From biographies to Grisham’s latest, ’tis the season for baseball books
By John Grisham
America’s most well-known writer of legal thrillers tries his hand at a novel about baseball. The namesake of the book, Joe Castle, is a young player called up to the majors, who immediately excels before an accident changes everything. It’s sappy, but fans of “Field of Dreams” will eat it up.
‘Imperfect: An Improbable Life’
By Jim Abbott and Tim Brown
You’d be hard-pressed to find a more inspiring story in sports history than that of Abbott, who was born with no right hand. Yankees fans remember his no-hitter from 1993, but read about the struggle it took to get to the majors and the many he inspired in this biography.
‘Hack’s 191: Hack Wilson and His Incredible 1930 Season’
By Bill Chastain
Hack Wilson might have had the greatest single season in MLB history in 1930, yet very few people have even heard of him. The 5-foot-6 Wilson hit 56 homers and drove in a record 191 runs that season, but forget the absurdity of those numbers and realize Wilson’s best friend was Al Capone and he spent every night in Chicago’s Prohibition-era speakeasies getting drunk and brawling with patrons.
‘Summer of ’68: The Season that Changed Baseball — and America — Forever’
By Tim Wendel
If you’re looking for the combination of the greatest year of baseball and most incendiary in American culture, here’s your winner. “Summer of ’68″ is wound around historical events, such as the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy while St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Bob Gibson (probably the greatest African-American pitcher ever) blew away records as race riots raged.
‘Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball’
By R.A. Dickey and Wayne Coffey
There’s just something about knuckleballers that makes them fascinating. Dickey was a heralded draft pick in 1996, only to fail a physical when a team doctor found out he had no ulnar collateral ligament in his right, pitching arm. Good news: He would never need Tommy John surgery. Bad news: Doctors didn’t know how he could even throw a ball, let alone pitch. Dickey writes about his transition to becoming the current master of the knuckler in MLB.
‘Driving Mr. Yogi: Yogi Berra, Ron Guidry, and Baseball’s Greatest Gift’
By Harvey Araton
This is the story of baseball’s most-quotable character and his unlikely friendship with Yankees legend Ron Guidry.
‘Out of My League’
By Dirk Hayhurst
Ever wonder what it would be like if you were a journeyman minor leaguer? Of course not. You dreamt of being Nolan Ryan, not Dirk Hayhurst. Hayhurst’s second book details his six-year journey to the majors in honest detail.
‘Season of ’42: Joe D., Teddy Ballgame, and Baseball’s Fight to Survive a First Year of War’
By Jack Kavanaugh
Though it won’t be out until next month, the Pulitzer prize-nominated Kavanaugh’s book is already hotly anticipated. The battle between the Yankees and Red Sox, led by their stars Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams, is set against the backdrop of America’s entrance into World War II.