The best books on American baseball stadiums

Who am I?

Major league baseball stadiums have always enthralled me—their architectures, their atmospheres, their surroundings. Each has a unique story to tell. So I decided to tell the story of how perhaps the greatest of all American ballparks, Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, came to be. As an urban historian, I also wished to tell a broader story of how the argument between 1957 and 1962 over whether, where, and how to build the stadium helped make Los Angeles into the modern city we know today. So writing City of Dreams allowed me to combine my passions for baseball, for stadiums, and for the history of American cities.


I wrote...

City of Dreams: Dodger Stadium and the Birth of Modern Los Angeles

By Jerald Podair,

Book cover of City of Dreams: Dodger Stadium and the Birth of Modern Los Angeles

What is my book about?

City of Dreams is about a baseball stadium—Dodger Stadium—but it is also about a modern American city searching for its identity. Brooklyn Dodger owner Walter O’Malley moved his team to Los Angeles in 1957 in order to build the ballpark of his dreams, with cutting-edge amenities and beautiful sightlines. But O’Malley’s dreams were not shared by many of his new Los Angeles neighbors, who believed that the Dodgers, a private entity, had received inappropriate public assistance from city officials. The ensuing battle to build Dodger Stadium, which stretched over four years, was thus over more than baseball: it was over the look, the feel, and the soul of the city of Los Angeles. 

The books I picked & why

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Ballpark: Baseball in the American City

By Paul Goldberger,

Book cover of Ballpark: Baseball in the American City

Why this book?

The most comprehensive history of the American baseball stadium ever produced, and one that could only have been written by Paul Goldberger, America’s preeminent architectural critic. Unlike many of his brethren, Goldberger’s writing has always been clean, clear, and blissfully jargon-free, and his historical tour of ballparks from their inauspicious 19th century beginnings to the retro pleasure-and-marketing palaces of our own time is authoritative and wonderfully readable. 

Ballpark: Baseball in the American City

By Paul Goldberger,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ballpark as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


A Nice Little Place on the North Side: A History of Triumph, Mostly Defeat, and Incurable Hope at Wrigley Field

By George F. Will,

Book cover of A Nice Little Place on the North Side: A History of Triumph, Mostly Defeat, and Incurable Hope at Wrigley Field

Why this book?

A lifelong fan of a baseball team makes the best chronicler of its ballpark, and long-time Cubs sufferer (are there any other kind?) George Will explains the charms of Wrigley Field that endure in the face of a century (save for one glorious year) of near-misses, by-a-mile misses, and general misery. Ironically, Will composed this love letter to his Field of Despair just before the Cubs ended a 108-year drought by winning the 2016 World Series. But this may not really matter. For Will, and for all Cubs fans, Wrigley Field is more than the sum of its wins and losses. It transcends them.


To Every Thing a Season: Shibe Park and Urban Philadelphia, 1909-1976

By Bruce Kuklick,

Book cover of To Every Thing a Season: Shibe Park and Urban Philadelphia, 1909-1976

Why this book?

One of the models for my own book, this study of Shibe Park—later named Connie Mack Stadium—places it in the context of the growth and decline of its North Philadelphia neighborhood. Home first to the Philadelphia Athletics, then the Athletics and Phillies, and then, until 1970, the Phillies alone, the stadium went from a position as the centerpiece of a vibrant industrial and residential community to a decaying symbol of urban decline by the 1960s. Still, there are those who remember and love it, and Kuklick has written a fascinating and evocative book that tells the story of a twentieth-century American city through its signature baseball stadium.

To Every Thing a Season: Shibe Park and Urban Philadelphia, 1909-1976

By Bruce Kuklick,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked To Every Thing a Season as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Shibe Park was demolished in 1976, and today its site is surrounded by the devastation of North Philadelphia. Kuklick, however, vividly evokes the feelings people had about the home of the Philadelphia Athletics and later the Phillies.

The Dodgers Move West

By Neil Sullivan,

Book cover of The Dodgers Move West

Why this book?

This is actually a book about a baseball stadium that was not built—the Brooklyn Dodgers’ proposed new home in that borough’s downtown that fell victim to the shortsightedness of New York City elected officials and that of their master, building czar and power broker Robert Moses. This was the first systematic and objective examination of the emotionally-fraught subject of the team’s 1957 departure for Los Angeles and the promise of a new stadium there (the subject of my City of Dreams), and was instrumental in placing responsibility for the Dodgers’ move squarely on the shoulders of New York pols and the imperious Moses. Also highly recommended is Sullivan’s The Diamond in the Bronx: Yankee Stadium and the Politics of New York

The Dodgers Move West

By Neil Sullivan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Dodgers Move West as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For many New Yorkers, the removal of the Brooklyn Dodgers-perhaps the most popular baseball team of all time-to Los Angeles in 1957 remains one of the most traumatic events since World War II. Neil J. Sullivan's controversial reassessment of a story that has reached almost mythic proportions in its many retellings shifts responsibility for the move onto the local governmental maneuverings that occurred on both sides of the continent.
Conventional wisdom has it that Dodgers owner Walter O'Malley cold-heartedly abandoned the devoted Brooklyn fans for the easy money of Los Angeles. Sullivan argues that O'Malley had, in fact, wanted to…

The Echoing Green

By Joshua Prager,

Book cover of The Echoing Green

Why this book?

A book about the most dramatic game in baseball history, ending with the home run hit by New York Giant Bobby Thomson off Brooklyn Dodger pitcher Ralph Branca to win the 1951 National League pennant, in which a major character was the Giants’ quirky stadium, the Polo Grounds. Years after the event, Prager uncovered a dark secret: the Giants had used the peculiar configuration of their ballpark, which included a clubhouse overlooking center field and home plate, to mount a telescope from which signs were stolen and passed on to Giant hitters. Thomson likely knew what was coming before Branca threw. One of the most beautifully written baseball books of all time, and a meditation on the unlikely stages upon which victory and defeat unfold.

The Echoing Green

By Joshua Prager,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Echoing Green as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in baseball, New York State, and Brooklyn?

6,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about baseball, New York State, and Brooklyn.

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And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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