100 books like Bouton

By Mitchell Nathanson,

Here are 100 books that Bouton fans have personally recommended if you like Bouton. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Baseball's Great Experiment: Jackie Robinson and His Legacy

Robert Elias Author Of Major League Rebels: Baseball Battles over Workers' Rights and American Empire

From my list on baseball’s historic influence on America.

Why am I passionate about this?

Typically, we follow sports only on the playing field. I share that interest but I’ve become fascinated by sports off the field, and how they influence and reflect American society. After my fanatical baseball-playing childhood, I pursued an academic career, teaching and writing books and essays on politics and history, and wondering why it wasn’t more rewarding. Then I rediscovered sports, and returned again to my childhood passion of baseball. I began teaching a popular baseball course as a mirror on American culture. And I began writing about baseball and society, recently completing my sixth baseball book. The books recommended here will help readers to see baseball with new eyes. 

Robert's book list on baseball’s historic influence on America

Robert Elias Why did Robert love this book?

Martin Luther King, Jr. once observed that without the breaking of the color line in baseball in the late 1940s, his work for civil rights in the 1960s would have been infinitely more difficult.

This book tells the story not only of Jackie Robinson breaking that barrier to integrate baseball in 1947, but its profound consequences for both white and black baseball and for the Negro Leagues and the black community.

This breakthrough, seven years before the Brown v. Board of Education school desegregation decision, emerged not merely from Robinson and his sponsor, Branch Rickey, but from a several-decades long social movement for baseball integration, and it began the process of breaking down racist barriers in U.S. society—a notable example of how sports can promote social progress.

By Jules Tygiel,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Baseball's Great Experiment as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this gripping account of one of the most important steps in the history of American desegregation, Jules Tygiel tells the story of Jackie Robinson's crossing of baseball's color line. Examining the social and historical context of Robinson's introduction into white organized baseball, both on and off the field, Tygiel also tells the often neglected stories of other African-American players-such as Satchel Paige, Roy Campanella, Willie Mays, and Hank Aaron-who
helped transform our national pastime into an integrated game. Drawing on dozens of interviews with players and front office executives, contemporary newspaper accounts, and personal papers, Tygiel provides the most…


Book cover of The Catcher Was a Spy: The Mysterious Life of Moe Berg

Robert Elias Author Of Major League Rebels: Baseball Battles over Workers' Rights and American Empire

From my list on baseball’s historic influence on America.

Why am I passionate about this?

Typically, we follow sports only on the playing field. I share that interest but I’ve become fascinated by sports off the field, and how they influence and reflect American society. After my fanatical baseball-playing childhood, I pursued an academic career, teaching and writing books and essays on politics and history, and wondering why it wasn’t more rewarding. Then I rediscovered sports, and returned again to my childhood passion of baseball. I began teaching a popular baseball course as a mirror on American culture. And I began writing about baseball and society, recently completing my sixth baseball book. The books recommended here will help readers to see baseball with new eyes. 

Robert's book list on baseball’s historic influence on America

Robert Elias Why did Robert love this book?

There’s a neglected history of baseball’s relationship with U.S. foreign and military policy, for better or worse. Prior to World War II, the sport was used as a form of baseball diplomacy between two baseball-loving nations: the U.S. and Japan, to hopefully forestall war. It helped but not enough. 

Amidst the diplomacy was something more surreptitious. On the frequent U.S. baseball tours of Japan in the 1930s, a marginal ballplayer who happened to speak Japanese secretly filmed Tokyo and other cities for the OSS. Moe Berg was an American spy who used baseball as his cover and whose films facilitated the U.S. counterattack after Pearl Harbor.

A remarkable polymath, Berg later spied for the CIA in Latin America. This is his fascinating story. 

By Nicholas Dawidoff,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Catcher Was a Spy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER
Now a major motion picture starring Paul Rudd

“A delightful book that recounts one of the strangest episodes in the history of espionage. . . . . Relentlessly entertaining.”—The New York Times Book Review

Moe Berg is the only major-league baseball player whose baseball card is on display at the headquarters of the CIA. For Berg was much more than a third-string catcher who played on several major league teams between 1923 and 1939. Educated at Princeton and the Sorbonne, he as reputed to speak a dozen languages (although it was also said he couldn't hit in any…


Book cover of Stealing Home: Los Angeles, the Dodgers, and the Lives Caught in Between

Robert Elias Author Of Major League Rebels: Baseball Battles over Workers' Rights and American Empire

From my list on baseball’s historic influence on America.

Why am I passionate about this?

Typically, we follow sports only on the playing field. I share that interest but I’ve become fascinated by sports off the field, and how they influence and reflect American society. After my fanatical baseball-playing childhood, I pursued an academic career, teaching and writing books and essays on politics and history, and wondering why it wasn’t more rewarding. Then I rediscovered sports, and returned again to my childhood passion of baseball. I began teaching a popular baseball course as a mirror on American culture. And I began writing about baseball and society, recently completing my sixth baseball book. The books recommended here will help readers to see baseball with new eyes. 

Robert's book list on baseball’s historic influence on America

Robert Elias Why did Robert love this book?

Off the playing field, baseball has both influenced and helped shape American society.

I loved this book because it told the neglected story of how a sports team can profoundly affect its surrounding community. Here is the insider tale of the move by the Dodgers from Brooklyn to Los Angeles in the 1950s, the politics that helped shape that move, and the consequences for these two cities.

In Brooklyn, a fanatical fan base was betrayed and in Los Angeles a Mexican-American community was rudely displaced for the new ballpark. It’s a compelling story of winners and losers.

By Eric Nusbaum,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A story about baseball, family, the American Dream, and the fight to turn Los Angeles into a big league city.

Dodger Stadium is an American icon. But the story of how it came to be goes far beyond baseball. The hills that cradle the stadium were once home to three vibrant Mexican American communities. In the early 1950s, those communities were condemned to make way for a utopian public housing project. Then, in a remarkable turn, public housing in the city was defeated amidst a Red Scare conspiracy.

Instead of getting their homes back, the remaining residents saw the city…


Book cover of Raceball: How the Major Leagues Colonized the Black and Latin Game

Robert Elias Author Of Major League Rebels: Baseball Battles over Workers' Rights and American Empire

From my list on baseball’s historic influence on America.

Why am I passionate about this?

Typically, we follow sports only on the playing field. I share that interest but I’ve become fascinated by sports off the field, and how they influence and reflect American society. After my fanatical baseball-playing childhood, I pursued an academic career, teaching and writing books and essays on politics and history, and wondering why it wasn’t more rewarding. Then I rediscovered sports, and returned again to my childhood passion of baseball. I began teaching a popular baseball course as a mirror on American culture. And I began writing about baseball and society, recently completing my sixth baseball book. The books recommended here will help readers to see baseball with new eyes. 

Robert's book list on baseball’s historic influence on America

Robert Elias Why did Robert love this book?

Besides being intricately involved in the history of U.S. foreign policy, baseball has also pursued its own foreign policy, projecting the game beyond American borders but always controlling the sport wherever it’s played.

This book examines the colonization of baseball in the Caribbean and Latin America. After breaking the color barrier, black Americans began emerging in the sport. An amateur draft was added and then free agency, both driving up the cost of ballplayers until organized baseball realized the gold mine of inexpensive players available south of the border.

The Latin player influx has helped baseball diversity but it has caused a dramatic decline in U.S. black ballplayers. Meanwhile, baseball owners are making billions, partly through their firm control over Latin leagues and players. This book is a call to action against this exploitation. 

By Rob Ruck,

Why should I read it?

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


Book cover of Summer of '49

John Rosengren Author Of The Greatest Summer in Baseball History: How the '73 Season Changed Us Forever

From my list on stories about a single baseball season.

Why am I passionate about this?

My father used to take me to watch the Twins play at Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, a twenty-minute drive from our house in suburban Minneapolis. As soon as the Twins announced their schedule each year, he would buy tickets for the doubleheaders. Our favorites were the twilight doubleheaders, when we watched one game by daylight, and the other under the night sky. Baseball was pure to me then: played outdoors on real grass. Seated beside my dad during those twin bills, I felt his love for the game seep into me and take root. All these years later, almost two decades after his death, that love remains strong.

John's book list on stories about a single baseball season

John Rosengren Why did John love this book?

I liked this slice of history and the sense of importance David Halberstam imparted to it. He cared about the story, and so I did, too.

I love the All-Star castCasey Stengel, Yogi Berra, Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, Bobby Doerr, et al.that animates the action. I’m there on the field with these guys, sweating out the action Halberstam so passionately describes, and feeling their emotions.

By David Halberstam,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Summer of '49 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This #1 bestselling baseball classic of the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry is “dazzling . . . heart-stopping . . . A celebration of a vanished heroic age” (The New York Times Book Review).
The summer of 1949: It was baseball’s Golden Age and the year Joe DiMaggio’s New York Yankees were locked in a soon-to-be classic battle with Ted Williams’s Boston Red Sox for the American League pennant. As postwar America looked for a unifying moment, the greatest players in baseball history brought their rivalry to the field, captivating the American public through the heart-pounding final moments of the season. This…


Book cover of Ball Four: The Final Pitch

Noah Gittell Author Of Baseball: The Movie

From my list on books that tell the true story of baseball.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve loved baseball since I was six years old when I watched that ground ball go through Bill Buckner’s legs and propel my New York Mets to their second World Series. I’ve loved film for almost as long. The best way to love something is to think critically about it–put it to the test. That’s why I wrote Baseball: The Movie. It was an effort to avoid unexamined nostalgia, to think hard about these things I love, and to make sure I love them honestly. I’ve spent 10 years as a freelance writer on baseball and movies, but not until I wrote this book did I feel like they had truly passed my test.

Noah's book list on books that tell the true story of baseball

Noah Gittell Why did Noah love this book?

In 1970, Jim Bouton blew the lid off baseball with this book.

A chronicling of one season of the author’s career in the major and minor leagues, the book told the truth about professional ballplayers: that they were not the heroes the newspapers made them out to be. On the contrary, they were just as greedy, selfish, and pervy as the rest of us.

At a time when America was going through a great disillusionment, Bouton did the same for America’s game. Years later, it still holds that power. I savored every word of it, experiencing the ups and downs of a season while gaining an insider’s view of the sport I fell in love with as a child.

By Jim Bouton,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Ball Four as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION
New York Public Library Book of the Century Selection
Time Magazine “100 Greatest Non-Fiction Books” Selection
New Foreword from Jim Bouton’s Wife, Paula Bouton
When Ball Four was first published in 1970, it hit the sports world like a lightning bolt. Commissioners, executives, and players were shocked. Sportswriters called author Jim Bouton a traitor and "social leper." Commissioner Bowie Kuhn tried to force him to declare the book untrue. Fans, however, loved the book. And serious critics called it an important social document. Following his death, Bouton’s landmark book has remained popular, and his legacy lives on…


Book cover of Joe DiMaggio: The Hero's Life

David Vaught Author Of Spitter: Baseball's Notorious Gaylord Perry

From my list on deep-dive baseball biographies.

Why am I passionate about this?

Writing this book brought back memories from my childhood—of watching Perry pitch in the late 1960s and, more deeply, of relations with my parents. My father (a math prof at UC Berkeley) and mother cared little for sports, but by the time I turned seven, an identity uniquely my own emerged from my infatuation with the San Francisco Giants. By age ten, I regularly sneaked off to Candlestick Park, which required two long bus rides and a hike through one of the city’s worst neighborhoods. I knew exactly when I had to leave to retrace my journey to get home in time for dinner. Baseball was, and remains, in my blood.

David's book list on deep-dive baseball biographies

David Vaught Why did David love this book?

Both for sheer inspiration and for studying the craft of biography, I read this book at least five times while researching and writing Spitter. Absorbing, controversial, and courageous, this book offers a deeply disturbing look into the rise and fall of the most famous baseball icon of the twentieth century—and ‘the loneliest hero we ever had.” DiMaggio is rendered so vividly you almost want to look away. The book taught me the supreme importance of building the character, starting on page one, and of sustaining and expanding central and supplementary themes, chapter by chapter. It is also, simply put, a romping good read. If Spitter lives up to even one-tenth of this book’s brilliance, I would die a happy biographer.

By Richard Ben Cramer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A groundbreaking, breathtaking biography of one of the Century's great icons, the late Joe Dimaggio, from the acclaimed Pulitzer Prize winning author of the bestseller WHAT IT TAKES. Few celebrities have captivated the sport's world for as long, or with such depth, as Joe DiMaggio. Here, for the first time, is the definitive story of his life, as told by the award-winning journalist Richard Ben Cramer. In Cramer's hands, DiMaggio's complicated life, from the first game with the Yankees in the 1930's, his marriage to Marilyn Monroe and his rise to hero status, becomes a story of the media, the…


Book cover of A Franchise on the Rise: The First Twenty Years of the New York Yankees

W. Nikola-Lisa Author Of The Men Who Made the Yankees: The Odyssey of the World's Greatest Baseball Team from Baltimore to the Bronx

From my list on the early years of the New York Yankees.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up a Yankee fan during the Mickey Mantle era, traveling to the Bronx in my uncle’s canary-yellow Chrysler Imperial. Those early experiences set me on a trajectory to want to play baseball every chance I got, starting with Little League and ending up on my high school’s varsity squad. Fortunately, my high school was in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, where my family had moved in 1962, the same year that the Yankees began playing their pre-season games in the city, which meant when I wasn’t playing baseball at school, I was hanging around Ft. Lauderdale Stadium watching the Yankees. Yes, the Pinstripe Nation was in my blood. 

W.'s book list on the early years of the New York Yankees

W. Nikola-Lisa Why did W. love this book?

If you want a close-up look at the players who made up the early Yankee teams, this is the book for you. In Amore’s book you’ll learn about some key Yankees’ players: Wee Willie Keeler, Frank Chance (of Tinkers-to-Evers-to-Chance fame), Hal Chase, Roger Peckinpaugh, Frank “Home Run” Baker, and, of course, George Herman “Babe” Ruth, among many others who populated the early New York Yankee teams. 

By Dom Amore,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Franchise on the Rise as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

2018 marks 115 years since the inception of the New York Yankees--and what a 115-year period it's been! But how did the team that has since won a league-leading 27 world championships get started? In A Franchise on the Rise, veteran sportswriter Dom Amore takes readers back in time to the first twenty years of the team's existence, from 1903 to 1923, focusing on all the major players and events, including their first ten years as the Highlanders, their move to Yankee Stadium, and their subsequent first World Series in 1923. In doing so, Amore successfully finds the characters' own…


Book cover of Dueling with Kings: High Stakes, Killer Sharks, and the Get-Rich Promise of Daily Fantasy Sports

Ron Shandler Author Of Fantasy Expert

From my list on truly understanding baseball and enhancing the fun as a fan.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been a baseball fan since the New York Mets won the World Series in 1969. Unfortunately, I am not an athlete, so I needed to figure out how to experience the sport in my own way. That path led me to baseball analysis and fantasy and a career writing about them. I pinch myself every morning that I have been able to turn my passion into my career. 

Ron's book list on truly understanding baseball and enhancing the fun as a fan

Ron Shandler Why did Ron love this book?

I love this hobby, but I would be remiss if I didn’t include a book that exposed our challenges as the industry has evolved.

There is some “fish out of water” element to this book, too, but I thought it was an important exposition of how Daily Fantasy Sports nearly destroyed the enjoyment we long-timers have experienced for the past four decades.

By Daniel Barbarisi,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In the spirit of Bringing Down the House and The Wolf of Wall Street, “an engrossing and often hilarious behind-the-scenes look at the characters, compulsions, and chaos inside the fantasy sports gold rush. It’s the perfect meld of a sports and business book, engagingly written like a fun, page-turning novel” (The Wall Street Journal).

Daniel Barbarisi quit his job as a New York Yankees beat writer and began a quest to join the top one percent of Daily Fantasy Sports (“DFS”) players, the so-called “sharks,” in hopes to discover the secrets behind this phenomenon—and potentially make some money along the…


Book cover of The Cloudbuster Nine: The Untold Story of Ted Williams and the Baseball Team That Helped Win World War II

Jim Noles Author Of Undefeated: From Basketball to Battle: West Point's Perfect Season 1944

From my list on sports during World War II that inspire me.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an “Army brat” who attended five different middle and high schools, graduated from West Point (where I majored in international history), and later attended law school. The law is my profession, but writing is my avocation, and I’ve been fortunate to have several military histories published. I reside in Birmingham, Alabama, with my wife, our youngest son, and two untrained, incorrigible dogs. As far as my latest book is concerned, they like to say at West Point that “the history that we teach was made by people we taught.” In my case, I guess it was “the history I wrote about was made by people wearing the same uniform that I wore.”

Jim's book list on sports during World War II that inspire me

Jim Noles Why did Jim love this book?

In The Cloudbuster Nine, Anne Keene not only channels her father’s memories of his own dreams of baseball glory but also recounts the tale of a collection of fighter-pilot cadets—men like the legendary Ted Williams, Johnny Pesky, and Johnny Swain—who, while preparing for flight training in the U.S. Navy’s V-5 pre-flight program during World War II. In doing so, she provides a fascinating overview (and reminder) of what World War II meant for many of America’s star athletes—and what those athletes meant for America’s war effort. 

By Anne R. Keene,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In 1943, while the New York Yankees and St. Louis Cardinals were winning pennants and meeting in that year's World Series, one of the nation's strongest baseball teams practiced on a skinned-out college field in the heart of North Carolina. Ted Williams, Johnny Pesky, and Johnny Sain were among a cadre of fighter-pilot cadets who wore the Cloudbuster Nine baseball jersey at an elite Navy training school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

As a child, Anne Keene's father, Jim Raugh, suited up as the team batboy and mascot. He got to know his baseball heroes personally,…


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