Baseball season is fast approaching. It is time to put out some book displays in libraries. I have long been a fan, though I now read the books more than follow the daily scores. Here are some of the titles that I have enjoyed and recommend.
Triumph and Tragedy in Mudville by Stephen Jay Gould - Gould was a lifelong fan. This book collected essays he wrote over many years. Many of them weigh in on controversies, such as does a curve ball really curve and who were the best center fielders.
Baseball Lives: Men and Women of the Game Talk about Their Jobs, Their Lives, and the National Pastime by Mike Bryan - This is a Studs Terkel-like book about concessionaires, groundskeepers, ticket sellers, and everyone else who makes a living from major league baseball.
Home is Everything by Marcos Breton - Latin American players have had a huge impact on the game. Coming up from third world poverty, they have great desire to succeed. Many do not make it.
Glove Affairs: The Romance, History, and Tradition of the Baseball by Noah Liberman - This is a beautifully illustrated little book. You will hardly believe what the old players used to wear.
Lost Ballparks by Lawrence S. Ritter - There was a time when there were no flashing Jumbotrons.
Why is the Foul Pole Fair? by Vince Staten - Staten explains baseball rules and traditions with interesting stories.
I Was Right on Time by Buck O'Neil - O'Neil was a centerpiece of Ken Burns' documentary series on baseball. In his book he tells about the Negro leagues and integration of major league baseball.
Joe Morgan: A Life in Baseball by Joe Morgan - Now a broadcaster, Morgan articulately tells the story of a black player in the second wave still meeting discrimination. The Astros made a bad trade with the Reds.
The American Game by Ira Rosen - Minor League baseball is more fun.