It’s still the MLB offseason and there’s no denying that we miss that baseball action. Apart from watching movies, baseball fans can also look into reading some of the best baseball books of all time to keep themselves busy before the regular season starts.

Best baseball books

From autobiographies to fictional pieces, there are numerous must-read baseball books that stood the test of time. These books usually came from former professional players and coaches who wanted to share their baseball experiences.

Here are our twelve must-read baseball books…

12. Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella (1982)

Shoeless Joe is one of the greatest fiction baseball books of all time. Hollywood even made a movie adaptation named “Field of Dreams”.

This mythical novel is all about a farmer who built a baseball diamond in the middle of his cornfield after hearing a voice. Baseball greats such as Joe “Shoeless” Jackson started to appear in his field which inspired the name of the novel.

       

Despite its magical story, Shoeless Joe is more than just baseball. It’s about family, hope, and redemption.

Buy Shoeless Joe at Amazon

11. The Baseball 100 by Joe Posnanski (2021)

The Baseball 100 is Joe Posnanski’s recent work. The book gives the readers a new perspective on the often overlooked and unheard stories of the greatest baseball players in MLB history. It’s more than just who had the most accolades in baseball.

In the book, Posnanski made sure that these baseball legends aren’t forgotten. Some of the players that he featured here haven’t accomplished that much when it comes to records and statistics. Rather, Posnanski ranked them through their humble origins and their positive impact on the beautiful game of baseball.

10. Babe: The Legend Comes To Life by Robert W. Creamer (1974)

If you want to take a deeper dive into the life of the greatest baseball player of all time, then this book is the best Babe Ruth biography out there. Robert Creamer indeed gave life to this American legend.

From Ruth’s humble beginnings in a Baltimore orphanage up to his prime days with the Yankees, Creamer perfectly tells the story of his life detail by detail. In the book, he even detailed the play-by-play of some of his games.

9. The Lords of the Realm by John Helyar (1994)

John Helyar gave us a classic in The Lords of the Realm. In the book, Helyar reveals how bad the baseball business can be behind the scenes. We already know that baseball had a plethora of history about labor strikes and how it’s notoriously become the breeding ground of billionaire owners.

Helyar doesn’t mean to spoil the beautiful game of baseball. However, it was essential for any diehard baseball fan to know the bad side of it.

Buy The Lords of the Realm

8. The Summer Game by Roger Angell (1972)

The Summer Game is a collection of Roger Angell’s essays in the major league in the 1960s. Angell covered the entire decade and wrote everything that happened in baseball during that time—making it one of the most important pieces in history.

Through his essays, you can see the accounts of renowned players such as Willie MaysSandy Koufax, Bob Gibson, Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, and many more. This gives the readers the authenticity that they are looking for.

7. The Only Rule Is It Has To Work by Sam Miller and Ben Lindbergh (2016)

Just imagine what could happen if two statistics nerds were allowed to run a professional baseball team? Would a team become better based on math compared to traditional sports wisdom?

In the book, Sam Miller and Ben Lindbergh recount their story during the time they ran their own minor-league team in California called the Sonoma Stompers. They resorted to using advanced statistics in managing their team. It resembles fantasy baseball wherein you get to draft your players and set your roster weekly—only this time, the players are real.

This book provides a different perspective for those who don’t play actual ball but loves baseball through the lens of data.

6. Summer of ’49 by David Halberstam (1989)

The Summer of ’49 is a Pulitzer Prize-winning classic from David Halberstam. This book is considered one of the greatest MLB books of all time. It’s about the rivalry of New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox after World War 2.

Halberstram collected countless anecdotes from former stars such as Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio and recalled some of their most competitive games in the book. Moreover, Halberstram interviewed these former ballplayers to recount their specific plays and moments which gives a deeper look at the games they played.

Buy Summer of ’49

5. The Glory of Their Times by Lawrence Ritter (1966)

In the 60s, Columbia University professor Lawrence Ritter embarked on a journey to interview more than 25 aging baseball greats. The book gives us a closer look at the lives and careers of these often forgotten but important players.

The Glory Of Their Times brings the stories of these players to light and documents what it was like to play baseball in the early days. Nowadays, this book is a historically important piece because of the first-hand accounts from these historical players.

The Glory of Their Times is available as an audiobook or on Kindle

4. The Soul of Baseball by Joe Posnanski (2007)

Arguably Posnanski’s greatest work, The Soul of Baseball is the result of Joe Posnanski and Buck O’Neil‘s journey around America in 2006. During this time, O’Neil shared his life story and his experience playing in the Negro Leagues. The book highlights the perspective of black baseball athletes in the segregation era.

The book captured everything—starting from O’Neil’s early life in the segregation era up to working with the MLB as a scout and coach. Posnanski made sure that O’Neil’s story is heard given his major role in preserving the legacy of Negro League players.

The Soul of Baseball is available for less than $10

3. Moneyball by Michael Lewis (2003)

It’s no secret that Moneyball is considered one of the must-watch baseball movies. However, the depiction in the movie really doesn’t capture to all the storytelling and drama from the book. If you already watched the film, then we recommend you read the book.

Moneyball tells a story of how Billy Beane turned the Oakland Athletics’ season around given their limited finances. The A’s legendary winning streak in 2002 is the result of number-crunching and unconventional player analysis.

2. The Boys of Summer by Roger Kahn (1972)

Roger Kahn covered the Brooklyn Dodgers for the New York Tribune in the early 1950s. It was during this time that Jackie Robinson broke the league’s color barrier. After all, Robinson was the first African American player to play in MLB.

In the book, Kahn recounted his childhood in Brooklyn and his life as a young reporter who covered the Dodgers at the time. He perfectly captured the story of the Dodgers in the 50s—diving deeper into the lives of Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese, Duke Snider, and others.

The Boys of Summer is an all-time classic. Roger Kahn mixed his personality in the story to make it more interesting rather than just becoming a history lesson.

1. Ball Four by Jim Bouton (1970)

Ball Four is one of the most controversial baseball books of all time—all thanks to Bouton’s revelation of what was happening behind the scenes of the glorious game of baseball.

Bouton’s memoir in the 1969 season with the Seattle Pilots and Houston Astros includes his first-hand experience with all the drinking, womanizing, and drugs back then. His book wasn’t well-received and sparked outrage amongst owners and players.

The controversy alone makes this book one of the must-read baseball books for any baseball fan.

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