The best books about baseball are both fiction and non-fiction works that reflect America's love and obsession with the country's national past time, one that reflects the very nature of the nation itself from decade to decade. What makes baseball so rich to write about is the complexity of the sport itself, with so many different players, people, and storylines that come out of the game. Watching baseball from season to season will undoubtedly help you to fall in love with the game; reading books about baseball will give you a deeper appreciation of the sport, making it something you follow for the rest of your life. Check out a few of the best books about baseball, listed below.
"Cobb" is the biography of Ty Cobb, one of the greatest baseball players to ever play the game, and also one of the most violent and hateful people to be a part of it. These two extremes of arguably the greatest baseball player of all time reflect what America was transforming itself from in the late nineteenth and twentieth century. It is a powerful and unflinching biography, teaching a lot about baseball, American history, and the people who lived at that time.
The Pulitzer Prize winning writer, Richard Ben Cramer, wrote a unique biography about the beloved legendary Yankee Joe DiMaggio. This book was both brilliantly written and controversial when it came out, showing a unique side of the life of an American hero and how public and private perceptions of athletes still affect how they are remembered today.
One of the best known and popular baseball stories of all time, due to the fact that it was an incredibly popular film starring Robert Redford, "The Natural," was first a classic book published in the early Fifties about corruption and greed in baseball. Sounds different from the movie, right? That's because it is, and the Hollywood ending that everyone remembers from the Redford film is, in truth, the opposite of what Malamud intended with this tale, as athletes often fall victim to human weakness more then they fulfill their own quests for personal redemption.
Famous turn of the century writer, Ring Lardner, wrote one of the best books about baseball when baseball was just becoming the national past time, way back in 1916. It is the story of a rookie pitcher writing letters to his best friend back home about playing in the big leagues before the dead ball era of the 1920's, showing the fledging roots of what baseball would become in a satirical and unflinching way. While this book may seem slightly dated today, it shows the richness of the sport of baseball and how it culled interest from all Americans on a number of different personal, emotional and metaphorical levels.