10 Classic And Compelling Books About The Great American Pastime

Day 41 February 10 Summer daydreams

You know spring has officially arrived when it’s opening day of the major league baseball season. Perhaps no other sport has been as widely, or as eloquently, written about. Baseball is a sport that lends itself easily to literature; it has inspired some very rich and compelling prose over the years.

I still remember as a child having the poem Casey At The Bat by Ernest Thayer (1888) read aloud to me in grade school and at bedtime. Remarkably, much of it I still remember even though I can’t recall having read it as an adult.

So here we go… If you’re not already, these 10 classic (older and newer, fiction and nonfiction) baseball books are sure to get you into the mindset for opening day. (Note: for the convenience of collector’s all titles linked below are directed to First Edition hardcover format. For later, or other editions, simply search these same, or any other, titles here

The Glory Of Their Times by Lawrence Ritter (1966 Macmillan)

Eight Men Out by Eliot Abinoff (1963 Holt, Rinehart, Winston)

The Summer Game by Roger Angell (1972 Viking)

Baseball’s Great Experiment: Jackie Robinson and His Legacy by Jules Tygiel (1983 Oxford University Press)

Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella (1982 Houghton Mifflin)

Summer Of 49 by David Halberstam (1989 William Morrow Publishing)

The Natural by Bernard Malamud (1952 Harcourt Brace)

Clemente: The Passion and Grace Of Baseball’s Last Hero by David Maraniss (2006 Simon & Schuster)

Moneyball: The Art Of Winning An Unfair Game by Michael Lewis (2003 W.W. Norton & Co.)

3 Nights In August: Strategy, Heartbreak, And Joy Inside The Mind Of A Manager by Buzz Bissinger (2005, Houghton Mifflin)

It would be easy to extend this list to 10 or 20 more titles at least. There have been so many good ones. If you’d like to share others that you may have particularly enjoyed, or that are not on this list, please feel free to do so with a comment.

Happy reading and collecting. Enjoy opening day and all that follows. Best of luck to whatever team(s) you root for. Play ball!

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