SBD/April 1, 2011/MLB Season Preview

Bevy Of Baseball-Themed Books Being Released Around Start Of MLB Season

As the '11 MLB season begins, the following presents a list of baseball-themed books. Some of the following titles are already available on bookshelves, while others will be released in the coming weeks or months. View a more comprehensive list (THE DAILY).

Remembering Fenway Park: An Oral and Narrative History of the home of the Boston Red Sox
Author: Harvey Frommer
Publisher: Stewart, Tabori & Chang
Publishing Date: March, 2011
The House that Ruth Built: A New Stadium, the First Yankees Championship, and the Redeption of 1923
Author: Robert Weintraub
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
Publishing Date: April, 2011
Stan Musial: An American Life
Author: George Vecsey
Publisher: ESPN
Publishing Date: May, 2011
Nobody's Perfect: Two Men, One Call and a Game for Baseball History
Author: Galarraga, Joyce & Paisner
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press
Publishing Date: May, 2011
Taking the Field: A Fan's Quest to Run the Team He Loves
Author: Howard Megdal
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Publishing Date: May, 2011

RAYS OF LIGHT: USA TODAY's Steve Weinberg reviewed "THE EXTRA 2%" by JONAH KERI, a "combination baseball book and business book" that is "about the rise of the Rays." Keri's "dual expertise" of baseball and business "shows throughout the fascinating, well-written book." Author MICHAEL LEWIS eight years ago "reached best-seller status" with his book "Moneyball," a "combination baseball-business book" that focused on the A's. Weinberg: "It is often cited as a great book, and deservedly so. Keri's book is a worthy successor." The "wonder of Keri's book is that it holds interest for anybody interested in business successes and failures, because unlike most books 'about' baseball, it transcends baseball" (USA TODAY, 3/28). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Tim Marchman noted "so close is Mr. Keri's attention to the front office that he gives less than a page to the team's thrilling run through the 2008 postseason" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 3/19).

REMEMBERING 'DEM BUMS: In Philadelphia, Stan Hochman wrote the best of the newly-released baseball biographies is NEIL LANCTOT's "CAMPY." The book tells the story of Baseball HOFer ROY CAMPANELLA, who "became the second African-American to be signed by the Dodgers." Campanella "played in JACKIE ROBINSON's huge shadow for years, and Lanctot describes the tense relationship between the men." Lanctot also "details the differences between the men, the jolly Campanella and the solemn Robinson." Hochman: "It's a thorough portrait, rich in detail, shimmering with warmth" (PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS, 3/30). BASEBALL AMERICA's James Bailey wrote the book "provides a balanced view of one of baseball's greats." It is a "strong read, and has staked its place as one of this year's notable biographies" (BASEBALLAMERICA.com, 3/23). Meanwhile, SI's Ben Reiter writes "so many unforgettably drawn characters populate JIMMY BRESLIN's wonderful" biography of Baseball HOFer BRANCH RICKEY that they "seemingly threaten to burst the book's slim binding." Rickey helped break MLB's color barrier by signing Robinson, a story that "has been told before, but never as colorfully or entertainingly as it is by Breslin." The book is "all good, all 146 pages of it." Reiter: "You might read a longer baseball book this year, but you won't read a better one" (SI, 4/4 issue).

GUIDE TO THE SEASON: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Marchman reviewed several annual MLB guides, and wrote Baseball Prospectus has "for more than a decade produced perhaps the best of the yearly guides." What makes the book "worthwhile is the thought put into its 30 chapters, one for each major-league club, featuring a lengthy discussion of the team's recent performance as well as capsule write-ups of the major players." But Marchman wrote for "depth of insight" the choice is "THE HARDBALL TIMES BASEBALL ANNUAL." The book has "chapters on every team and fancy (if possibly superfluous) statistics," but the "emphasis of its various contributors tends to be on discursive writing about the game as it is played" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 3/31).
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