Friday, April 8

10 Contemporary Baseball Books for the New Season

Duke Snyder, 1955 World Series
"Baseball is a nostalgic sport. Its glories are in the past, the thinking goes. You should have seen Ted’s swing. Jim Palmer, now there was a pitcher. The same could be said for the game’s literature. The old books tend to loom the largest. Jim Boulton’s Ball Four is a Book of the Century, according to the New York Public Library. Summer of ’49 and October 1964 were penned by David Halberstam, the Pulitzer Prize-winner who gave us definitive accounts of Vietnam, the Kennedy Administration, and just about every seminal moment of post-war America. And then there’s Bernard Malamud and The Natural. What novel has a better claim to a place in the American canon? (Full disclosure—at eight, I nearly lost my left thumb trying to fashion a bat from the trunk of a lightning-struck tree.) But the art of baseball writing didn’t die with Red Smith; it’s alive and well. Talented novelists still look to America’s pastime for insight into the national condition. ..."
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