The Greatest Game: The Yankees, the Red Sox, and the Playoff of '78


Richard Bradley - 2008
    That game, played at Fenway Park on the afternoon of October 4, 1978, was the culmination of one of the most tense, emotionally wrought seasons ever, between baseball's two most bitter rivals, the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees. Both teams finished this tumultuous season with identical 99-64 records, forcing a one-game playoff. With a one-run lead and two outs, with the tying run in scoring position in the bottom of the ninth, the entire season came down to one at-bat and to one swing of the bat. It came down, as both men eerily predicted to themselves the night before, to the aging Red Sox legend, Carl Yastrzemski, and the Yankees' free-agent power reliever, Rich "Goose" Gossage.Anyone who calls himself a baseball fan knows the outcome of that confrontation. And yet such are the literary powers of the author that we are pulled back in time to that late-afternoon moment and become filled anew with all the taut sense of drama that sports has to offer, as if we don't know what happened. As if the thoughts swirling around in the heads of pitcher and hitter are still fresh, both still hopeful of controlling events.That climactic game occurred thirty seasons ago and yet it still captures our imagination. In this delightful work of sports literature, we watch the game unfold pitch by pitch, inning by inning, but Bradley is up to something more ambitious than just recounting this wonderful game. He also tells us the stories of the participants -- how they got to that moment in their lives and careers, what was at stake for them personally -- including the rivalries within the rivalry, such as catcher Carlton Fisk versus catcher Thurman Munson, and Billy Martin versus everyone. Using a narrative that alternates points of view between the teams, Bradley reacquaints us with a rich roster of characters -- Freddy Lynn, Ron Guidry, Catfish Hunter, Mike Torrez, Jerry Remy, Lou Piniella, George Scott, and Reggie Jackson. And, of course, Bucky Dent, who craved just such a moment in the sun -- a validation he had vainly sought from the father he barely knew.Not a book intended to celebrate a triumph or lament a loss, "The Greatest Game" will be embraced in both Boston and New York, with fans of both teams recalling again the talented young men they once gave their hearts to. And fans everywhere will be reminded how utterly gripping a single baseball game can be and that the rewards of being a fan lie not in victory but in caring beyond reason, even decades after the fact.

The Book of Baseball Literacy


David H. Martinez - 1996
    Easy-to-find answers to the most common (and obscure but fascinating) baseball questions." - USA Today"A great starting point for newbies of the game." - Ron Kaplan, "501 Baseball Books Fans Must Read Before They Die""Surprisingly, there is no other book so comprehensive, concise or readable." - St. Paul Pioneer-Press"Instructive and fun." - Chicago Sun-Times**Selected for the Baseball Hall of Fame Bookstore in Cooperstown**Lose yourself in all the marvelous memories and hallowed history of America’s national pastime with "The Book of Baseball Literacy: 3rd Edition." From the gloveless pioneers of the 1840s to the strife-ridden headlines of the 2000s, this comprehensive reference offers nearly 700 important baseball yarns, stats, and stories—cross-referenced and hyperlinked—in a style as lively as the game itself. Incredibly thorough, never dull, the book answers these and countless other questions:- Who was Ray Chapman, and why is he important?- Did Abner Doubleday really invent baseball?- What is sabermetrics?- Who set off the Pine Tar Incident?- Where was the first organized baseball game?- Were the Cubs cursed by a billy goat?- What are waivers and options?Written by SABR member and former college baseball broadcaster David H. Martinez and even selected as required reading for a college course on baseball history, "The Book of Baseball Literacy: 3rd Edition" puts over a century and a half of legends and lore, right in your mitt. It will settle arguments and provoke them, answer questions and ask them. It’s a must for veteran baseball fans—and a perfect way to get up to speed on baseball history for newcomers.

Black and Blue: The Golden Arm, the Robinson Boys, and the 1966 World Series That Stunned America


Tom Adelman - 2006
    This text presents an account of the epic Baseball World Series in 1966 between the celebrated Los Angeles Dodgers and the perennial underdog Baltimore Orioles.

The Tigers of '68: Baseball's Last Real Champions


George Cantor - 1997
    This book revisits the main performers of this illustrious team and weaves their stories into a cohesive narrative that captures all the drama and color of Detroit's 1968 season.

The Perfection Point: Sport Science Predicts the Fastest Man, the Highest Jump, and the Limits of Athletic Performance


John Brenkus - 2010
    The Perfection Point is ideal for sports fans interested in the scientific basis of athletic excellence and a fascinating read for science fans interested in the physics of sports.

The Stark Truth: The Most Overrated and Underrated Players in Baseball History


Jayson Stark - 2007
    But how about Alex Rodriguez, Jeter's teammate, former American League MVP, and probable future Hall of Famer? Many would argue he's even better than Jeter. And what about Jeter's seemingly unassailable status as one of the greatest Yankees of all time? Such discussions highlight one of the great joys of being a baseball fan: arguing over who's really great and who falls just short, who doesn't get the respect he deserves and who gets too much. In other words, who's overrated and who's underrated. In The Stark Truth, baseball analyst, writer, and researcher Jayson Stark of ESPN considers the entire history of professional baseball and picks the most overblown and underappreciated players in the history of the game. His results, based on extensive research using both traditional and more modern methods of evaluating baseball players and performance, are provocative, entertaining, and go a long way toward settling many of baseball's most persistent debates. No book can hope to settle every baseball argument, but The Stark Truth: The Most Overrated and Underrated Players in Baseball History takes one of baseball's most enduring debates and provides some compelling and stunning clarity.

Down to the Last Pitch: How the 1991 Minnesota Twins and Atlanta Braves Gave Us the Best World Series of All Time


Tim Wendel - 2014
    Yet in 1991, lightning struck twice as the Minnesota Twins and the Atlanta Braves both reached the World Series. The remarkable turnarounds resulted in arguably the greatest Fall Classic of all time.Four of the games between the Twins and Braves were settled by "walk-off" runs. Three of them, including the climactic Game Seven, went into extra innings. And all seven games had memorable moments—from close plays at the plate to base-running blunders to pitching gems to dramatic late-inning home runs. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution cautioned fans about sleep deprivation as the nation was riveted watching Jack Morris, Kent Hrbek, Dan Gladden, and Kirby Puckett go against Tom Glavine, Lonnie Smith, John Smoltz, and David Justice on primetime television.In Down to the Last Pitch, award-winning writer Tim Wendel brings to life these seven memorable games, weaving contemporary interviews with discussions decades later about this classic World Series, and teasing out fact from legend.When the final out was recorded in 1991, the cover headline in Baseball Weekly read, "BEST WORLD SERIES EVER?" While that can always be debated, what happened inside and outside the lines in 1991 continues to resonate today.

Swinging '73: The Incredible Year Baseball Got the Designated Hitter, Wife-Swapping Pitchers, and Willie Mays Said Goodbye to America


Matthew Silverman - 2013
    Stuck in a rut, baseball was dying. Then Steinbrenner bought the Yankees, a second-division club with wife-swapping pitchers, leaving the House That Ruth Built not with a slam but a simper. He vowed not to interfere—before soon changing his mind. Across town, Tom Seaver led the Mets’ stellar pitching line-up, and iconic outfielder Willie Mays was preparing to say goodbye. For months, the Mets, under Yogi Berra, couldn’t get it right. Meanwhile, the A’s were breaking a ban on facial hair while maverick owner Charlie Finley was fighting to keep them underpaid. But beneath the muttonchops and mayhem, lay another world. Elvis commanded a larger audience than the Apollo landings. A Dodge Dart cost $2,800, gas was a quarter per gallon. A fiscal crisis loomed; Vietnam had ended, the vice president resigned, and Watergate had taken over. It was one of the most exciting years in the game’s history, the first with the designated hitter and the last before arbitration and free agency. The two World Series opponents went head-to-head above the baby steps of a dynasty that soon dwarfed both league champions. It was a turbulent time for the country and the game, neither of which would ever be the same again.

Emperors and Idiots: The Hundred Year Rivalry Between the Yankees and Red Sox, From the Very Beginning to the End of the Curse


Mike Vaccaro - 2005
    The Boston Red Sox. For a hundred years, no two teams have locked horns as fiercely or as frequently – and no two seasons frame the colossal battle more perfectly than 2003 and 2004. Now, with incredible energy and access, leading sports columnist Mike Vaccaro chronicles the history of the greatest rivalry in sports, and the two stunning American League Championship Series that define a century of baseball.October 17, 2003: A night no Yankees or Red Sox fan will ever forget. At 12:15 am, bottom of the eleventh inning of game seven of the ALCS, New York third-baseman Aaron Boone launches a ball over Yankee Stadium’s left-field fence. The Yankees win their 39th pennant – and send the perennially vexed Boston Red Sox home . . . again . . . suffering another devastating loss to their longtime nemesis.October 20, 2004: A year later, an eerie reprise – but this time things are different. After losing three straight to the Yankees, Boston has charged back to win the next three, forcing a decisive game seven. From the start of the game Boston is in control, and by winning this game they march toward their first World Series victory since 1918. These two explosive years define an extraordinary, epic rivalry – from Mariano Rivera and Roger Clemens to Pedro Martinez and Curt Schilling, Derek Jeter and Aaron Boone to David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez, from nearly a century of Yankee domination to the undisputed breaking of “The Curse.” With the razor-sharp instincts that have made him a top sports journalist, Mike Vaccaro delves into the history of the rollicking rivalry: a vicious collision in 1903 (between the New York Highlanders and Boston Pilgrims) that draws first blood; the era of Babe Ruth and his legendary trade from the Red Sox to the Yankees, ushering in the notorious Curse; the golden age of DiMaggio and Williams; the unstoppable power of Mantle and Maris; the heart and soul of Fisk and Yazstremski versus Pinella and Munson; and the modern era of dueling owners, skyrocketing payrolls, and a renewed rivalry that attracts sell-out crowds even to Yankees-Red Sox spring training games.EMPERORS AND IDIOTS is as lively, fascinating, and raucous as the teams themselves – a must-have volume for any Yankees or Red Sox fan.

Lost Summer: The '67 Red Sox and the Impossible Dream


Bill Reynolds - 1992
    8-page photo insert.

How Baseball Explains America


Hal Bodley - 2014
    Longtime USA TODAY baseball editor and columnist Hal Bodley explores just how essential baseball is to understanding the American experience. He takes readers into the Oval Office with George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton as the former presidents share their thoughts on the game, he looks at the changes that America's Greatest Generation ushered in, as well as examining baseball's struggle with performance enhancing drugs alongside America's war on drugs.An unabashedly celebratory explanation of America's love affair with baseball and the men who make it possible, this work sheds light on topics such as the role Jackie Robinson's signing with the Dodgers played in the civil rights movement, how baseball's westward expansion mirrored the growth of our national economy, labor strife, baseball families, the international explosion of the game, and even the myriad ways in which movies, music, and baseball are intrinsically tied. It is a must read for anyone interested in more fully understanding not only the game but also the nation in which it thrives.

Buzz Saw: The Improbable Story of How the Washington Nationals Won the World Series


Jesse Dougherty - 2020
    Yet by blending an old-school brand of baseball with modern analytics, they managed to sneak into the playoffs and put together the most unlikely postseason run in baseball history. Not only did they beat the Houston Astros, the team with the best regular-season record, to claim the franchise’s first championship—they won all four games in Houston, making them the first club to ever win four road games in a World Series. “You have a great year, and you can run into a buzz saw,” Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg told Washington Post beat writer Jesse Dougherty after the team advanced to the World Series. “Maybe this year we’re the buzz saw.” Dougherty followed the Nationals more closely than any other writer in America, and in Buzz Saw he recounts the dramatic year in vivid detail, taking readers inside the dugout, the clubhouse, the front office, and ultimately the championship parade. Yet he does something more than provide a riveting retelling of the season: he makes the case that while there is indisputable value to Moneyball-style metrics, baseball isn’t just a numbers game. Intangibles like team chemistry, veteran experience, and childlike joy are equally essential to winning. Certainly, no team seemed to have more fun than the Nationals, who adopted the kids’ song “Baby Shark” as their anthem and regularly broke into dugout dance parties. Buzz Saw is just as lively and rollicking—a fitting tribute to one of the most exciting, inspiring teams to ever take the field.

The Cheater's Guide to Baseball


Derek Zumsteg - 2007
    But it happens every game. Baseball’s rules, it seems, were made to be broken. And they are, by the players, the front office, and even sometimes the fans. Like it or not, cheating has been an integral part of America’s favorite pastime since its inception. The Cheater’s Guide to Baseball will show you how cheating is really done. In this lively tour through baseball’s underhanded history, readers will learn how to cork a bat, steal signs, hurl a spitball, throw a World Series, and win at any cost!They’ll also see the dirty little secrets of the game’s greatest manipulators: John McGraw and Ty Cobb; Billy Martin and Gaylord Perry; Graig Nettles and Sammy Sosa; and, yes, even Barry Bonds. They’ll find out how the Cleveland Indians doctored their basepaths to give new meaning to the term home field advantage. They’ll delight in a hilarious examination of the Black Sox scandal, baseball’s original sin. And, in the end, they’ll come to understand that cheating is as much a part of baseball as pine tar and pinch hitters. And it’s here to stay.

The Pine Tar Game: The Kansas City Royals, the New York Yankees, and Baseball's Most Absurd and Entertaining Controversy


Filip Bondy - 2015
    Brett wildly charged out of the dugout and chaos ensued. The call temporarily cost the Royals the game, but the decision was eventually overturned, resulting in a resumption of the game several weeks later that created its own hysteria.The Pine Tar Game chronicles this watershed moment, marking a pivot in the sport, when benign cheating tactics, like spitballs, Superball bats, and a couple extra inches of tar on an ash bat, gave way to era of soaring salaries, labor struggles, and rampant use of performance-enhancing drugs. Filip Bondy paints a portrait of the Yankees and Royals of that era, featuring two diametrically opposed owners, in George Steinbrenner and Ewing Kauffman; a host of bad actors and phenomenal athletes; and lots of yelling. Players and club officials like Brett, Goose Gossage, Willie Randolph, Ron Guidry, Sparky Lyle, David Cone, and John Schuerholz offer fresh commentary on the events along with their take on a rivalry that culminated in one of the most iconic baseball tantrums of all time. Rush Limbaugh, employed by the Royals at the time as a promotions director, offers his own insider’s perspective. Through this one fateful game, the ensuing protest, and ultimate fallout, The Pine Tar Game examines a more innocent time in professional sports, as well as the shifting tide that gave us today’s modern iteration of baseball.

The Baby Bombers


Bryan Hoch - 2018
    Aaron Judge (25 years old), Gary Sanchez (24), Luis Severino (23), and Greg Bird (24) could be even more talented than that 1990s’ “Core Four” group, according to manager Joe Girardi. And they’re not alone . . . The Yankees also have youthful players such as Aaron Hicks, Clint Frazier, Didi Gregorius, Tyler Austin, Miguel Andujar, Chance Adams, Jordan Montgomery and Tyler Wade making their names known.Beginning with Judge and Sanchez competing at the 2017 Home Run Derby, when Judge―the 6-foot-7, 282-pound slugger―planted the Yankees’ Youth flag on the All-Star Weekend grounds by mashing four miles of dingers to take the crown, veteran Yankees clubhouse reporter Bryan Hoch looks back to the final days of Jeter's historic career, and then fleshes out general manager Brian Cashman’s blueprint for building a new-look Yankees roster, the young players’ fascinating paths to the Majors, their playoff run, streaks and slumps, historic assaults on the record books, how they stack up against Hall of Famers and Yankee legends, and whether or not they can maintain their alluring charisma and amazing numbers in the years to come. It’s a baseball insider’s account of how the Baby Bombers were born and how they’ve electrified Yankees Nation.