Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Ten top sports books

John Gaustad started Sportspages in 1985, the UK's first bookshop devoted solely to sports books, and subsequently co-founded the William Hill Sports Book of the Year award, now in its 25th year.

At the Guardian, Gustad named his top ten sports books. One title on the list:
Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis

I couldn't convince my colleagues on the panel [William Hill Sports Book of the Year award] of the merits of this one. "It's about baseball!" they exclaimed. Indeed it is, and you do need to know the game pretty well to really appreciate it. But I do know (and love) baseball, and I found it absolutely fascinating. It tells the story of how the Oakland Athletics, the paupers of the major leagues, adopted a new strategy on player recruitment based on a new way of analysing baseball statistics, which led them to pick up players none of the other franchises, using traditional evaluation methods, rated or wanted. The glory is that it worked; the Oakland As became a powerhouse, at least until all the other teams began to copy what they'd done. I loved the audacity of it all, and the wonderful intricacy of this account of it.
Read about another book on the list.

Moneyball also appears on Matthew Berry's 6 favorite books list, Will Dean's brief reading list on baseball and Richard J. Tofel's list of the five best books on baseball as a business, and among Sports Illustrated's five most influential sports books of the decade.

--Marshal Zeringue