Baseball has long been deeply embedded in American culture. In 1889 Walt Whitman said that baseball “has the snap, go, fling of the American atmosphere.” Many are drawn in as children through Little League games and the hobby of collecting baseball cards. No other sport has inspired so many songs or developed its own distinctive menu. This minibibliography lists some titles for adults and children about baseball history and the basics of the game. These represent only a small fraction of the more than three hundred nonfiction titles about baseball in the NLS collection. Your reader advisor can help you find titles about your favorite teams and players.
All titles can be requested from your local cooperating library. The digital braille and talking book titles can be downloaded from the NLS Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) website. Contact your local cooperating library to register for BARD. Registered users may also download audio titles on iOS and Android devices (including second-generation and newer Kindle Fire devices) using the BARD Mobile app. Braille titles may be downloaded on an iOS device linked by Bluetooth to a refreshable braille display. To find your library go to www.loc.gov/nls/find.html or call toll-free 1-888-NLS-READ (1-888-657-7323).
Game Time: A Baseball Companion
by Roger Angell
Sportswriter Steve Kettmann compiles his favorite Roger Angell baseball essays, spanning 1962 to 2002. The pieces profile players such as Willie Mays, Bob Gibson, Pete Rose, and David Cone, as well as the various teams and spring training camps that he’s studied. Introduction by Richard Ford. 2003.
A Great and Glorious Game: Baseball Writings of A. Bartlett Giamatti
by A. Bartlett Giamatti
Essays by the former Yale president who was the commissioner of baseball when he died in 1989. The articles convey Giamatti’s lifelong devotion to the sport and his belief in the integrity of the game. One, “Baseball and the American Character,” interweaves the history of the country with that of its national pastime. 1998.
When Women Played Hardball
by Susan E. Johnson
Author Johnson was a fourteen-year-old fan when the All-American Girls Baseball League died in 1954 after a twelve-year span. To recreate the spirit of the league that fascinated her, Johnson interviews twenty-six of the women who played for the 1950 Rockford Peaches and Fort Wayne Daisies. Their recollections of the 1950 series are supplemented by newspaper accounts of each of the seven games. 1994.
The Head Game: Baseball Seen from the Pitcher’s Mound
by Roger Kahn
Author of The Boys of Summer (DB16430) discusses the psychology and physics of baseball pitching, as well as some of the major personalities immortalized in the history of the sport. 2000.
The Game: Inside the Secret World of Major League Baseball’s Power Brokers
by Jon Pessah
Focusing on the owners and officials rather than the superstar players, ESPN founding editor Pessah examines the world of baseball during the era of Commissioner Bud Selig, 1992 to 2015. Labor disputes, steroid scandals, and boardroom battles are covered. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2015.
Red Smith on Baseball: The Game’s Greatest Writer on the Game’s Greatest Years
by Red Smith
Five decades—from the 1940s to the 1980s—of baseball columns by the Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter who was called “The Shakespeare of the Press Box.” Includes pieces on Mickey Mantle’s first game, numerous World Series contests including Don Larsen’s perfect game in 1956, the ascent of Jackie Robinson, and the death of Babe Ruth. 2000.
National Baseball Hall of Fame
The Hall: A Celebration of Baseball’s Greats
by Hank Aaron
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum lists every inductee from the first class in 1936, which included Honus Wagner, Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Christy Mathewson, and Walter Johnson. Includes essays and player bios. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2014.
The Baseball Hall of Fame Fiftieth Anniversary Book
by Gerald Astor
Covers the game from its invention to the expansion era of the 1960s, presenting a concise history of the game of professional baseball. Also included are essays on nine great baseball players by some of the sport’s top writers. 1988.
Cooperstown Confidential: Heroes, Rogues, and the Inside Story of the Baseball Hall of Fame
by Ze’ev Chafets
Journalist chronicles the history of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York, and alleges that politics affects the induction of players. Discusses the makeup of the selection committee and associated scandals and controversies. Some strong language. 2009.
The Thinking Fan’s Guide to Baseball
by Leonard Koppett
Explains the principles of pitching, batting, game tactics, and strategies, and the relationships between players, spectators, and the press. Koppett includes discussion of team expansions, playoffs, designated hitters, unions, cable television, and night games. 2001.
So You Think You Know Baseball? A Fan’s Guide to the Official Rules
by Peter E. Meltzer
Quiz format analyzes the official Major League Baseball rulebook using examples from actual games. Covers the roles of each player on the field, the umpires, and the official scorer; types of equipment allowed; the infield fly rule; and more. 2013.
Shades of Glory: The Negro Leagues and the Story of African-American Baseball
by Lawrence D. Hogan
Chronicles African American baseball from the nineteenth century until Jackie Robinson broke into the major leagues in 1947. Uses first-person accounts to profile the teams and players. Covers the business aspects of the league. Commissioned by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Foreword by Jules Tygiel. 2006.
Voices from the Negro Leagues: Conversations with 52 Baseball Standouts of the Period 1924–1960
by Brent P. Kelley
Interviews with African American athletes from the segregated baseball teams of the twentieth century. Includes players from before and after 1947, when Jackie Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers. Includes Rodolfo Fernandez, now in the Cuban Hall of Fame, and Frazier Robinson, Satchel Paige’s favorite catcher. 1998.
The Soul of Baseball: A Road Trip through Buck O’Neil’s America
by Joe Posnanski
Kansas City sportswriter accompanies ninety-three-year-old former Negro League veteran Buck O’Neil to baseball games for a year. O’Neil reminisces about his teammates and his career as a player, a scout, and the first African American coach in the majors. Some strong language. 2007.
Invisible Men: Life in Baseball’s Negro Leagues
by Donn Rogosin
An account of black baseball from 1920 until 1947, when Jackie Robinson integrated the major leagues. The author, who interviewed many surviving Negro league stars, tells about their lives on and off the field and about the league’s role in black life. 1983.
Beyond the Shadow of the Senators: The Untold Story of the Homestead Grays and the Integration of Baseball
by Brad Snyder
Explores the cultural impact of the 1940 move of the Homestead Grays, a storied Negro League baseball team, from Pittsburgh to segregated Washington, D.C. Recounts how Grays owner Cum Posey rented—and filled—the Washington Senators’ stadium. Highlights the role of black journalist Sam Lacey in confronting racism. 2003.
The 25 Greatest Baseball Players of All Time
by Len Berman
Panel of experts pick their favorite baseball stars. Discusses the players’ statistics, best games, and personalities on and off the field. Includes early greats like Cy Young and Ty Cobb and later ones like Mike Schmidt and Alex Rodriguez. For grades 5–8 and older readers. 2010.
The Good Guys of Baseball: Sixteen True Sports Stories
by Terry Egan
Sixteen biographies describing men in baseball who exemplify some of the best traits an athlete can possess on or off the field: loyalty, decency, determination, and the willingness to work hard. Included are Don Wardlow, a sportscaster who is blind, and Jim Abbott, a pitcher who was born with only one hand. For grades 3–6. 1997.
World Series Classics
by Dan Gutman
Play-by-play narrations of what the author considers to be the five most exciting World Series in the history of baseball: 1912, 1924, 1947, 1975, and 1991. Conveys the drama and suspense of the action-filled games, complete with interesting facts and anecdotes. For grades 5–8. 1994.
A Whole New Ball Game: The Story of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League
by Sue Macy
A history of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League during and immediately following World War II (1943–1954). The league was born during a period when the nation’s men were away at war and women enjoyed unprecedented freedom in employment and activities, including sports. For grades 6–9 and older readers. 1993.
Ultimate Guide to Baseball
by James Buckley
Presents facts and statistics about the all-American game—baseball. Covers the major league teams, the World Series, playing tips, and stars including Honus Wagner, Satchel Paige, Rickey Henderson, and Albert Pujols. For grades 5–8 and older readers. 2010.
How Baseball Works
by Keltie Thomas
Facts and figures about the basics of baseball, its rules, strategy, and history. Describes bats, baseballs, mitts, and uniforms. Explains a slugger’s stats, a pitcher’s throws, including recipes for spitballs and mud balls. Discusses great players, major ballparks, and even ballpark sounds. For grades 4–7. 2004.
A Strong Right Arm: The Story of Mamie “Peanut” Johnson
by Michelle Y. Green
Mamie Johnson recalls her playing days, stating she was one of three women to play professional baseball in the Negro Leagues. Depicts Johnson’s overcoming racism and sexism in 1948 to pitch at age twelve for an all-white boys’ team and at eighteen for the Indianapolis Clowns. For grades 4–7. 2002.
Black Diamond: The Story of Negro Baseball Leagues
by Pat McKissack
History of the baseball leagues formed when entry into the major leagues was denied. Describes the teams, players, and competition that existed from the nineteenth century until their dismantlement almost one hundred years later. Includes a player profile list as well as a time line. For grades 6–9 and older readers. 1994.
We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball
by Kadir Nelson
Presents the history of Negro League baseball from its beginnings in the 1920s through its decline after Jackie Robinson moved to the major leagues in 1947 and broke the racial barrier. Discusses gifted athletes, discrimination, and the players’ passion for the sport. For grades 3–6 and older readers. Coretta Scott King Award. 2008.
Stars in the Shadows
by Charles R. Smith
A story in rhyme recounts the second Negro League baseball all-star game in Chicago. Recaps each of the nine innings in which legendary players such as Satchel Paige, Cool Papa Bell, and Turkey Stearnes brought fans to their feet. For grades 2–4 and older readers. 2012.