronicles this unforgettable season and what it means to those involved, from the Bronx to the Hub, the front office to the bleachers. We witness the colorful antics of baseball"s best-known stars, the dramatic play on the field punctuated by bench-clearing brawls and the cold war–style battle being waged behind the scenes. We also come to understand in an intimate way what it"s like to be a fan. With lively reporting, penetrating insight, and a keen sense of history, Shaughnessy brings the 2004 season alive in all its glory, drama, and garishness. Here, in the course of one season, is the essence of a rivalry that turns everyday sports into the stuff of legend.
    ... Read more

    10. License to Deal : A Year on the Run with a Maverick Baseball Agent
    by Jerry Crasnick
    list price: $24.95
    our price: $16.47
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1594860246
    Catlog: Book (2005-06-04)
    Publisher: Rodale Books
    Sales Rank: 18157
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    Book Description

    The movie Jerry Maguire and HBO series Arli$$ barely skimmed the surface. Now the true inside story of the sports agent business is exposed as never before.

    During baseball's evolution from national pastime to a $3.6 billion business, the game's agents have played a pivotal role in driving and (some might say) ruining the sport. In a world of unchecked egos and minimal regulation, client-stealing and financial inducements have become commonplace, leading many to label the field a cesspool, devoid of loyalties and filled with predators.

    Matt Sosnick entered these shark-infested waters in 1997, leaving a job as CEO of a San Francisco high-tech company to represent ballplayers--and hoping to do so while keeping his romantic love of baseball and his integrity intact. License to Deal follows Sosnick as he deals with his up-and-coming clients (his most famous is the 2003 rookie-of-the-year pitching sensation Dontrelle Willis). We become privy to never-before-disclosed stories behind the rise of baseball's most powerful agent, Scott Boras. And we get a novel perspective on the art of the deal and the economics of baseball.

    By one of baseball's most respected sportswriters, who is now's lead Insider baseball reporter, License to Deal, like Michael Lewis's bestselling Moneyball, will provide fuel for many a heated baseball discussion.
    ... Read more

    11. Baseball Prospectus 2005
    by Baseball Prospectus Team of Experts
    list price: $17.95
    our price: $12.21
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0761135782
    Catlog: Book (2005-02-01)
    Publisher: Workman Publishing Company
    Sales Rank: 1634
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    Book Description

    The best! The Oakland As' heralded General Manager, Billy Beane, calls Baseball Prospectus the standard by which all scouting guides should be measured. Jayson Stark at ESPN says, "I never cease to be blown away by the geniuses at Baseball Prospectus." "When I have a question about a player, no matter how obscure, I pull out Baseball Prospectus," writes Rob Neyer at And John Hunt, who covers fantasy baseball for USA Today, calls it "the best book for preparing for a rotisserie draft. "Packed with statistics, analysis, and attitude for the information age, Baseball Prospectus is the essential guide for the 3.4 million serious fantasy baseball players, and the perfect game-side companion for millions more seamheads who want to understand the inside game. Baseball Prospectus gives in-depth actual data and performance analysis of 1600 players, more than any other guide, covering the majors and minors, the top 40 prospects, draft choices, and rookie ball. It features essays on every team and gimlet-eyed evaluations of at least 50 players per organization. It's the final word--delivered in a wry and witty style--on what pitchers and hitters really did in 2004, and how they'll do in 2005 and beyond. ... Read more

    12. The Greatest Baseball Stories Ever Told
    list price: $24.95
    our price: $16.47
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 158574364X
    Catlog: Book (2001-11-01)
    Publisher: The Lyons Press
    Sales Rank: 10110
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Twenty-seven essays, profiles, and stories about America's pastime.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (6)

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Title Says It All
    The baseball stories that make up this book make it possible to call this book the the Greatest Baseball Stories Ever Told. These stories have appeared in years past in the three Fireside books of baseball that are currently out of print. Since they are no longer available it would be advisable for you to strike while the iron is hot and buy this book. The book contains both fiction and non-fiction and certainly doesn't cover all the great stories that the Fireside books contain, but you can't argue with the thirty that make up this book. I would especially recommend this book for youngsters interested in baseball literature who weren't around to enjoy the Fireside books.

    5-0 out of 5 stars An instant Hall of Famer
    This is an absolutely super collection of baseball stories. There's alot of familiar stuff in here -- how could it be called the "Greatest" without John Updike's story on Ted Williams or Gay Taleses's on Joe DiMaggio -- but where the book really steps to the plate is in its surprises: like the fiction by Zane Grey and P.G. Wodehouse, whom I associate with other arenas, and tremendous non-fiction from Al Stump (on Ty Cobb), Bill Barich (on Russian barnstormers), and a completely unexpected Red Smith (on Morganna the Kissing Bandit and Johnny Bench.) This is a book aimed right for the baseball fan's heart. It certainly pierced mine.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great writing about a great sport
    There are those who prefer football or basketball, but I'll take baseball. It has a pace that some may find slow, but I think of as more leisurely, allowing suspense to build slowly and often leaving the conclusion unknown until the final out. If you're down twenty points in football with a minute left, there's no way you're going to win; if you're down three runs (a similar three scores as in the football example), there is at least still a chance.

    The dramatic twists of fate in baseball are only part of makes the sport great. There is also the rich history and the colorful characters. And unlike almost any other team sport, baseball lends itself well to the narrative structure; when you read about a baseball game, you can picture exactly what happened. An entire game could be described on paper and you can see it all in your mind; try this with a basketball game and you'll be disappointed.

    Thus this book. Take some of the great writers (in sports or otherwise), give them the best sport to write about, and you can't go wrong, and this one doesn't. As an anthology, not every story is equally fantastic, but they are all good. They serve as a reminder of what makes baseball great: its drama, its history and its character.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Home run
    Lots of good stories from lots of good writers make this an essential collection for any fan of the National Pastime. Stories like "The Catch" -- about Willie Mays' famous catch in the 1954 World Series -- literally put you in the stands an arm's length from the action. And there's alot more just as compelling.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A solid hit
    I was looking for something to decompress with after the 7th game of the World Series. Now, after reading all the stories in this awesome anthology, I can't wait for the new season to begin. This is great baseball stuff. I especially liked the profiles of Cal Ripken -- believe me, this is the way you'll want to always remember the Iron Man -- and Yogi Berra, who the writer compares to a mystic yogi. The book also has the entire Abbott and Costello "Who's On First" routine, which is every bit as funny on the page as it is on the ear. Another really memorable story comes from the old Dodgers announcer Red Barber, who I used to listen to on NPR. He writes about what Jackie Robinson went through to break the color line, and how much he learned from Robinson in the process. I recommend this highly to baseball fans everywhere. ... Read more

    13. The Juice: The Real Story of Baseball's Drug Problems
    by Will Carroll, William L. Carroll
    list price: $24.95
    our price: $16.47
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 156663668X
    Catlog: Book (2005-05)
    Publisher: Ivan R. Dee Publisher
    Sales Rank: 10060
    Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Baseball is a game that sparks passion, writes Will Carroll, and any attempt to change the game, for almost any reason, meets a nearly universal blockade. The specter that has been presented to fans-that steroids have somehow changed the game-has never been scientifically tested. For me, that's the necessary gold standard of proof, and it should be used with a healthy skepticism for conventional wisdom.The process I went through writing this book was one of discovery. I came into the process with an open mind and a pocket full of questions. ... Read more

    Reviews (1)

    5-0 out of 5 stars Objective, thorough, enlightening look at PEDs
    I've been a follower of Will Carroll's work on Baseball Prospectus for a while now, and got a great deal of knowledge out of his last book "Saving the Pitcher".

    "The Juice" is an excellent introduction to the ever-expanding and rapidly-changing world of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs).Mr. Carroll presents a brief history of how athletes (and their trainers) have been seeking versions of magic elixirs for centuries, and then details the physiological changes and risks (and potential benefits) associated with use of PEDs.

    Those readers looking for a tell-all on Barry Bonds and Jose Canseco should look elsewhere."The Juice" DOES devote a chapter to the BALCO investigation, but it is presented in terms of the legal pathways that are being pursued, and who is being targeted and why.Bonds DOES get mentioned, but the book thankfully does not to jump to conclusions.

    The chapter that "made" the book for me detailed the use of HGH by a high school pitcher who was told by a scout that he wasn't tall enough.The interviews of the kid and his parents was amazing and thought-provoking.

    Well done Will!

    ... Read more

    14. The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty: The Game, the Team, and the Cost of Greatness
    by Buster Olney
    list price: $26.95
    our price: $17.79
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0060515066
    Catlog: Book (2004-09-01)
    Publisher: Ecco
    Sales Rank: 699
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    Book Description

    For an extraordinary handful of years around the turn of the millennium, the Yankees were baseball's unstoppable force. With four World Series championships in five seasons and a deep bench of legends and comers -- Clemens, Rivera, Williams, Soriano, Jeter, O'Neill -- they dominated the major leagues, earning the love of their hometown fans and the grudging admiration of players and spectators everywhere.

    For the members of the team, though, baseball Yankees-style was an almost unbearable pressure cooker of anxiety, expectation, and infighting. With owner George Steinbrenner at the wheel, the Yankees money machine spun out of control, and as the team's revenues skyrocketed, salaries were inflated unimaginably -- and smaller teams found themselves priced out of competition. True devotees of the game suffered, and so did Steinbrenner's employees. Emboldened by New York's unforgiving fans, Steinbrenner let the Yankees know loud and clear that their fat paychecks carried an equally exaggerated mandate: win now, and win all the time -- any season that doesn't end in a World Series victory is an unforgivable failure. As the spending and emotion spiraled, careers were made and broken, friendships began and ended, and a sports dynasty rose and fell.

    In The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty, Buster Olney tracks the Yankees through these exciting and tumultuous seasons, providing insightful portraits of the stars, the foot soldiers, the coaches, the manager, and the Boss himself. With profound knowledge of the game and an insider's familiarity with the team, Olney also advances a compelling argument that the philosophy that made the Yankees great was inherently unsustainable, ultimately harmful to the sport, and led inevitably to that warm autumn night in Arizona -- the last night of the Yankee dynasty.

    ... Read more

    15. Baseball for Dummies
    by JoeMorgan
    list price: $19.99
    our price: $13.59
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0764552341
    Catlog: Book (2000-02-07)
    Publisher: For Dummies
    Sales Rank: 30557
    Average Customer Review: 3.93 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    “There may not be anyone alive who knows more about baseball than Joe Morgan.”
    —Bob Costas, NBC Sports Broadcaster

    “This book has something for everybody, from longtime fans to Little Leaguers.”
    New York Newsday

    It’s known as America’s National Pastime. It’s nicknamed “The Greatest Game Ever Invented.” No question about it: baseball is a way of life for millions, whether they’re watching from the bleachers or sluggers in their own right. After more than 150 years as an all-American sport, baseball lingo is even part of our everyday language. With all its history and influence, baseball is a phenomenon we should at least be able to yak about at the water cooler—even if we never set foot on the diamond.

    Whether you don’t know the difference between a shortstop and a backstop, dabble in a bit of fantasy baseball, or need to perfect your split-fingered fastball, the second edition of this classic guide shows you the ropes. Ever wondered how great outfielders get a good jump on an incoming ball? Why the bases are 90 feet apart? Baseball For Dummies has answers to those questions, along with loads of All-Star tips on:

    • Rules of the game
    • Improving your hitting, pitching, and fielding
    • Finding a team to play on, from Little League on up
    • Coaching and umpiring effectively
    • Getting more out of a trip to the ballpark than hotdogs and ice cream
    • Evaluating stats, players, and records

    Baseball Hall-of-Famer Joe Morgan—who played with the Cincinnati Reds in two World Series championships—teams up here with sportswriter Richard Lally to coach you through everything from keeping a scorecard to hitting like a Major Leaguer. In their down-to-earth style, they cover all the bases, including:

    • Getting in shape, from warm-ups to free weights
    • Playing the field: batting, baserunning, pitching, and defense from catcher to shortstop
    • Landing the best seats in the park
    • Baseball online, on the air, and on the newsstand
    • How to play fantasy baseball
    • How to snag off-the-field baseball jobs
    • All-time and current Top Ten players, pitchers, fielders, and more
    • A glossary of “baseball speak”

    You’ll get a baseline knowledge—and find out details and trivia even the most die-hard fans don’t know. If you’re looking to walk the walk, or just be able to talk the talk, step up to the plate: Baseball For Dummies delivers the goods. ... Read more

    Reviews (14)

    2-0 out of 5 stars Not really for dummies.
    Joe Morgan is probably one of the more astute baseball minds there is today. For the true baseball fan, his analysis is usually right on the mark and insightful. However, he does not translate well into "...for Dummies" book. I purchased the book for a friend, hoping it would provide a basic understanding. But Morgan gets too in-depth too quickly. The level of explanation is too high for the non-fan (the "dummy") and too low for a true fan.

    5-0 out of 5 stars The Best Baseball How-To Book Ever!
    Joe Morgan was a small man who became a Hall of Famer and the greatest second baseman ever by dint of hard work and intelligience. In Baseball for Dummies he translates that intelligience into a comprehensive primer that will captivate baseball novices and diehards. Joe starts with the basics ("This is a baseball..") and gradually moves the reader up to the more nuanced aspects of the game. The book is accessible to anyone who can read, yet it never talks down to the reader. And the prose is lively enough to interest even the most casual fan.
    I've seen the other books that try to reveal how baseball should be played. None of them are as informative or focused as the terrific guide.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Tries to cover too many bases
    This book is fun to read and very well written. However, it seemed to try too hard to suit all audiences. The danger in that, of course, is that it doesn't do a great job for any one type of reader. I got this book for the basic baseball knowledge it contains--I recently got "hooked" on baseball, and wanted to know more about the rules, how to keep score, how statistics are computed and what they mean. And there is some of that in this book. However, a great deal more of the book is aimed at little leaguers--how to pick out equipment, how to practice, and so on. Then there are the sections on great players. I think the readers who pick up this book are going to want more in-depth information on the particular area they are interested in. So, this book may be your first book on baseball, but it won't be your last! Just whets the appetite, so to speak.

    The book tries to do too much, and would have better served the reader by concentrating on one area. Nonetheless, Joe Morgan comes across as very knowledgeable and a great guy!

    3-0 out of 5 stars What is the target audience for this book?
    Baseball for Dummies covers many different subjects, from great players to practice drills to how to set up a league. It may range over too many subjects - the beginning fan doesn't need to know about practice drills, and a Little Leaguer doesn't need to know about the great players. I think this book is better for novice players than for novice fans.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Good Baseball Starter
    This is a good baseball starter book. It is not "great" as some of the other Dummies books that I have used. Some of it is more involved than I would expect, yet some of the more detailed sections skip important details that should have been included. Still, it is probably one of the better buys in this genre.

    I have played ball over several decades and I even learned a couple things from this book. The coverage was fairly good and the strategies for the different positions and analysis of their requirements and difficulties was something that only a true professional could provide with conviction.

    This list of "records that are least likely to be broken" were entertaining and convincing -- some things that I probably would not have thought of. ... Read more

    16. The Teammates
    by David Halberstam
    list price: $22.95
    our price: $16.06
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 140130057X
    Catlog: Book (2003-05-14)
    Publisher: Hyperion
    Sales Rank: 1670
    Average Customer Review: 4.54 out of 5 stars
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    As baseball legend Ted Williams lay dying in Florida, his old Boston Red Sox teammates Johnny Pesky and Dom DiMaggio piled into a car and drove 1,300 miles to see their friend. Another member of the close-knit group, Bobby Doerr, remained in Oregon to tend to his wife who had suffered a stroke. Besides providing a poignant travelogue of the elderly Pesky and DiMaggio's trip, David Halberstam's The Teammates goes back in time to profile the men as young ballplayers. Although it is enlightening to learn about Doerr, Pesky, and DiMaggio, the leader of the group and star of the book is Williams. Halberstam portrays the notoriously moody and difficult Williams as a complex man: driven by a rough childhood and a fiercely competitive nature to become perhaps the greatest pure hitter of all time while also being a magnetic personality and loving friend. While there is nothing exceptionally unusual about old men who have stayed friends (plenty of people stay friends, after all), baseball gives this particular relationship a unique makeup. Unlike most friendships, that of Williams, Doerr, Pesky, and DiMaggio was viewed all summer long by hooting, hollering Red Sox fans. As such, their bond is forged both of individual accomplishment, win-loss records, numerous road trips, and, since they played for the Red Sox, annual doses of disappointment. Halberstam, author of Summer of '49 and October 1964 is the ideal writer to tell two equally intriguing stories, both rich in America's pastime. Although he occasionally drops himself into the narrative, one expects that of Halberstam and gladly accepts it in exchange for the highly readable exposition infused with poetic majesty that has become his trademark. --John Moe ... Read more

    Reviews (52)

    5-0 out of 5 stars "The Red Sox killed my father. Now they┬┐re coming after me."
    The 1946 World Series match-up between Boston and the St. Louis Cardinals went to seven games before Boston finally lost the championship, and Halberstam makes this seventh game come alive in all its frustrating excitement. The book is unique, however, not because of its rehash of old ball games, but because it brings back an era, more than a half-century ago, when close and supportive friendships developed between players who spent their whole careers on the same team. Telling the story of the sixty-year friendship of baseball greats Ted Williams, Bobby Doerr, Dom DiMaggio, and Johnny Pesky of the Boston Red Sox, Halberstam shows the kind of friendship which was possible in an era in which players were people, not commodities.

    Warm and nostalgic, the book opens in October, 2001, as Dom DiMaggio, accompanied by Boston writer Dick Flavin and Johnny Pesky, makes a melancholy car trip from Boston to Florida to pay a last visit to Ted Williams, who is dying. As the men drive from Boston to Florida, they reminisce about their playing days more than fifty years in the past, recalling anecdotes about their friendship and talking about their lives, post-baseball.

    Halberstam uses these memories as the framework of this book, describing the men from their teenage years. All were from the West Coast, all were about the same age, all arrived in Boston to begin their careers within the same two-year period, and all shared similar values. Ted Williams, "the undisputed champion of contentiousness," was the most dominant of the group. Bobby Doerr was Williams's closest friend and roommate, "a kind of ambassador from Ted to the rest of the world," Doerr himself being "very simply among the nicest and most balanced men." Bespectacled Dom DiMaggio, the brother of Vince and Joe, was the consummate worker, a smart player who had been "forced to study everything carefully when he was young in order to maximize his chances and athletic abilities." Johnny Pesky, combative and small, was also "kind, caring, almost innocent."

    Stories and anecdotes, sometimes told by the players themselves, make the men individually come alive and show the depth and value of their friendship. The four characters remain engaging even when, in the case of Williams, they may be frustratingly disagreeable. There's a bittersweet reality when Halberstam brings the lives of Williams, Doerr, DiMaggio, and Pesky, all now in their eighties, up to the present--these icons are, of course, as human as the rest of us, subject to the same physical deterioration and illnesses. In Halberstam's sensitive rendering of their abiding relationship, however, we see them as men who have always recognized and preserved the most important of human values, and in that respect they continue to serve as heroes and exemplars to baseball fans throughout the country. Mary Whipple

    5-0 out of 5 stars Friendship
    Teammates is a story of true friendship. The book centers around three greats from the Boston Red Sox, Ted Williams, Dom Dimaggio, John Pesky, and Bobby Doerr. Their final meeting is used as a backdrop for several stories from their playing days.

    The story starts in the final months of the life of Ted Williams. Dimaggio and Pesky are inspired to reunite with their friend before his inevitable death. Bobby Doerr is unable to make the trip because of the health of his wife.

    The book is formatted in the same way things were probably discussed in the car that day. The stories build up as each one of the four joins the team with the final addition being Pesky. The book continues as it goes through the teams years as a American League powerhouse. Unfortunately, World War II and the Korean War would be the main factor in preventing these baseball icons for playing in more than one World Series. The Red Sox lost that one World Series to the Cardinals. The play that allegedly turned that series is discussed in detail. The misfortune for which Pesky was blamed is a travesty. Even his teammates try to take the blame from Pesky. Being the stand-up guy that he is, Pesky continues to unjustly accept the blame. The book ends with each playing leaving the team until Williams returns from the Korean War to find all of his friends are gone. This drains much of the fun of the game for Williams. As a consequence he also leaves baseball.

    Halberstam really does not write a book as buy as he retells stories from a car ride. This book is certain to become a favorite of those who enjoy baseball or the friendships developed in team sports. It should also be required reading for Red Sox fans.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Moving Tribute to Friendship
    This is a moving book about friendship. As baseball legend Ted Williams' lay slowly dying at age 83 in the fall of 2001, his former teammates Johnny Pesky, Dom DiMaggio, and Bobby Doerr considered making the long drive to Florida for a final visit. The narrative focuses on that trip, and the enduring friendship between these four that continued for five decades after their playing days ended. Readers come to know these men, their backgrounds, flaws, strengths, families, health conditions, and post-baseball careers. Fans will enjoy their playing memoirs from the powerful Red Sox squads of the 1940's - teams that often fell just short at season's end. Adding spice to the narrative are Boston sportswriter Dick Flavin (who made the trip) and occasionally the author David Halberstam. This is another outstanding baseball book by Halberstam (SUMMER OF '49, OCTOBER 1964); let's hope he'll write more. THE TEAMMATES is a concise and moving tribute to friendship, baseball...and life.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Life-long Lessons!
    When we are young, most of us idolize certain sports heroes . . . usually because of their feats on the field rather than for their characters. Author David Halberstam had the great pleasure of getting to know some of his idols when he wrote the Summer of '49 about the Yankee-Red Sox pennant race in that year. He kept up with his new friends from the Red Sox including Ted Williams, Dom DiMaggio, Bobby Doerr and Johnny Pesky after the book came out. When he learned that in 2002 about the last trip that Dom, and Johnny had taken to see Ted, Mr. Halberstam knew that he had a story. This book relates that tale.

    The book recounts the backgrounds of all four players, details their friendships from the days when they were in the minor leagues through the end of their lives and provides lots of perspective on the Red Sox during the 1940s and 1950s when these remarkable players were on the team. The end of the book also has the lifetime stats for each player.

    One of the intriguing parts of the book is how hard Ted Williams was on himself and his friends. It is a remarkable tale of friendship to see how others would tolerate his abuse by rolling with the punches. Behind the friendships, you get many glimpses of great character . . . character that actually makes their athletic accomplishments seem paler by comparison.

    I strongly urge all Red Sox fans and parents who want their children to develop better characters to read this book, and share the story with their friends and family. I know of no better book about athletes that looks at the qualities of true greatness.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great book about baseball and friendship
    Back in the 1940's and 1950's Ted Williams, Dom DiMaggio, Johnny Pesky and Bobby Doerr were stars for the Boston Red Sox. Over the next 50 years or so, they remained the closest of friends. This book gives us a good look at that friendship, on and off the field, and at these four men.

    It's unusual for a group of friends to stay so close for so long, but reading about the friendship makes you wish you were part of the group.

    The book is full of humorous stories about their playing days and the years that followed. It also shows how close this team came to being a dynasty, but ended up only playing in one World Series (which they lost).

    Halberstam does a great job, as always, showing us what baseball was like in the good old days and how the friendship between these players grew and remained strong over the years. It's one of the best baseball books I've ever read. ... Read more

    17. The Mental ABC's of Pitching: A Handbook for Performance Enhancement
    by H. A. Dorfman
    list price: $19.95
    our price: $19.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1888698292
    Catlog: Book (2000-01-01)
    Publisher: Diamond Communications
    Sales Rank: 42032
    Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Pitching at every level, from Little League to Major League, requires much more than good mechanics. Baseball, especially pitching, is a mental game of strategy, confidence, and performance. Here from an eminent sports psychologist and the co-author of the classic book, The Mental Game of Baseball, is a clear and insightful guide to the art of pitching.

    A handbook written as an easy-to-use, A-to-Z reference, Dorfmans latest book addresses the problems ever pitcher can face before, during, and after competitionand the strategies for solving these problems. From concise discussions on topics ranging from Adjustments to Zeros, The Mental ABCs of Pitching: A Handbook for Performance Enhancement is the perfect companion to The Mental Game of Baseball and a must resource for every pitcherand not a bad idea for hitters who want to learn more about the mental moves on the mound. ... Read more

    Reviews (4)

    5-0 out of 5 stars A wonderfully wise and inspirational book
    This is a really beautiful book to read. It is a must for all pitchers and their coaches. But it is more than that because it is also about life in general though especially relevant to anyone who loves baseball. It is about being philosophical about our failures and being courageous enough to go out to win in the face of them. In that sense anyone who reads this book will feel a little wiser about life both on and perhaps also off-field regardless of whether they are a baseball player or not.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A wonderful book, but a TOOL that should be USED
    Noooooo !! Don't let the book aside because it seems to be a usual or boring ABC dictionnary. Take your time to look at the content. The paragraphs are linked together with a lot of callbacks. It really forms a great GLOBAL mental APPROACH to the act of pitching and not only a sum of psychological analyses. This book is mainly descriptive, based on experience and examples and that can repulse some people. However if you have the commitment to go further reading, you will profit from the KEY POINTS and PRACTICAL ADVISES given at the end of each paragraph. Put these tips into your practice program progressively, learn them, try them, adapt them, get feedback down the line and adjust. If not used, this reference will be wasted and will only remain a good book that you have read on the sofa. It is said "Every player and coach will HAVE one". Even if it is highly interesting only reading it, I hope that every player and coach will USE it to complement its program in the bullpen. It will be hard to write a better book on the subject before a long time.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Exactly what pitching is meant to be
    This book gives exactly what is needed to pitchers who have not explored their craft to the fullest. This book gives you, the pitcher, the opportunity to not only get better, but to become a professional at the game you love.

    5-0 out of 5 stars College Coach Finds Book Helpful
    I am an assistant coach at the University of Virginia and love Dorfman's work (see The Mental Game of Baseball). The information he provides in this book allows pitchers to take control of their performance. So often, players work hard, but cannot figure out why they don't perform better. This book shares the experience of a person who has actually taught major league pitchers how to perform near the highest level that their ability allows. It is well-written and a must for any high school (and up) pitcher who truly wants to find out how good he can be (that is - he is willing to pay the price of hard work for success on and off the field). ... Read more

    18. Ball Four
    list price: $15.95
    our price: $10.85
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0020306652
    Catlog: Book (1990-07-12)
    Publisher: Wiley
    Sales Rank: 10295
    Average Customer Review: 4.69 out of 5 stars
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    As a player, former hurler Jim Bouton did nothing half-way; he threw so hard he'd lose his cap on almost every pitch. In the early '70s, he tossed off one of the funniest, most revealing, insider's takes on baseball life in Ball Four, his diary of the season he tried to pitch his way back from oblivion on the strength of a knuckler. The real curve, though, is Bouton's honesty. He carves humans out of heroes, and shines a light into the game's corners. A quarter century later, Bouton's unique baseball voice can still bring the heat. ... Read more

    Reviews (75)

    5-0 out of 5 stars True Major League Baseball world revealed !!!!!!
    Jim Bouton is not a name that comes up when discussing the all time greats of baseball. However, when discussing the all time greatest baseball novels, his name should come up every time. Ball Four is a fantastic day-in-the-life recounting of a single player's (Bouton's) Major League season - more specifically, the season being 1969, and his playing days that year split between the upstart franchise Seattle Pilots, and the beleagured, relatively new Houston Astros. What sets the novel apart is it's absolutely brutal, truthful (but very taboo) telling of the player's and coach's personalities and lifestyles. Not a single vulgarity or shocking sequence is missed in Bouton's daily log he kept which eventually became this famous non-fiction piece. It also created more enemies in the game than he could've imagined. He only played one and a half more seasons after it's publication, and is a testament to a very intelligent, and brave athlete who wrote with a beautifully relaxing, very funny, and down-to-earth tone. A great read for true baseball fans.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Baseball classic
    When "Ball Four" was published in 1970, Jim Bouton was attacked by players, sportswriters, and the owners for revealing the secret, sordid underbelly of professional baseball. Which should be enough right there to get you to read this thing. But in "Ball Four," Bouton also reveals the humanity of baseball, the fear, the hate, and the fun, which makes it one of the classics of baseball literature and a must read.

    Basically, "Ball Four" is a diary of the 1968 season written by a journeyman middle-relief knuckleballer. Before injuring his arm, and turning to the knuckleball, Bouton was a fireball pitcher for the New York Yankees. In his rookie season in 1962, Bouton won two games for the Yanks in the World Series. He played with Mantle and Ford. Then his arm went dead, and he found himself back in the minors, where he taught himself to throw the knuckler. The Yanks didn't think much of him anymore and traded him to the expansion Seattle Pilots (which left Seattle after a single year for...get this...Milwaukee), where he earned a spot as a spot starter and mopup long relief man.

    The book reveals the personalities of the players and managers and owners. It tells what the players do on the road, in the bullpen, in the minors. It reveals the petty nature of the coaching staff, who are usually all old-time baseball men, not very clever, not prone to trying new ways. It talks about the dicey contract negotiations by players in the days of the reserve clause, when average players made an average wage.

    Bouton travels in the world of boys. The players are mostly kids in their 20s, not educated, and spent their formative years in baseball. They like pranks. They like women, but they don't know either how to talk about them, or how to talk with them. Most of the time, they just try to look up their skirts. They drink. They sneak in past curfew.

    But Bouton also works in a competitive business market. Pitchers hide their arm injuries for fear of being sent down. Players fume over bench time. Coaches think small, because to be creative and new means being out of a job. And baseball is all these guys have. They have nothing else to turn to.

    Certainly in light of recent ballplayer behavior - think of the Pittsburgh cocaine scandals, Strawberry and Gooden, and the thuggish, drug-addled violence associated with football and basketball - "Ball Four" depicts a harmless and almost nostalgic view of baseball. But it still stands as a baseball classic for its honesty, its authenticity, and you wonder how much has changed since 1968.

    In the end, the players, owners, and writers should have celebrated the publication of "Ball Four." Sure, it did spawn a string of subsequent tell-alls, and it did forever swing aside the curtain shielding the ballplayer from public scrutiny, but this is a modern age, and we want heroes with all their flaws. Who is it more fun to root for on the field, a straw dummy propped up by a marketing machine, or a man?

    4-0 out of 5 stars Nice Insight in Pro Baseball
    My teacher for my History of Sports class recommended this book and I bought it. He told us that is was a very controversial book at the time because it spoke of things that were better left unspoken. That is the best recommendation you can get!

    It is a very funny book, sometimes Bouton describes things that could be in a movie about baseball, a National Lampoon version that is. There is drinking gambling and looking at girls from all angles. But didn't we all expect them to this anyway?

    He was ostracized by baseball but it is really harmless fun, the new sections in this edition also talk about what happened after the first edition came out. Get it

    5-0 out of 5 stars Damn near perfect
    Jim Bouton's Ball Four has rightly been called the best sports book of all times by publications that actually matter, but I figure I'll throw my two cents in, too. In a day before an ol' ballplayer could hire a ghost and slap together some fond memories or pathetic pleas for forgiveness (hiya, Pete Rose), Bouton, making a comeback as a knuckleballer with the expansion Seattle Pilots, toted a tape recorder with him for an entire year in order to write this day-by-day account of life in the bigs.
    The humor is at once anecdotal and observational, and, most importantly, consistent. The Seattle Pilots were rather like the Cleveland Indians in the film Major League - a haphazard collection of rookies and cast-offs trying to make it. Of course, Major League had to have the whole underdog thing going on.
    The issues that face baseball today - drugs, salaries, lack of interest by hometown fans, the Yankees being the source of all evil - are all present in Ball Four. The only part of the book that hasn't aged perfectly is the scale of the salaries - Bouton and his teammates hold out for an increase of a few thousand dollars, instead of the millions today's players make.
    In summation, there is no baseball book you should read before this one, and there are precious few books you should read, period, before this one. Ball Four is in every right an American masterpiece.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Must Read
    Ball Four is a must read for all sports fans. The first of it's kind, Bouton takes readers on the wild ride of a baseball pitcher that has played with the greats (Yankees) and the not so greats (Pilots). Ball Four is a book that reaches all generations and should be on every book shelf. ... Read more

    19. The Numbers Game : Baseball's Lifelong Fascination with Statistics
    by Alan Schwarz
    list price: $14.95
    our price: $11.16
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 0312322232
    Catlog: Book (2005-05-02)
    Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
    Sales Rank: 47586
    Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    Most baseball fans, players and even team executives assume that the national pastime's infatuation with statistics is simply a by-product of the information age, a phenomenon that blossomed only after the arrival of Bill James and computers in the 1980s.They couldn't be more wrong.

    In this award-winning book, Alan Schwarz - whom bestselling Moneyball author Michael Lewis calls "one of today's best baseball journalists" - provides the first-ever history of baseball statistics, showing how baseball and its numbers have been inseparable ever since the pastime's birth in 1845. He tells the history of this obsession through the lives of the people who felt it most: Henry Chadwick, the 19th-century writer who invented the first box score and harped endlessly about which statistics mattered and which did not; Allan Roth, Branch Rickey's right-hand numbers man with the late-1940s Brooklyn Dodgers; Earnshaw Cook, a scientist and Manhattan Project veteran who retired to pursue inventing the perfect baseball statistic; John Dewan, a former Strat-O-Matic maven who built STATS Inc. into a multimillion-dollar powerhouse for statistics over the Internet; and dozens more.

    Schwarz paints a history not just of baseball statistics, but of the soul of the sport itself.Named as ESPN's 2004 Baseball Book of the Year, The Numbers Game will be an invaluable part of any fan's library and go down as one of the sport's classic books.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (11)

    4-0 out of 5 stars Stick to the research; stop the similies
    Comprehensively researched book that's marred by surprisingly poor writing. Alan Schwartz has done a great job of bringing to light both the evolution of baseball's traditional statistics and the discoveries by "outsiders" who have changed the way we understand the game in the past 25 years. He gives credit where credit is due and isn't afraid to kick the shins of those who deserve it -- from baseball's official statisticians to noted author Thomas Boswell.If he'd just lay off the amateurish similies and metaphors, he would earn a "5" in my book.

    5-0 out of 5 stars STATS don't lie
    This book is simply, hands-down, amazing.It gives a spectaular history of America's game and tells how all of today's STATS have changed over time.I suggest reading this book if you are a fan of baseball and/or statistics.

    5-0 out of 5 stars A Delightful Read for Between the Seasons.
    Watching a professional baseball game on television is an exercise in just how much statistical information can be displayed on the screen without totally blocking out the game itself. What I didn't realize was just how much history there was behind these numbers. I presumed, with I suppose a majority of other people, that all these statistics were simply a product of all the new computers.

    No, the author says, the numbers began just about as soon as the game was invented. In fact, I'm kind of surprised that the numbers didn't come first, but I guess that they couldn't -- could they?

    Nah! They couldn't. The first big statistical report of a baseball series didn't appear until August 18, 1858.

    Delightful book with the season now over and months until the new one starts.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Great Read for Baseball Stats and Analytic Junkies
    This book does a tremendous job of wrapping interesting stories around the discrete steps forward and contributions made by some of the greatest baseball analysts of all time. The book covers the entire history of the game from Henry Chadwick's box scores and arguments right through to today's 3-D modeling software.

    If you are more of a day to day game watching fan and not truly enthralled with the statisitics of the game, you might want to look elsewhere but if you love analysis...I recommend this highly to those who love the numbers game within the game of baseball.

    5-0 out of 5 stars Inside the numbers
    This book is an absolute delight to read for the baseball fan regardless of how many histories of the game you've already read. Alan Schwarz has delivered a perfect blend of Baseball history and the evolution of statistics that we today take for granted as being integral to the game. In this book we learn thatwasn't necessarily always true and Schwarz takes us inside the development and the arguments surrounding the relevance of various stats. At the same time the characters involved both in the statistical sense and in the game itself are colorfully described.
    This was a wonderful book that entertained and educated on a subject that legions of baseball fans are absorbed in every day. The stats and their development are weaved into the history of baseball creating a unique historical view of the game we love. ... Read more

    20. The Game: One Man, Nine Innings : A Love Affair With Baseball
    by R. Benson, Robert Benson
    list price: $23.95
    our price: $23.95
    (price subject to change: see help)
    Asin: 1585421014
    Catlog: Book (2001-05-01)
    Publisher: Jeremy P. Tarcher
    Sales Rank: 272734
    Average Customer Review: 4.33 out of 5 stars
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    Book Description

    In the spirit of Field of Dreams, a remarkable book about baseball and the meaning of life from the author of Living Prayer.

    A game between the Iowa Cubs and the Nashville Sounds at an AAA park in Nashville, Tennessee, provides a lens through which Robert Benson explores the game of baseball and the meaning of life in The Game. It is "an ordinary week night game in the early part of the season between two teams that will finish far out of first place in the Pacific League." But Benson shows us how in this average game of baseball, just as in our everyday lives, the routine plays-the seemingly minor yet vital moves, empty of bravado-eventually win the game.

    In beautifully measured prose, Benson links events in his life to the innings in this baseball game. Married to a woman who can quote baseball stats with the best of them and with two children who share his love for the game (his teenage daughter made the decision early on that she would be the first woman to play for the Yankees), Benson explores the ways in which baseball has always somehow shaped and defined his life. The Game is an extraordinary testament to the everlasting wonder and magic of the great American pastime.
    ... Read more

    Reviews (6)

    5-0 out of 5 stars awesome...
    the human drama plays on, even with the world's greatest baseball player and his friends....

    4-0 out of 5 stars While we're at it...
    Let's point out a couple other factual errors about Mr. Benson's book. First of all he claims Harry Caray's signature home run call is, "It could be, it might be, it is!"
    Actually, Harry used to say, "It might be, it could be, it is!"
    I'm sure this is pretty trivial, but I've heard Harry call it this way hundreds of times and I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to point this out. Benson makes this mistake a few times in this book, and it's annoying.
    Benson also claims to be at Wrigley Field one day in May to see a young phenom by the name of Kerry Wood face the author's favorite team the Braves. At that game, Benson and his wife and the rest of the crowd are led in a rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" by none other than Harry Caray.
    Well, Harry died in February of 1998, and Kerry Wood didn't make his major league debut until 4/12/1998 (Easter Sunday) against the Expos.
    The reason why I bring this up is because I often wondered what Harry would have said had he been alive during Wood's 20 strikeout performance against the Astros and the remarkable 1998 season that we all enjoyed as Cubs fans.
    These are just a couple of annoying factual errors that I encounter in Benson's book. Other than that, I love the book and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys baseball and doesn't view it as just a sport, but as a way of life.
    Despite the errors mentioned above, Mr. Benson, I would love to play catch or have you hit fungoes to me anytime.

    3-0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful book marred by factual errors
    Although I enjoyed this book's leisurely stroll through one man's relationship with baseball, I was disturbed by some serious screwups.

    First, Benson gets wrong the year Roger Maris' single season record for home runs was broken. Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa pursued and passed Maris in 1998, not 1999. This is an almost unbelievable error. Only three seasons after the fact, a baseball author making this mistake is like an American historian writing about the original twelve colonies.

    Six pages later we read about the famous home run hit by
    "a light hitting infielder named Bobby Thomson" in 1951. Thomson was an outfielder and finished tied for fourth (with Stan Musial) in the National League in home runs that year with 32.

    Since Benson's book is built on his lifelong love of the game, mistakes like this diminish our trust even if they don't make us doubt the depth of his feeling. His sincerity seems very real, and his writing is smooth, personal and appealing.

    Mistakes aside, it's nice to read a baseball book by a fan who is a writer first.

    5-0 out of 5 stars One of the best baseball books
    This is one of the best baseball books out there, for my money better than books by the likes of Bob Costas and George Will. Why? Because this is a book about the actual pleasures of the game: playing it, teaching it to children, watching and keeping score of live games, and so forth. Most books about baseball become treatises on the metaphysics of the game. This one is about the sport itself, as it is actually played on sandlots and in professional stadiums. Robert Benson writes about just a few ordinary games and a several extraordinary memories and thus avoids the tedious abstractions that infect the prose of many writers on the sport (excluding the likes of Gammons and Boswell, and a few others). There is no other American sports book quite like this one. The closest book I can compare it to would be Nick Hornby's FEVER PITCH, which is a classic exploration of what life is like for a sports fan (in this case, an English soccer fan). Benson's book does the same thing, in my opinion, for baseball, which is the highest praise I can give it.

    4-0 out of 5 stars Pleasurable Reading
    I eagerly awaited this new release from Robert Benson, having savored his two previous non-fiction books and the prayer book he had published. At first, though, I was disappointed: I was waiting for some of his customary spiritual autobiography based on baseball themes, but did not get any. Instead, Benson charts the understanding of his life through the plot of a nine inning baseball game that he sat through at Greer Stadium in Nashville. Each chapter reports what Benson saw at the game, and proceeds to record his ruminations about his life, sparked by the events of the game. Also thrown in are several quotations from Bartlett Giamatti, the esteemed former commissioner of baseball. A word of caution: If you are seeking to buy this book for spiritual insight, you might stick with a rereading of Living Prayer or Between the Dreaming and the Coming True. But if you want to read a book for the pure pleasure of Benson's masterful prose, then you cannot go wrong with this selection; his prose gets better and better the more he publishes. After getting over my initial frustration (which was my fault; not Benson's), I read the book in one night and was very satisfied. I strongly recommend this book to all baseball fans and to fans of Robert Benson. I gave the book four stars instead of five only because I felt that when Benson applied his insights to life he became too moralistic and determinative, instead of the usual open-ended application I have come to expect from him. ... Read more

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