New baseball reads for 2020: A safe place to find book recommendations — 50 and counting

bca420371def8d13bff3052aee412a74By Tom Hoffarth

(Updated 10.9.20)

When will there be good news?

(We’re just looking at the title of the book that “Master of Horror” author Stephen King is reading while attending a game at Fenway Park. … from the guy who wrote “Misery”)

Last spring, our 2020 baseball book review series — 30 baseball book reviews posted during the 30 days of April — went sideways, as did most of life. We decided that we would be springing forward. 

We’d like to alleviate some pandemic misery.

As the reviews continue on we also update the complete list here.

*Day 1 (March 17): “State of Play: The Old School Guide to New School Baseball,” by Bill Ripken

xe4uGf6Q*Day 2 (March 19): “The Incredible Women of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League,” by Anika Orrock

*Day 3 (March 20):  “The Hidden Language of Baseball: How Signs and Sign-Stealing Having Influenced the Course of Our National Pastime,” by Paul Dickson

*Day 4 (March 23): “Buzz Saw: The Improbable Story of How the Washington Nationals Won the World Series,” by Jesse Dougherty

STEALING HOME2*Day 5 (March 24): “Stealing Home: Los Angeles, the Dodgers, and the Lives Caught in Between,” by Eric Nusbaum

*Day 6 (March 25): “The Cactus League,” by Emily Nemens

*Day 7 (March 26): “The Baseball Book of Why: The Answers to Questions You’ve Always Wondered About from America’s National Pastime,” by the late John C. McCollister

*Day 8 (March 31): “Swing Kings: The Inside Story of Baseball’s Home Run Revolution,” by Jared Diamond

91bQ7s2k28L*Day 9 (April 1): “The Wax Pack: On the Open Road in Search of Baseball’s Afterlife,” by Brad Balukjian

*Day 10 (April 2): “The Cup of Coffee Club: 11 Players and their Brush with Baseball History,” by Jacob Kornhauser

*Day 11 (April 3): “Sixty-One in ’61: Roger Maris Home Runs Game by Game,” by Robert M. Gorman

*Day 12 (April 6): “Yogi: A Life Behind the Mask,” by Jon Pessah

9781629377964*Day 13 (April 7): “S Is For Slugger: The Ultimate Baseball Alphabet,” by James Littlejohn, illustrated by Matthew Shipley

*Day 14 (April 8): “The Babe,” by SABR, edited by Bill Nowlin and Glen Sparks

*Day 15 (April 9): “Lou Gehrig: The Lost Memoir,” extracted and edited by Alan D. Gaff

*Day 16 (April 12): “Hall of Name: Baseball’s Most Magnificent Monikers from ‘The Only Nolan’ to ‘Van Lingle Mungo’ and More,” by DB Firstman

**Posted on April 13: Our piece for the Sports Business Journal about how the Pandemic Baseball Book Club of authors have bonded to promote their own new publications during this 2020 lock down. (subscription required … and encouraged)


61f3UEAkZnL*Day 17 (April 14): Oscar Charleston: The Life and Legend of Baseball’s Greatest Forgotten Player” by Jeremy Beer

*Day 18 (April 15): “The Court-Martial of Jackie Robinson: The Baseball Legend’s Battle For Civil Rights during World War II” by Lt. Col. Michael Lee Lanning

*Day 19 (April 17): “Future Value: The Battle for Baseball’s Soul and How Teams Will Find the Next Superstar” by Eric Longenhagen and Kiley McDaniel

*Day 20 (April 19):  “Billy Ball: Billy Martin and the
Resurrection of the Oakland A’s” by Dale Tafoya

81TgstpiOzL*Day 21 (April 21):  “The Inside Game: Bad Calls, Strange Moves, and What Baseball Behavior Teaches Us About Ourselves” by Keith Law, which takes the lead from Daniel Kahneman’s 2011 New York Times’ best-selling book, “Thinking, Fast and Slow.”

*Day 22 (April 22): “Ballparks Then and Now” by Eric Enders; “Green Cathedrals: The Ultimate Celebration of all Major League & Negro League Ballparks” by Philip J. Lowery for SABR.

*Day 23 (April 23): “The Official Rules of Baseball Illustrated: An Irreverent Look at the Rules of Baseball and how they Came to be What They Are Today” by David Nemec

819Jk6f27YL*Day 24 (April 24): “24: Life Stories and Lessons from The Say Hey Kid,” by Willie Mays and John Shea

*Day 25 (April 25): “Wits, Flakes, and Clowns:
The Colorful Characters of Baseball” by Wayne Stewart

*Day 26 (April 26): “The Resisters,” a novel by Gish Jen

*Day 27 (April 27): “Summer Baseball Nation: Nine Days in the Wood Bat League” by Will Geoghegan (and Summer9Nation)

*Day 28 (April 28): “Intangibles: Unlocking the Science and Soul of Team Chemistry,” by Joan Ryan

*Day 29 (April 29):
“One Tough Out: Fighting Off Life’s Curveballs,” by Rod Carew, with Jaime Aron

*Day 30 (April 30): “Bouton: The Life of a Baseball Original,” by Mitchell Nathanson

Bonus panels:

9781419740374_s3*Day 31 (May 4): “Issei Baseball: The Story of the
First Japanese American Ballplayers” by Robert K. Fitts

*Day 32 (May 5): “Buddha Takes the Mound:
Enlightenment in 9 innings” by Donald S. Lopez Jr., Ph.D.

*Day 33 (May 11):  “The Final Game at Ebbets Field” by Noel Hynd

*Day 34 (May 18): “A High Five for Glenn Burke,” a middle-school age novel by Phil Bildner

*Day 35 (May 19): “Doc: The Life of Roy Halladay,” by Todd Zolecki

*Day 36 (May 28): “Big Sexy: Bartolo Colon In His Own Words” by Bartolo Colon and Michael Stahl

81LBEOl7yaL*Day 37 (June 5): “A Fan’s Guide to Baseball Analytics: Why WAR, WHIP, wOBA, and Other Advanced Sabermetrics Are Essential to Understanding Modern Baseball” by Anthony Castrovince

*Day 38 (June 13): “Cleveland Rocked: The Personalities, Sluggers and Magic of the 1995 Indians,” by Zack Meisel

*Day 39 (June 14): “The New Baseball Bible: Notes, Nuggets, Lists and Legends From Our National Pastime,” updated, by Dan Schlossberg

*Day 40 (June 15): “Baseball Miscellany: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Baseball,” updated, by Matthew Silverman

IMG_1006*Day 41 (June 20): “Ancient Baseball” by Mikhail Horowitz

*Day 42 (June 22): “Hidden Ball Trick: The Baseball Stats You Never Thought To Look For: Vol 1: 1876-1919 and Vol 2: 1920-1969, by Jeremy Frank and Jim Passon Jr.

*Day 43 (June 23): “I Should Have Quit This Morning: Adventures in Minor League Baseball,” by Kathy Diekroeger

51zTYMhUa0L*Day 44 (June 26): “The Hall Ball: One Fan’s Journey to Unite Cooperstown Immortals with a Single Baseball,” by Ralph Carhart

*Day 45 (July 6): “Tom Seaver and Me,” by Pat Jordan

*Day 46 (July 7): “Extra Innings: Fred Claire’s Journey to City of Hope And Finding a World Championship Team,” by Tim Madigan

*Day 47 (July 9): “Dodgers vs. Yankees: The Long-Standing Rivalry Between Two of Baseball’s Greatest Teams” by Michael Schiavone

*Day 48 (July 14): “Working a ‘Perfect Game’:  Conversations with Umpires” by Bill Nowlin

*Day 49 (July 15): “Inside Pitch: Insiders Reveal How the Ill-Fated Seattle Pilots Got Played into Bankruptcy in One Year,” by Rick Allen

9781629377636*Day 50 (July 16): “The Milwaukee Brewers at 50: Celebrating a Half-Century of Brewers Baseball,” by Adam McCalvy; 
And …
51v5XNSmudL“Turning 50: The Brewers Celebrate a Half-Century in Milwaukee,” by Tom Haudricourt

* Day 51 (July 25): “Baseball in St. Louis: From Little Leagues to Major Leagues,” by Ed Whertley

* Day 52 (July 28): “Queen of the Negro Leagues; Effa Manley and the Newark Eagles,” by James Overmyer

* Day 53 (July 31): “Goodnight Em,” by Johnny Doskow

* Day 54 (Aug. 3): “Mutt’s Dream: Making The Mick,” by Howard Burman

* Day 55 (Aug. 5): “Mr. Met: How a Sports-Mad Kid from Jersey Became Like Family to Generations of Big Leaguers,” by Jay Horwitz

* Day 56 (Sept. 1): “SABR 50 at 50: The Society for American Baseball Research’s Fifth Most Essential Contributions to the Game,” edited by Bill Nowlin

* Day 57 (Sept. 2): “Baseball & Bubble Gum: The 1952 Topps Collection,” by Thomas and Ellen Zappala, with John Molori and Joe Orlando 

* Day 58 (Sept. 21): “A Year of Playing Catch: What A Simple Daily Experiment Taught Me About Life,” by Ethan D. Bryan.

* Day 59 (Sept. 25): “How Baseball Happened: Outrageous Lies Exposed! The True Story Revealed” by Thomas W. Gilbert

* Day 60 (Oct. 9): “Dalko: The Untold Story of Baseball’s Fastest Pitcher,” by Bill Dembski, Alex Thomas and Brian Vinander


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