The Cubs Way
Theirs was the longest championship drought in all of sports, but in 2016, after 108 years, the Chicago Cubs once again became World Series champs. Tom Verducci, senior baseball writer for Sports Illustrated, pens a riveting inside look at the team’s transformation from a bunch of young unknown players and older veterans to the best team in baseball, guided by team president Theo Epstein and manager Joe Maddon. Verducci’s writing is insightful and his thoughtful analysis celebrates this iconic team and their hard-earned victory.
The Matheny Manifesto
Mike Matheny had a fruitful career as a Major League catcher, then went on to be the manager for the St. Louis Cardinals, but it was his strongly-worded letter to the parents of the Little League team he coached which earned him Internet stardom. In it, Matheny diagnoses the problem at the center of youth sports (parents and coaches) and this book, which is based on the letter, goes on to teach eight keys to success, like leadership, toughness, humility, and teamwork, that one can glean from sports and apply in life.
In this memoir, Chipper Jones—one of the greatest switch-hitters in baseball history—reflects on his eighteen-year career with the Atlanta Braves. From his childhood in a small, rural town in Florida, to becoming the number one draft pick in 1990, to leading the Braves to a fourteen-straight division-title run, the National League MVP gets down-and-dirty about his rise to fame and the state of baseball in the modern era.
Where Nobody Knows Your Name
But what if you never make it big? Triple-A baseball is an incubator for players with huge dreams hoping to be called up to the majors, and for major league players nursing injuries to avoid getting rusty. It’s also home to intimate ballparks, $2 hot dogs, and quirky mascots and feels practically more American than the real thing. In this behind-the-scenes look, bestselling sportswriter John Feinstein follows nine men—players, managers, umpires—and reveals their wins and losses in small towns across the country.
In this memoir, famed Yankee pitcher Ron Guidry—nicknamed Gator—reflects on his storied career and the characters who made the team infamous. His stellar pitching helped the team clinch the 1977 World Series and his stories about George Steinbrenner, Billy Martin, Reggie Jackson, Yogi Berra and Lou Pinella give great insight to the people in the pinstripes. A must-read for any Yankee fan.
The Comic Book Story of Baseball
Want a refresher on the game? This graphic novel takes a look at who and what has shaped the sport over time. From the players that became cultural phenomena, to the games that made it into the history books, to the development of the rules of the game since its inception, this approachable history steps up to the plate and offers the perfect overview.
As of this week, baseball is back! For me, opening day at the ballpark always signifies the start of summer. While you may need to wear a fleece to a game now, pretty soon the days will grow longer and warmer, all punctuated by the crack of a bat and the smell of popcorn in the air. If you haven’t yet made it to the ballpark, fear not. These seven books will have you feeling like you’re back in the bleachers or on the bench in no time. Play ball and read on!
Featured image: Antoine Schibler/Unsplash