Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Baseball novels from top to bottom

The Hardball Cooperative, a blog written by ten fans and students of the game, hosts a symposium on the best and worst baseball novels of all time. Mark Harris’s Southpaw, my own choice, was nominated twice for the top spot, while The Natural, published just one year earlier, was named both best and worst. Tim Morris, a scholarly authority on baseball fiction, recommends Eric Rolfe Greenberg’s 1983 historical novel The Celebrant and makes a fine case for it. Excuse me while I hurry over to Abebooks.com.

Update: The nonfiction selections were announced today (Wednesday, July 8).

Update, II: Lots of comments over at the Baseball Think Factory on the Hardball Cooperative symposium. One of us symposiasts, according to a commentator, is a Primate. If none of the others has dibs on it, I get to be the Primate.


danup said...

Have you ever read "The Pitch that Killed" by Mike Sowell? It's right with "The Glory of Their Times" on my list of preferred baseball nonfiction; for a long time it was also among the most famously underpublished books in the baseball world, I think, but it came back into print a few years ago.

D. G. Myers said...

Yes, excellent work of baseball history on Carl Mays’s fatal beaning of Ray Chapman. I discovered it while reading Bill James, actually.

You might also enjoy David Kaiser’s Epic Season, a sabermetrical history of the 1948 American League pennant race. The prose is pedestrian, but at least it is not crammed with the usual sort of baseball clichés. And Kaiser uses the statistical analysis of the season to great effect, uncovering things that no one had noticed before.