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2011 Spring Baseball Roundup

Baseball Books

2011 Spring Baseball Roundup

New Year, “Old” Books

The 2011 Major League Baseball season is in full swing. As of this writing, there is the usual set of surprises, with some teams and individual players exceeding preseason predictions, while others are not living up to expectations.

One thing you can always count on: a variety of entertaining books to fill in those inevitable rain delays and interminable pitching changes. This year's list includes plenty of New York-centric titles to keep Yankees, Mets and even Brooklyn Dodger fans busy.

56: Joe DiMaggio and the Last Magic Number in Sports by Kostya Kennedy - Baseball, Sports

This year marks the 70th anniversary of Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak. It would be easy enough to rely on the old standard of writing a bit about each game as the Yankee Clipper makes his way into the history books. But in 56: Joe DiMaggio and the Last Magic Number in Sports Kostya Kennedy, a writer for Sports Illustrated, gives a real sense of the tension as “The Streak” begins modestly before building momentum until it was no longer just a source of interest for baseball fans, but for the whole country.


Joe DiMaggio: The Long Vigil by Jerome Charyn - Baseball, Biography, Sports

This year marks the 70th anniversary of one of the sports records considered to be unbreakable: Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak. Jerome Charyn's JOE DIMAGGIO: THE LONG VIGIL is an examination of what happens to an athlete when the cheering stops. It's a brief, exceedingly sad tale; for all of DiMaggio's accomplishments and adoration, Charyn depicts him as a man who was never comfortable in his own skin. At once wanting the accolades while at the same time wishing to be left alone, Garbo-like, he became a hero to the Italian community and to America at large in a precarious time in history, when the nation needed respite from the larger issues of the impending World War just a few months away.

The House that Ruth Built: A New Stadium, the First Yankees Championship, and the Redemption of 1923 by Robert Weintraub - Baseball, Biography, Sports

Readers may come to Robert Weintraub's THE HOUSE THAT RUTH BUILT: A New Stadium, the First Yankees Championship, and the Redemption of 1923 and ask, “Another book about Yankee Stadium?” In truth, one would have thought that ship had sailed either in 1998, when the legendary ballpark celebrated 75 years of service, or in 2008, when it closed its doors to make way for progress. How many times do we need to hear about Babe Ruth's boozing and womanizing or Lou Gehrig's initial awkwardness or the Yankees' juggernaut?

Derek Jeter: From the Pages of the New York Times by New York Times and Tyler Kepner - Baseball, Biography, Sports

Before this season began, there was speculation about Derek Jeter, the fixture at shortstop for the Yankees since the mid-1990s. With his contract complete and at the advanced age of 37, fans and sports pundits opined about his future with the team specifically and the game in general. Perhaps that's why DEREK JETER: FROM THE PAGES OF THE NEW YORK TIMES came out this spring.

New York Mets: The Complete Illustrated History by Matthew Silverman - Baseball, Biography, Sports

Like DiMaggio's streak, the New York Mets are observing an anniversary, too. Matthew Silverman, who's made a cottage industry of publishing about the team, has come up with a proper tribute with NEW YORK METS: THE COMPLETE ILLUSTRATED HISTORY, a must-have for any serious fan of the team.