The most recommended books about baseball pitchers

Who picked these books? Meet our 35 experts.

35 authors created a book list connected to baseball pitchers, and here are their favorite baseball pitchers books.
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Book cover of The Dixie Association

Daniel Paisner Author Of A Single Happened Thing

From my list on baseball novels.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a writer and a lifelong baseball fan with a weakness for baseball-ish fiction. For a lot of folks, this means reading the usual suspects: Kinsella, Malamud, Coover, Roth, DeLillo... But I especially enjoy stumbling across under-the-radar novels that can’t help but surprise in their own ways. I enjoy this so much, in fact, I went out and wrote one of my own – inspired by the life and career of an all-but-forgotten ballplayer from the 1880s named Fred “Sure Shot” Dunlap, one of the greats of the game in his time. In the stuff of his life there was the stuff of meaning and moment… of the sort you’ll find in the books I’m recommending here.

Daniel's book list on baseball novels

Daniel Paisner Why did Daniel love this book?

I was working as a flak at Simon & Schuster when this book came out, and I helped to write the flap copy, so it feels to me like I had a hand in it. As an aspiring writer, I remember admiring the hell out of this novel. On a recent re-read, as a grizzled, wizened veteran writer, I still do. Hays gives us a collection of memorable characters, and a wild, vagabonding tale that offers a glimpse at minor league life in the deep South. There’s humor and heartache and all that good stuff. 

By Donald Hays,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An account of a season with baseball team, the Arkansas Reds. Their line-up includes an ex-con first baseman, a couple of real Reds on loan from Castro, young bucks on the way up and old-timers on the way down, all led by a one-armed Marxist and ex-major leaguer named Lefty.


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…


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 Reckless

Marysol James Author Of Enemy Within

From my list on first books of great romance series.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m the best-selling romance author of 29 books which span six series. I love creating whole worlds for readers to enter and spend time with smoking-hot bodyguards, motorcycle club members, ex-military bad boys, sexy cowboys, and MMA fighters. Although I love pretty much everything about writing for a living, I do get special joy from having characters from one series wander into a different series and interact with a totally different group of people – keeping track of all the relationships definitely keeps me on my toes! I have three new books coming out this year, so I’m really looking forward to sharing some new stories with my wonderful readers.

Marysol's book list on first books of great romance series

Marysol James Why did Marysol love this book?

Let me sum it up for you real quick: Jordan writes some of the hottest sex scenes ever. Like ever. If you aren’t fanning yourself halfway through, then you need to check for a pulse! Joking aside – if you’re looking for unapologetic and unabashed sensuality with great writing and strong stories, the eight-book Renegades series fits the bill. The core cast is a group of Hollywood stunt doubles – so yes, they’re all muscular, gorgeous, and fit – and Jax is the company owner and hero of Reckless. Wary of L.A. gold-diggers who zero in on his money and fame, he’s open to an anonymous (and totally ‘in the dark’) encounter with Lexi – and is nothing but surprised when she’s completely into him just for himself.

By Skye Jordan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A couture wedding dress designer to the rich and famous, Lexi LaCroix's image means everything. Raised on the wrong side of the tracks, her years of polish and hard work are finally about to pay off. But crossing paths with a sexier-than-sin, bad-boy biker who makes her realize how much living she's sacrificed for her success, one touch is all it takes for Lexi to turn reckless. Jax Chamberlin has been screwed over by gorgeous gold-diggers one too many times. Though he runs his own stunt company, all of America knows his Hollywood face even years after he's given up…


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 The Science of Hitting

Ben Wiener Author Of Murder at First Principles

From my list on non-business reads that teach business strategy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an experienced entrepreneur and venture capitalist and a voracious reader. My reading, particularly of non-business books, is motivated not just by a natural curiosity, but is also driven by a continuous search for metaphors and lessons from outside the traditional business genre that I can apply to situations and decisions in the business arena. My appreciation of the crossover benefit of non-business narratives to business contexts has motivated me to write my own Business Fiction works to “enlighten and entertain.” 

Ben's book list on non-business reads that teach business strategy

Ben Wiener Why did Ben love this book?

Warren Buffet cites Ted Williams’ plate discipline as his model for investment selection, and I keep a copy of this book on my shelf with its image of Williams’ strike zone prominently displayed.

Williams was the last major league baseball player to hit over .400 in a season and his insight was that not all strikes are created equal.

He identified the granular, baseball-sized quadrants within the strike zone that represented his “sweet spot” and he maintained supreme discipline to avoid all other pitches.

Of course, baseball is a team sport, not an individual sport, and Williams’ rigid plate discipline often set him at odds with teammates and fans.

But investing is all about picking, and Williams’ discipline and resolve against FOMO are models for astute investors.  

By Ted Williams, John Underwood, Robert Cupp (translator)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Baseball’s last .400 hitter share[s] his secrets in this primer still used at all levels of the game.” —Paul Dickson, author of Bill Veeck: Baseball’s Greatest Maverick

Now fully revised with new illustrations and diagrams, the classic—and still the greatest—book on hitting from the last baseball player to break the magic .400 barrier, Ted Williams.

Ted Williams was arguably the greatest pure hitter who ever lived. A lifelong student of hitting, he sought advice from every great hitter—and pitcher—he met. Drawing on that advice, as well as his own legendary life in baseball, Williams produced the all-time batting classic, The…


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 Batch Cocktails: Make-Ahead Pitcher Drinks for Every Occasion

Carey Jones Author Of Every Cocktail Has a Twist: Master 25 Classic Drinks and Craft More Than 200 Variations

From my list on books for home bartenders.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been writing about cocktails and spirits for over a decade, often in collaboration with my mixologist husband and co-author, John McCarthy. Our mission is to create delicious, practical cocktail recipes for the home bartender. There are a number of cocktail books out there, but they usually fall into two camps. Novelty books, which are often silly and untested. Or books written by professionals, for professionals, impractical if you don’t have a centrifuge, dehydrator, and 300-odd liqueurs in your home bar. What about the vast middle ground–people who love cocktails, want to make them at home, and learn something while they’re sipping? We believe in finding the best books for them. 

Carey's book list on books for home bartenders

Carey Jones Why did Carey love this book?

I love the premise of this book. When someone asks us for a cocktail recipe, 90% of the time–or more–it’s because they’re making it for a party. So, an entire book of cocktails already proportioned for a crowd and tested for success when made in bulk just makes sense.

Quite a number of cocktails are actually a pain to make in advance. This book spares you the nuisance of considering those and gets right to the (sophisticated, beautifully crafted) party drinks. 

By Maggie Hoffman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A hip, accessible guide to batch cocktail-making for entertaining, with 65 recipes that can be made hours—or weeks!—ahead of time so that hosts and hostesses have one less thing to worry about as the doorbell rings.

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST COOKBOOKS OF THE YEAR BY BUZZFEED

As anyone who has hosted a dinner party knows, cocktail hour is the most fun part of the evening for guests—but the most stressful for whomever is in charge of keeping the drinks flowing. The solution, though, is simple: batch it! In this fun collection, Maggie Hoffman offers 65 delicious and creative cocktails…


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…