Book picks similar to
The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth by Leigh Montville
Babe: The Legend Comes to Life
Robert W. Creamer - 1974
I hit big or I miss big. I like to live as big as I can." -- Babe Ruth Babe Ruth is without a doubt the most famous character ever produced by the sport of baseball. A legendary player, world-famous for his hitting prowess, he transcended the sport to enter the mainstream of American life as an authentic folk hero. In this extraordinary biography, noted sportswriter Robert W. Creamer reveals the complex man behind the sports legend. From Ruth's early days in a Baltimore orphanage, to the glory days with the Yankees, to his later years, Creamer has drawn a classic portrait of an American original.
The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America's Childhood
Jane Leavy - 2010
The legendary Hall-of-Fame outfielder was a national hero during his record-setting career with the New York Yankees, but public revelations of alcoholism, infidelity, and family strife badly tarnished the ballplayer's reputation in his latter years. In The Last Boy, Leavy plumbs the depths of the complex athlete, using copious first-hand research as well as her own memories, to show why The Mick remains the most beloved and misunderstood Yankee slugger of all time.
Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig
Jonathan Eig - 2005
But as this definitive new biography makes clear, Gehrig’s life was more complicated—and, perhaps, even more heroic—than anyone really knew. Drawing on new interviews and more than two hundred pages of previously unpublished letters to and from Gehrig, Luckiest Man gives us an intimate portrait of the man who became an American hero: his life as a shy and awkward youth growing up in New York City, his unlikely friendship with Babe Ruth (a friendship that allegedly ended over rumors that Ruth had had an affair with Gehrig’s wife), and his stellar career with the Yankees, where his consecutive-games streak stood for more than half a century. What was not previously known, however, is that symptoms of Gehrig’s affliction began appearing in 1938, earlier than is commonly acknowledged. Later, aware that he was dying, Gehrig exhibited a perseverance that was truly inspiring; he lived the last two years of his short life with the same grace and dignity with which he gave his now-famous “luckiest man” speech. Meticulously researched and elegantly written, Jonathan Eig’s Luckiest Man shows us one of the greatest baseball players of all time as we’ve never seen him before.
Stan Musial: An American Life
George Vecsey - 2011
This glaring omission—later rectified by a panel of experts—raised an important question: How could a first-ballot Hall of Famer, widely considered one of the greatest hitters in baseball history, still rank as the most underrated athlete of all time?In Stan Musial, veteran sports journalist George Vecsey finally gives this twenty-time All-Star and St. Louis Cardinals icon the kind of prestigious biographical treatment previously afforded to his more celebrated contemporaries Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio. More than just a chronological recounting of the events of Musial’s life, this is the definitive portrait of one of the game’s best-loved but most unappreciated legends, told through the remembrances of those who played beside, worked with, and covered “Stan the Man” over the course of his nearly seventy years in the national spotlight.Stan Musial never married a starlet. He didn’t die young, live too hard, or squander his talent. There were no legendary displays of temper or moodiness. He was merely the most consistent superstar of his era, a scarily gifted batsman who compiled 3,630 career hits (1,815 at home and 1,815 on the road), won three World Series titles, and retired in 1963 in possession of seventeen major-league records. Away from the diamond, he proved a savvy businessman and a model of humility and graciousness toward his many fans in St. Louis and around the world. From Keith Hernandez’s boyhood memories of Musial leaving tickets for him when the Cardinals were in San Francisco to the little-known story of Musial’s friendship with novelist James Michener—and their mutual association with Pope John Paul II—Vecsey weaves an intimate oral history around one of the great gentlemen of baseball’s Greatest Generation. There may never be another Stan the Man, a fact that future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols—reluctantly nicknamed “El Hombre” in Musial’s honor—is quick to acknowledge. But thanks to this long-overdue reappraisal, even those who took his greatness for granted will learn to appreciate him all over again.
Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball's Last Hero
David Maraniss - 2006
David Maraniss now brings the great baseball player brilliantly back to life in "Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball's Last Hero," a book destined to become a modern classic. Much like his acclaimed biography of Vince Lombardi, "When Pride Still Mattered," Maraniss uses his narrative sweep and meticulous detail to capture the myth and a real man. Anyone who saw Clemente, as he played with a beautiful fury, will never forget him. He was a work of art in a game too often defined by statistics. During his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates, he won four batting titles and led his team to championships in 1960 and 1971, getting a hit in all fourteen World Series games in which he played. His career ended with three-thousand hits, the magical three-thousandth coming in his final at-bat, and he and the immortal Lou Gehrig are the only players to have the five-year waiting period waived so they could be enshrined in the Hall of Fame immediately after their deaths.
Joe DiMaggio: The Hero's Life
Richard Ben Cramer - 2000
In the hard-knuckled thirties, he was the immigrant boy who made it big—and spurred the New York Yankees to a new era of dynasty. He was the Yankee Clipper, the icon of elegance, the man who wooed and won Marilyn Monroe—the most beautiful girl America could dream up. Joe DiMaggio was a mirror of our best self. And he was also the loneliest hero we ever had.In this groundbreaking biography, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Richard Ben Cramer presents a shocking portrait of a complicated, enigmatic life. The story that DiMaggio never wanted told, tells of his grace—and greed; his dignity, pride—and hidden shame. It is a story that sweeps through the twentieth century, bringing to light not just America's national game, but the birth (and the price) of modern national celebrity.
The Yankee Years
Joe Torre - 2009
Six American League pennants. Four World Series titles. This is the definitive story of a dynasty: the Yankee yearsWhen Joe Torre took over as manager of the New York Yankees in 1996, the most storied franchise in sports had not won a World Series title in eighteen years. The famously tough and mercurial owner, George Steinbrenner, had fired seventeen managers during that span. Torre's appointment was greeted with Bronx cheers from the notoriously brutal New York media, who cited his record as the player and manager who had been in the most Major League games without appearing in a World SeriesTwelve tumultuous and triumphant years later, Torre left the team as the most beloved and successful manager in the game. In an era of multimillionaire free agents, fractured clubhouses, revenue-sharing, and off-the-field scandals, Torre forged a team ethos that united his players and made the Yankees, once again, the greatest team in sports. He won over the media with his honesty and class, and was beloved by the fans.But it wasn't easy.Here, for the first time, Joe Torre and Tom Verducci take us inside the dugout, the clubhouse, and the front office in a revelatory narrative that shows what it really took to keep the Yankees on top of the baseball world. The high-priced ace who broke down in tears and refused to go back to the mound in the middle of a game. Constant meddling from Yankee executives, many of whom were jealous of Torre's popularity. The tension that developed between the old guard and the free agents brought in by management. The impact of revenue-sharing and new scouting techniques, which allowed other teams to challenge the Yankees' dominance. The players who couldn't resist the after-hours temptations of the Big Apple. The joys of managing Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera, and the challenges of managing Alex Rodriguez and Jason Giambi. Torre's last year, when constant ultimatums from the front office, devastating injuries, and a freak cloud of bugs on a warm September night in Cleveland forced him from a job he loved.Through it all, Torre kept his calm, kept his players' respect, and kept winning.And, of course, The Yankee Years chronicles the amazing stories on the diamond. The stirring comeback in the 1996 World Series against the heavily favored Braves. The wonder of 1998, when Torre led the Yanks to the most wins in Major League history. The draining and emotional drama of the 2001 World Series. The incredible twists and turns of the epic Game 7 of the 2003 American League Championship Series against the Red Sox, in which two teams who truly despised each other battled pitch by pitch until the stunning extra-inning home run.Here is a sweeping narrative of Major League Baseball in the Yankee era, a book both grand in its scope and fascinating in its details.
Cobb: A Biography
Al Stump - 1994
Now in paperback, the biography that baseball fans all across the country have been talking about. Al Stump redefined America's perception of one of its most famous sports heroes with this gripping look at a man who walked the line between greatness and psychosis. Based on Stump's interviews with Ty Cobb while ghostwriting the Hall-of-Famer's 1961 autobiography, this award-winning new account of Cobb's life and times reveals both the darkness and the brilliance of the "Georgia Peach." "The most powerful baseball biography I have read."--Roger Kahn, author of THE BOYS OF SUMMER
Jim Bouton - 1970
The commissioner, executives, and players were shocked. Sportswriters called author Jim Bouton a traitor and "social leper." Baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn tried to force him to declare the book untrue. Fans, however, loved the book. And serious critics called it an important social document. Today, Jim Bouton is still not invited to Oldtimer's Days at Yankee Stadium. But his landmark book is still being read by people who don't ordinarily follow baseball.
The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron
Howard Bryant - 2010
But his influence extends beyond statistics, and at long last here is the first definitive biography of one of baseball's immortal figures. Based on meticulous research and extensive interviews The Last Hero reveals how Aaron navigated the upheavals of his time - fighting against racism while at the same time benefiting from racial progress - and how he achieved his goal of continuing Jackie Robinson's mission to obtain full equality for African Americans, both in baseball and society, while he lived uncomfortably in the public eye. Eloquently written, detailed and penetrating, this is a revelatory portrait of a complicated, private man who through sports became an enduring American icon.
Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty
Charles Leerhsen - 2015
His lifetime batting average is still the highest of all time, and when he retired in 1928, after twenty-one years with the Detroit Tigers and two with the Philadelphia Athletics, he held more than ninety records. But the numbers don't tell half of Cobb's tale. The Georgia Peach was by far the most thrilling player of the era: "Ty Cobb could cause more excitement with a base on balls than Babe Ruth could with a grand slam," one columnist wrote. When the Hall of Fame began in 1936, he was the first player voted in.But Cobb was also one of the game's most controversial characters. He got in a lot of fights, on and off the field, and was often accused of being overly aggressive. In his day, even his supporters acknowledged that he was a fierce and fiery competitor. Because his philosophy was to "create a mental hazard for the other man,"; he had his enemies, but he was also widely admired. After his death in 1961, however, something strange happened: his reputation morphed into that of a monster - a virulent racist who also hated children and women, and was in turn hated by his peers. How did this happen? Who is the real Ty Cobb? Setting the record straight, Charles Leerhsen pushed aside the myths, traveled to Georgia and Detroit, and re-traced Cobb's journey, from the shy son of a professor and state senator who was progressive on race for his time, to America's first true sports celebrity. In the process, he tells of a life overflowing with incident and a man who cut his own path through his times - a man we thought we knew but really didn't.
The Soul of Baseball: A Road Trip Through Buck O'Neil's America
Joe Posnanski - 2007
From that question was born the idea behind BASEBALL AND JAZZ. Posnanski and the 94 year old O'Neil decided to spend the 2005 baseball season touring the country in hopes of stirring up the love that first drew them to the game. This book is just as much the story of Buck O'Neil as it is the story of baseball. In a time when disillusioned, steroid–shooting, money hungry athletes define the sport, Buck O'Neil stands out as a man that truly played for the love of the game. Posnanski writes about that love and the one thing that O'Neil loved almost as much as baseball: jazz. BASEBALL AND JAZZ is an endearing step back in time to the days when the crack of a bat and the smoky notes of a midnight jam session were the sounds that brought the most joy to a man's heart.
The Glory of Their Times: The Story of the Early Days of Baseball Told by the Men Who Played It
Lawrence S. Ritter - 1966
From the Preface:This new enlarged edition of The Glory of Their Times contains the complete text and all the photographs that were in the original book, published in 1966, plus for the first time the first-person stories of four additional major-league players - George Gibson, Babe Herman, Specs Toporcer, and Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg.
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.