Friday, October 16, 2015

Making the pitch for some baseball books

There are some serious goofballs in baseball. Fortunately, people write books about them.

With America's pastime heading down the home stretch, I thought I'd take a look at some of the baseball books I've read over the years. Most of the more autobiographical ones I read during my youth in the 1970s and 1980s. Since then, either my tastes have evolved or the athletes and managers don't tend to put pen to paper as much, relying on the easier and less sophisticated Twitter characters and emoticons to express their thoughts.

I have one baseball book sitting on my to-be-read shelf: Fathers Playing Catch with Sons, essays by Donald Hall.

I have another thick fiction book that I'm a third of the way through, but haven't touched it for several months. I haven't quit on it yet, and intend to finish it, but it just wasn't doing much for me at the time: The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach.

So here's a glance at some of the better ones I've read. I'm not going to go to all the work of providing links to these. You know how Google works:

* How Life Imitates the World Series - Thomas Boswell

* Who's on First - William F. Buckley Jr.

* Steinbrenner - Dick Schapp

* Ball Four - Jim Bouton
* Ball Four Plus Ball Five - Jim Bouton

* Temporary Insanity - Jay Johnstone
This guy was one of my favorites. Quite the prankster.

* The Wrong Stuff - Bill "Spaceman" Lee
After being traded by Boston, Lee said: "Who wants to be with a team that will go down in history alongside the ‘64 Phillies and the ‘67 Arabs?"

Also, I'd forgotten about this, but Wiki reminded me that: "in 1987 he announced plans to run for President of the United States for the Rhinoceros Party.

* The Umpire Strikes Back - Ron Luciano
* Strike Two - Ron Luciano
My favorite line of his was: "I never called a balk in my life. I didn't understand the rule."
Luciano committed suicide 10 years ago.

* In the Country of Baseball - Dock Ellis
He threw a no-hitter in 1970 under the influence of LSD.
He threw at every batter in the Cincinnati Reds lineup in a game in 1974, because he could. Today, in an era where a bat-flip causes acne conglobata among ESPN anchors and the rest of the sports media, imagine what that would've done to them.

* All My Octobers - Mickey Mantle
You've probably heard of him.

* Tales from the Minnesota Twins Dugout - Kent Hrbek

* When You Come to a Fork in the Road Take It - Yogi Berra, RIP

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