The most recommended books about Major League Baseball

Who picked these books? Meet our 15 experts.

15 authors created a book list connected to MLB, and here are their favorite MLB books.
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Book cover of Prophet of the Sandlots: Journeys With A Major League Scout

R. Scott Mackey Author Of Courage Matters

From my list on baseball about flawed people trying their best.

Who am I?

I’ve played the game of baseball, rooted for its teams, and even written a book about baseball (and the protagonist in my novels is a baseball nut), so I’m more than a casual observer of the sport. I’ve read more than two hundred baseball books–fiction and non-fiction–in my life. As such it was nearly impossible to come up with my top five books on the sport. I’m recommending these five because they transcend the subject of baseball, exploring universal themes with exemplary writing that evokes deep feelings within the reader. Whether you like baseball or not, if you love fine writing you can’t go wrong with any of these works. 

R. Scott's book list on baseball about flawed people trying their best

R. Scott Mackey Why did R. Scott love this book?

This non-fiction book tells the story of professional scout Tony Lucadello, who spent more than forty years traveling the country watching thousands of high school, college, semi-pro and even sandlot baseball games. Winegardner’s writing is superb as he tells of his travels with Tony on his scouting trips. Again, this book is more about human nature and what is now a bygone time than it is about baseballare you noticing a theme here in my recommendations?—though hardcore baseball fans will be enthralled by this book.

By Mark Winegardner,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Recalling half a century of shimmying up and ducking behind trees to locate talent, a major league scout reflects on his long and illustrious career with the Cubs and Phillies


Book cover of Negro League Baseball: The Rise and Ruin of a Black Institution

James Overmyer Author Of Queen of the Negro Leagues: Effa Manley and the Newark Eagles

From my list on Black baseball leagues before Jackie Robinson.

Who am I?

I have long been fascinated by how Black players and team owners strove to put forward their best efforts in the decades before professional baseball was integrated in the late 1940s. I have been researching and writing about the Negro Leagues for more than 30 years, with three books and several contributions to Black baseball compilations to my credit. I was a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame special committee that elected 17 Black baseball figures to the Hall in 2006. Black baseball’s efforts were finally acknowledged in 2020 when Major League Baseball, which once wanted nothing to do with the Negro Leagues (except to sign away their best players starting in 1946), finally acknowledged them as major leagues.

James' book list on Black baseball leagues before Jackie Robinson

James Overmyer Why did James love this book?

The Negro Leagues, like all organized sports leagues, were showcases for the stars of the game – Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, Oscar Charleston, and the like. But, like all the other leagues, they were businesses, too. Sports entrepreneurs, most of them African American, invested in all-Black teams that formed a “shadow” alternative to Major League Baseball where the players, and most of the owners, too, were not welcome due to segregation. Lanctot, a history professor comfortable with deep and extensive research, chronicles the successes and failures of the Black leagues, which were almost always existing on a financial knife’s edge, until the integration of pro ball in 1946 spelled their death.

By Neil Lanctot,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The story of black professional baseball provides a remarkable perspective on several major themes in modern African American history: the initial black response to segregation, the subsequent struggle to establish successful separate enterprises, and the later movement toward integration. Baseball functioned as a critical component in the separate economy catering to black consumers in the urban centers of the North and South. While most black businesses struggled to survive from year to year, professional baseball teams and leagues operated for decades, representing a major achievement in black enterprise and institution building.
Negro League Baseball: The Rise and Ruin of a…


Book cover of Baseball: The Golden Age

Scott H. Longert Author Of Bad Boys, Bad Times: The Cleveland Indians and Baseball in the Prewar Years, 1937-1941

From my list on baseball history books.

Who am I?

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.

Scott's book list on baseball history books

Scott H. Longert Why did Scott 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 Baseball America 2023 Prospect Handbook

James Bailey Author Of Major League Debuts: 2023 Edition

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

Who am I?

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?

Since 2001, when Baseball America first expanded their prospect lists from 10 players per team to 30, this book has been required reading for fantasy league and Strat-o-matic draft prep.

BA writers have access to scouting directors, managers, coaches, and rival scouts, and the scouting reports are compiled from talking to numerous sources inside the game. Having written several team lists for them myself over the years, I know how much work they put into this book.

By The Editors at Baseball America,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Baseball America 2023 Prospect Handbook as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The 2023 Prospect Handbook is your guide to the next wave of MLB stars

The 2023 Prospect Handbook is your guide to the next wave of MLB stars. With complete scouting reports on more than 900 prospects, the Prospect Handbook is a must-have for superfans as well as fantasy players. Dominate your dynasty league and be the first to know about the stars of the 2020s and early 2030s.


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.

Who am I?

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 New York Yankees: The First 25 Years

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.

Who am I?

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?

Although Luisi’s history of the New York Yankees' first 25 years retraces some of the ground that I do in my book, Luisi’s pictorial history is a must-read for those interested in the Yankees early days. What distinguishes Luisi’s book from mine is that where Luisi begins the Yankee journey upon their arrival in upper Manhattan in 1903, two years after the founding of the American League, I go further back in time, connecting the origin of the Yankees with the formation of Ban Johnson’s upstart American League, which announced itself a major league contender in time for the 1901 season. 

Book cover of The Bad Guys Won

Dan Largent Author Of Before We Ever Spoke

From my list on baseball is part of the theme.

Who am I?

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?

While I am a Cleveland Indians fan, my favorite national league team to root for as a child was the New York Mets - especially the flamboyant and talented 1986 team that partied their way to a World Series trophy. 

In The Bad Guys Won, famed columnist and bestselling author Jeff Pearlman manages to weave all of the craziness of that ‘86 team into a wonderful memoir of a team that had the talent to have been a dynasty in Major League Baseball for years to come. Unfortunately for the Mets, and due to many of the behaviors of the colorful characters chronicled in the book, that dynasty never came to fruition.

By Jeff Pearlman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"Jeff Pearlman has captured the swagger of the '86 Mets. You don't have to be a Mets fan to enjoy this book—it's a great read for all baseball enthusiasts." —Philadelphia Daily News

Award-winning Sports Illustrated baseball writer Jeff Pearlman returns to an innocent time when a city worshipped a man named Mookie and the Yankees were the second-best team in New York.

It was 1986, and the New York Mets won 108 regular-season games and the World Series, capturing the hearts (and other assorted body parts) of fans everywhere. But their greatness on the field was nearly eclipsed by how…


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

Scott H. Longert Author Of Bad Boys, Bad Times: The Cleveland Indians and Baseball in the Prewar Years, 1937-1941

From my list on baseball history books.

Who am I?

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.

Scott's book list on baseball history books

Scott H. Longert Why did Scott 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…


Book cover of Going the Other Way: Lessons from a Life In and Out of Major-league Baseball

Dale Scott Author Of The Umpire Is Out: Calling the Game and Living My True Self

From my list on inspirational stories from Major League Baseball.

Who am I?

With 37 years as a professional umpire, the last 32 with MLB, you can’t help but have a ton of stories. The umpire books I recommend have those and more. Funny, entertaining, revealing, and educational, hearing what happened from the person it was happening to give a unique look to America’s pastime. Being the first active male big 5 sports official (Baseball, Football, Basketball, Hockey, Soccer) to come out as gay in 2014, I also understand the added stress that brings and the courage it takes to live your true self on such a big stage.

Dale's book list on inspirational stories from Major League Baseball

Dale Scott Why did Dale love this book?

The day-to-day pressures as an MLB player are enormous. On the field, off the field, in the clubhouse, it’s nonstop.

Doing all of that while hiding who you are as a gay man, compounds everything. Billy Bean takes you with him, from the best player in little league to making it on a major league roster, all while hiding his true self.

Leaving baseball at his prime after the death of his partner, something he couldn’t tell a soul about, Billy’s story is heartbreaking yet triumphant and helped me when I publicly came out as an active MLB umpire.

By Billy Bean, Chris Bull,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Going the Other Way as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Billy Bean is the first major league baseball player to publicly discuss his homosexuality and the first athlete in a professional American team sport to do so since all-pro football player Dave Kopay came out in 1975. By 1996, when Bean retired at age thirty-two from the game he loved after ten years as a pro ballplayer for the Tigers, Dodgers, and Padres, he had become disillusioned by the sport that had defined his life. Bean found himself forced to choose between his love of baseball and the man he loved. It was an agonizing end to a career in…


Book cover of Babe: The Legend Comes to Life

Scott H. Longert Author Of Bad Boys, Bad Times: The Cleveland Indians and Baseball in the Prewar Years, 1937-1941

From my list on baseball history books.

Who am I?

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.

Scott's book list on baseball history books

Scott H. Longert Why did Scott 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.