100 books like It Looked Like For Ever

By Mark Harris,

Here are 100 books that It Looked Like For Ever fans have personally recommended if you like It Looked Like For Ever. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Shoeless Joe

Terry McDermott Author Of Off Speed: Baseball, Pitching, and the Art of Deception

From my list on novels about baseball.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in rural Iowa in the 1950s and 60s, a place far removed from most of the world. Our town had no movie theater, no library, no anything except for a truly excellent baseball field. So we played – day, night, with full teams or three brothers or all by yourself. We also were tasked by our father with caring for the diamond, which was the home park for the local semi-pro team, the Cascade Reds. When I left town – fled would be a better description – I took my love of baseball with me. I played baseball in Vietnam, watched games in Hiroshima, Japan, Seoul, Korea, LA, Chicago, Seattle, Kansas City, and St. Louis. I could go on like this for a long time, but I think you get the picture.

Terry's book list on novels about baseball

Terry McDermott Why did Terry love this book?

This novel is less well-known, and much more accomplished, than the movie based on it – Field of Dreams. Where the movie is sappy, the book is lyrical and warmly nostalgic for a time and place – rural Iowa in the 1970s. There is a clear magical realism vibe to the whole thing. The plot structure of the novel is a very shaggy dog involving a baseball field in a corn field, the kidnapping of a famous novelist and numerous dead people coming back to life. The book is big-hearted and much of the writing is luminous.

By W.P. Kinsella,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The inspiration for the beloved film Field of Dreams, Shoeless Joe by W. P. Kinsella is the story about the beauty and history of baseball, and the power and endurance of a dream.

“A moonlit novel about baseball, dreams, family, the land, and literature."—Sports Illustrated

“If you build it, he will come.” These mysterious words, spoken by an Iowa baseball announcer, inspire Ray Kinsella to carve a baseball diamond in his cornfield in honor of his hero, the baseball legend Shoeless Joe Jackson. What follows is both a rich, nostalgic look at one of our most cherished national pastimes and…


Book cover of The Great American Novel

Terry McDermott Author Of Off Speed: Baseball, Pitching, and the Art of Deception

From my list on novels about baseball.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in rural Iowa in the 1950s and 60s, a place far removed from most of the world. Our town had no movie theater, no library, no anything except for a truly excellent baseball field. So we played – day, night, with full teams or three brothers or all by yourself. We also were tasked by our father with caring for the diamond, which was the home park for the local semi-pro team, the Cascade Reds. When I left town – fled would be a better description – I took my love of baseball with me. I played baseball in Vietnam, watched games in Hiroshima, Japan, Seoul, Korea, LA, Chicago, Seattle, Kansas City, and St. Louis. I could go on like this for a long time, but I think you get the picture.

Terry's book list on novels about baseball

Terry McDermott Why did Terry love this book?

This is a minor work in Roth’s illustrious career, but it is pure Roth - hilarious and outrageous -  through and through. You can’t not love a novel that begins with an irreverent shot out to Moby Dick: Call me Smitty, is the novel’s first line, penned by a sportswriter and narrator Word Smith. Smitty’s story is the tragic career of the only Babylonian pitcher in major league history, a phenom named Gil Gamesh. (For those who are too far removed from your college classics courses, Gilgamesh is the great epic story of ancient Babylon.) Gil and his catcher concoct a plot to kill an umpire, Mike the Mouth, who never gives them an even break. The would-be murder weapon is a high fastball. Chaos ensues.

By Philip Roth,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of American Pastoral—a richly imagined novel featuring America’s only homeless big-league baseball team in history delivers “shameless comic extravagance…. Roth gleefully exploits our readiness to let baseball stand for America itself" (The New York Times).

Gil Gamesh, the only pitcher who ever literally tried to kill the umpire. The ex-con first baseman, John Baal, "The Babe Ruth of the Big House," who never hit a home run sober. If you've never heard of them—or of the homeless baseball team the Ruppert Mundys—it's because of the Communist plot, and the capitalist scandal, that expunged the entire…


Book cover of The Greatest Slump of All Time

Terry McDermott Author Of Off Speed: Baseball, Pitching, and the Art of Deception

From my list on novels about baseball.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in rural Iowa in the 1950s and 60s, a place far removed from most of the world. Our town had no movie theater, no library, no anything except for a truly excellent baseball field. So we played – day, night, with full teams or three brothers or all by yourself. We also were tasked by our father with caring for the diamond, which was the home park for the local semi-pro team, the Cascade Reds. When I left town – fled would be a better description – I took my love of baseball with me. I played baseball in Vietnam, watched games in Hiroshima, Japan, Seoul, Korea, LA, Chicago, Seattle, Kansas City, and St. Louis. I could go on like this for a long time, but I think you get the picture.

Terry's book list on novels about baseball

Terry McDermott Why did Terry love this book?

As a long-suffering fan of the Seattle Mariners, who have avoided success longer than any other North American sports team this century, how could I not love a novel whose central premise is what would happen if an elite professional sports team, the defending National League champs, fielded an entire line-up of players overwhelmed by clinical depression? This is the funniest sad book I’ve ever read. Well, maybe the second after Catch 22. All the characters play baseball, but the book is less about sport than it is about how humans survive a hostile world.

By David Carkeet,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Greatest Slump of All Time as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Nine major-league baseball players, suffering from clinical depression, lead their team toward tragic triumph


Book cover of The Universal Baseball Association

Terry McDermott Author Of Off Speed: Baseball, Pitching, and the Art of Deception

From my list on novels about baseball.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in rural Iowa in the 1950s and 60s, a place far removed from most of the world. Our town had no movie theater, no library, no anything except for a truly excellent baseball field. So we played – day, night, with full teams or three brothers or all by yourself. We also were tasked by our father with caring for the diamond, which was the home park for the local semi-pro team, the Cascade Reds. When I left town – fled would be a better description – I took my love of baseball with me. I played baseball in Vietnam, watched games in Hiroshima, Japan, Seoul, Korea, LA, Chicago, Seattle, Kansas City, and St. Louis. I could go on like this for a long time, but I think you get the picture.

Terry's book list on novels about baseball

Terry McDermott Why did Terry love this book?

Coover’s prescient novel pre-dates the explosion of sports fantasy leagues by at least a decade, but places an imaginary league at the center of his story. Anyone who has ever played in fantasy leagues knows their power. The fantasy can take over your life, which is precisely what happens to J. Henry Waugh. The protagonist is a mild-mannered accountant by day, but the owner-operated-madman-in-charge of his self-created league at night. Eventually, it overwhelms his real life. This is a novel about the dangers of living inside your own head.

By Robert Coover,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

As owner of every team in the league, Henry is flush with pride in a young rookie who is pitching a perfect game. When the pitcher completes the miracle game, Henry's life lights up. But then the rookie is killed by a freak accident, and this"death" affects Henry's life in ways unimaginable. In a blackly comic novel that takes the reader between the real world and fantasy, Robert Coover delves into the notions of chance and power.


Book cover of Fifty-Nine in '84: Old Hoss Radbourn, Barehanded Baseball, and the Greatest Season a Pitcher Ever Had

Brian Meehl Author Of Suck It Up

From my list on history to evoke “who knew?”.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an author of YA fiction who spent his earlier years “wiggling dollies” (as the Brits say) in the trenches of Jim Henson’s Muppet world and then spent a decade writing children’s television of the PBS kind. After writing my first kids’ novel (Out of Patience), I never looked back. OK, I did glance back for the inspiration for a second novel…

Brian's book list on history to evoke “who knew?”

Brian Meehl Why did Brian love this book?

Are you a baseball fan who grumbles about modern players being overpaid and coddled? If so, this book will transport you to baseball’s roughest epoch, and reward you with a ballbag of “Who knew?”s as to how the game was played and fought in the late 1800s. Back then, a different species of men took the field, men who would not recognize our 21st-century diamond dancers, who slip on gloves for every occasion: catching, batting, even sliding.

A quick sampler of Who Knew?s. In 1884, an ump commanded, “Striker-up!” A pitcher could hit a batter as many times as he wanted, and the batter had to take it. The pitcher could be fined for such abuse, but the only way a batter got to first was by hitting the ball. A pitcher could “twirl the sphere” and baffle the hitter until the pitches “twisted his mental trolley.” A twisted mental…

By Edward Achorn,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fifty-Nine in '84 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"First-class narrative history that can stand with everything Steven Ambrose wrote. . . . Achorn's description of the utter insanity that was barehanded baseball is vivid and alive." —Boston Globe

“A beautifully written, meticulously researched story about a bygone baseball era that even die-hard fans will find foreign, and about a pitcher who might have been the greatest of all time.” — Joseph J. Ellis, Pulitzer prize-winning historian

In 1884 Providence Grays pitcher Charles "Old Hoss" Radbourn won an astounding fifty-nine games—more than anyone in major-league history ever had before, or has since. He then went on to win all…


Book cover of Girl at Heart

Janette Rallison Author Of Just One Wish

From my list on embarrassing moments that can lead to a hot guy.

Why am I passionate about this?

Why do I have expertise on embarrassing moments? I wish I could say I just enjoy watching other people occasionally squirm and nothing humiliating has ever happened to me. That would be such a lie, though. I’m an embarrassing moment waiting to happen. I rode to the vet with a cat who wanted to cling to the top of my head. I got stuck in a gas station in the middle of nowhere. I (nearly) locked myself out of my house in my pajamas. The only good thing about having embarrassing moments is that you can use them in your novels. And I do.

Janette's book list on embarrassing moments that can lead to a hot guy

Janette Rallison Why did Janette love this book?

Kelly Oram writes great YA romances. You sort of feel like you’re back in high school, but without the pressure of finishing your homework and remembering your locker combination. Everything embarrasses teens, so of course, there are some embarrassing moments in her books too. 

I liked this one because the heroine loved sports but had a hard time getting her teammates to see her for who she was. Sometimes we all just want people to see who we are and not what we do.

By Kelly Oram,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

As the daughter of a successful Major League pitcher, Charlie Hastings has baseball in her blood. Unfortunately, being the only girl on her high school baseball team, Charlie has always been just one of the guys.When her best friend, and secret love of her life, asks another girl to the prom, Charlie is devastated. She’s tired of being overlooked by boys because she’s not like other girls. Suffering a massive identity crisis, she decides to hang up her cleats and finally learn how to be a girl.But with only two weeks until the state championships, the Roosevelt High Ravens can’t…


Book cover of The Bill James Handbook 2023

James Bailey Author Of Major League Debuts: 2023 Edition

From my list on annual releases to prep for baseball season.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been reading baseball annuals and previews since I was a kid and my must-haves were Street & Smith’s Baseball Yearbook and Bill Mazeroski’s Baseball. I was a contributing writer for several years to Ultimate Sports Publishing’s annual baseball magazines, which for a while came close to the old Mazeroski releases. I edited several of Baseball America’s Almanacs when I was on staff there and have written Top 30s for a number of the Prospect Handbooks. I get that everything is available online these days, but there’s something about having it all in one place, locked in for all time, there for reference whenever needed.

James' book list on annual releases to prep for baseball season

James Bailey Why did James love this book?

This one has been a staple since back in the early 1990s, when it was produced by STATS, Inc.

There are still the basics, such as career statistics for every major leaguer, lefty-righty breakdowns, leaders, fielding stats, and projections, but every year they add something new. There are essays on various topics—sabermetric and otherwise, breakdowns of pitchers’ repertoires, Fielding Bible Awards, injury risk projections, and so much more.

Come for the stats, get lost in everything else.

By Bill James, Sports Info Solutions,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Bill James Handbook 2023 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Analysis of how every single player in the majors performed last year and over their career and what we can expect from these vets in the future and the rookies projected to join them soon. Here is just some of what the 34th annual edition of The Bill James Handbook has to offer going into next season: More Original Research on Cool Topics; The Annual Fielding Bible Awards; Home Run Robberies; Hits Lost/Gained to the Shift; Manufactured Runs and RBI Percentages; Hitter and Pitcher Projections for next season.


Book cover of If You Were Only White: The Life of Leroy Satchel Paige

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?

Spivey and I share the same goal—to reach a broad audience, both scholarly and general. His book is for readers who love baseball and love history—those with a passion for the game who are not scared off by complex arguments or endnotes. Baseball intellectuals—the huge group of readers embodied by George Will, Ken Burns, and Doris Kearns Goodwin—constitute the central audience. But baseball buffs also care about the history of the game and will want to read this book. Spivey, a history professor, writes accessibly and avoids “insider history”—even in the sections and chapters focused primarily on the sordid past of American race relations. It is a deftly-executed, balanced treatment of Paige and one of the most meticulously researched biographies ever written about an athlete.

By Donald Spivey,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked If You Were Only White as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"If You Were Only White" explores the legacy of one of the most exceptional athletes ever-an entertainer extraordinaire, a daring showman and crowd-pleaser, a wizard with a baseball whose artistry and antics on the mound brought fans out in the thousands to ballparks across the country. Leroy "Satchel" Paige was arguably one of the world's greatest pitchers and a premier star of Negro Leagues Baseball. But in this biography Donald Spivey reveals Paige to have been much more than just a blazing fastball pitcher.

Spivey follows Paige from his birth in Alabama in 1906 to his death in Kansas City…


Book cover of The Bullpen Gospels: Major League Dreams of a Minor League Veteran

Dan Largent Author Of Before We Ever Spoke

From my list on baseball is part of the theme.

Why am I passionate about this?

Before he became a bestselling author with his debut novel, Before We Ever Spoke, Dan Largent spent the better part of two decades as a high school baseball coach. In 2010, he guided Olmsted Falls High School to its first-ever State Final Four and was subsequently named Greater Cleveland Division I Coach of the Year. Dan stepped away from his duties as a baseball coach in 2017 to spend more time with his wife, April, and their three children Brooke, Grace, and Luke. He has, however, remained close to the game he loves by turning doubles into singles as a member of Cleveland’s finest 35 and over baseball league.

Dan's book list on baseball is part of the theme

Dan Largent Why did Dan love this book?

Keith Olberman said that The Bullpen Gospels, "Might be one of the best baseball books written in forty years." 

I would like to go a step further and say that it is THE best baseball book that has been written. Ever. Even better than Ball Four, to me, because it takes place during the modern era of baseball and was written by Hayhurst as he played professionally. 

Hayhurst gives readers a realistic view into what it is really like to be like the majority of minor league players, “Bonus Babies” aside, as he pulls the veil back on professional baseball. 

By Dirk Hayhurst,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Upon its release, The Bullpen Gospels was a direct hit to the New York Times bestseller list. With comparisons to Jim Boutons's Ball Four, The Bullpen Gospels is slated to be a classic of the genre.

From the humble heights of a Class-A pitcher's mound to the deflating lows of sleeping on his gun-toting grandmother's air mattress, veteran reliever Dirk Hayhurst steps out of the bullpen to deliver the best pitch of his career--a raw and unflinching account of his life in the minors.

Whether training tarantulas to protect his room from thieving employees in a backwater hotel or absorbing…


Book cover of Sandy Koufax: A Lefty's Legacy

Jeffrey S. Gurock Author Of Marty Glickman: The Life of an American Jewish Sports Legend

From my list on American Jews and sports.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a professor of American Jewish history who has written extensively on how sports have impacted the lives of American Jews. I have been especially interested in how the acceptance or rejection of Jews in the sports arena has underscored that group’s place within this country’s society. I have been likewise intrigued by how the call of athleticism has challenged their ethnic and religious identity. The saga of Marty Glickman, a story of adversity and triumph, speaks boldly to critical issues that this minority group has faced.

Jeffrey's book list on American Jews and sports

Jeffrey S. Gurock Why did Jeffrey love this book?

During the mid-1960s, Sandy Koufax was a dominant baseball pitcher and was destined to be the youngest player to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

For Jewish fans however, of my generation and beyond, he was an iconic Jewish hero most notably for his determination in 1965 to sit out a World Series game in deference to Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar. Leavy, an extraordinarily talented writer, tells this sports and Jewish story with keen insights into Koufax’s personality.

By Jane Leavy,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Sandy Koufax as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“The incomparable and mysterious Sandy Koufax is revealed…. This is an absorbing book, beautifully written.” —Wall Street Journal

“Leavy has hit it out of the park…A lot more than a biography. It’s a consideration of how we create our heroes, and how this hero’s self perception distinguishes him from nearly every other great athlete in living memory… a remarkably rich portrait.” — Time

The instant New York Times bestseller about the baseball legend and famously reclusive Dodgers’ pitcher Sandy Koufax, from award-winning former Washington Post sportswriter Jane Leavy. Sandy Koufax reveals, for the first time, what drove the three-time Cy…


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