Saturday, July 04, 2009

Five best baseball books

A few years ago, former major league catcher Tim McCarver named a five best list of baseball books for the Wall Street Journal.

One title on his list:
"Ball Four" by Jim Bouton (World, 1970).

Jim Bouton's "Ball Four" was a terrifically revealing book, and for writing it he was ostracized by the baseball establishment--both by the players and by Bowie Kuhn, the baseball commissioner at the time. He'd kept a diary about his 1969 season with the Seattle Pilots and the Houston Astros--material filled with locker-room stories and other forbidden topics. It was hilarious stuff. Now here it is 35 years later, and it all seems so tame--so innocent! The innocence is one of the book's charms today. But back when it first appeared, and this says something about where we've come, it was like "Peyton Place."
Read about another book on McCarver's list.

Also see Tom Werner's six favorite baseball books, Fay Vincent's five best list of baseball books, and Nicholas Dawidoff's five best list of baseball fiction.

--Marshal Zeringue