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The Best Baseball Books Of 2010

James Bailey -

In baseball literary circles, 2010 will be remembered as the year of the biography. We had noteworthy releases this year on Hall of Famers Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Joe Cronin, and Charles Radbourn. Roger Maris fell short of Cooperstown, but the new bio on him ranks right up there with the other greats, as does that of late Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, who appeared for the first time on the veteran's committee ballot this fall.

Majors | #2010#Book Guide

Book Reviews: Two Books Spread Love Of ’70s Baseball

James Bailey -

Two new books celebrate baseball in the 1970s. In "When the Game Changed: An Oral History of Baseball's True Golden Age: 1969-1979" George Castle taps the men who played and managed to tell the era's story in their own words. Dan Epstein tries to infuse some hipness while summarizing the decade's happenings in "Big Hair and Plastic Grass: A Funky Ride Through Baseball and America in the Swinging '70s."

Majors | #2010#Book Guide

DVD Review: Time In The Minors

James Bailey -

Tony Okun does a wonderful job of personifying the struggle to make it through the minor leagues in his documentary "Time in the Minors." The video, which was mostly shot during the 2006 season, follows the progress of veteran minor league infielder Tony Schrager and Indians '05 supplemental first-rounder John Drennen, an outfielder.

Majors | #2010#Book Guide

Book Review: Diamond Ruby

James Bailey -

The seeds for "Diamond Ruby" were planted in history, more than 70 years ago. In a 1931 exhibition game between the Chattanooga Lookouts and New York Yankees, a 16-year-old girl named Jackie Mitchell struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig on a combined total of seven pitches. For her troubles she was rewarded with a ban by baseball commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis. Joseph Wallace, intrigued by Mitchell's story, borrowed her fastball and spirit for Ruby Thomas, the plucky heroine of his new novel. Ruby's story, however, is not Jackie Mitchell's story. In fact, Wallace set the tale in early 1920s Brooklyn, giving Ruby a shot at the Babe nearly a decade before Jackie's 15 minutes of fame occurred.

Majors | #2010#Book Guide

Book Review: Our White Boy

James Bailey -

When it comes to baseball's racial pioneers, we think of men like Jackie Robinson, Larry Doby, and Roy Campanella. Going back even further, Moses Fleetwood Walker played with Toledo in the American Association in 1884. All were African American men who played in what had been exclusively white leagues. Jerry Craft broke the color barrier moving in the opposite direction.

Majors | #2010#Book Guide

Book Review: High Heat

James Bailey -

For nearly 150 years, the debate has raged: Who is the fastest pitcher the game has ever known? Tim Wendel tackles the question in "High Heat: The Secret History of the Fastball and the Improbable Search for the Fastest Pitcher of All Time."

Majors | #2010#Book Guide

Book Review: The T206 Collection

James Bailey -

Thanks in part to the Honus Wagner card, one of the rarest collectibles in any sport, the T206 set has achieved an almost mythical status over the past century among baseball card collectors. Put out by the American Tobacco Company from 1909-11, the cards were inserted in various cigarette brands as promotional items. Now, 100 years later, these tiny ads that were given away for free are highly sought by collectors willing to pay princely sums for the portraits of Hall of Famers in good condition. A well-kept Wagner went for $2.8 million at auction in 2007.

Majors | #2010#Book Guide

Book Review: ‘Joe Cronin, A Life In Baseball’

James Bailey -

On a cool, rainy May night in 1984, the Red Sox honored two of the franchise's greatest players by retiring their numbers in a pregame ceremony. Ted Williams and Joe Cronin were the first players ever so recognized by the team, and while they were beloved by the city of Boston, fewer than 10,000 fans showed up for a game that was eventually rained out. Among the crowd was a young Mark Armour, who had no inclination at that time that a quarter century later he would pen Cronin's biography, "Joe Cronin, A Life in Baseball."

Majors | #2010#Book Guide