May 15, 2011
Darrell Berger's best baseball books and movies
These are listed in no particular order, other than “Glory of Their Times” and “Bull Durham” are my number ones.
The Glory of their Times by Larry Ritter. The book that began the interest in baseball history. After interviewing Larry for Baseball Hobby News we became friends, one of the great baseball gifts of my life.
A False Spring by Pat Jordan. One of the few baseball books about failure. His failure at baseball allowed for his success as a writer.
Ball Four by Jim Bouton.
The National Game by A. H. Spink (1910). History of baseball, team reports and loads of photos. I found a copy without a cover for one dollar at a street vendor in Manhattan. I had the copy leather bound.
The Natural by Bernard Malamud. The best baseball novel.
The Bill James Historical Abstract. Here not only as a great book but to honor James’ statistical revolution.
Veeck as in Wreck by Bill Veeck.
The Long Season by Jim Brosnan.
The Fireside Book of Baseball edited by Charles Einstein. The first baseball anthology, and therefore has the best selections. Second and third volumes also excellent.
Willie’s Time by Charles Einstein. Einstein gets two in my top ten. This is a cultural memoir of the 60’s as viewed through the prism of Mays’ career in San Francisco. One of the few if not the only baseball books to be nominated for a National Book Award.
The Universal Baseball Association by Robert Coover. Best weird baseball novel of all time and gets just right the obsessive baseball fan personality.
Bang the Drum Slowly
The Pride of the Yankees. Because it has the real Babe Ruth, Bob Meusel. Bill Dickey and Mark Koenig.
The Natural. Makes both my movie and book list!
The Rookie. Also has a great alt country soundtrack CD.
The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg. Documentary of the significance of Greenberg as first Jewish baseball star. Many great interviews with old players and fans.
Sugar. Story of a pitching prospect from the Dominican Republic. Documentary-like realism.
College. Buster Keaton comedy from 1927. Features a college baseball team practice with Hall of Famer Sam Crawford as coach.
Rawhide. 1938 western starring Lou Gehrig as himself.