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By Andrew Maraniss. 2021
*"[An] excellent exercise in narrative nonfiction." --Booklist (starred review)From New York Times bestselling author Andrew Maraniss comes the remarkable true…story of Glenn Burke, a "hidden figure" in the history of sports: the inventor of the high five and the first openly gay MLB player. Perfect for fans of Steve Sheinkin and Daniel James Brown. On October 2nd, 1977, Glenn Burke, outfielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers, made history without even swinging a bat. When his teammate Dusty Baker hit a historic home run, Glenn enthusiastically congratulated him with the first ever high five. But Glenn also made history in another way--he was the first openly gay MLB player. While he did not come out publicly until after his playing days were over, Glenn's sexuality was known to his teammates, family, and friends. His MLB career would be cut short after only three years, but his legacy and impact on the athletic and LGBTQIA+ community would resonate for years to come. New York Times bestselling author Andrew Maraniss tells the story of Glenn Burke: from his childhood growing up in Oakland, his journey to the MLB and the World Series, the joy in discovering who he really was, to more difficult times: facing injury, addiction, and the AIDS epidemic.Packed with black-and-white photographs and thoroughly researched, never-before-seen details about Glenn's life, Singled Out is the fascinating story of a trailblazer in sports--and the history and culture that shaped the world around him.Praise for Singled Out:"A compelling narrative . . . This is a meticulously researched history of the ways queer culture in the &’70s intersected with baseball, Blackness, and larger culture wars, with one man at their center." --Kirkus Reviews
Grover Cleveland Alexander was one of the greatest pitchers in baseball history, with 373 career victories during twenty seasons in…the Major Leagues. Elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1938, the right-hander remains a compelling—and tragic—figure. &“Pete&” Alexander&’s military service during World War I was the demarcation line between his great seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies and his years of struggle and turmoil with the Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals after the Great War. Indeed, Alexander&’s service during World War I has all but been forgotten, even though it dramatically changed his life—and his game. Alexander served in the 342nd Field Artillery Regiment, which included big leaguers and star athletes among its officers and men. Naturally, the regiment fielded an outstanding baseball team, but it also faced hard service during the final weeks of the war. After the armistice in November 1918, the unit undertook occupation duty in Germany.The Best Team Over There examines this crucial period closely: where Alexander was stationed, how he was trained, how he withstood the effects of combat and shelling, how he interacted with his fellow athletes and soldiers, and how the war changed his baseball career, revealing for the first time the little-known details of this critical stage in the legendary pitcher&’s life and career. We can&’t truly understand Alexander and his enduring appeal to baseball fans without also understanding his life as a gunner and soldier.
By Alex Speier. 2019
The captivating inside story of the historic 2018 Boston Red Sox, as told through the assembly and ascendancy of their…talented young core—the culmination of nearly a decade of reporting from one of the most respected baseball writers in the country.“Alex Speier spins a compelling narrative about how great scouting and player development created a perennial contender in baseball’s toughest division, without losing sight of the people at the heart of his story.” — Keith Law"Compelling reading. A must for Red Sox fans." —BooklistThe 2018 season was a coronation for the Boston Red Sox. The best team in Major League Baseball—indeed, one of the best teams ever—the Sox won 108 regular season games and then romped through the postseason, going 11-3 against the three next-strongest teams baseball had to offer.As Boston Globe baseball reporter Alex Speier reveals, the Sox’ success wasn’t a fluke—nor was it guaranteed. It was the result of careful, patient planning and shrewd decision-making that allowed Boston to develop a golden generation of prospects—and then build upon that talented core to assemble a juggernaut. Speier has covered the key players—Mookie Betts, Andrew Benintendi, Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, Jackie Bradley Jr., and many others—since the beginning of their professional careers, as they rose through the minor leagues and ultimately became the heart of this historic championship squad. Drawing upon hundreds of interviews and years of reporting, Homegrown is the definitive look at the construction of an extraordinary team.It is a story that offers startling insights for baseball fans of any team, and anyone looking for the secret to building a successful organization. Why do many highly touted prospects fail, while others rise out of obscurity to become transcendent? How can franchises help their young talent, in whom they’ve often invested tens of millions of dollars, reach their full potential? And how can management balance long-term aims with the constant pressure to win now?Part insider’s account of one of the greatest baseball teams ever, part meditation on how to build a winner, Homegrown offers an illuminating look into how the best of the best are built.
By Kevin Merida. 2021
Explores Jackie Robinson’s compelling and complicated legacy Before the United States Supreme Court ruled against segregation in public schools, and…before Rosa Parks refused to surrender her bus seat in Montgomery, Alabama, Jackie Robinson walked onto the diamond on April 15, 1947, as first baseman for the Brooklyn Dodgers, making history as the first African American to integrate Major League Baseball in the twentieth century. Today a national icon, Robinson was a complicated man who navigated an even more complicated world that both celebrated and despised him. Many are familiar with Robinson as a baseball hero. Few, however, know of the inner turmoil that came with his historic status. Featuring piercing essays from a range of distinguished sportswriters, cultural critics, and scholars, this book explores Robinson’s perspectives and legacies on civil rights, sports, faith, youth, and nonviolence, while providing rare glimpses into the struggles and strength of one of the nation’s most athletically gifted and politically significant citizens. Featuring a foreword by celebrated directors and producers Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, and David McMahon, this volume recasts Jackie Robinson’s legacy and establishes how he set a precedent for future civil rights activism, from Black Lives Matter to Colin Kaepernick.
By Jim Abbott. 2012
On an overcast September day in 1993, Jim Abbott took the mound at Yankee Stadium and threw one of the…most dramatic no-hitters in major-league history. The game was the crowning achievement in an unlikely success story, unseen in the annals of professional sports. In Imperfect, the one-time big league ace retraces his remarkable journey. Born without a right hand, Jim Abbott as a boy dreamed of being a great athlete. Raised in Flint, Michigan, by parents who saw in his condition not a disability but an extraordinary opportunity, Jim became a two-sport standout in high school, then an ace pitcher for the University of Michigan. But his journey was only beginning. As a nineteen-year-old, Jim beat the vaunted Cuban National Team. By twenty-one, he'd won the gold medal game at the 1988 Olympics and--without spending a day in the minor leagues--cracked the starting rotation of the California Angels. In 1991, he would finish third in the voting for the Cy Young Award. Two years later, he would don Yankee pinstripes and deliver a one-of-a-kind no-hitter. It wouldn't always be so good. After a season full of difficult losses--some of them by football scores--Jim was released, cut off from the game he loved. Unable to say good-bye so soon, Jim tried to come back, pushing himself to the limit--and through one of the loneliest experiences an athlete can have. But always, even then, there were children and their parents waiting for him outside the clubhouse doors, many of them with disabilities like his, seeking consolation and advice. These obligations became Jim's greatest honor. In this honest and insightful memoir, Jim Abbott reveals the insecurities of a life spent as the different one, how he habitually hid his disability in his right front pocket, and why he chose an occupation in which the uniform provided no front pockets. With a riveting pitch-by-pitch account of his no-hitter providing the ideal frame for his story, this unique athlete offers readers an extraordinary and unforgettable memoir. From the Hardcover edition
By Bill Madden. 2020
An authoritative biography of Hall of Fame pitching legend Tom Seaver, still the greatest player ever to wear a Mets…jersey, by a journalist who knows him well.He was called Tom Terrific for a reason. Tom Seaver was one of the most talented and popular players in the history of baseball. He is one of only two pitchers with 300 wins, 3,000 strikeouts, and an ERA under 3.00. He was a three-time Cy Young award winner, twelve-time All Star, and was elected to baseball&’s Hall of Fame with the highest percentage ever at the time. Popular among players and fans, Seaver was fiercely competitive but always put team success ahead of personal glory. Born in Fresno, California, Seaver signed with the New York Mets in 1967, leading them to their stunning 1969 World Series victory. After a legendarily lopsided trade, he joined the Cincinnati Reds, then later played for the White Sox and the Red Sox before ending his career following the 1986 season. After his playing days, Seaver retired back to California to establish a successful vineyard. Then in 2013, a recurrence of Lyme disease severely affected his memory, which Madden was the first to report. In 2019 Seaver&’s family announced that he had been diagnosed with dementia and was withdrawing from public life. Madden began following Seaver&’s career in the 1980s. Seaver came to trust Madden so completely that, eager to return to New York from Chicago, he asked Madden to explore a possible trade to the Yankees, which never materialized. Drawing in part on their long relationship, Madden offers a deeply personal and fascinating portrait of one of the greatest and most admired players of all time.
By Andrea Williams. 2021
For fans of Hidden Figures and Steve Sheinkin's Undefeated, Andrea Williams's Baseball's Leading Lady is the powerful true story of…Effa Manley, the first and only woman inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.Before Jackie Robinson broke Major League Baseball's color barrier in 1947, Black athletes played in the Negro Leagues--on teams coached by Black managers, cheered on by Black fans, and often run by Black owners. Here is the riveting true story of the woman at the center of the Black baseball world: Effa Manley, co-owner and business manager of the Newark Eagles. Elegant yet gutsy, she cultivated a powerhouse team. Yet just as her Eagles reached their pinnacle, so did calls to integrate baseball, a move that would all but extinguish the Negro Leagues. On and off the field, Effa hated to lose. She had devoted her life to Black empowerment--but in the battle for Black baseball, was the game rigged against her?
By Stew Thornley. 2021
From the rickety to the palatial, ballparks have grown up with and defined baseball in Minneapolis and St. Paul. Some…old-timers have vivid memories of cheering for Willie Mays and Roy Campanella at Nicollet and Lexington. Others marveled at a majestic Killebrew home run at the Met. Many a lucky resident celebrated two world championships in the Metrodome and witnessed one of the greatest pitching performances in World Series history. More recently, fans have enjoyed the return of sunshine and even raindrops at Target Field. Described by City Pages as "the most respected local baseball historian," Stew Thornley leads a tour of where we--as well as our grandparents and now our children--discovered baseball.
By Howard Bryant. 2010
In the thirty-four years since his retirement, Henry Aaron's reputation has only grown in magnitude: he broke existing records (RBIs,…total bases, extra-base hits) and set new ones (hitting at least thirty home runs per season fifteen times, becoming the first player in history to hammer five hundred home runs and three thousand hits). 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 interviews with former teammates, family, two former presidents, and Aaron himself, The Last Hero chronicles Aaron's childhood in segregated Alabama, his brief stardom in the Negro Leagues, his complicated relationship with celebrity, and his historic rivalry with Willie Mays--all culminating in the defining event of his life: his shattering of Babe Ruth's all-time home-run record. Bryant also examines Aaron's more complex second act: his quest to become an important voice beyond the ball field when his playing days had ended, his rediscovery by a public disillusioned with today's tainted heroes, and his disappointment that his career home-run record was finally broken by Barry Bonds during the steroid era, baseball's greatest scandal. Bryant 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 spotlight. Eloquently written, detailed and penetrating, this is a revelatory portrait of a complicated, private man who through sports became an enduring American icon.
Baseball has witnessed more than 125,000 home runs. Many have altered the outcome of games, and some have decided pennants…and become legend. But no dinger has had greater impact than Hank Aaron's 715th home run. His historic blast on April 8, 1974, lifted him above Babe Ruth on the all-time list, an achievement that shook not only baseball but our nation itself. Aaron's magnificent feat provoked bigotry and shattered prejudice, inspired a generation, emboldened a flagging civil rights movement, and called forth the demons that haunted Aaron's every step and turned what should have been a joyous pursuit into a hellish nightmare. In this powerful recollection, Tom Stanton penetrates the myth of Aaron's chase and uncovers the compelling story behind the most consequential athletic achievement of the past fifty years. Three decades after Hank Aaron reached the pinnacle of the national pastime, and now as Barry Bonds makes history of his own, Stanton unfolds a tale rich with drama, poignancy, and suspense to bring to life the elusive spirit of an American hero.
By Reggie Jackson. 2014
Los Yankees de Nueva York versus los Red Sox de Boston, septiembre 1977: ¿Le pides a Babe Ruth que toque…la bola, o a Cookie Lavagetto, Willie McCovey o Phil Rizzuto? Pero yo estaba aprendiendo. Billy Martin me dijo que tocara la bola y me preparé para hacerlo. Pero Reggie Cleveland me lanzó una bola hacia adentro y no pude sacar el bate, así que tuve que tomarla como una bola. Miré a Dick Howser y el toque de bola quedó descartado. Cleveland me lanzó una bola rápida y cometí un foul. Miré de nuevo a Howser. Volvió a hacerme señas para tocar la bola. Díganme una cosa, ¿tiene sentido eso? Me preparé para tratar de tocar la bola de nuevo, pero Reggie Cleveland me lanzó otra bola hacia adentro. Era como si ellos estuvieran viendo las señas, lo cual era muy probable. Era como si supieran con antelación que iba a intentar tocar la bola. Personalmente, pensé que estaban cometiendo un error. Si fuera mi equipo y Reggie Jackson quería tocar la bola, yo le dejaría hacerlo. Pero la cuenta se puso a mi favor, el toque de bola quedó descartado y Cleveland me lanzó una bola deslizadora. Me lo pusieron muy fácil. El resto es historia.
By Hank Aaron. 2007
The man who shattered Babe Ruth's lifetime home run record, Henry "Hammering Hank" Aaron left his indelible mark on professional…baseball and the world. But the world also left its mark on him. I Had a Hammer is much more than the intimate autobiography of one of the greatest names in pro sports-it is a fascinating social history of twentieth-century America. With courage and candor, Aaron recalls his struggles and triumphs in an atmosphere of virulent racism. He relives the breathtaking moment when, in the heat of hatred and controversy, he hit his 715th home run to break Ruth's cherished record-an accomplishment for which Aaron received more than 900,000 letters, many of them vicious and racially charged. And his story continues through the remainder of his milestone-setting, barrier-smashing career as a player and, later, Atlanta Braves executive--offering an eye-opening and unforgettable portrait of an incomparable athlete, his sport, his epoch, and his world.
By David Wright, Anthony DiComo. 2020
The memoir from the last Mets captain, David Wright, one of the most admired players in recent MLB history, about…his inspiring and deep commitment to the game. David Wright played his entire fourteen-year Major League Baseball career for the New York Mets. And when he came back time and again from injury, he demonstrated the power of hard work, commitment, and love of the game. Wright was nicknamed "Captain America" after his performance in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. He is a seven-time All-Star, a two-time Gold Glove Award winner, a two-time Silver Slugger Award winner, and a member of the 30-30 club. He holds Mets franchise records for most career RBIs, doubles, total bases, runs scored, walks, sacrifice flies, times on base, extra base hits, strikeouts, double plays, and hits. He was named captain of the Mets in 2013, becoming the fourth captain in the team's history. Now the widely admired, beloved New York Mets third baseman and captain tells it from his perspective.
Since their inception in 1977, the Toronto Blue Jays have been one of the most dynamic franchises in all of…baseball. As an award-winning, longtime Jays columnist, Bob Elliott has witnessed more than his share of that history up close and personal. In If These Walls Could Talk: Toronto Blue Jays, Elliott provides insight into the Jays' inner sanctum as only he can. Readers will gain the perspective of players, coaches, and front office executives in times of greatness as well as defeat, making for a keepsake no fan will want to miss.
By John Feinstein. 2014
From the acclaimed #1 bestselling author . . . a riveting journey through the world of minor-league baseball "No one…grows up playing baseball pretending that they're pitching or hitting in Triple-A." --Chris Schwinden, Triple-A pitcher "If you don't like it here, do a better job." --Ron Johnson, Triple-A manager John Feinstein gave readers an unprecedented view of the PGA Tour in A Good Walk Spoiled. He opened the door to an NCAA basketball locker room in his explosive bestseller A Season on the Brink. Now, turning his eye to our national pastime, sports journalist John Feinstein explores the colorful and mysterious world of minor-league baseball--a gateway through which all major-league players pass in their careers . . . hoping never to return. Baseball's minor leagues are a paradox. For some players, the minors are a glorious launching pad toward years of fame and fortune; for others, a crash-landing pad when injury or poor play forces a big leaguer back to a life of obscure ballparks and cramped buses instead of Fenway Park and plush charter planes. Focusing exclusively on the Triple-A level, one step beneath Major League Baseball, Feinstein introduces readers to nine unique men: three pitchers, three position players, two managers, and an umpire. Through their compelling stories, Feinstein pulls back the veil on a league that is chock-full of gifted baseball players, managers, and umpires who are all one moment away from getting called up--or back--to the majors. The stories are hard to believe: a first-round draft pick and pitching ace who rocketed to major-league success before finding himself suddenly out of the game, hatching a presumptuous plan to get one more shot at the mound; a home run-hitting former World Series hero who lived the dream, then bounced among six teams before facing the prospects of an unceremonious end to his career; a big-league All-Star who, in the span of five months, went from being completely out of baseball to becoming a star in the ALDS, then signing a $10 million contract; and a well-liked designated hitter who toiled for eighteen seasons in the minors--a record he never wanted to set--before facing his final, highly emotional chance for a call-up to the big leagues. From Raleigh to Pawtucket, from Lehigh Valley to Indianapolis and beyond, Where Nobody Knows Your Name gives readers an intimate look at a baseball world not normally seen by the fans. John Feinstein gets to the heart of the human stories in a uniquely compelling way, crafting a masterful book that stands alongside his very best works.From the Hardcover edition.
By Christopher Phillips. 2019
An in-depth look at the intersection of judgment and statistics in baseballScouting and scoring are considered fundamentally different ways of…ascertaining value in baseball. Scouting seems to rely on experience and intuition, scoring on performance metrics and statistics. In Scouting and Scoring, Christopher Phillips rejects these simplistic divisions. He shows how both scouts and scorers rely on numbers, bureaucracy, trust, and human labor in order to make sound judgments about the value of baseball players.Tracing baseball’s story from the nineteenth century to today, Phillips explains that the sport was one of the earliest and most consequential fields for the introduction of numerical analysis. New technologies and methods of data collection were supposed to enable teams to quantify the drafting and managing of players—replacing scouting with scoring. But that’s not how things turned out. Over the decades, scouting and scoring started looking increasingly similar. Scouts expressed their judgments in highly formulaic ways, using numerical grades and scientific instruments to evaluate players. Scorers drew on moral judgments, depended on human labor to maintain and correct data, and designed bureaucratic systems to make statistics appear reliable. From the invention of official scorers and Statcast to the creation of the Major League Scouting Bureau, the history of baseball reveals the inextricable connections between human expertise and data science.A unique consideration of the role of quantitative measurement and human judgment, Scouting and Scoring provides an entirely fresh understanding of baseball by showing what the sport reveals about reliable knowledge in the modern world.
By Luis Tiant, Saul Wisnia. 2019
A memoir by the mustachioed baseball pitcher who went playing rocky, trash-ridden fields in Castro&’s Cuba to becoming a Boston…Red Sox legend.Luis Tiant is one of the most charismatic and accomplished players in Boston Red Sox and Major League Baseball history. With a barrel-chested physique and a Fu Manchu mustache, Tiant may not have looked like the lean, sculpted aces he usually played against, but nobody was a tougher competitor on the diamond, and few were as successful. There may be no more qualified twentieth-century pitcher not yet enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.His big-league dreams came at a price: racism in the Deep South and the Boston suburbs, and nearly fifteen years separated from a family held captive in Castro&’s Cuba. But baseball also delivered World Series stardom and a heroic return to his island home after close to a half-century of forced exile. The man whose name—&“El Tiante&” —became a Fenway Park battle cry has never fully shared his tale in his own words, until now. In Son of Havana, Tiant puts his heart on his sleeve and describes his road from torn-up fields in Havana to the pristine lawns of major league ballparks. Readers will share Tiant&’s pride when appeals by a pair of US senators to baseball-fanatic Castro secure freedom for Luis&’s parents to fly to Boston and witness the 1975 World Series glory of their child. And readers will join the big-league ballplayers for their spring 2016 exhibition game in Havana, when Tiant—a living link to the earliest, scariest days of the Castro regime—threw out the first pitch.
By Michael Tackett. 2016
From an award-winning journalist, a real Field of Dreams story about a legendary coach and the professional-caliber baseball program he…built in America's heartland, where boys come summer after summer to be molded into ballplayers -- and men Clarinda, Iowa, population 5,000, sits two hours from anything. There, between the corn fields and hog yards, is a ball field with a bronze bust of a man named Merl Eberly, a baseball whisperer who specialized in second chances and lost causes. The statue was a gift from one of Merl's original long-shot projects, a skinny kid from the ghetto in Los Angeles who would one day become a beloved Hall-of-Fame shortstop: Ozzie Smith. The Baseball Whisperer traces the remarkable story of Merl Eberly and his Clarinda A's baseball team, which he tended over the course of five decades, transforming them from a town team to a collegiate summer league powerhouse. Along with Ozzie Smith, future manager Bud Black, and star player Von Hayes, Merl developed scores of major league players (six of which are currently playing). In the process, Merl taught them to be men, insisting on hard work, integrity, and responsibility. More than a book about ballplayers who landed in the nation's agricultural heartland, The Baseball Whisperer is the story of a coach who puts character and dedication first, and reminds us of the best, purest form of baseball excellence.
By Sridhar Pappu. 2017
The Year of the Pitcher is the story of the remarkable 1968 baseball season, which culminated in one of the…greatest World Series contests ever, with the Detroit Tigers coming back from a 3–1 deficit to beat the Cardinals in Game Seven of the World Series. In 1968, two remarkable pitchers would dominate the game as well as the broadsheets. One was black, the other white. Bob Gibson, together with the St. Louis Cardinals, embodied an entire generation's hope for integration at a heated moment in American history. Denny McLain, his adversary, was a crass self-promoter who eschewed the team charter and his Detroit Tigers teammates to zip cross-country in his own plane. For one season, the nation watched as these two men and their teams swept their respective league championships to meet at the World Series. Gibson set a major league record that year with a 1.12 ERA. McLain won more than 30 games in 1968, a feat not achieved since 1934 and untouched since. Together, the two have come to stand as iconic symbols, giving the fans “The Year of the Pitcher” and changing the game. Evoking a nostalgic season and its incredible characters, this is the story of one of the great rivalries in sports and an indelible portrait of the national pastime during a turbulent year—and the two men who electrified fans from all walks of life.
By Jay Martin. 2009
Laying waste to the notion that Abner Doubleday established the modern game of baseball, acclaimed biographer Jay Martin makes a…bold case for A. J. Cartwright (1820-1892), an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and avid ballplayer whose keen perception and restless spirit codified the rules of the sport and engineered its rapid spread throughout the country.Consulting Cartwright's personal correspondence and papers, Martin shows how this American archetype synthesized a number of elements from popular ballgames into the program, bylaws, and positions we find on the field today. After formalizing his blueprint, Cartwright worked tirelessly to promote baseball nationwide, appealing to both upper- and lower-class spectators and ballplayers and weaving a trail of influence across nineteenth-century America. Addressing the controversy that has roiled for years around the claims for Doubleday and Cartwright, Martin revisits the original arguments behind each camp and throws into sharp relief the competing ambitions of these figures during a time of aggressive westward expansion and unparalleled opportunities for individual reinvention. Martin's story of modern baseball not only offers a fascinating window into a thoroughly American phenomenon but also accesses a rare history of American ideals.