Yahoo's lead baseball columnist offers an in-depth look at the most valuable commodity in sports - the pitching arm - and how its vulnerability to injury is hurting players and the game, from Little League to the majors.
"exceptional! perfect narration, fascinating story"
Moneyball reveals a quest for something as elusive as the Holy Grail, something that money apparently can't buy: the secret of success in baseball. The logical places to look would be the giant offices of major league teams and the dugouts. But the real jackpot is a cache of numbers collected over the years by a strange brotherhood of amateur baseball enthusiasts: software engineers, statisticians, Wall Street analysts, lawyers, and physics professors.
"Excellent Book, Outstanding Narration, Sloppy Edit"
Ty Cobb is baseball royalty, maybe even the greatest player who ever lived. His lifetime batting average is still the highest of all time, and when he retired in 1928, after twenty-one years with the Detroit Tigers and two with the Philadelphia Athletics, he held more than ninety records. But the numbers don't tell half of Cobb's tale. The Georgia Peach was by far the most thrilling player of the era: "Ty Cobb could cause more excitement with a base on balls than Babe Ruth could with a grand slam," one columnist wrote.
"The Best Ever Account of Ty Cobb"
In the most famous scandal of sports history, eight Chicago White Sox players - including Shoeless Joe Jackson - agreed to throw the 1919 World Series to the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for the promise of $20,000 each from gamblers reportedly working for New York mobster Arnold Rothstein. Heavily favored, Chicago lost the Series five games to three. Although rumors of a fix flew while the series was being played, they were largely disregarded by players and the public at large.
Mike Matheny was just 41, without professional managerial experience and looking for a next step after a successful career as a Major League catcher, when he succeeded the legendary Tony La Russa as manager of the St. Louis Cardinals in 2012. While Matheny has enjoyed immediate success, leading the Cards to the postseason three times in his first three years, people have noticed something else about his life, something not measured in day-to-day results.
"One heck of a read"
Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle was old school and stubborn. But after 20 straight losing seasons and his job on the line, he was ready to try anything. So when he met with GM Neal Huntington in October 2012, they decided to discard everything they knew about the game and instead take on drastic "big data" strategies.
"The Science of Baseball Choices"
Whatever happened to Calico Joe? It began quietly enough with a pulled hamstring. The first baseman for the Cubs AAA affiliate in Wichita went down as he rounded third and headed for home. The next day, Jim Hickman, the first baseman for the Cubs, injured his back. The team suddenly needed someone to play first, so they reached down to their AA club in Midland, Texas, and called up a 21-year-old named Joe Castle. He was the hottest player in AA and creating a buzz....
"Baseball fans only"
Griff Montgomery is the headline-making, heart-breaking star quarterback of the Kings - a six-foot-four-inch, 33-year-old womanizer. Lauren Farraday is a beautiful young interior designer, bitterly scarred by divorce, whose life is falling apart. Though they violently oppose one another in court over her beloved pug (she thinks he's arrogant and conceited, and he thinks she's a bitch on wheels), something happens....
When Ball Four was published in 1970, it created a firestorm. Bouton was called a Judas, a Benedict Arnold and a “social leper” for having violated the “sanctity of the clubhouse.” Baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn tried to force Bouton to sign a statement saying the book wasn’t true. Ballplayers, most of whom hadn’t read it, denounced the book. It was even banned by a few libraries. Almost everyone else, however, loved Ball Four.
"Author's reading provides new insight into classic"
Everyone knows that baseball is a game of intricate regulations, but it turns out to be even more complicated than we realize. What truly governs the Major League game is a set of unwritten rules, some of which are openly discussed (don’t steal a base with a big lead late in the game), and some of which only a minority of players are even aware of (don’t cross between the catcher and the pitcher on the way to the batter’s box).
"Anyone who loves the game"
Twelve-year-old Michael Arroyo lives in the shadows of Yankee Stadium, home of his heroes, but a place that might as well be on a different continent since he can't afford to see the inside. He also lives in the shadows of his Bronx neighborhood, hiding from the bill collectors and the officials who would separate him from his 17-year-old brother if they knew the two boys were living on their own. Baseball is Michael's only salvation.
"Great baseball read"
There was a turning point in Michael Lewis' life, in a baseball game when he was 14 years old. The irascible and often terrifying Coach Fitz put the ball in his hand with the game on the line and managed to convey such confident trust in Lewis's ability that the boy had no choice but to live up to it. "I didn't have words for it then, but I do now: I am about to show the world, and myself, what I can do."
John Feinstein is one of the most influential sportswriters of the last three decades. In his masterful new audiobook, Where Nobody Knows Your Name, Feinstein delivers a fascinating account of the mysterious proving ground of America’s national pastime, pulling back the veil on the minor leagues of baseball.
"Living on the Cusp of a Dream"
What does it mean to play heads-up baseball? A heads-up player has confidence in his ability, keeps control in pressure situations, and focuses on one pitch at a time. His mental skills enable him to play consistently at or near his best despite the adversity baseball presents each day.
"Up your mental game"
An ex-Wall Street trader improved on Moneyball’s famed sabermetrics to place bets that would beat the Vegas odds on Major League Baseball games - with a 41 percent return in his first year. Trading Bases explains how he did it. After the fall of Lehman Brothers, Joe Peta was out of a job. He found a new one but lost that, too, when an ambulance mowed him down. In search of a way to cheer himself up while he recuperated, Peta started watching baseball again. That’s when inspiration hit: Why not apply his outstanding risk-analysis skills to improve on sabermetrics, the method made famous by Moneyball?
Baseball's Golden Age comes alive through the voices of men who were there. Selected from the original tapes on which Lawrence S. Ritter based his classic book of baseball history, The Glory of Their Times is a collection of wonderful tales that paint a vivid and evocative picture of a lively young America and the giants who starred on her ballfields, legends like Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Walter Johnson, and many others.
"A Game Winning, Grand Slam!!!"
This is a story about young men who learned to play baseball during the 1930s and 1940s, and then went on to play for one of the most exciting major-league ball clubs ever fielded, the team that broke the color barrier with Jackie Robinson. It is a story by and about a sportswriter who grew up near Ebbets Field, and who had the good fortune in the 1950s to cover the Dodgers for the Herald Tribune. This is the story about what happened to the team when their glory days were behind them.
"Hear from those who were a part of history"
Drawing on more than 500 interviews with friends and family, teammates, and opponents, she delivers the definitive account of Mantle's life, mining the mythology of The Mick for the true story of a luminous and illustrious talent with an achingly damaged soul.
"Exceptional - a real must read for baseball fans"
When Sports Illustrated was launched in 1954, baseball was, indisputable, the national pastime, its stars America's epic heroes, its rivalries the era's mythology. As baseballs fortunes rose and fell over the next 50 years - and then rose again to new heights, drawing more than 65 million fans to ballparks in 2004 - the game never failed to produce great drama and inspired storytelling.
"Baseball fan book"
In the fall of 1992, America's national pastime is in crisis and already on the path to the unthinkable: cancelling a World Series for the first time in history. The owners are at war with each other, their decades-long battle with the players has turned America against both sides, and the players' growing addiction to steroids will threaten the game's very foundation.
General managers and fans alike have pondered this most important of baseball questions. The Moneyball strategy is not the first example of how new ideas and innovative management have transformed the way teams are assembled. Pursuit of Pennants examines and analyzes a number of compelling, winning baseball teams over the past 100-plus years, focusing on their decision making and how they assembled their championship teams.
In One for the Record, George Plimpton recounts Hank Aaron's thrilling race to become the new home run champion. Amid media frenzy and death threats, Aaron sought to beat Babe Ruth's record. In 1974 he finally succeeded.
The first of Plimpton's remarkable forays into participatory journalism, Out of My League chronicles with wit, charm, and grace what happens when a self-professed amateur has the chance to answer every fan's question: could he strike out a major league star? Plimpton's inspired idea - to get on the mound and pitch a few innings to the All-Stars of the American and National Leagues - begins as a fun-filled stunt and comes to a deeply hellish, nearly humiliating end.
Released tells the remarkable story of the birth, growth, and development of a unique Christian outreach to the world of pro baseball - Unlimited Potential Inc. Beginning with a phone call from Hank Aaron, the fledgling work has grown to a world-wide ministry that has impacted thousands with the Gospel message through baseball clinics and instruction.
When Charlie Finley bought the A's in 1960, he was an outsider to the game - an insurance businessman with a larger-than-life personality. He brought his cousin, Carl, on as his right-hand man, moved the team from Kansas City to Oakland, and pioneered a new way to put together a winning team. With legendary players like Reggie Jackson, Catfish Hunter, and Vida Blue, the Finleys' Oakland A's won three straight World Series and riveted the nation.
Darryl Strawberry, Doc Gooden, Keith Hernandez, Lenny Dykstra, Mookie Wilson, Howard Johnson, Doug Sisk, Rafael Santana, Bobby Ojeda, Wally Backman, Kevin Mitchell, Ed Hearn, Danny Heep, and the late Gary Carter were all known for their heroics on the field. For some of them - known as the "Scum Bunch" - their debauchery off the field was even more awe inspiring. But when that golden season ended, so did their aura of invincibility. Some faced battles with addiction, some were traded, and others struggled just to keep their lives together.
Moneyball by Michael Lewis considers the unlikely success of the Oakland Athletics in the first few years of the 21st century. During this period, one of the teams with the lowest payrolls in Major League Baseball (MLB) consistently managed to make the playoffs and set an American League (AL) record of 20 consecutive wins in 2002....
This journey, a four-part chronicle beginning with my freshman year and culminating with senior year, offers an insider's view into the life of a college athlete. As I share my experiences on the baseball diamond, in the classroom, and up in the dorm room, the entire college baseball experience comes to life.
Scarlet LeBlanc, a famous actress known for getting extremely immersed in her roles, just wants to focus on studying the Miami Warriors to prepare herself for her next role in a dramatic film about a baseball team. However, when she accidentally breaks up the first baseman - Anton Alvarez - and his girlfriend, Scarlet finds herself becoming more intrigued by Anton than by the movie she is supposed to be preparing for. Despite Anton's reputation for being a womanizer and for sleeping around, he is still rather charming and sweet, and it doesn't take him long to capture Scarlet's heart.
Every spring, Little Leaguers across the country mimic his stance and squabble over the right to wear his number, 2, the next number to be retired by the world’s most famous ball team. Derek Jeter is their hero. He walks in the footsteps of Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, and Mantle, and someday his shadow will loom just as large. Yet he has never been the best player in baseball. In fact, he hasn’t always been the best player on his team. But his intangible grace and Jordanesque ability to play big in the biggest of postseason moments make him the face of the modern Yankee dynasty, and of America’s game.
"Story is really good, narration was horrible"
Seventy baseball seasons ago, on a May afternoon at Yankee Stadium, Joe DiMaggio lined a hard single to left field. It was the quiet beginning to the most resonant baseball achievement of all time. Alongside the story of DiMaggio's dramatic quest, Kennedy deftly examines the peculiar nature of hitting streaks and with an incisive, modern-day perspective gets inside the number itself, as its sheer improbability heightens both the math and the magic of 56 games in a row.
"A fascinating look at both DiMaggio and the streak"
This best-selling, highly-acclaimed account is a hilarious but scathing baseball tell-all. After being voted the 1977 American League Cy Young Award winner, Sparky Lyle was rewarded for his efforts by being benched. The Yankees, a leader of free agency, signed Goose Gossage as their closer. Things only went downhill from there and the 1978 season turned out to be one of controversy, firings, fights, and acrimony. In short, it was a zoo.
Chris Von der Ahe knew next to nothing about baseball when he risked his life’s savings to found the St. Louis Browns, the franchise that would become the St. Louis Cardinals. Yet the German-born beer garden proprietor would become one of the most important - and funniest - figures in the game’s history.
"This is Great History!"
The only Major League ballplayer whose baseball card is on display at the headquarters of the CIA, Moe Berg has the singular distinction of having both a 15-year career as a catcher for such teams as the New York Robins and the Chicago White Sox and that of a spy for the OSS during World War II. Here, Dawidoff provides "a careful and sympathetic biography" (Chicago Sun-Times) of this enigmatic man.
"Baseball & Espionage: A Few of my Favorite Things"
Every year, hundreds of thousands of children play “Cal Ripken Baseball” in the largest division of Babe Ruth League, Inc. Play Baseball the Ripken Way is the ultimate guide to playing the game, by one of the sport’s living legends.
Baseball Dads is a heartwarming collection of notable major-league players’ favorite baseball-related memories about how their relationships with their fathers shaped them, not only as players, but as the men they are today. From superstars like David Wright, Josh Hamilton, C. C. Sabathia, Adrian Gonzalez, Chipper Jones, and Kevin Youkilis, to journeyman big leaguers like Adam LaRoche, J. D. Drew, Shelley Duncan, Barry Zito, and Jeff Francoeur, this inspiring book reveals, through its 15 vivid profiles, the profound impact fathers can have.
"Very well written and entertaining book. "
Offering wonderful perspectives on dozens of unique (and likely never-to-be-seen-again) baseball personalities, Seasons in Hell recounts some of the most extreme characters ever to play the game and brings to life the no-holds-barred culture of major league baseball in the mid-'70s.
"If you followed MLB in the 70's or 80's !!!!"
After nearly a decade in the minors, Dirk Hayhurst defied the odds to climb onto the pitcher's mound for the Toronto Blue Jays. Newly married, with a big league paycheck and a brand new house, Hayhurst was ready for a great season in the Bigs. Then fate delivered a crushing hit. Hayhurst blew out his pitching shoulder in an insane off-season workout program. After surgery, rehab, and more rehab, his major-league dreams seemed more distant than ever.
Every summer, in ten small towns across Cape Cod, the finest college baseball players in the country gather in hopes of making it to "The Show." The hopes are justifiably high: The Cape Cod Baseball League is the best amateur league in the world, producing one out of every six major league players. Over the last decade, baseball's hard truths became evident for the Chatham stars who went on to play professionally, and the final chapter of their story can now be written.
"Jim Collins: Great American Storyteller"
One of the most endearing of American heroes, Casey Stengel guided the New York Yankees to ten pennants in twelve seasons. Here is the brilliant manager stripped naked - the person underneath all the clowning, mugging, and double-talking.
Robert Creamer shows us Casey at twenty-two, famous from his very first day in the big leagues. We see Casey's playing career fall apart as he is traded, shunted to last-place teams, hampered by injuries, considered finished - until he bats a glorious home run in the 1923 World Series.
"Would be nice if narrator was familiar with sports"
In Past Time, Tygiel gives us a seat behind home plate, where we catch the ongoing interplay of baseball and American society. We begin in New York in the 1850s, where pre-Civil War nationalism shaped the emergence of a "national pastime." We witness the true birth of modern baseball with the development of its elaborate statistics - the brainchild of English-born reformer, Henry Chadwick. Chadwick, Tygiel writes, created the sport's "historical essence" and even imparted a moral dimension to the game with his concepts of "errors" and "unearned" runs.
The philosopher Jacques Barzun thought that "whoever wants to know the heart and mind of America had better learn baseball". And whoever wants to know baseball had better learn about umpires. As Larry Gerlach points out in The Men in Blue, these arbiters transform competitive chaos into organized sport. They make it possible to "play ball", but nobody loves them.Considering the abuse meted out by fans and players, why would any sane person want to be an umpire? Many reasons emerge in conversations with a dozen former major-league arbiters.
"Autobiographies of the Most Hated Men In Baseball"
Since their breakthrough championship season in 1923, when Yankee stadium opened, the New York Yankees have been baseball’s most successful, decorated, and colorful franchise. Home to Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Berra, Mantle, Jackson, and Mattingly; and later Torre, Jeter, Rivera, and Rodriguez, the team has been a fixture in our national consciousness.
Stubble scruffed up their chins. Tobacco wads ballooned their cheeks. The 1993 Philadelphia Phillies had the look of a slow-pitch softball team itching to kick some serious butt. They did kick butt, too, on and off the field. “They lived the life of professional baseball players as fully as it can be done,” manager Jim Fregosi said. Though they weren’t a photogenic bunch, their mugs were everywhere, on Baseball Today, on David Letterman, and on Saturday Night Live.
Essential for armchair umpires and scorekeepers, this guide challenges aficionados on every significant part of the Official Baseball Rules. Few sports lovers are as obsessed with rules and statistics as baseball fans. In So You Think You Know Baseball?, lifelong baseball enthusiast Peter E. Meltzer catalogues every noteworthy baseball rule from the Major League rulebook and illustrates its application with actual plays, from the historical to the contemporary. You can listen to the book from start to finish or consult it while watching a game to understand the mechanics of a play or how it should be scored.
"Hard copy would be better"
The best stories about one of baseball's most colorful teams - updated to include their recent glory years. Since 1883, the Philadelphia Phillies have been up, down, and all around. Most recently, thanks to Charlie Manuel, the Phillies have become a National League powerhouse, with four NL East titles, two pennants and the 2008 World Series championship to show for it. In Tales from the Philadelphia Phillies Dugout Rich Westcott takes listeners behind the scenes into the glorious, quirky, and victorious stories that make this team the legend it is.
"Enjoyable for the average Phillies fan"