Saturday, July 4, 2009

Five best: baseball books

A few years ago, former major league catcher Tim McCarver named a five best list of baseball books for the Wall Street Journal.

One title on his list:
"The Boys of Summer" by Roger Kahn (Harper & Row, 1972).

This is a memoir focused on the Brooklyn Dodgers of the 1950s, a team that Roger Kahn covered as a sportswriter. He brings the whole era back in marvelous detail, with sketches of the players who were the life of that team. They included Jackie Robinson, of course. What I didn't know until I had read the book was the pivotal role played by Pee Wee Reese, a white Southerner and captain of the Dodgers, in easing Robinson's transition to the big leagues. Looking back now it is mind-boggling to think of what it took to establish Robinson and break the race barrier--which has to be considered one of the central events in American history.
Read about all five titles on McCarver's list.

Also see Roger Kahn's five best list of outstanding memoirs, Tom Werner's six favorite baseball books, Fay Vincent's five best list of baseball books, and Nicholas Dawidoff's five best list of baseball novels.

--Marshal Zeringue