The Best Baseball Books for Pitchers
By Elizabeth Hannigan
, last updated December 9, 2011
Whether you're an avid player or just a fan, reading the best baseball books for pitchers could be a great way for you to spend your quiet evenings at home when you're not out cheering or practicing. The best books about America's past time may not all give you concrete tips to improve your game, but they may very well inspire and entertain you for hours. These books offer you technical insight into the game, glimpses at the private lives of some of history's most renowned players, and even deep meditations on fandom.
The Celebrant by Eric Rolfe Greenberg
If you're a diehard baseball fan as well as a pitcher, you might be interested in Eric Rolfe Greenberg's strange novel about a young Jewish immigrant's fanatical devotion to New York Giants pitcher Christy Mathewson during the turn of the last century. The true history of Christy Mathewson is told through the lens of a fictional character, the jeweler who makes Mathewson's World Series rings and who idolizes Mathewson as the symbol of all that is American.
Bang the Drum Slowly by Mark Harris
You may be more familiar with the film adaptation starring Paul Newman, but Bang the Drum Slowly is one of the greatest, most touching stories about baseball ever written. Bang the Drum Slowly is a novel about a star pitcher and his best friend, a bumbling catcher. Throughout the novel, readers learn that Wiggen, the pitcher is actually supporting his best friend, Pearson, the catcher by concealing the fact that Pearson is deteriorating from Hodgkin's Disease. The novel is written in the vernacular and has one of the most famous last lines in American literature.
Babe: The Legend Comes to Life by Robert W. Creamer
You don't have to be a pitcher yourself to be fascinated by Babe Ruth. Possibly the most famous pitcher ever to live, the Babe was as well known for his womanizing and partying as he was for his game. Creamer's extremely long biography goes into excruciating detail about the Babe's games, making note of weather conditions and describing innings play by play, but the book remains a quick read thanks to the clear, lucid prose. Creamer covers both the sport and Babe's very busy personal life.
The Long Season by Jim Brosnan
The Long Season is a baseball diary by Jim Brosnan, relief pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds for the 1959 season. Brosnan's account is a funny, clever look at baseball behind the scenes and describes stuff like contracts and winter training that isn’t always covered in other baseball autobiographies in a wry manner.
You Know Me Al by Ring Lardner
Ring Lardner's satiric novel is a baseball classic, originally serialized in the Saturday Evening Post. The book comes in the form of a series of letters from a rookie pitcher to his old buddy back home and offers what is possibly the only unsentimental look at baseball from the dawn of the twentieth century. For a long time, Lardner's book has been the standard other baseball books are measured against.