Monday, May 10, 2010

Five best baseball books

Peter Morris, author of A Game of Inches: The Stories Behind the Innovations That Shaped Baseball, named a five best list of books on baseball for the Wall Street Journal.

One title on the list:
The Glory of Their Times
by Lawrence S. Ritter
Macmillan, 1966

Spurred by the death of baseball legend Ty Cobb in 1961, Lawrence Ritter, an economics professor, made it his mission to tape-record the memories of other players from Cobb's generation before these men were also gone. The result is an invaluable record of what it felt like to play big-league baseball in the early 20th century. Former New York Giants outfielder Fred Snodgrass, for instance, recalled what would happen when the umpire tossed out a new ball: Helpful infielders would throw the ball around a few times—until it came back to the pitcher "as black as the ace of spades. All the infielders were chewing tobacco or licorice, and spitting into their gloves, and they'd give that ball a good going over before it got to the pitcher." Eagle-eyed observers have detected some errors in the recollections, but that scarcely matters. Hundreds of baseball books get the minutiae right. None has ever captured the spirit of an era better than "The Glory of Their Times."
Read about the other books on the list.

Also see Doug Glanville's best books on baseball, Richard J. Tofel's list of the five best books on baseball as a business, Tom Werner's six favorite baseball books, Fay Vincent's five best list of baseball books, Tim McCarver's five best list of baseball books, and Nicholas Dawidoff's five best list of baseball novels.

--Marshal Zeringue