The Reading List: Baseball
Monday 03 October 2011
'The Curse of the Bambino' by Dan Shaughnessy (Penguin, out of print)
Wednesday night was one of the most remarkable evenings in baseball history – with the Boston Red Sox managing to throw away an almost unassailable lead to get into the play-offs. It was back to the bad old days of the "cursed" ball club when the team went 86 years without winning the World Series after losing Babe Ruth to the Yankees. Boston Globe writer Shaughnessy covers the story of the Sox's struggle with great colour.
'Jackie Robinson: A Biography' by Arnold Rampersad (Alfred A Knopf, £9.09)
Published in 1997, 50 years after Jackie Robinson broke baseball's colour barrier, Rampersad's account of the Brooklyn Dodgers great's life was dubbed "the definitive account of the much-biographed Robinson's life" by the New York Times.
'The Great American Novel' by Philip Roth (Vintage, £8.99)
Baseball has lent itself to some of the best sportswriting in history – The New Yorker has released anthologies devoted to it. Here the great American writer covers the great American sport with a Second World War alternate history of a baseball league torn apart by a Communist plot.
'The Boys of Summer' by Roger Kahn (Harper Perennial, £8.56)
Kahn struck gold when he became the New York Herald Tribune's Brooklyn Dodgers correspondent. His stint coincided with the team's golden age of the early Fifties, and the years before the Dodgers broke Brooklyn's hear and moved to LA. It also interweaves Kahn's relationship with his sports-mad father.
'Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game' by Michael Lewis (Norton, £9.99)
Brad Pitt is getting an Oscar buzz for his portrayal of Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane in the movie based on Lewis's book. In Moneyball, Lewis breaks down how – at the start of the 21st century – Beane and other statistical analysts at his club found disproportionate success by finding inefficiencies in the market for players (ie, using different measurements of what made a player valuable).
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