Monday, July 8, 2013

Baseball Book Recommendations

As a fan of both baseball and books, it's natural for me to enjoy reading about baseball, and with this post I wanted to make a few recommendations on this topic. In addition, I've also talked to some people who know a little something about baseball and asked them if they would recommend some books as well. I will be starting off with their recommendations and ending with mine.

I have included links for each book mentioned for those of you who would like to get a little more information about the books or read reviews of them.

Michael Westbay was kind enough to point me to his discussion page when I asked him for some recommendations. Many of books mentioned on his site have been mentioned by others on their list here, so I will only add one's not mentioned. It is however, worth taking a look at the site, as there are reviews of some of the books mentioned in some of the links on this post. Westbay-san also mentioned that he agreed with Mr. Allen's choice of Banzai Babe Ruth.

Wally Yonamine by Robert K. Fitts

A Zen Way of Baseball by Sadaharu Oh and David Falkner

David Klopfenstein of Yakyu Night Owl:
Dollar Sign on the Muscle: The World of Baseball Scouting by Kevin Kerrane

Baseball in '41 by Robert W. Creamer

When Women Played Hardball by Susan E. Johnson

Teammates by David Halberstam

SATCHEL by Larry Tye

Runs, Hits and an Era by Paul J. Zingg and Mark D. Medeiros

Red Smith on Baseball by Red Smith

Ball Four by Jim Bouton

Say Hey by Willie Mays with Lou Sahadi

Baseball's Hometown Teams by Bruce Chadwick

Slugging It Out in Japan by Warren Cromartie and Robert Whiting

My Greatest Day in Baseball by John P. Carmichael

Smithsonian Baseball by Stephen Wong

Play by Play by Neal Conan

Sayonara Home Run! by John Gall and Gary Engel

The Baseball Anthology by Joseph Wallace

Jason Coskrey of the Japan Times:
You Gotta Have Wa by Robert Whiting

The Samurai Way of Baseball by Robert Whiting (aka The Meaning of Ichiro)

Field of Screams by Mickey Bradley and Dan Gordon

Baseball Is Just Baseball: The Understated Ichiro by David Shields

Banzai Babe Ruth by Robert K. Fitts

Moneyball by Michael Lewis

The Yankee Years by Joe Torre and Tom Verducci

Trading Bases by Joe Peta

From the Japan Baseball Weekly Podcast with John E. Gibson and Jim Allen
Remembering Japanese Baseball by Robert K. Fitts (Gibson)

Transpacific Field of Dreams by Sayuri Guthrie-Shimizu (Gibson)

Banzai Babe Ruth by Robert K. Fitts (Allen)

The Samurai Way of Baseball by Robert Whiting (aka The Meaning of Ichiro) (Allen)

Thomas St. John
Minor Players, Major Dreams by Brett Mandel

The Zen of Zim by Don Zimmer

Ichiro on Ichiro by Ichiro Suzuki

A Zen Way of Baseball by Sadaharu Oh and David Falkner

The Samurai Way of Baseball by Robert Whiting (aka The Meaning of Ichiro)

Slugging It Out in Japan by Warren Cromartie and Robert Whiting

Patrick (mine)
Weaver on Strategy by Earl Weaver with Terry Pluto

Taking in a Game: A History of Baseball in Asia by Joseph A. Reaves

Moneyball by Michael Lewis

The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract by Bill James

The Chrysanthemum and the Bat by Robert Whiting

You Gotta Have Wa by Robert Whiting

The Bullpen Gospels by Dirk Hayhurst

Baseball: A Literary Anthology by Nicholas Dawidoff

Wherever I Wind Up by R. A. Dickey with Wayne Coffey

Ichiro Magic by Jim Allen

Can you root for the Hanshin Tigers in English? by Shannon O. Higgins

The Glory of Their Times by Lawrence S. Ritter

Lost Ballparks by Lawrence S. Ritter

Korean Pro Baseball Guidebooks by Thomas St. John

For the parents with young kids:

My Baseball Book by Gail Gibbons

H is for Home Run by Brad Herzog

Take Me Out to the Yakyu by Aaron Meshon

Three Extras (recently recommended to me)
Opening Day by Jonathan Eig

The Numbers Game by Alan Schwartz

Field of Schemes by Neil deMause & Joanna Cagan

Overall, the list was more diverse than I expected, though a bit heavy on Japanese related titles. Banzai Babe Ruth and The Samurai Way of Baseball seemed to be the most recommend books. I would like to thank everyone for contributing their recommendations!

 Hope you enjoyed the lists.  Part of this reason for this post was that I knew many great books wouldn't be mentioned, so if you have any recommendations, feel free to leave them in the comments section.

In case this list isn't enough for you, I have just found this book:
501 Baseball Books Fans Must Read before They Die by Ron Kaplan


  1. This is a great list with lots of titles I'm unfamiliar with. I'll be checking them out, for sure.

    A few books I read this past year have jumped to near the top of the list of my Favorite baseball books:

    The Empire Strikes Out: How Baseball Sold U.S. Foreign Policy and Promoted the American Way Abroad by Robert Elias

    A Drive into the Gap by Kevin Guifoile

    And here are a couple of my very favorite baseball books that I never see on lists:

    Saying It's So: A Cultural History of the Black Sox Scandal by Daniel A. Nathan

    Ironweed (a novel) by William Kennedy

    TS Flynn (

    1. Thanks for the comment and the book recommendations. I'll definitely be adding them to my list. The first one sounds particularly interesting!