Pete Rose: An American Dilemma


Kostya Kennedy - 2014
    Like the best writing about sport--Liebling, Angell--it qualifies as stirring literature. I'd read Kennedy no matter what he writes about." --Richard FordPete Rose played baseball with a singular and headfirst abandon that endeared him to fans and peers, even as it riled others--a figure at once magnetic, beloved and polarizing. Rose has more base hits than anyone in history, yet he is not in the Hall of Fame. Twenty-five years ago he was banished from baseball for gambling, then ruled ineligible for Cooperstown; today, the question "Does Pete Rose belong in the Hall of Fame?" has evolved into perhaps the most provocative in sports, a layered, slippery and ever-relevant moral conundrum.How do we evaluate the Hit King now, at a time when steroid cheats appear on the Hall of Fame ballot even as Rose is denied? What do we make of this happily unrepentant gambler, this shameless but beguiling showman whose postbaseball journey has led him to a curious reality show and to the streets of Cooperstown to hawk his signature, his story, himself?Best-selling author Kostya Kennedy delivers an evocative answer in his fascinating re-examination of Pete Rose's life; from his cocky and charismatic early years through his storied playing career to his bitter war against baseball's hierarchy to the man we find today--still incorrigible, still adored by many. Where has his improbable saga landed him in the redefined, post-steroid world? Do we feel any differently about Pete Rose today? Should we?

Roger Maris: Baseball's Reluctant Hero


Tom Clavin - 2010
    "ROGER MARIS may be the greatest ballplayer no one really knows. In 1961, the soft-spoken man from the frozen plains of North Dakota enjoyed one of the most amazing seasons in baseball history, when he outslugged his teammate Mickey Mantle to become the game's natural home-run king. It was Mantle himself who said, "Roger was as good a man and as good a ballplayer as there ever was." Yet Maris was vilified by fans and the press and has never received his due from biographers--until now.Tom Clavin and Danny Peary trace the dramatic arc of Maris's life, from his boyhood in Fargo through his early pro career in the Cleveland Indians farm program, to his World Series championship years in New York and beyond. At the center is the exciting story of the 1961 season and the ordeal Maris endured as an outsider in Yankee pinstripes, unloved by fans who compared him unfavorably to their heroes Ruth and Mantle, relentlessly attacked by an aggressive press corps who found him cold and inaccessible, and treated miserably by the organization. After the tremendous challenge of breaking Ruth's record was behind him, Maris ultimately regained his love of baseball as a member of the world champion St. Louis Cardinals. And over time, he gained redemption in the eyes of the Yankee faithful.With research drawn from more than 130 interviews with Maris's teammates, opponents, family, and friends, as well as 16 pages of photos, some of which have never before been seen, this timely and poignant biography sheds light on an iconic figure from baseball's golden era--and establishes the importance of his role in the game's history.

October Men: Reggie Jackson, George Steinbrenner, Billy Martin, and the Yankees' Miraculous Finish in 1978


Roger Kahn - 2003
    That day these rousing ball clubs would meet at Fenway Park. Both had won ninety-nine games. Only one would win one hundred. The Yankees should have been reaching for their golf clubs-they had feuded until they were fourteen games out of first place. Then their fortunes turned, and they capped one of the most thrilling comebacks in baseball history by defeating the Red Sox that October afternoon in a game that many still remember as the greatest ever played. Transporting us into the midst of this unforgettable team, Roger Kahn weaves the first in-depth account of the legendary season of '78 and reaffirms his standing as our nation's master storyteller of baseball.

The Long Ball: The Summer of '75 -- Spaceman, Catfish, Charlie Hustle, and the Greatest World Series Ever Played


Tom Adelman - 2003
    In this resoundingly acclaimed bestseller, Tom Adelman tells the story of the season that led up to that classic Series and then delivers the inside pitch on those amazing seven games.

Campy: The Two Lives of Roy Campanella


Neil Lanctot - 2011
    Born to a father of Italian descent and an African- American mother, Campanella wanted to be a ballplayer from childhood but was barred by color from the major leagues. He dropped out of school to play professional ball with the Negro Leagues’ Washington (later Baltimore) Elite Giants, where he honed his skills under Hall of Fame catcher Biz Mackey. Campy played eight years in the Negro Leagues until the major leagues integrated. Ironically, he and not Jackie Robinson might have been the player to integrate baseball, as Lanctot reveals. An early recruit to Branch Rickey’s “Great Experiment” with the Brooklyn Dodgers, Campy became the first African-American catcher in the twentieth century in the major leagues. As Lanctot discloses, Campanella and Robinson, pioneers of integration, had a contentious relationship, largely as a result of a dispute over postseason barnstorming.Campanella was a mainstay of the great Dodger teams that consistently contended for pennants in the late 1940s and 1950s. He was a three-time MVP, an outstanding defensive catcher, and a powerful offensive threat. But on a rainy January night in 1958, all that changed. On his way home from his liquor store in Harlem, Campy lost control of his car, hit a utility pole, and was paralyzed below the neck. Lanctot reveals how Campanella’s complicated personal life (he would marry three times) played a role in the accident. Campanella would now become another sort of pioneer, learning new techniques of physical therapy under the celebrated Dr. Howard Rusk at his Institute of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. As he gradually recovered some limited motion, Campanella inspired other athletes and physically handicapped people everywhere.Based on interviews with dozens of people who knew Roy Campanella and diligent research into contemporary sources, Campy offers a three-dimensional portrait of this gifted athlete and remarkable man whose second life after baseball would prove as illustrious and courageous as his first.

Stengel: His Life and Times


Robert W. Creamer - 1984
    Here is the brilliant manager stripped naked—the person underneath all the clowning, mugging, and double-talking. Robert Creamer shows us Casey at twenty-two, famous from his very first day in the big leagues. We see Casey’s playing career fall apart as he is traded, shunted to last-place teams, hampered by injuries, considered finished—until he bats a glorious home run in the 1923 World Series. Here are Casey’s managing successes and failures—dismissed by the Yankees, he returns to the limelight with his new and inept New York Mets, the team he single-handedly lifts into the nation’s consciousness.“I’m a man that’s been up and down,” Casey said in a serious moment. Certainly his knack for bouncing back made him a legend in our national pastime. Here are the stories and gags, the Stengelian style, the full dimensions of the man.

Edgar: An Autobiography


Edgar Martinez - 2019
    At last, his path is destined for one last stop: the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.Long before he cemented his status as one of the finest players of his generation, Martinez honed his batting skills by hitting rocks in his backyard and swinging for hours at individual raindrops during storms. Loyal and strong-willed from a young age, he made the difficult decision at only 11 to remain behind with his grandparents while his family relocated to New York, attending school and then working multiple jobs until a chance Mariners try-out at age 20 changed everything.In this illuminating, highly personal autobiography, Martinez shares these stories and more with candor, characteristic humility, and surprising wit. Highlights include the memorable 1995 and 2001 seasons, experiences playing with stars like Randy Johnson, Ken Griffey Jr., and Alex Rodriguez, and life after retirement as a family man, social advocate, and Mariners hitting coach. Martinez even offers practical insight into the mental side of baseball and his training regimen, detailing how he taught himself to see the ball better than so many before and after him.Interwoven with Martinez’s own words throughout are those of his teammates, coaches, and contemporaries, contributing a distinctive oral history element to this saga of a remarkable career.

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.

Ty and The Babe: Baseball's Fiercest Rivals: A Surprising Friendship and the 1941 Has-Beens Golf Championship


Tom Stanton - 2007
    The resulting collision produced a dazzling explosion and a struggle of mythic magnitude. At stake was not just baseball dominance, but eternal glory and the very soul of a sport. For much of fourteen seasons, the Cobb-Ruth rivalry occupied both men and enthralled a generation of fans. Even their retirement from the ball diamond didn’t extinguish it.On the cusp of America’s entry into World War II, a quarter century after they first met at Navin Field, Cobb and Ruth rekindled their long-simmering feud—this time on the golf course. Ty and Babe battled on the fairways of Long Island, New York; Newton, Massachusetts; and Grosse Ile, Michigan; in a series of charity matches that spawned national headlines and catapulted them once more into the spotlight.Ty and The Babe is the story of their remarkable relationship. It is a tale of grand gestures and petty jealousies, superstition and egotism, spectacular feats and dirty tricks, mind games and athleticism, confrontations, conflagrations, good humor, growth, redemption, and, ultimately, friendship. Spanning several decades, Ty and The Babe conjures the rollicking cities of New York, Boston, and Detroit and the raucous world of baseball from 1915 to 1928, as it moved from the Deadball days of Cobb to the Lively Ball era of Ruth. It also visits the spring and summer of 1941, starting with the Masters Tournament at Augusta National, where Cobb formally challenged Ruth, and continuing with the golf showdown that saw both men employ secret weapons.On these pages, author Tom Stanton challenges the stereotypes that have cast Cobb forever as a Satan and Ruth as a Santa Claus. Along the way, he brings to life a parade of memorable characters: Bobby Jones, Walter Hagen, Grantland Rice, Tris Speaker, Lou Gehrig, Will Rogers, Joe DiMaggio, a trick shot–shooting former fugitive, and a fifteen-year-old caddy with an impeccable golf lineage.No other ball players dominated their time as formidably as Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth. Even today, many decades since either man walked this earth, they tower over the sport. Who was better? Who was the greatest? Those questions followed them throughout their baseball careers, into retirement, and onto the putting greens. That they linger yet is a testament to their talents and personalities. Praise for the Writing of Tom Stanton: "Ruth and Cobb come together as never before in this charming story of rivalry and friendship. Stanton, a keen storyteller, has written a book that surprises and delights."-Jonathan Eig, author of Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig "The wardrobe mistress of baseball history seems to have assigned the white hat to Babe Ruth and the black hat to Ty Cobb for all time. The Babe, the legendary Sultan of Swat, has become the patron saint of the sport, flamboyant and loud, larger than life, hail fellow well met, a character who hit mammoth home runs and wiped the runny noses of neighborhood urchins. Cobb has become the villain, foul mouthed and cantankerous, unliked and unloved by even his teammates. . . . Now Tom Stanton comes along to rearrange the roles in his terrific new book, Ty and The Babe, which chronicles the relationship between the two baseball icons. He takes off the hats and tells us about the real people. And it all is great fun."-Leigh Montville, author of The Big Bam "Wonderful! Ty and The Babe is rich, elegant, and powerful. Tom Stanton vividly brings back to life two rival sports icons in a rollicking tale filled with tension, humor, and warmth. It's fantastic."-Ernie Harwell, Hall of Fame broadcaster "Frankly, Ty and The Babe had me hooked from the opening page, a thoroughly absorbing tale that has all the charm and elements of an unforgettable film-the two greatest players from baseball's Golden Era, blood feuds, dueling rivals, brawling fans, mythologizing sportswriters and the consequences of a rapidly changing game . . . all capped off by a poignant golf match between a pair of fading titans. Tom Stanton has beautifully re-created the most romantic period of American sports, provided new and powerful insights into a pair of greatly misunderstood figures in Cobb and Ruth, and given baseball and golf fans everywhere something to cheer lustily about."-James Dodson, author of Final Rounds and Ben Hogan: An American Life

Billy Martin: Baseball's Flawed Genius


Bill Pennington - 2015
    He was the clutch second baseman for the dominant New York Yankees of the 1950s. He then spent sixteen seasons managing in the big leagues, and is considered by anyone who knows baseball to have been a true baseball genius, a field manager without peer. Yet he’s remembered more for his habit of kicking dirt on umpires, for being hired and fired by George Steinbrenner five times, and for his rabble rousing and public brawls. He was combative, fiery, intimidating, and controversial, yet beloved by the everyday fan. He was hard on his players and even harder on himself. He knew how to turn around a losing team like no one else—and how to entertain us every step of the way.   Now, with his definitive biography Billy Martin, Pennington finally erases the caricature of Martin. Drawing on exhaustive interviews with friends, family, teammates, and countless adversaries, Pennington paints an indelible portrait of a man who never backed down for the game he loved. From his shantytown upbringing in a broken home; to his days playing for the Yankees when he almost always helped his team find a way to win; through sixteen years of managing, including his tenure in New York in the crosshairs of Steinbrenner and Reggie Jackson, Billy Martin made sure no one ever ignored him. And indeed no one could. He was the hero, the antihero, and the alter ego—or some combination of all three—for his short sixty-one years among us.

At Fenway: Dispatches from Red Sox Nation


Dan Shaughnessy - 1996
    The author of the sports classic The Curse of the Bambino relates the history and lore of one of the world's most celebrated sports franchises, the Boston Red Sox, and their beloved and venerable home, Fenway Park.

Hank Greenberg: The Hero of Heroes


John Rosengren - 2013
    Hank Greenberg, one of the most exciting sluggers in baseball history, gave the people of Detroit a reason to be proud.But America was facing more than economic hardship. With the Nazis gaining power across Europe, political and social tensions were approaching a boiling point. As one of the few Jewish athletes competing nationally, Hank Greenberg became not only an iconic ball player, but also an important and sometimes controversial symbol of Jewish identity and the American immigrant experience.When Hank joined the Detroit Tigers in 1933, they were headed for a dismal fifth-place season finish. The following year, with Hank leading the charge, they were fighting off the Yankees for the pennant. As his star ascended, he found himself cheered wherever he went. But there were other noises also. On and off the field, he met with taunts and anti-Semitic threats. Yet the hardship only drove him on to greater heights, sharing the spotlight with the most legendary sluggers of the day, including Babe Ruth, Jimmie Foxx, and Lou Gehrig.Hank Greenberg offers an intimate account of the man’s life on and off the field. It is a portrait of integrity, triumph over adversity, and one of the greatest baseball players to ever grace the field.

Dynasty: The New York Yankees 1949-1964


Peter Golenbock - 1975
    Dynasty recounts this golden age of baseball, when DiMaggio, Mantle, and Maris were in their heyday. 8-page photo insert.

The Rocket That Fell to Earth: Roger Clemens and the Rage for Baseball Immortality


Jeff Pearlman - 2009
    Called “exceptional” by Time magazine, The Rocket That Fell to Earth is a stunning portrait of a sports legend equally loved and loathed by fans and colleagues, his life and his storied career, and his place at the dead center of professional baseball’s shocking steroid controversy.

Brooks: The Biography of Brooks Robinson


Doug Wilson - 2014
    He won a record sixteen straight Gold Gloves at third base, led one of the best teams of the era, and is often cited as the greatest fielder in baseball history. Credited with almost single-handedly winning the 1970 World Series, this MVP was immortalized in a Normal Rockwell painting. A wholesome player and role model, Brooks honored the game of baseball not only with his play but with his class and character off the field.Author of The Bird: The Life and Legacy of Mark Fidrych, Doug Wilson returns to baseball's Golden Age to detail the birth of a new franchise through the man who came to symbolize it as one of baseball's most beloved players. Through numerous interviews with people from every part of the legendary player's life, Wilson reveals never-before-reported information to illuminate Brooks's remarkable skill and warm personality.Brooks takes readers back to an era when players fought for low-paying yearly contracts, spanning the turbulent 60s and 70s and into the dawning of the free agent era. He was elected to the MLB All-Century Team and as president of the MLB Players Alumni, Brooks continues to influence today's baseball players.In the current climate of astronomic salaries, steroids, off-field troubles, and heroes who let down their fans, Brooks reminds baseball fans of the honor and glory at the heart of America's favorite pastime.