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Batter Up! Our Favorite Baseball Books to Kick Off Your Season

Julianna Haubner joined the editorial team at Simon & Schuster in September 2014. A lifelong reader, she is most drawn to literary fiction, biography, cultural history, and narrative non-fiction; it’s her firm belief that every human should own a copy of Cheryl Strayed’s TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS, and EMPIRE FALLS is the book that changed her life. When Julianna’s not reading and reviewing, she’s downloading podcast episodes as if there are more than 24 hours in a day, watching Bravo, baking, and running the Off the Shelf Instagram. You can follow her on Twitter @jhaubner2.

The 2015 baseball season is now upon us, which means hot dogs and long sunny days spent in stadiums. We were inspired to look back at the stories and players who have made baseball such an integral part of our nation’s history. From novels to biographies to oral histories and memoirs, here are some of our favorites that bring together our two national pastimes: books and baseball.


The Art of Fielding
by Chad Harbach

Set at the fictional Westish College in Wisconsin, The Art of Fielding is about innocence, dreams, and coming of age on the baseball field. An expansive, warmhearted novel about ambition and its limits, about family and friendship and love, and about commitment—to oneself and to others—it renews our faith in the power of contemporary literature.

The Art of Fielding
Chad Harbach

Set at the fictional Westish College in Wisconsin, The Art of Fielding is about innocence, dreams, and coming of age on the baseball field. An expansive, warmhearted novel about ambition and its limits, about family and friendship and love, and about commitment—to oneself and to others—it renews our faith in the power of contemporary literature.

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Shoeless Joe
by W.P. Kinsella

Though it’s probably best known for the movie it inspired—a certain Kevin Costner flick that took place mainly in a cornfield and featured a voice whispering “If you build it, he will come”—W. P. Kinsella’s book is a wonder all on its own.

Shoeless Joe
W.P. Kinsella

Though it’s probably best known for the movie it inspired—a certain Kevin Costner flick that took place mainly in a cornfield and featured a voice whispering “If you build it, he will come”—W. P. Kinsella’s book is a wonder all on its own.

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Wait Till Next Year
by Doris Kearns Goodwin

Before she wrote Team of Rivals and The Bully Pulpit, Doris Kearns Goodwin was just a girl who loved books, baseball, and her family. In this memoir, we meet the people—on and off the field—who defined her childhood and shaped the person she became.

Wait Till Next Year
Doris Kearns Goodwin

Before she wrote Team of Rivals and The Bully Pulpit, Doris Kearns Goodwin was just a girl who loved books, baseball, and her family. In this memoir, we meet the people—on and off the field—who defined her childhood and shaped the person she became.

MENTIONED IN:

Batter Up! Our Favorite Baseball Books to Kick Off Your Season

By Julianna Haubner | April 23, 2015

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Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig
by Jonathan Eig

Lou Gehrig was the greatest first baseman in history, so when he announced his retirement in 1939, the world was shocked. Despite his fatal diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, he delivered a speech to a sold out crowd at Yankee Stadium, proclaiming himself “the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” Luckiest Man is a deep and personal exploration of this inspiring and talented man.

Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig
Jonathan Eig

Lou Gehrig was the greatest first baseman in history, so when he announced his retirement in 1939, the world was shocked. Despite his fatal diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, he delivered a speech to a sold out crowd at Yankee Stadium, proclaiming himself “the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” Luckiest Man is a deep and personal exploration of this inspiring and talented man.

MENTIONED IN:

Batter Up! Our Favorite Baseball Books to Kick Off Your Season

By Julianna Haubner | April 23, 2015

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The Boys of Summer
by Roger Kahn

One of the most enjoyable baseball books ever written, The Boys of Summer follows Jackie Robinson and the Brooklyn Dodgers during the 1930–40 seasons. Told with heart, adoration, and honesty, it examines the prejudice, passion, triumph, and disasters that the team faced, and the enduring power of loving a game.

The Boys of Summer
Roger Kahn

One of the most enjoyable baseball books ever written, The Boys of Summer follows Jackie Robinson and the Brooklyn Dodgers during the 1930–40 seasons. Told with heart, adoration, and honesty, it examines the prejudice, passion, triumph, and disasters that the team faced, and the enduring power of loving a game.

MENTIONED IN:

Batter Up! Our Favorite Baseball Books to Kick Off Your Season

By Julianna Haubner | April 23, 2015

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The Soul of Baseball: A Road Trip Through Buck O’Neil’s America
by Joe Posnanski

When legendary Negro League player Buck O’Neil asked renowned sports columnist Joe Posnanski how he fell in love with baseball, he was so inspired by the question that he spent the 2005 baseball season touring the country with the ninety-four-year-old O’Neil in hopes of rediscovering the love that first drew them to the game.

The Soul of Baseball: A Road Trip Through Buck O’Neil’s America
Joe Posnanski

When legendary Negro League player Buck O’Neil asked renowned sports columnist Joe Posnanski how he fell in love with baseball, he was so inspired by the question that he spent the 2005 baseball season touring the country with the ninety-four-year-old O’Neil in hopes of rediscovering the love that first drew them to the game.

MENTIONED IN:

Batter Up! Our Favorite Baseball Books to Kick Off Your Season

By Julianna Haubner | April 23, 2015

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Underworld
by Don DeLillo

One of DeLillo’s best, Underworld has many storylines, but it starts on a baseball diamond. The book only spends a short time focusing on baseball, but one ball in particular factors into all of the action that follows.

Underworld
Don DeLillo

One of DeLillo’s best, Underworld has many storylines, but it starts on a baseball diamond. The book only spends a short time focusing on baseball, but one ball in particular factors into all of the action that follows.

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Moneyball
by Michael Lewis
A must read for anyone interested in the science and statistics of the game, MONEYBALL is a quest for the secret to success in baseball. Full of fascinating characters and brilliant excursions into the unexpected, it will have you rooting for the underdog in a sport where big money is always supposed to win.
Moneyball
Michael Lewis

Read a Book About Sports

A must-read for anyone interested in the science and statistics of baseball, MONEYBALL is a quest for the secret to success in the game. Full of fascinating characters and brilliant excursions into the unexpected, it will have you rooting for the underdog in a sport where big money is always supposed to win.

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The Glory of Their Times
by Lawrence Ritter

An oldie, but a goodie. After the death of Ty Cobb in 1961, Lawrence Ritter was inspired to gather stories from his contemporaries and produce an oral history of early twentieth-century baseball. With tales from Rube Marquard, Stan Coveleski, Smoky Joe Wood, Wahoo Sam Crawford, and over a dozen more, Ritter compiles a fascinating look at the sport, the men who played it, and the culture that transformed it.

The Glory of Their Times
Lawrence Ritter

An oldie, but a goodie. After the death of Ty Cobb in 1961, Lawrence Ritter was inspired to gather stories from his contemporaries and produce an oral history of early twentieth-century baseball. With tales from Rube Marquard, Stan Coveleski, Smoky Joe Wood, Wahoo Sam Crawford, and over a dozen more, Ritter compiles a fascinating look at the sport, the men who played it, and the culture that transformed it.

MENTIONED IN:

Batter Up! Our Favorite Baseball Books to Kick Off Your Season

By Julianna Haubner | April 23, 2015

Close

Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball’s Last Hero
by David Maraniss

David Maraniss brilliantly brings one of the greatest Latino players in the major leagues back to life in this classic biography. Using his narrative sweep and meticulous detail, Maraniss captures the myth and a real man.

Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball’s Last Hero
David Maraniss

David Maraniss brilliantly brings one of the greatest Latino players in the major leagues back to life in this classic biography. Using his narrative sweep and meticulous detail, Maraniss captures the myth and a real man.

MENTIONED IN:

Batter Up! Our Favorite Baseball Books to Kick Off Your Season

By Julianna Haubner | April 23, 2015

Close

Honus & Me: A Baseball Card Adventure
by Dan Gutman

The first installment in Dan Gutman’s Baseball Card Adventures series is a classic. When young baseball nut Joe Stoshack finds the most valuable baseball card in the world, a Honus Wagner T-206, in a pile of garbage, he thinks he’s struck it rich. It turns out the card is worth more than money.

Honus & Me: A Baseball Card Adventure
Dan Gutman

The first installment in Dan Gutman’s Baseball Card Adventures series is a classic. When young baseball nut Joe Stoshack finds the most valuable baseball card in the world, a Honus Wagner T-206, in a pile of garbage, he thinks he’s struck it rich. It turns out the card is worth more than money.

MENTIONED IN:

Batter Up! Our Favorite Baseball Books to Kick Off Your Season

By Julianna Haubner | April 23, 2015

Close

Willie Mays: The Life, the Legend
by James S. Hirsch

Arguably the greatest player in baseball history, Willie Mays was a blend of power, speed, and stylistic bravado that fans had never seen before. This authorized biography, written with the cooperation of the legend himself, reveals a complex portrait of one of America’s most significant cultural icons.

Willie Mays: The Life, the Legend
James S. Hirsch

Arguably the greatest player in baseball history, Willie Mays was a blend of power, speed, and stylistic bravado that fans had never seen before. This authorized biography, written with the cooperation of the legend himself, reveals a complex portrait of one of America’s most significant cultural icons.

MENTIONED IN:

Batter Up! Our Favorite Baseball Books to Kick Off Your Season

By Julianna Haubner | April 23, 2015

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