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Book Excerpt: Out Of My League, By Dirk Hayhurst

Dirk Hayhurst -

Dirk Hayhurst's first "Non-Prospect Diary" went live on BaseballAmerica.com on March 13, 2007. He chronicled three seasons on BA's website, a ride that took him to the major leagues, while also writing one of the best baseball books of the last decade: "The Bullpen Gospels: Major League Dreams of a Minor League Veteran" (Citadel Press, 2010). For an encore, Hayhurst has taken us back inside the game to the biggest year of his career, 2008. It's a season that started with the protagonist back in the minor leagues, living in spartan conditions in an apartment with two fellow minor league veterans. It ended with Hayhurst getting on ESPN's "SportsCenter" after giving up one of Manny Ramirez's longest home runs. Hayhurst takes us through his major league debut in "Out Of My League." Here's an excerpt, when Hayhurst was getting used to the on- and off-field duties of a rookie in a big league bullpen.

Majors | #2012#Book Guide

The Best Baseball Books Of 2011

James Bailey -

In March 2010, Little, Brown outbid seven other publishers for the rights to an unemployed author's first book, paying $650,000 to publish Chad Harbach's tale about a slick-fielding shortstop at a fictional Division III college in Wisconsin. It was a highly unusual transaction for a debut novel targeted at a male audience. The publisher was vindicated, however, by a constant flow of praise in the months leading up to the release of "The Art of Fielding," certainly unprecedented among baseball novels. The book lived up to its hype, landing a coveted place on the New York Times' 10 Best Books of 2011 list. It also tops ours, the only work of fiction to win a spot.

Majors | #2011#Book Guide

Book Review: September Nights

Joel Poiley -

In September Nights, Rays pitcher James Shields and author Bill Chastain detail with behind the scenes insight what the team went through on the field and inside the locker room as it pursued its second World Series appearance in three years.

Majors | #2011#Book Guide

Book Review: Major League Baseball Profiles, 1871-1900

James Bailey -

David Nemec's obsession with 19th-century baseball dates back to his junior year of high school in the mid-1950s. His fascination hasn't wavered in the half century since. His ambitious undertaking to catalog the debut and finale dates of every 19th-century major leaguer expanded into something even greater: Write a short biography for every player who suited up in a major league contest from 1871-1900. While he eventually settled on anyone who had one year as a qualifier for a league's batting or ERA title, what was left still weighed in at over 1,200 pages, in a two-volume set entitled "Major League Baseball Profiles, 1871-1900" released this fall by University of Nebraska Press.

Majors | #2011#Book Guide

Book Review: Flip Flop Fly Ball

James Bailey -

While many fans find both left- and right-brain appeal in baseball, few are better at wedding them than Craig Robinson, who joins baseball and infographics on his quirky Flip Flop Fly Ball website. Through his unique graphics, Robinson draws meaning out of a world of numbers and provides context for a boundless range of matters, many of which you never realized you were curious about—at least until you saw it sketched out in full color. He pulls off the same trick in a new book.

Majors | #2011#Book Guide

Book Review: The Art of Fielding

James Bailey -

Chad Harbach's debut novel, "The Art of Fielding," drew a huge advance and praise from all corners of the literary world, to a degree unprecedented for a baseball novel. Can the book possibly live up to this advance billing? In a word, yes.<br/>

Majors | #2011#Book Guide

Book Review: 1961*

James Bailey -

Fifty years ago this summer, Yankees teammates Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle waged the greatest (non-juiced) tandem assault on the record book in baseball history. Maris, of course, established a new single-season home run mark with 61, topping Babe Ruth's 154-game accomplishment, while Mantle fell short with 54. To commemorate the golden anniversary of their race, Phil Pepe, a beat writer for the New York World-Telegram & Sun over the season's final two months, has penned "1961*: The Inside Story of the Maris-Mantle Home Run Chase."

Majors | #2011#Book Guide

Book Review: Uppity

James Bailey -

If people who know the man had any doubt where they stood with Bill White, they won't after reading his new memoir, "Uppity: My Untold Story about the Games People Play." White, whose long and varied career afforded him a view of the game from just about every angle, doesn't hold back, sharing his candid thoughts about a number of people with whom he crossed paths over the years.

Majors | #2011#Book Guide

Game Review: Major League Baseball 2K11

Conor Glassey -

Baseball America recently received 2K Sports' newest baseball installment, Major League Baseball 2K11 for Xbox 360. I went over to Nathan Rode's house to test out the game recently, and here are my early impressions of the game with grades—as you could only expect from Baseball America—based on the 20-80 scouting scale.

Majors | #2011#Book Guide

Book Review: Campy

James Bailey -

Neil Lanctot's new biography about former Dodgers catcher Roy Campanella does a good job telling the sometimes complicated story of Campanella's highs and lows on and off the field.

Majors | #2011#Book Guide