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Book Review: The Complete Game

Matt Eddy -

Few pitchers have been afforded the opportunity to start Game Seven of the World Series. Fewer have capped a successful playing career with an Emmy-winning turn as a broadcaster. Still fewer have offered such an insightful take on the game from the pitcher's perspective as Ron Darling has in his book "The Complete Game."

Majors | #2009#Book Guide

Movie Review: Sugar

J.J. Cooper -

There are a lot of good baseball movies, and even more bad ones. But if you are a diehard fan of baseball, the common denominator of almost all of them is that the better they are, the more the little details ring false. But "Sugar" is one baseball movie that rings true from the first pitch to the final out.<br/>

Majors | #2009#Book Guide

Makers of ‘Sugar’ Focused On The Details

J.J. Cooper -

When Ron Shelton wrote and directed Bull Durham, he created one of the most realistic baseball movies ever made because he'd live the life of a minor leaguer. He'd played in the Orioles organization and managed to take that experience and use the details to capture what life was like in the minor leagues. Ryan Fleck never played minor league ball, and as you would expect, fellow writer/producer/director Anna Boden didn't either. But the creators of "Sugar" have managed to match Shelton detail for detail and even surpass him in many ways, because they showed how well they could listen.

Majors | #2009#Book Guide

Big Book Of Baseball Legends

Matt Eddy -

Like a good joke, a good story has to have an element of the unexpected to have any resonance. Baseball stories are no different. Babe Ruth instinctively knew this, playing coy whenever asked if he really did call his home run off Charlie Root in Game 3 of the 1932 World Series. Rob Neyer, in his "Big Book of Baseball Legends," attempts to get at the truth behind Ruth's infamous gesture, with the help contemporary newspaper accounts, player autobiographies and memoirs—and lots and lots of time devoted to Retrosheet research.

Majors | #2008#Book Guide

The 33-Year-Old Rookie

J.J. Cooper -

We're all suckers for an underdog story. We root for Rocky and Rudy and the Tampa Bay Rays, which is why it's hard not to enjoy The 33-Year-Old Rookie, the story of Phillies catcher Chris Coste. Coste is the ultimate underdog, an undrafted college infielder who spent five years in the independent leagues hoping to get noticed. Along the way he learned how to catch and develop an interesting hitting style that looked ugly but got results.

Majors | #2008#Book Guide

The Sultan Of Stats Returns

J.J. Cooper -

Bill James, the father of modern statistical analysis, is back this year with the Bill James Gold Mine, a book that pairs 17 James' essays with statistical snippets and notes on all 30 major league teams. In addition, James has founded Bill James Online, a subscription site that will continually be updated with additional essays and profiles.

Majors | #2008#Book Guide

CD Review: Ernie Harwell’s Audio Scrapbook

Alan Matthews -

At the age of 89, William Earnest Harwell seems as sharp and spry as he was during his days as a precocious teen in Atlanta, hustling up stories as a correspondent for the Sporting News in 1933. It's Opening Day, 2007, and though Harwell is five years removed from the radio booth, the voice of the longtime Detroit Tigers radio broadcaster remains full of excitement and energy, all of which is captured in the comprehensive, compelling four-disk audio series, "Ernie Harwell's Audio Scrapbook".

Majors | #2007#Book Guide

Book Review: Inside Baseball, The Best Of Tom Verducci

Jon Caroulis -

om Verducci has a great job — he's the primary baseball writer at Sports Illustrated. This gives him the freedom to take as long as he needs to get the story, and (presumably) the opportunity to choose what he wants to write about. Certainly, there are issues that he has to cover — steroids, for instance — but what comes through in this collection of 21 stories is about his love of the game, a game he writes about so very well.

Majors | #2007#Book Guide

Book Review: Brushing Back Jim Crow

Matt Eddy -

Willie Tasby summed it up: "I was born in America. I should have been able to play anytime, go anyplace I was able to." But Tasby, an outfielder who endured nine years in the minors before getting his chance, was just one of hundreds of black ballplayers whose access to America's Pastime was impeded by the prevailing, stubborn segregationist attitudes of the Deep South. In his thoroughly-researched Brushing Back Jim Crow, author Bruce Adelson details the hardships many of these athletes faced—often in their own words—as they pursued their dreams of playing in the big leagues during the 1950s and early '60s.

Majors | #2007#Book Guide