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Baseball Books

For anyone who has grown up watching star athletes round the bases, our Baseball Books feature will keep you up to date on the latest titles. Each season, reviewer Ron Kaplan compiles recently released baseball books --- from those that harken back to a simpler time and the early glory days, to those that keep up with current players. Ron remarks that the beauty of the sport is that every game provides the opportunity to see something you've never seen before. The same just might happen with these roundups.

Remembering What The National Pastime Is All About

With all the disillusionment caused by the recent steroid-fueled headlines, fans can still take comfort from a number of new titles that serve to remind us of what a great game baseball has been and continues to be. After all, except for the ugly strike in 1994-95, the national pastime has survived wars, a depression, and even the threat of talking pictures and television.

The Yankees and Red Sox: A Rivalry for the Ages

The rivalry between New York and Boston leaves fans with more than just breathtaking baseball. Each municipality sees itself as superior: New Yorkers are more aggressive and show an affinity for getting things done, while New Englanders are more cultured and refined. They also have had the sympathy of the baseball community and the larger world for their decades of futility.

2005 Fall Baseball Roundup

Who knows if, in 50 years time, authors will wax poetic about the winner of this year's World Series as they have about past victors? The Brooklyn Dodgers, for example, have two titles --- from very different sources --- to mark the 50th anniversary of the only championship for the legendary "Bums" while they played in the fabled borough of Flatbush.

2006 Spring Baseball Roundup


Following their first World Series Championship in almost 90 years, more than a dozen titles acknowledging the Boston Red Sox's accomplishment hit the shelves. Now that the novelty has finally worn off, the genre can get back to normal, with its usual assortment of heroes, villains and eclectic themes.'s Ron Kaplan takes a look at some of these titles just in time for the start of the 2006 Major League Baseball season.

2006 Fall Baseball Roundup

Baseball books are divided into several subgenres: team histories, overall histories, biographies, statistical analyses, etc. Each year offers one from each group that stands apart from the rest. As the 2006 Major League season dwindles down to a precious few days of postseason play, the following titles will help keep fans warm until spring training gets underway in 2007.

2007 Spring Baseball Roundup

Baseball as Continuing Education

In 1982, Thomas Boswell of The Washington Post published HOW LIFE IMITATES THE WORLD SERIES, a collection of his baseball columns. Since there are many aspects of life reflected within the national pastime, it was an apt title. But consider another analogy: The national pastime can be found in myriad "disciplines" --- from art to music, from film to literature, and from math to science. So in that regard, baseball imitates school. A typical curriculum might look something like this.

They Called Me God / Called Out But Safe

Isn’t it always the way? We haven’t had a mainstream book about umpiring since Bruce Weber’s AS THEY SEE ’EM: A Fan’s Travels in the Land of Umpires in 2009. Now we have two: THEY CALLED ME GOD: The Best Umpire Who Ever Lived and CALLED OUT BUT SAFE: A Baseball Umpire’s Journey, both written by veteran arbiters with the assistance of equally veteran sportswriters. (To be accurate, Weber was not a professional ump; rather, he was an embedded journalist going through the rigors of preparation for the job.)

2012 Spring Baseball Roundup

New York, New York: New books on the Mets and Yankees reflect old school, new attitudes

Memoirs seem to be the genre of choice this year for the New York teams, both for players and writers.

2011 Season-Ending Baseball Roundup

New York vs. Boston Baseball: A Literary Rivalry
written by Ron Kaplan

Since the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox saw their seasons end early this fall --- the Yankees having been eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Detroit Tigers, and the Red Sox, well, let’s just say having fallen off the face of the earth during September --- they can basically look forward to starting fresh in 2012.