The World Series returns next week when baseball plays the final games of the season to crown it’s champion. Baseball continues to be part of the fabric of being an American, whether you’re a rabid fan or a casual observer (being a Cubs fan, I tend to be forced into the second category) There is no shortage of books about the game, from biographies to histories to analysis. Here’s a sampling of some of the newest titles.
The Baseball Codes: Beanballs, Sign Stealing and Bench-Clearing Brawls: the Unwritten Rules of America’s Pastime by Jason Turbow. This is an entertaining look into the varied, unwritten rules that govern baseball as played by the pros. Most people are familiar with a pitcher purposely hitting a batter as retaliation, but did you know the ins and outs of how to slide, whether or not to talk during a no-hitter, how to give way to a relief pitcher? These examples and many more are explored, often hilariously, with multiple references both historic and recent. For every baseball fan.
The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron by Howard Bryant. Before the age of steriods made us all skeptical of the records and feats of baseball players, there was Henry Aaron. Playing during the era of civil strife and lingering racism, he brought dignity and grace to the game, breaking multiple records (including the famous home run mark), cementing his place in history. This is a serious biography not just of the man but of that historical time in America, written with depth and scholarship.
Perfect: Don Larsen’s Miraculous World Series Game and the Men Who Made it Happen by Lew Paper. 2010 is being called the “Year of the Pitcher” and we’ve already been treated to phenomenal pitching in the playoffs, including Ron Halladay’s no-no – the first playoff no-hitter since Don Larsen’s perfect game in 1956. Relive that historic game (still the only post-season perfect game) and the men who participated. Each chapter covers one of the 19 players, superstars and journeymen alike, all on their way to becoming part of baseball legend.