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Joe Posnanski's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Joe Posnanski recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Joe Posnanski's favorite book recommendations of all time.

“The incomparable and mysterious Sandy Koufax is revealed…. This is an absorbing book, beautifully written.” —Wall Street Journal

“Leavy has hit it out of the park…A lot more than a biography. It’s a consideration of how we create our heroes, and how this hero’s self perception distinguishes him from nearly every other great athlete in living memory… a remarkably rich portrait.” — Time

The instant New York Times bestseller about the baseball legend and famously reclusive Dodgers’ pitcher Sandy Koufax, from award-winning former Washington...
Recommended by Joe Posnanski, and 1 others.

Joe PosnanskiThis is just a wonderful biography of one of the great pitchers of baseball history. (Source)

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When Bill James published his original Historical Baseball Abstract in 1985, he produced an immediate classic, hailed by the Chicago Tribune as the “holy book of baseball.” Now, baseball's beloved “Sultan of Stats” (The Boston Globe) is back with a fully revised and updated edition for the new millennium.

Like the original, The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract is really several books in one. The Game provides a century's worth of American baseball history, told one decade at a time, with energetic facts and figures about How, Where, and by...
Recommended by Joe Posnanski, and 1 others.

Joe PosnanskiBill is a very good friend of mine. He was always a baseball fan, but in the 1970s he started looking at baseball and asking all these questions about the game. Was it really the way people described it, in terms of the strategy of the game and the focus of the game? He found that in many, many ways it was not. And he just started writing about it. He’s a brilliant writer. The New Bill James... (Source)

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The Boys of Summer

This is a book 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 book 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 a book about what happened to Jackie, Carl Erskine, Pee Wee Reese, and the others when their glory days were behind them. In short, it is a book about America, about fathers and sons,... more
Recommended by Joe Posnanski, and 1 others.

Joe PosnanskiI don’t think there’s any question that The Boys of Summer has always been larger than a baseball book. On the surface, at least, it’s about the 1952, 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers – their triumphs and their inevitable failings. They were good enough to get to the World Series, but not good enough to win. But they were a great team, and Jackie Robinson is a prominent part both of the story of the book,... (Source)

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Baseball was different in earlier days—tougher, rawer, more intimate—when giants like Babe Ruth and Ty Cobb ran the bases. In the monumental classic The Glory of Their Times, the golden era of our national pastime comes alive through the vibrant words of those who played and lived the game. less
Recommended by Joe Posnanski, John Thorn, and 2 others.

Joe PosnanskiWhat Lawrence Ritter did is he went back and talked to a bunch of players about their era. Again, it’s wonderful because there is this humanity to it. He’s talking to these athletes long after their successes are over. The stories get to be somewhat exaggerated, and somewhat more fully realised in a lot of ways. I don’t know if I would rely on every single thing in the book if I was writing a... (Source)

John ThornIt is a time machine. You start reading and you are hearing these ballplayers who played in the major leagues between 1890 and 1920. These are men who played alongside Ty Cobb in the outfield, men who were present when Babe Ruth came up to the Red Sox, men who played a key roll in the World Series of 1912. They are speaking to you. You feel as if they were in your living room with you. Hearing... (Source)

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Ball Four

The Final Pitch

The beloved baseball classic now available in paperback, with a new prologue by Jim Bouton

When Ball Four was first published in 1970, it hit the sports world like a lightning bolt. Commissioners, executives, and players were shocked. Sportswriters called author Jim Bouton a traitor and "social leper." Commissioner Bowie Kuhn tried to force him to declare the book untrue. Fans, however, loved the book. And serious critics called it an important social document. Today, Jim Bouton is still not invited to Oldtimer's Days at Yankee Stadium. But his landmark book is still...

Nick LoperAngels and Demons was my favorite Dan Brown page-turner, but Ball Four by Jim Bouton is definitely worth a read if you're a baseball fan. (Source)

Joe PosnanskiThat’s exactly what it is. It’s a diary of a season. Jim Bouton was a wildly successful young player for the Yankees and then basically lost his arm, he got hurt. The book is about his attempt to come back. What makes it wonderful reading, and the reason I love it, is that it’s beautifully written and, again, there’s a great deal of humanity in it. There is certainly also a lot of shock-value in... (Source)

Ben ShapiroThe best baseball book. (Source)

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