The best baseball history books about Major League Baseball

Why am I passionate about this?

Scott Longert has his M.A. in American History from Cleveland State University. He has written five books on baseball history with a sixth on the way. His most recent work was Cy Young: An American Baseball Hero designed specifically for children. The book was a selection of the Junior Library Guild. Scott has made numerous appearances on radio and television along with being interviewed for several baseball documentaries. Scott served nine years as a Park Ranger for the National Park Service, stationed at the James A. Garfield National Historic Site. Currently, he faithfully attends baseball games in Cleveland, waiting for the home team to capture their first World Series win since 1948.


I wrote...

Bad Boys, Bad Times: The Cleveland Indians and Baseball in the Prewar Years, 1937-1941

By Scott H. Longert,

Book cover of Bad Boys, Bad Times: The Cleveland Indians and Baseball in the Prewar Years, 1937-1941

What is my book about?

Bad Boys, Bad Times is a study of how the Cleveland Indians and Major League Baseball fared in the years leading up to the start of World War Two. The effects of the Great Depression were lessening, allowing people to restart their lives and fill baseball stadiums once again. Just as Americans were beginning to relax, the threat of another World War loomed ahead.

In that time, the Cleveland Indians struck gold when they signed seventeen-year-old pitcher Bob Feller, then nearly lost him by circumventing the rules regarding athletes still in high school. Feller would become one of the game’s greatest stars. In 1940 the Indians had a chance to win the American League pennant, but were stymied by a player revolt in which the team tried to get manager Oscar Vitt fired. The baseball writers found out about the attempted coup and ridiculed the Indians for the remainder of the season.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Glory of Their Times: The Story of the Early Days of Baseball Told by the Men Who Played It

Scott H. Longert Why did I love this book?

In the early 1960s, author Lawrence Ritter traveled around the United States, interviewing men who had played Major League Baseball in the late 1890s through the early part of the 20th century. The result is a fascinating account of baseball and America in that long-ago era. With a bulky reel-reel tape recorder, Ritter lets each ballplayer tell their own story of what the game was like before radio and television. Most of the men interviewed were in their late seventies and early eighties but were able to accurately remember a particular game or incident from half a century ago. Within the pages, baseball legends come to life, including Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, John McGraw, and Christy Mathewson.

By Lawrence S. Ritter,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Glory of Their Times as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Easily the best baseball book ever produced by anyone.” —Cleveland Plain Dealer

“This was the best baseball book published in 1966, it is the best baseball book of its kind now, and, if it is reissued in 10 years, it will be the best baseball book.” — People

From Lawrence Ritter (The Image of Their Greatness, The 100 Greatest Baseball Players of All Time), comes one of the bestselling, most acclaimed sports books of all time, The Glory of Their Times—now a Harper Perennial Modern Classic.

Baseball was different in earlier days—tougher, more raw, more intimate—when giants like Babe Ruth…


Book cover of Baseball: The Golden Age

Scott H. Longert Why did I love this book?

The book is a scholarly interpretation of Major League Baseball from 1903-1930. Harold Seymour was regarded as one of the premier baseball scholars in America, concentrating on the business and social aspects of the game. His work is a tremendous source for aspiring writers and those interested in the fine points of baseball rather than an accumulation of box scores. Seymour devotes time to the 1919 World Series fix and how much gambling was a part of the game. The rise to power of Commissioner Landis and his quest to purify baseball is a compelling part of the narrative.

By Dorothy Seymour Mills, Harold Seymour,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Following the story begun in Baseball: The Early Years, Harold Seymour explores the glorious and grevious era when the game truly captured the American imagination with legendary figures like Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth, but also appalled fans with startling scandals. The Golden Age begins with the formation of the two major leagues in 1903, and describes how the organization of the professional game improved from an unwieldy three-man commission to the
strong rule of Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis. Seymour depicts the ways in which play on the field developed from the low-scoring, pitcher-dominated game of the `dead ball' era…


Book cover of The Pitch That Killed: The Story of Carl Mays, Ray Chapman, and the Pennant Race of 1920

Scott H. Longert Why did I love this book?

The year 1920 marked the first pennant ever won by the Cleveland Indians. Author Mike Sowell recalls that time with his outstanding work, The Pitch That Killed. Sowell describes in great detail the tragic story of Ray Chapman and Carl Mays, the two participants in one of the most heartbreaking stories in baseball history. Sowell recounts in vivid detail an overcast day in New York when Mays threw an inside fastball that struck Chapman on the left temple. The Cleveland shortstop would pass away the next morning, leading to an unprecedented display of grief throughout the country. This book is a most compelling read.

By Mike Sowell,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Since major league baseball began in 1871, there have been roughly thirty million pitches thrown to batters. Only one of them killed a man. This is the story of Ray Chapman of the Cleveland Indians, a popular player struck in the head and killed in August 1920 by a pitch thrown by Carl Mays of the New York Yankees. Was it, as most baseball observers thought at the time, a tragic but unavoidable accident? Mike Sowell's brilliant book investigates the incident and probes deep into the backgrounds of the players involved and the events that led to one of baseball's…


Book cover of Babe: The Legend Comes to Life

Scott H. Longert Why did I love this book?

There have been numerous biographies written about Babe Ruth, but Robert Creamer’s stands out. With excellent research, Creamer gives the reader an intimate portrait of the game’s greatest slugger. From Ruth’s time at St. Mary’s school for boys to his death from cancer, the author reveals a vivid account of Babe’s life and times. There were many highlights in the Babe’s career and Creamer covers them well, including the home run in the 1932 World Series where Ruth may or may not have called his shot. Babe Ruth was always up to the task on and off the field; this book relates his exploits in a most captivating style.

By Robert Creamer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Portrays the struggles and achievements of baseball's most colorful hero.


Book cover of American Baseball. Vol. 1: From Gentleman’s Sport to the Commissioner System

Scott H. Longert Why did I love this book?

Author Voigt produced three volumes of work, detailing the history of the game from its roots in the early nineteenth century, through the latter part of the twentieth. Volume One begins with a debunking of the myth that Abner Doubleday created the game in the green fields of Cooperstown, New York. Voigt in using a tremendous amount of research material, traces the modernization of baseball from a gentleman’s game played for amusement and relaxation to a professional organization built to win.

Readers interested in learning how the game evolved from underhand pitching to a mound sixty feet six inches and three outs to a side would benefit from studying this work.

By David Quentin Voigt,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

How did "America's National Game" evolve from a gentlemen's pastime in the 1850s to a national obsession in the Roaring Twenties? What really happened at Cooperstown in 1839, and why does the "Doubleday legend" persist? How did the commissioner system develop, and what was the impact of the "Black Sox" scandal? These questions and many others are answered in this book, with colorful details about early big league stars such as Mike "King" Kelly and pious Billy Sunday, Charles Comiskey and Ty Cobb, Napoleon Lajoie and "Cy" (Cyclone) Young.

The author explores historically the four major periods of transformation of…


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Traumatization and Its Aftermath: A Systemic Approach to Understanding and Treating Trauma Disorders

By Antonieta Contreras,

Book cover of Traumatization and Its Aftermath: A Systemic Approach to Understanding and Treating Trauma Disorders

Antonieta Contreras Author Of Traumatization and Its Aftermath: A Systemic Approach to Understanding and Treating Trauma Disorders

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

As a trauma therapist and dedicated researcher, I love uncovering valuable insights within lesser-known books. There are hidden gems, free from the pressure of commercial success, crafted by authors deeply committed to research, understanding, and the art of writing itself. Their dedication resonates with me, as I believe in the profound value of information and the power of critical thinking. Through my own book, Traumatization and Its Aftermath, I aim to emphasize that psychological concepts often lose their depth in translation and my mission is spreading awareness and fostering a deeper understanding of trauma and its intricate facets. With that idea in mind, I chose these five titles. 

Antonieta's book list on uncovering the human experience and exploring the depths of trauma

What is my book about?

A fresh take on the difference between trauma and hardship in order to help accurately spot the difference and avoid over-generalizations.

The book integrates the latest findings in brain science, child development, psycho-social context, theory, and clinical experiences to make the case that trauma is much more than a cluster of symptoms to be tamed, but instead best understood as development gone off course, away from growth and towards (only) survival.

This book prompts a profound shift in perception, inviting to view trauma as an intricate and diverse experience, a point of view that ultimately leads to sharper treatment and, hopefully, more healing. It encourages a transition from asking, "What happened to you?" to the deeper question, "What is your relationship with what happened to you?"

Traumatization and Its Aftermath: A Systemic Approach to Understanding and Treating Trauma Disorders

By Antonieta Contreras,

What is this book about?

The book is comprehensive, bold, and practical-a much-needed resource for the assessment and treatment of trauma. Instead of the traditional focus on the overall importance of healing, Traumatization and its Aftermath decodes why some people don't heal as easily as others, analyzes the various failures of diagnosis, and explains how to make therapeutic interventions truly effective.

This book offers a systemic deep dive into traumatization that clarifies myths and misinformation about the entire spectrum of trauma and provides both clinicians and non-clinicians with the right level of validation, preventive measures, conceptualization methodology, assessment tools, and healing facts that have not…


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