Just as Hollywood springs all the best flicks on us at once, so too does the publishing industry hold back books. Of course, it’s fun when it finally happens. With just three weeks until pitchers and catchers report, we checked in with Amazon, Ron Kaplan, and a few other sites, and culled a baker’s dozen worth of titles that trip our fancy.
1. Beltway Boys: Stephen Strasburg, Bryce Harper, and the Rise of the Nationals, Elliott Smith
Ah, if we could only change that last chapter. Still, Nats Nation will gobble up this one. Hopefully, the author, who lives in Falls Church, will hit the area talk circuit.
Note to Amazon: It’s Strasburg, not Strasberg.
2. Never. Say. Die.: The San Francisco Giants - 2012 World Series Champions
3. Giants Past & Present: 2012 Championship Edition, Dan Fost
I’m still speechless.
4. Trading Bases: A Story About Wall Street, Gambling, and Baseball (Not Necessarily in That Order) by Joe Peta
I’ve been reading more non-baseball books lately, but this one caught my eye as a potential must read. At his blog, the author provides an excerpt, where he nails the feelings Nationals fans had last year.
There’s a Giants connection too, as Peta lives in San Francisco, and the book promo mentions “the ballpark in San Francisco.”
5. Willard Mullin's Golden Age Of Baseball Drawings 1934-1972, Willard Mullin (Author), Hal Bock (Editor), Michael Powers (Editor)
There must be a legion of Mullin fans who don’t know that they are. That is, those of us who read The Sporting News in the 60s, and enjoyed the cartoons and baseball wit, but never paid attention to the name behind the creativity.
Mullin covered all sports, but he seemed to know baseball the best. Published by the New York World-Telegram and syndicates, he created memorable characters such as the Brooklyn Bum and his nemesis, the New York Giant.
By the way, memo to the writers of the book description, who state, “first-ever retrospective of the dean of American sports cartooning “stars” baseball greats such as Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, Lou Gehrig, and many others. Mullin had fans who rooted for teams other than the Yankees, you know?
6. Baseball Prospectus 2013
Some of the vets have left the team but this baseball bible is still one of the most cherished annuals out there.
7. Mickey and Willie: Mantle and Mays, The Parallel Lives of Baseball's Golden Age, Allen Barra
Looks interesting. I don’t recall Mays talking much about Mantle in any of his books.
I do remember my playground and street-field mates who were at that age where you latch on to a baseball hero. A close friend of mine liked Mantle, and another liked Koufax. I picked Mays. The frustrating part is I don’t remember the process of all that happening.
8. Wild Pitches, Dirk Hayhurst
I haven’t had time for any of Hayhurt’s books but I should. Hayhurst has been compared to Jim Bouton. By the way, his major league debut was at San Francisco on August 23, 2008.
9. Stolen Bases: Why American Girls Don't Play Baseball, Jennifer Ring
Paperback of Ring’s 2009 book. Looks great, I should read this one!
10. Base Ball Founders: The Clubs, Players and Cities of the Northeast That Established the Game, Peter Morris, William J. Ryczek, Jan Finkel, Leonard Levin, Richard Malatzky
Five great SABR names here, and anything Peter Morris puts his hands on is outstanding.
This is the audio version of Lanctot’s book. Received high praise as a one- volume history.
12. Keepers of the Game: When the Baseball Beat was the Best Job on the Paper, Dennis D'Agostino
Biggest challenge for this one will be to strike a balance between the large number of writers in New York and those in the other big league cities. During this “Golden Age,” the Big Apple dailies numbered more than a dozen.
The Giants look to get their fair share of coverage. The writers coveted a spot in the Polo Grounds press box and on the train with the colorful McGraw. During this period, some of the most prolific and popular writers covered the Giants at some point in their careers. They were giants themselves - Sam Crane, Grantland Rice, Damon Runyon, Fred Lieb, Bozeman Bulger, Heywood Broun, Dan Daniel, Frank Graham, and John Kiernan.
13. 501 Baseball Books Fans Must Read before They Die, Ron Kaplan
Ron is a SABR member and avid baseball book blogger. What a job this must have been!