The most recommended new baseball books

Who picked these books? Meet our 4 experts.

4 authors created a book list connected to new baseball, and here are their favorite new baseball books.
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Book cover of Amerikaland

Devin Murphy Author Of The Boat Runner

From my list on books with super shady characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a total sucker for people who are so complicated I can’t get a read on them. This love comes from growing up without any extended family. When I heard little bits of my parents’ pasts, it felt like the world got more interesting, and I wanted to dig in to know everything there was to know about what shaped them and, by proxy, what shaped me. I’m drawn to shady characters who don’t want to give up the goods, as they present a joyful challenge by withholding mystery, and those types of characters are the ones I love to read and write about.

Devin's book list on books with super shady characters

Devin Murphy Why did Devin love this book?

This book stunned me by becoming something different over and over again.

The characters in Amerikaland are upright role models, but then we dip into their super complicated pasts. When their family pops up, the story begins to weave itself into a wild plot that requires unbelievable fortitude to endure. As the pages kept coming, I no longer had any idea what was going to happen next and felt like anything could happen. These people were driven by inner fires that could burn up the world at any moment.

I had to lay on the couch after this one as I felt completely gutted, but while lying down, I picked it up again and started rereading.

By Danny Goodman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In a reimagined present day, Sabine, a guarded, independent German tennis player, and Sandy, a Brooklyn-born Jewish baseball player, find themselves in New York City for World Day-a sporting event meant to celebrate international peace.


For years, Sabine was regarded as a tennis legend until an act of violence threatened her life and career. Now, she is determined to stand before the crowds once again a winner. Sandy is the beloved star of his hometown team, but a recent horrific antisemitic crime nearly unravels him.


Their lives are forever changed when a massive terrorist attack strikes World Day. As Sabine…


Book cover of Baseball Prospectus Futures Guide 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?

Another now classic annual that dates back into the 1990s, Baseball Prospectus is chock full of informative essays and player and team breakdowns.

Their PECOTA projections are another handy tool for ferreting out which players to target for the upcoming season. Many of the writers have changed over the years, but the book is always a must to keep ahead of the competition.

By Baseball Prospectus,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Baseball Prospectus Futures Guide 2023 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Futures Guide 2023 features:
Detailed reports on top 10 prospects for every major-league team. Condensed reports on many additional key prospects for each team. Top talents 25 years old and younger for each team. Baseball Prospectus’ 2023 organizational rankings. Top 101 real-life and fantasy prospects. Top 50 players who entered pro baseball in 2023. Additional essays on various prospect and scouting related topics.


Book cover of Winning Fixes Everything: How Baseball's Brightest Minds Created Sports' Biggest Mess

Jeff Fletcher Author Of Sho-time: The Inside Story of Shohei Ohtani and the Greatest Baseball Season Ever Played

From my list on for fans who want to see baseball from all sides.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ever since I started playing Strat-O-Matic baseball as a 13-year-old and then realized that they actually pay people to write about Major League Baseball, it’s been my dream to be a baseball beat writer. I’ve been lucky enough to do it for 25 years. I’ve seen thousands of baseball games and I’ve spent thousands of hours talking to players, managers, coaches, and executives about the sport, but I still learn things from every baseball book I read. Hopefully these books teach you something and help you enjoy the game more.

Jeff's book list on for fans who want to see baseball from all sides

Jeff Fletcher Why did Jeff love this book?

If you think this book is just about the trash can-banging Houston Astros and how they stole signs on the way to winning the 2017 World Series, you’re wrong. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Drellich was covering the Astros long before all of that started, so he gives you a deep look at the organizational culture that led to the scandal.

By Evan Drellich,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The reporter who broke the Houston Astros' cheating scandal reveals how a baseball team could so dramatically descend into corruption, with never-before-told details of a broken management culture, the once-revered leaders who enabled it and the scandal itself.

Baseball, that old romantic game, has been defaced and consumed by corporate America. As Moneyball-thinking and Ivy League graduates grabbed hold of the sport, the Astros set out to build a cost-efficient winning machine on the principles of the outside business world, squeezing every dollar out of every transaction, player and employee.

In less than a decade, ex-Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow…


Book cover of The Book of Joe: Trying Not to Suck at Baseball and Life

Jeff Fletcher Author Of Sho-time: The Inside Story of Shohei Ohtani and the Greatest Baseball Season Ever Played

From my list on for fans who want to see baseball from all sides.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ever since I started playing Strat-O-Matic baseball as a 13-year-old and then realized that they actually pay people to write about Major League Baseball, it’s been my dream to be a baseball beat writer. I’ve been lucky enough to do it for 25 years. I’ve seen thousands of baseball games and I’ve spent thousands of hours talking to players, managers, coaches, and executives about the sport, but I still learn things from every baseball book I read. Hopefully these books teach you something and help you enjoy the game more.

Jeff's book list on for fans who want to see baseball from all sides

Jeff Fletcher Why did Jeff love this book?

If you’re a Shohei Ohtani fan, you may also be a Los Angeles Angels fan, which means you are probably interested in Joe Maddon.

This book is not just Maddon’s ranting against the way baseball has changed over his 40-plus years in the sport, it also includes third-person narrative from Verducci, who interviewed other managers to get their perspective. For example, Astros manager A.J. Hinch detailed his pitching decisions in the 2019 World Series. That was one of my favorite parts of the book.

By Joe Maddon, Tom Verducci,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

No one sees baseball like Joe Maddon. He sees it through his trademark glasses and irrepressible wit. Raised in the "shot and beer" town of Hazleton, PA, and forged by 15 years in the minors, Maddon over 19 seasons in Tampa Bay, Chicago, and Anaheim has become one of the most successful, most colorful, and most quoted managers in Major League Baseball. He is a workplace culture expert, having engineered two of the most stunning turnarounds in the past quarter century: taking the Rays from the worst record in baseball one year to the World Series the next and leading…


Book cover of Contenders: Two Native Baseball Players, One World Series

Kelly Bennett Author Of The House That Ruth Built

From my list on baseball players of color for little sluggers.

Why am I passionate about this?

No one really knows who invented baseball. Games involving balls hit with sticks, runners, and bases are as old as time. By the middle of the 1800s, everybody in America was playing baseball. And I mean everybody—girls, boys, women, and men from all walks of life and heritage.  While researching baseball history for The House That Ruth Built, I read stacks of baseball books about baseball legends—for the most part, White players like Babe Ruth or Black players like Jackie Robinson who broke the color barrier. I was surprised and delighted when I came across books about baseball players who represented the rest of everybody—hence this list.

Kelly's book list on baseball players of color for little sluggers

Kelly Bennett Why did Kelly love this book?

There are lots of books about famous White and Black baseball players, but there are few books about Native pro baseball players, and definitely not about two! 

This dual biography of NY Giants power hitter John Meyers and Charles “Al” Bender, pitcher for the Philadelphia Athletics, who faced off in the 1911 World Series features realistic illustrations bordered with traditional designs, bookended with the play-by-play of the game.

More than baseball, Sorell’s text addresses the adversity both players overcame, along with the prejudice and injustices they faced, for the love of the game. Injustices, Sorell points out, Native players still contend with today.

Tracie Sorell is a member of the Cherokee Nation; Arigon Starr is an enrolled member of the Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma. 

By Traci Sorell, Arigon Starr (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Contenders as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 6, 7, 8, and 9.

What is this book about?

The true story of John Meyers and Charles Bender, who in 1911 became the first two Native pro baseball players to face off in a World Series. This picture book teaches important lessons about resilience, doing what you love in the face of injustice, and the fight for Native American representation in sports.

Charles Bender grew up on the White Earth Reservation in Northwestern Minnesota. John Meyers was raised on the Cahuilla reservation in Southern California. Despite their mutual respect for each other's talents and their shared dedication to Native representation in baseball, the media was determined to pit them…


Book cover of 39: Your Last Birthday

Matthew Arnold Stern Author Of The Remainders

From Matthew's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Technophile Creative Intellectually curious Dodgers fan Southern Californian

Matthew's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Plus, Matthew's 10-year-old's favorite books.

Matthew Arnold Stern Why did Matthew love this book?

Are we doomed to meet the same fate as our ancestors? That’s the threat looming over failed baseball player and self-destructive alcoholic Stephan Detals, whose father and grandfather died by suicide on their 39th birthdays.

With Stephan’s 39th birthday coming in a few days, he returns to his hometown to learn the truth about his father and grandfather’s deaths in hope of avoiding their fatal destinies. Sojka creates a twisty mystery with fascinating characters and Texas gothic. He also keeps up the tension as the fateful date approaches.

I felt Sojka did a wonderful job evoking the Texas landscape and the experience of a professional baseball player, which made me feel more engaged to the story and characters. This book kept me turning pages to its climax.

By Timothy Gene Sojka,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked 39 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

2023 Maxy Awards Winner

Stephen Detals played professional baseball before flaming out in whiskey-fueled catastrophe.

His father and grandfather killed themselves on their 39th birthdays. Stephen is 38. He battles alcoholism, abandonment, suicidal tendencies, and lethal family history to survive his impending birthday.

This novel chronicles the final eight days before Stephen Detals' 39th birthday. His relapse into addiction forces Stephen back to the Neches River and the Piney Woods of Southeast Texas. Detals returns home to face purported murderess and family matriarch, Rose Petal Detals, and unravel the secrets of the family and hometown he abandoned twenty years earlier.…


Book cover of The All-American

Katie Powner Author Of The Wind Blows in Sleeping Grass

From Katie's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Small town resident Animal lover Question asker

Katie's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Katie Powner Why did Katie love this book?

As a fan of baseball, the 50s, sister stories, and coming-of-age stories, there was plenty for me to love about The All-American.

Susie Finkbeiner was able to weave so much into this story, but what I appreciated most was the pitch-perfect voice of the main characters, Bertha and Flossie.

Not only were they girls I’d like to know, but they were also refreshingly genuine and honestly drawn. Kudos to Finkbeiner for this unique story.

By Susie Finkbeiner,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"A moving novel, fit for inspiring any reader to dream big and believe that anything is possible."--BookPage

***

Two sisters discover how much good there is in the world--even in the hardest of circumstances

It is 1952, and nearly all the girls 16-year-old Bertha Harding knows dream of getting married, keeping house, and raising children in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan. Bertha dreams of baseball. She reads every story in the sports section, she plays ball with the neighborhood boys--she even writes letters to the pitcher for the Workington Sweet Peas, part of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.

When…


Book cover of The Beckoning World: A Novel

Kathleen Stone Author Of They Called Us Girls: Stories of Female Ambition from Suffrage to Mad Men

From Kathleen's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Lawyer Mother

Kathleen's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Kathleen Stone Why did Kathleen love this book?

This is a novel about a young man who must decide between pursuing a career in baseball or marrying a woman he loves, the daughter of a midwestern farming family.

The author knows what it’s really like to live on a farm in Iowa, and it shows. His characters fully inhabit that world. Although the story is about one man’s ambition, love, and uncertainties, it’s capacious enough that we all can see ourselves in it.

The story encompasses heartbreak and hope and is written subtly and with insight. It’s the kind of book that keeps you thinking long after you finish it.

By Douglas Bauer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Beckoning World is set in the first quarter of the twentieth century and follows Earl Dunham. His weeks are comprised of six days mining coal, followed by Sundays playing baseball. Then one day a major-league scout happens on a game, signs Earl, and he begins a life he had no idea he could even dream.

But dreams sometimes suffer from a lovely abundance, and in Earl's case her name is Emily Marchand. They fall quickly and deeply in love, but with that love comes heartbreaking complications.

The Beckoning World gathers a cast of characters that include Babe Ruth and…


Book cover of A Damn Near Perfect Game: Reclaiming America's Pastime

Jeff Fletcher Author Of Sho-time: The Inside Story of Shohei Ohtani and the Greatest Baseball Season Ever Played

From my list on for fans who want to see baseball from all sides.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ever since I started playing Strat-O-Matic baseball as a 13-year-old and then realized that they actually pay people to write about Major League Baseball, it’s been my dream to be a baseball beat writer. I’ve been lucky enough to do it for 25 years. I’ve seen thousands of baseball games and I’ve spent thousands of hours talking to players, managers, coaches, and executives about the sport, but I still learn things from every baseball book I read. Hopefully these books teach you something and help you enjoy the game more.

Jeff's book list on for fans who want to see baseball from all sides

Jeff Fletcher Why did Jeff love this book?

I loved this book because Kelly gives his uncensored look behind the scenes at the way players view the game.

The other books in this list are told from the perspective of management, so this is the perfect complement to give you the full view at the state of baseball in the 2020s. Kelly tells you what he loves about the game, and what he thinks of the direction it has gone.

By Joe Kelly, Rob Bradford,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Damn Near Perfect Game as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Baseball’s most outspoken fireballer brings the high heat—calling out the hacks, cheats, and ridiculous rules that have tarnished the game—and pitches a-plus stuff on how to make baseball pure, fun, and damn near perfect.

Baseball has an image problem. The chorus of nonbelievers gets louder every year, and the Major Leagues have made an art of tuning them out. Enter Joe Kelly: a walking, talking, fast-ball-throwing embodiment of why baseball matters. He and his All-Star team of athletes and celebrities have some things to say about what’s gone wrong with our once great game and how to fix it.

A…


Book cover of Ron Shandler's 2023 Baseball Forecaster: & Encyclopedia of Fanalytics

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?

There is so much information in this book, which gets thicker every year. I’m not going to pretend I understand it all, but I’m learning a little more every time.

The player writeups are lighthearted but insightful. Sometimes it’s almost scary looking back and seeing some of the things they projected that were so spot on. My only complaint is that everyone else in my Strat-o-matic league reads it now. It used to be an advantage.

Now I have to read it just to keep up.

By Ron Shandler, Brent Hershey, Brandon Kruse , Ray Murphy

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ron Shandler's 2023 Baseball Forecaster as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For more than thirty years, the very best in baseball predictions and statistics.

The industry's longest-running publication for baseball analysts and fantasy leaguers, Ron Shandler's Baseball Forecaster, published annually since 1986, is the first book to approach prognostication by breaking performance down into its component parts. Rather than predicting batting average, for instance, this resource looks at the elements of skill that make up any given batter's ability to distinguish between balls and strikes, his propensity to make contact with the ball, and what happens when he makes contact-reverse engineering those skills back into batting average. The result is an…