It’s the ultimate in fantasy baseball: You get to pick the roster, set the lineup, and decide on strategies -- with real players, in a real ballpark, in a real playoff race. That’s what baseball analysts Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller got to do when an independent minor-league team in California, the Sonoma Stompers, offered them the chance to run its baseball operations according to the most advanced statistics. Their story in The Only Rule is it Has to Work is unlike any other baseball tale you've ever read.
We tag along as Lindbergh and Miller apply their number-crunching insights to all aspects of assembling and running a team, following one cardinal rule for judging each innovation they try: it has to work. We meet colorful figures like general manager Theo Fightmaster and boundary-breakers like the first openly gay player in professional baseball. Even José Canseco makes a cameo appearance.
Will their knowledge of numbers help Lindbergh and Miller bring the Stompers a championship, or will they fall on their faces? Will the team have a competitive advantage or is the sport’s folk wisdom true after all? Will the players attract the attention of big-league scouts, or are they on a fast track to oblivion?
It’s a wild ride, by turns provocative and absurd, as Lindbergh and Miller tell a story that will speak to numbers geeks and traditionalists alike. And they prove that you don’t need a bat or a glove to make a genuine contribution to the game.
As no book has ever quite done before, Francona escorts readers into the rarefied world of a twenty-first-century clubhouse, revealing the mercurial dynamic of the national pastime from the inside out. From his unique vantage point, Francona chronicles an epic era, from 2004, his first year as the Sox skipper, when they won their first championship in 86 years, through another win in 2007, to the controversial September collapse just four years later. He recounts the tightrope walk of managing unpredictable personalities such as Pedro Martinez and Manny Ramirez and working with Theo Epstein, the general managing phenom, and his statistics-driven executives. It was a job that meant balancing their voluminous data with the emotions of a 25-man roster. It was a job that also meant trying to meet the expectations of three owners with often wildly differing opinions. Along the way, readers are treated to never-before-told stories about their favorite players, moments, losses, and wins.
Ultimately, when for the Red Sox it became less about winning and more about making money, Francona contends they lost their way. But it was an unforgettable, endlessly entertaining, and instructive time in baseball history, one that is documented and celebrated in Francona, a book that examines like no other the art of managing in today’s game.
2014 is the 20th anniversary of the strike that killed baseball in Montreal, and the 10th anniversary of the team's move to Washington, DC. But the memories aren't dead--not by a long shot. The Expos pinwheel cap is still sported by Montrealers, former fans, and by many more in the US and Canada as a fashion item. Expos loyalists are still spotted at Blue Jays games and wherever the Washington Nationals play (often cheering against them). Every year there are rumours that Montreal--as North America's largest market without a baseball team--could host Major League Baseball again.
There has never been a major English-language book on the entire franchise history. There also hasn't been a sportswriter as uniquely qualified to tell the whole story, and to make it appeal to baseball fans across Canada AND south of the border. Jonah Keri writes the chief baseball column for Grantland, and routinely makes appearances in Canadian media such as The Jeff Blair Show, Prime Time Sports and Off the Record. The author of the New York Times baseball bestseller The Extra 2% (Ballantine/ESPN Books), Keri is one of the new generation of high-profile sports writers equally facile with sabermetrics and traditional baseball reporting. He has interviewed everyone for this book (EVERYONE: including the ownership that allowed the team to be moved), and fans can expect to hear from just about every player and personality from the Expos' unforgettable 35 years in baseball. Up, Up, and Away is already one of the most anticipated sports books of next year.
Before Chipper Jones became an eight-time All-Star who amassed Hall of Fame–worthy statistics during a nineteen-year career with the Atlanta Braves, he was just a country kid from small town Pierson, Florida. A kid who grew up playing baseball in the backyard with his dad dreaming that one day he’d be a major league ballplayer.
With his trademark candor and astonishing recall, Chipper Jones tells the story of his rise to the MLB ranks and what it took to stay with one organization his entire career in an era of booming free agency. His journey begins with learning the art of switch-hitting and takes off after the Braves make him the number one overall pick in the 1990 draft, setting him on course to become the linchpin of their lineup at the height of their fourteen-straight division-title run.
Ballplayer takes readers into the clubhouse of the Braves’ extraordinary dynasty, from the climax of the World Series championship in 1995 to the last-gasp division win by the 2005 “Baby Braves”; all the while sharing pitch-by-pitch dissections of clashes at the plate with some of the all-time great starters, such as Clemens and Johnson, as well as closers such as Wagner and Papelbon. He delves into his relationships with Bobby Cox and his famous Braves brothers—Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz, among them—and opponents from Cal Ripken Jr. to Barry Bonds. The National League MVP also opens up about his overnight rise to superstardom and the personal pitfalls that came with fame; his spirited rivalry with the New York Mets; his reflections on baseball in the modern era—outrageous money, steroids, and all—and his special last season in 2012.
Ballplayer immerses us in the best of baseball, as if we’re sitting next to Chipper in the dugout on an endless spring day.
In The Extra 2%, financial journalist and sportswriter Jonah Keri chronicles the remarkable story of one team’s Cinderella journey from divisional doormat to World Series contender. When former Goldman Sachs colleagues Stuart Sternberg and Matthew Silverman assumed control of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2005, it looked as if they were buying the baseball equivalent of a penny stock. But the incoming regime came armed with a master plan: to leverage their skill at trading, valuation, and management to build a model twenty-first-century franchise that could compete with their bigger, stronger, richer rivals—and prevail.
Together with “boy genius” general manager Andrew Friedman, the new Rays owners jettisoned the old ways of doing things, substituting their own innovative ideas about employee development, marketing and public relations, and personnel management. They exorcized the “devil” from the team’s nickname, developed metrics that let them take advantage of undervalued aspects of the game, like defense, and hired a forward-thinking field manager as dedicated to unconventional strategy as they were. By quantifying the game’s intangibles—that extra 2% that separates a winning organization from a losing one—they were able to deliver to Tampa Bay something that Billy Beane’s “Moneyball” had never brought to Oakland: an American League pennant.
A book about what happens when you apply your business skills to your life’s passion, The Extra 2% is an informative and entertaining case study for any organization that wants to go from worst to first.
From the Hardcover edition.
Mariano Rivera, the man who intimidated thousands of batters merely by opening a bullpen door, began his incredible journey as the son of a poor Panamanian fisherman. When first scouted by the Yankees, he didn't even own his own glove. He thought he might make a good mechanic. When discovered, he had never flown in an airplane, had never heard of Babe Ruth, spoke no English, and couldn't imagine Tampa, the city where he was headed to begin a career that would become one of baseball's most iconic. What he did know: that he loved his family and his then girlfriend, Clara, that he could trust in the Lord to guide him, and that he could throw a baseball exactly where he wanted to, every time.
With astonishing candor, Rivera tells the story of the championships, the bosses (including The Boss), the rivalries, and the struggles of being a Latino baseball player in the United States and of maintaining Christian values in professional athletics. The thirteen-time All-Star discusses his drive to win; the secrets behind his legendary composure; the story of how he discovered his cut fastball; the untold, pitch-by-pitch account of the ninth inning of Game 7 in the 2001 World Series; and why the lowest moment of his career became one of his greatest blessings.
In The Closer, Rivera takes readers into the Yankee clubhouse, where his teammates are his brothers. But he also takes us on that jog from the bullpen to the mound, where the game -- or the season -- rests squarely on his shoulders. We come to understand the laserlike focus that is his hallmark, and how his faith and his family kept his feet firmly on the pitching rubber. Many of the tools he used so consistently and gracefully came from what was inside him for a very long time -- his deep passion for life; his enduring commitment to Clara, whom he met in kindergarten; and his innate sense for getting out of a jam.
When Rivera retired, the whole world watched -- and cheered. In The Closer, we come to an even greater appreciation of a legend built from the ground up.
Every year, Major League Baseball spends more than $1.5 billion on pitchers—five times more than the salary of every NFL quarterback combined. Pitchers are the game’s lifeblood. Their import is exceeded only by their fragility. One tiny band of tissue in the elbow, the ulnar collateral ligament, is snapping at unprecedented rates, leaving current big league players vulnerable and the coming generation of baseball-playing children dreading the three scariest words in the sport: Tommy John surgery.
Jeff Passan traveled the world for three years to explore in-depth the past, present, and future of the arm, and how its evolution left baseball struggling to wrangle its Tommy John surgery epidemic. He examined what compelled the Chicago Cubs to spend $155 million on one arm. He snagged a rare interview with Sandy Koufax, whose career was cut short by injury at thirty, and visited Japan to understand how another baseball-mad country treats its prized arms. And he followed two major league pitchers, Daniel Hudson and Todd Coffey, throughout their returns from Tommy John surgery. He exposes how the baseball establishment long ignored the rise in arm injuries and reveals how misplaced incentives across the sport stifle potential changes.
Injuries to the UCL start as early as Little League. Without a drastic cultural shift, baseball will continue to lose hundreds of millions of dollars annually to damaged pitchers, and another generation of children will suffer the same problems that vex current players. Informative and hard-hitting, The Arm is essential reading for everyone who loves the game, wants to keep their children healthy, or relishes a look into how a large, complex institution can fail so spectacularly.
Mike Matheny was just forty-one, without professional managerial experience and looking for a next step after a successful career as a Major League catcher, when he succeeded the legendary Tony La Russa as manager of the St. Louis Cardinals in 2012. While Matheny has enjoyed immediate success, leading the Cards to the postseason four times in his first four years−a Major League record−people have noticed something else about his life, something not measured in day-to-day results. Instead, it’s based on a frankly worded letter he wrote to the parents of a Little League team he coached, a cry for change that became an Internet sensation and eventually a “manifesto.”
The tough-love philosophy Matheny expressed in the letter contained his throwback beliefs that authority should be respected, discipline and hard work rewarded, spiritual faith cultivated, family made a priority, and humility considered a virtue. In The Matheny Manifesto, he builds on his original letter by first diagnosing the problem at the heart of youth sports−it starts with parents and coaches−and then by offering a hopeful path forward. Along the way, he uses stories from his small-town childhood as well as his career as a player, coach, and manager to explore eight keys to success: leadership, confidence, teamwork, faith, class, character, toughness, and humility.
From “The Coach Is Always Right, Even When He’s Wrong” to “Let Your Catcher Call the Game,” Matheny’s old-school advice might not always be popular or politically correct, but it works. His entertaining and deeply inspirational book will not only resonate with parents, coaches, and athletes, it will also be a powerful reminder, from one of the most successful new managers in the game, of what sports can teach us all about winning on the field and in life.
“Pedro the book is as smart, as funny, and as diva-esque as Pedro the pitcher . . . Buy the book. Read the book. Celebrate a golden era in Boston baseball.” — Boston Globe
“There is little the eight-time All-Star holds back about any subject as he offers a revealing look at a colorful career . . . The intimate details Martinez offers up from both inside and outside the clubhouse make the book a winner.”—Washington Post
Pedro Martinez entered the big leagues a scrawny power pitcher with a lightning arm who they said wasn’t “durable” enough, who they said was a punk. Yet Martinez willed himself to become one of the most intimidating pitchers to have ever played the game, an eight-time All-Star, three-time Cy Young Award winner, World Series champion, and Hall of Famer.
In Pedro, the always colorful pitcher opens up to tell his remarkable story. From his days in the minor leagues clawing for respect; to his early days in lonely Montreal; to his legendary run with the Red Sox when, start after start, he dazzled with his pitching genius; to his twilight years on the mound as he put the finishing touches on a body of work that made him an icon, this memoir by one of baseball’s most enigmatic figures will entertain and inspire generations of fans to come.
“This is the beauty of this book, the machinations of a modern pitcher's mind . . . Knowing and gritty, this memoir should’ve been printed on rawhide.”—Los Angeles Times
USA TODAY BESTSELLER
Packed with "compelling inside stories" (Chicago Tribune), Teammate is the inspiring memoir from "Grandpa Rossy," the veteran catcher who became the heart and soul of the 2016 Chicago Cubs championship team.
In 2016 the Cubs snapped a 108-year curse, winning the World Series in a history-making, seven-game series against the Cleveland Indians. Of the many storylines to Chicago's fairytale season, one stood out: the late-career renaissance of David Ross, the 39-year-old catcher who had played back-up for 13 of his 15 pro seasons.
Beyond Ross's remarkably strong play, he became the ultimate positive force in the Cubs locker room, mentoring and motivating his fellow players, some of them nearly twenty years his junior. Thanks to Cubs Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo, "Grandpa Rossy" became a social media sensation. No one, however, could have predicted that Ross's home run in his final career at bat would help seal the Cubs championship.
Now, in Teammate, Ross shares the inspiring story of his life in baseball, framed by the events of that unforgettable November night.
David “Big Papi” Ortiz is a baseball icon and one of the most popular figures ever to play the game. As a key part of the Boston Red Sox for 14 years, David has helped the team win 3 World Series, bringing back a storied franchise from “never wins” to “always wins.” He helped them upend the doubts, the naysayers, the nonbelievers and captured the imagination of millions of fans along the way, as he launched balls into the stands again, and again, and again. He made Boston and the Red Sox his home, his place of work, and his legacy. As he put it: This is our f*&#ing city.
Now, looking back at the end of his legendary career, Ortiz opens up fully for the first time about his last two decades in the game. Unhindered by political correctness, Ortiz talks colorfully about his journey, from his poor upbringing in the Dominican Republic to when the expansion Florida Marlins passed up a chance to sign him due to what was essentially tennis elbow. He recalls his days in Peoria, Arizona, his first time in the United States; tense exchanges with Twins manager Tom Kelly in Minnesota; and his arrival in Boston. Readers go behind the scenes for the many milestones of his Red Sox career— from the huge disappointment of the Red Sox losing to the Yankees in 2003, ending the curse in 2004 with the infamous “band of idiots," including his extraordinary clutch hitting to overcome a 3-0 series deficit against the Yankees, to earning a second title in 2007 and a third in 2013. Along the way, he was tainted by the infamous banned substances list in 2009; he used his passion and place to fortify a city devastated by the Boston Marathon bombings; and he dominated pitchers right up through his retirement season at age 40. Papi, as he became so affectionately called, gave his fans big hits when they needed them most. He was an even bigger presence: He was a champion who rallied a team, a city, and a sport in a way that no one will ever forget.
In Papi, his ultimate memoir, Ortiz opens up as never before about his life in baseball and about the problems he sees in Major League Baseball, about former teammates, opponents, coaches, and executives, and about the weight of expectation whenever he stepped up to the plate. The result is a revelatory, fly-on-the wall story of a career by a player with a lot to say at the end of his time in the game, a game to which he gave so much and which gave so much to him.
When Joe Torre took over as manager of the Yankees in 1996, they had not won a World Series title in eighteen years. In that time seventeen others had tried to take the helm of America’s most famous baseball team. Each one was fired by George Steinbrenner. After twelve triumphant seasons—with twelve straight playoff appearances, six pennants, and four World Series titles—Torre left the Yankees as the most beloved manager in baseball. But dealing with players like Jason Giambi, A-Rod, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Roger Clemens, and Randy Johnson is what managing is all about. Here, for the first time, Joe Torre and Tom Verducci take readers inside the dugout, the clubhouse, and the front office, showing what it took to keep the Yankees on top of the baseball world.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
"An astounding memoir--haunting and touching, courageous and wise." - Jeremy Schaap, bestselling author, Emmy award-winning journalist, ESPN
In 1996, R.A. Dickey was the Texas Rangers’ much-heralded No. 1 draft choice. Then, a routine physical revealed that his right elbow was missing its ulnar collateral ligament, and his lifelong dream—along with his $810,000 signing bonus—was ripped away. Yet, despite twice being consigned to baseball’s scrap heap, Dickey battled back. Sustained by his Christian faith, the love of his wife and children, and a relentless quest for self-awareness, Dickey is now the starting pitcher for the Toronoto Blue Jays (he was previously a star pitcher for the New York Mets) and one of the National League’s premier players, as well as the winner of the 2012 Cy Young award.
In Wherever I Wind Up, Dickey eloquently shares his quintessentially American tale of overcoming extraordinary odds to achieve a game, a career, and a life unlike any other.
Everyone knows that baseball is a game of intricate regulations, but it turns out to be even more complicated than we realize. All aspects of baseball—hitting, pitching, and baserunning—are affected by the Code, a set of unwritten rules that governs the Major League game. Some of these rules are openly discussed (don’t steal a base with a big lead late in the game), while others are known only to a minority of players (don’t cross between the catcher and the pitcher on the way to the batter’s box). In The Baseball Codes, old-timers and all-time greats share their insights into the game’s most hallowed—and least known—traditions. For the learned and the casual baseball fan alike, the result is illuminating and thoroughly entertaining.
At the heart of this book are incredible and often hilarious stories involving national heroes (like Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays) and notorious headhunters (like Bob Gibson and Don Drysdale) in a century-long series of confrontations over respect, honor, and the soul of the game. With The Baseball Codes, we see for the first time the game as it’s actually played, through the eyes of the players on the field.
With rollicking stories from the past and new perspectives on baseball’s informal rulebook, The Baseball Codes is a must for every fan.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
The bestselling, inside-the-clubhouse story of two tumultuous years when the Los Angeles Dodgers were re-made from top to bottom, becoming the most talked-about and most colorful team in baseball. “It’s as if Molly Knight ushers you behind the closed clubhouse doors.” (Buster Olney, ESPN)
In 2012 the Los Angeles Dodgers were bought out of bankruptcy in the most expensive sale in sports history. Los Angeles icon Magic Johnson and his partners hoped to put together a team worthy of Hollywood: consistently entertaining. By most accounts they have succeeded, if not always in the way they might have imagined.
In The Best Team Money Can Buy, Molly Knight tells the story of the Dodgers’ 2013 and 2014 seasons with detailed, previously unreported revelations. She shares a behind-the-scenes account of the astonishing sale of the Dodgers, as well as what the Dodgers actually knew in advance about rookie phenom and Cuban defector Yasiel Puig. We learn how close manager Don Mattingly was to losing his job during the 2013 season—and how the team turned around the season in the most remarkable fifty-game stretch of any team since World War II. Knight also provides a rare glimpse into the in-fighting and mistrust that derailed the team in 2014 and paints an intimate portrait of star pitcher Clayton Kershaw, including details about the record contract offer he turned down before accepting the richest contract any pitcher ever signed.
Exciting, surprising, and filled with juicy details, “a must-read for fans of the Dodgers and all Los Angeles sports teams….Knight’s undercover work is like none other” (Library Journal). The Best Team Money Can Buy is filled with “fascinating perspectives” (Los Angeles Times) and “interesting anecdotes about some of baseball’s most compelling figures” (The Sacramento Bee).
great pitching coach not only helps his players improve but also prepares them
for success at the next level. Derek Johnson, named college baseball’s National Pitching Coach of the Year in
2004 and National Assistant Coach of the Year in 2010, led Vanderbilt
University to the College World Series in 2011, led by eight players who would
later be selected in the Major League Baseball draft. More than 25 of Johnson’s
past pitchers have been drafted, including David Price, Sonny
Gray, Grayson Gravin, and
Casey Weathers. Entering his first year as the minor league pitching
coordinator for the Chicago Cubs, Johnson continues to carve out a name for
himself as one of America’s top pitching coaches.
The Complete Guide to Pitching: Enhanced
Edition, Johnson offers the expertise that has helped him put together
several other tremendous pitching staffs—with numerous other pro prospects—in a
special book perfect for pitching coaches and dedicated pitchers from the club
level to the minor leagues. The Complete Guide to Pitching’s 60 drills are complemented by 226
full-color photos and 50 video clips. Coverage includes technique,
conditioning, and psychological aspects of pitching. Johnson also details the
seven principles of successful pitchers that help create the mind-set and
mentality of a champion.
drills, exercises, and Johnson’s personal insights as part of his overall plan
for pitching, this book shows pitchers how to refine their mechanics, develop
new pitches, improve physical conditioning, recognize a hitter’s weaknesses,
and shut down a running game. Packed with guidance on nearly every aspect of
pitching, The Complete Guide to Pitching:
Enhanced Edition makes for the most complete pitching resource available.
What is the difference between a slider and a curveball?
At which stadium did “The Wave” first make an appearance?
How do some hitters use iPods to improve their skills?
Which positions are never played by lefties?
Why do some players urinate on their hands?
Combining the narrative voice and attitude of Michael Lewis with the compulsive brilliance of Schott’s Miscellany, Watching Baseball Smarter will increase your understanding and enjoyment of the sport–no matter what your level of expertise.Features an glossary of baseball slang, an appendix of important baseball stats, and an appendix of uniform numbers.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
For decades, statistics such as batting average, saves recorded, and pitching won-lost records have been used to measure individual players’ and teams’ potential and success. But in the past fifteen years, a revolutionary new standard of measurement—sabermetrics—has been embraced by front offices in Major League Baseball and among fantasy baseball enthusiasts. But while sabermetrics is recognized as being smarter and more accurate, traditionalists, including journalists, fans, and managers, stubbornly believe that the "old" way—a combination of outdated numbers and "gut" instinct—is still the best way. Baseball, they argue, should be run by people, not by numbers.?
In this informative and provocative book, teh renowned ESPN analyst and senior baseball writer demolishes a century’s worth of accepted wisdom, making the definitive case against the long-established view. Armed with concrete examples from different eras of baseball history, logic, a little math, and lively commentary, he shows how the allegiance to these numbers—dating back to the beginning of the professional game—is firmly rooted not in accuracy or success, but in baseball’s irrational adherence to tradition.
While Law gores sacred cows, from clutch performers to RBIs to the infamous save rule, he also demystifies sabermetrics, explaining what these "new" numbers really are and why they’re vital. He also considers the game’s future, examining how teams are using Data—from PhDs to sophisticated statistical databases—to build future rosters; changes that will transform baseball and all of professional sports.
In this inspiring, information-packed book, Derek provides you with the ten lessons that have guided him throughout his life on and off the field, from his dream of being a gifted, hardworking athlete to his goal of becoming an active community leader. Using personal stories from his own life as a student athlete in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and as a Yankee team player, Derek writes about the simple steps that put him on course for success, including:
* Setting your goals high and finding the right role models
* Being serious but still having fun
* Challenging yourself daily and not being afraid to fail
* Surrounding yourself with a strong supporting cast
Filled with rare family photos and pictures of Derek playing for the Yankees, The Life You Imagine is an intimate look into the life of a superstar athlete -- including the remarkable relationship he has with his family, what it's like to play with the Yankees, and how he's used his baseball celebrity to found the Turn 2 Foundation, a drug and alcohol prevention program for kids.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Ty Cobb is baseball royalty, maybe even the greatest player ever. His lifetime batting average is still the highest in history, and when he retired in 1928, after twenty-one years with the Detroit Tigers and two with the Philadelphia Athletics, he held more than ninety records. But the numbers don’t tell half of Cobb’s tale. The Georgia Peach was by far the most thrilling player of the era: When the Hall of Fame began in 1936, he was the first player voted in.
But Cobb was also one of the game’s most controversial characters. He got in a lot of fights, on and off the field, and was often accused of being overly aggressive. Even his supporters acknowledged that he was a fierce competitor, but he was also widely admired. After his death in 1961, however, his reputation morphed into that of a virulent racist who also hated children and women, and was in turn hated by his peers.
How did this happen? Who is the real Ty Cobb? Setting the record straight, Charles Leerhsen pushed aside the myths, traveled to Georgia and Detroit, and re-traced Cobb’s journey from the shy son of a professor and state senator who was progressive on race for his time to America’s first true sports celebrity. The result is a “noble [and] convincing” (The New York Times Book Review) biography that is “groundbreaking, thorough, and compelling…The most complete, well-researched, and thorough treatment that has ever been written” (The Tampa Tribune).
Jeff Pearlman, the New York Times bestselling author of The Bad Guys Won! and Boys Will be Boys, now brings us The Rocket That Fell to Earth, an explosive account of the rise and fall of Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees superstar Roger Clemens, arguably the greatest pitcher of all time. Called “exceptional” by Time magazine, The Rocket That Fell to Earth is a stunning portrait of a sports legend equally loved and loathed by fans and colleagues, his life and his storied career, and his place at the dead center of professional baseball’s shocking steroid controversy.
In Pitch like a Pro, Mazzone and coauthor Jim Rosenthal offer step-by-step instructions for players and coaches in Little League through high school. They teach all of the pitching basics and give athletes advice on how they can use the right training techniques to grow stronger and stay healthier. Contents include:
Mazzone's between-starts throwing program
How to grip different pitches
Proper mechanics and delivery technique
Pitching strategies and tactics
Field the position
Pitch like a Pro offers contributions by such well known pitchers as Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, John Smotz, and Denny Neagle, along with black-and-white instructional photographs.
Willie Mays is arguably the greatest player in baseball history, still revered for the passion he brought to the game. He began as a teenager in the Negro Leagues, became a cult hero in New York, and was the headliner in Major League Baseball’s bold expansion to California. He was a blend of power, speed, and stylistic bravado that enraptured fans for more than two decades. Now James Hirsch reveals the man behind the player.
Mays was a transcendent figure who received standing ovations in enemy stadiums and who, during the turbulent civil rights era, urged understanding and reconciliation. More than his records, his legacy is defined by the pure joy that he brought to fans and the loving memories that have been passed to future generations so they might know the magic and beauty of the game. With meticulous research and drawing on interviews with Mays himself as well as with close friends, family, and teammates, Hirsch presents a brilliant portrait of one of America’s most significant cultural icons.
Lou Gehrig was a baseball legend—the Iron Horse, the stoic New York Yankee who was the greatest first baseman in history, a man whose consecutive-games streak was ended by a horrible disease that now bears his name. But as this definitive new biography makes clear, Gehrig’s life was more complicated—and, perhaps, even more heroic—than anyone really knew.
Drawing on new interviews and more than two hundred pages of previously unpublished letters to and from Gehrig, Luckiest Man gives us an intimate portrait of the man who became an American hero: his life as a shy and awkward youth growing up in New York City, his unlikely friendship with Babe Ruth (a friendship that allegedly ended over rumors that Ruth had had an affair with Gehrig’s wife), and his stellar career with the Yankees, where his consecutive-games streak stood for more than half a century. What was not previously known, however, is that symptoms of Gehrig’s affliction began appearing in 1938, earlier than is commonly acknowledged. Later, aware that he was dying, Gehrig exhibited a perseverance that was truly inspiring; he lived the last two years of his short life with the same grace and dignity with which he gave his now-famous “luckiest man” speech.
Meticulously researched and elegantly written, Jonathan Eig’s Luckiest Man shows us one of the greatest baseball players of all time as we’ve never seen him before.
This book carefully examines the careers of the players who made the greatest impact on the most successful franchise in the history of professional sports. The ranking was determined based on such factors as the extent to which each player added to the Yankees legacy, the degree to which he impacted the fortunes of his team, and the level of dominance he attained while wearing the Yankee uniform. Features of The 50 Greatest Players in New York Yankees History include
Each player’s notable achievementsRecaps of the player’s most memorable performancesSummaries of each player’s best seasonQuotes from opposing players and former teammates
Yankees fans and baseball fans in general will find The 50 Greatest Players in New York Yankees History a fascinating collection of bios, stats, recaps, quotes, and more. And with such iconic figures as Yogi Berra, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Alex Rodriguez, and Andy Pettitte, this book is sure to inspire debate and controversy among true Yankees fans.
Like so many great American institutions, the Yankees began humbly, on the muddy, uneven grass of Hilltop Park. Eighteen years later the little second-class franchise won its first pennant. Today, the Yankees are worth more than a billion dollars.
It's been nearly seventy years since Frank Graham wrote the last narrative history of the Yankees. Marty Appel, the Yankees' PR director during the 1970s, now illuminates the team in its hundred-plus years of glory: clever, maneuvering owners; rowdy, talented players; great stories behind the great stories. Appel heard tales from old-timers like Waite Hoyt, Bill Dickey, Yogi Berra, Phil Rizzuto, and Whitey Ford, and has remained close to the organization ever since. He gives life to the team's history, from the demise of Hilltop Park in the 1900s to the evolution of today's team as an international brand. With a wealth of photographs, this is a treasure trove for lovers of sports, the Yankees, New York history, and America's game.
Legendary Dodgers Maury Wills, Sandy Koufax, Wes Parker, Jeff Torborg, Dick Tracewski, and Tommy Davis encapsulated 1960s America: white and black, Jewish and Christian, wealthy and working class, pro-Vietnam and anti-war, golden boy and seasoned veteran. The Last Innocents is a thoughtful, technicolor portrait of these seven players—friends, mentors, confidants, rivals, and allies—and their storied team that offers an intriguing look at a sport and a nation in transition. Bringing into focus the high drama of their World Series appearances from 1962 to 1972 and their pivotal games, Michael Leahy explores these men’s interpersonal relationships and illuminates the triumphs, agonies, and challenges each faced individually.
Leahy places these men’s lives within the political and social maelstrom that was the era when the conformity of the 1950s gave way to demands for equality and rights. Increasingly frustrated over a lack of real bargaining power and an oppressive management who meddled in their personal affairs, the players shared an uneasy relationship with the team’s front office. This contention mirrored the discord and uncertainty generated by myriad changes rocking the nation: the civil rights movement, political assassinations, and growing hostility to the escalation of the Vietnam War. While the nation around them changed, these players each experienced a personal and professional metamorphosis that would alter public perceptions and their own.
Comprehensive and artfully crafted, The Last Innocents is an evocative and riveting portrait of a pivotal era in baseball and modern America.
The Sabermetric Revolution sets the record straight on the role of analytics in baseball. Former Mets sabermetrician Benjamin Baumer and leading sports economist Andrew Zimbalist correct common misinterpretations and develop new methods to assess the effectiveness of sabermetrics on team performance. Tracing the growth of front office dependence on sabermetrics and the breadth of its use today, they explore how Major League Baseball and the field of sports analytics have changed since the 2002 season. Their conclusion is optimistic, but the authors also caution that sabermetric insights will be more difficult to come by in the future. The Sabermetric Revolution offers more than a fascinating case study of the use of statistics by general managers and front office executives: for fans and fantasy leagues, this book will provide an accessible primer on the real math behind moneyball as well as new insight into the changing business of baseball.
In the fall of 1992, America's National Pastime is in crisis and already on the path to the unthinkable: cancelling a World Series for the first time in history. The owners are at war with each other, their decades-long battle with the players has turned America against both sides, and the players' growing addiction to steroids will threaten the game's very foundation.
It is a tipping point for baseball, a crucial moment in the game's history that catalyzes a struggle for power by three strong-willed men: Commissioner Bud Selig, Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, and union leader Don Fehr. It's their uneasy alliance at the end of decades of struggle that pulls the game back from the brink and turns it into a money-making powerhouse that enriches them all.
This is the real story of baseball, played out against a tableau of stunning athletic feats, high-stakes public battles, and backroom political deals--with a supporting cast that includes Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire, Joe Torre and Derek Jeter, George Bush and George Mitchell, and many more.
Drawing from hundreds of extensive, exclusive interviews throughout baseball, The Game is a stunning achievement: a rigorously reported book and the must-read, fly-on-the-wall, definitive account of how an enormous struggle for power turns disaster into baseball's Golden Age.
As a player, Charles Dillon "Casey" Stengel's contemporaries included Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, and Christy Mathewson . . . and he was the only person in history to wear the uniforms of all four New York teams: the Dodgers, Giants, Yankees, and Mets. As a legendary manager, he formed indelible, complicated relationships with Yogi Berra, Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, and Billy Martin. For more than five glorious decades, Stengel was the undisputed, quirky, hilarious, and beloved face of baseball--and along the way he revolutionized the role of manager while winning a spectactular ten pennants and seven World Series Championships.
But for a man who spent so much of his life in the limelight--an astounding fifty-five years in professional baseball--Stengel remains an enigma. Acclaimed New York Yankees' historian and bestselling author Marty Appel digs into Casey Stengel's quirks and foibles, unearthing a tremendous trove of baseball stories, perspective, and history. Weaving in never-before-published family documents, Appel creates an intimate portrait of a private man who was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1966 and named "Baseball's Greatest Character" by MLB Network's Prime 9. Casey Stengel is a biography that will be treasured by fans of our national pastime.
Youth Baseball Drills
is a comprehensive collection of uniquely effective teaching tools for coaches
of young players. Over 100 drills cover essential skills like hitting,
fielding, and pitching. It also includes plans for 30-, 60-, and 90-minute
practices, helping coaches set up fun, organized, and productive practices with
Dustin Pedroia, at five feet seven inches and 170 pounds, is not the biggest, the strongest, or the fastest player in the game of baseball, but in just two years of major-league play he was named Rookie of the Year, Most Valuable Player, and helped the Boston Red Sox win a World Championship. At a time when steroid scandals dominate media coverage of America’s beloved pastime, Pedroia has proven to the world that a good baseball player is more than size and statistics. His success comes from the heart.
In Born to Play, Pedroia shares the story of his difficult and uplifting journey to prove himself at every turn. More than anything, his love of the game and desire to win, not just for himself but for his teammates, defines Pedroia as an athlete—but his dedication, his perseverance, and of course, his monster swing have made him a beloved new symbol of baseball and offer hope for the future of America’s favorite game.
Forget batting average. Kill the “Win.” Say goodbye to starting pitchers. And please, please stop bunting. MLB Network anchor and commentator Brian Kenny provides “an excellent, entertaining read for the all-around baseball fan” (Library Journal) and shows how baseball has been revolutionized—not destroyed—by analytical thinking.
Most people who resist logical thought in baseball preach “tradition” and “respecting the game.” But many of baseball’s traditions go back to the nineteenth century, when the pitcher’s job was to provide the batter with a ball he could hit and fielders played without gloves. Instead of fearing change, Brian Kenny wants fans to think critically, reject outmoded groupthink, and embrace the changes that have come with the sabermetric era. In his entertaining and enlightening book, Kenny discusses why the pitching win-loss record, the Triple Crown, fielding errors, and so-called battling titles should be ignored. He also points out how fossilized sportswriters have been electing the wrong MVP’s and ignoring legitimate candidates for the Hall of Fame; why managers are hired based on their looks; and how the most important position in baseball may just be “Director of Decision Sciences.”
“Prepare to have your brain and your assumptions challenged. Guided by data and a deep love of the game, Brian Kenny takes a cutting-edge look at where baseball is and where it is going” (Tom Verducci, Sports Illustrated). Illustrated with unique anecdotes from those who have reshaped the game, Ahead of the Curve is “a great story about the game in the age of information and technology” (Billy Beane).
Still a gangly teenager when he stepped into a Boston Red Sox uniform in 1939, Williams’s boisterous personality and penchant for towering home runs earned him adoring admirers and venomous critics. In 1941, the entire country followed Williams's stunning .406 season, a record that has not been touched in over six decades. Then at the pinnacle of his prime, Williams left Boston to train and serve as a fighter pilot in World War II, missing three full years of baseball, making his achievements all the more remarkable.
Ted Willams's personal life was equally colorful. His attraction to women (and their attraction to him) was a constant. He was married and divorced three times and he fathered two daughters and a son. He was one of corporate America's first modern spokesmen, and he remained, nearly into his eighties, a fiercely devoted fisherman. With his son, John Henry Williams, he devoted his final years to the sports memorabilia business, even as illness overtook him. And in death, controversy and public outcry followed Williams and the disagreements between his children over the decision to have his body preserved for future resuscitation in a cryonics facility--a fate, many argue, Williams never wanted.
With unmatched verve and passion, and drawing upon hundreds of interviews, acclaimed best-selling author Leigh Montville brings to life Ted Williams's superb triumphs, lonely tragedies, and intensely colorful personality, in a biography that is fitting of an American hero and legend.
“Leavy has hit it out of the park…A lot more than a biography. It’s a consideration of how we create our heroes, and how this hero’s self perception distinguishes him from nearly every other great athlete in living memory… a remarkably rich portrait.” — Time
The instant New York Times bestseller about the baseball legend and famously reclusive Dodgers’ pitcher Sandy Koufax, from award-winning former Washington Post sportswriter Jane Leavy. Sandy Koufax reveals, for the first time, what drove the three-time Cy Young award winner to the pinnacle of baseball and then—just as quickly—into self-imposed exile.
The Baseball America 2017 Prospect Handbook is the ultimate guide to the next generation of baseball stars. The Prospect Handbook features in-depth analysis and statistics for 900 players, with detailed scouting reports, recaps of each team's amateur draft efforts, and a ranking of Major League Baseball's top farm systems. The Prospect Handbook is a must-have resource for information on the best prospects in baseball and is a valuable tool for fans, fantasy leaguers and anyone who wants to know more about the player development process
In "A Nice Little Place on the North Side, "leading columnist George Will returns to baseball with a deeply personal look at his hapless Chicago Cubs and their often beatified home, Wrigley Field, as it turns one hundred years old. Baseball, Will argues, is full of metaphors for life, religion, and happiness, and Wrigley is considered one of its sacred spaces. But what is its true, hyperbole-free history?
Winding beautifully like Wrigley's iconic ivy, Will's meditation on "The Friendly Confines" examines both the unforgettable stories that forged the field's legend and the larger-than-life characters--from Wrigley and Ruth to Veeck, Durocher, and Banks--who brought it glory, heartbreak, and scandal. Drawing upon his trademark knowledge and inimitable sense of humor, Will also explores his childhood connections to the team, the Cubs' future, and what keeps long-suffering fans rooting for the home team after so many years of futility.
In the end, "A Nice Little Place on the North Side" is more than just the history of a ballpark. It is the story of Chicago, of baseball, and of America itself.
For nearly five decades, Lou Piniella has been a fixture in Major League Baseball, as an outfielder with the legendary New York Yankees of the 1970s, and as a manager for five teams in both the American and National leagues. With respected veteran sportswriter Bill Madden, Piniella now reflects on his storied career, offering fans a glimpse of life on the field, in the dugout, and inside the clubhouse.
Piniella speaks from the heart about his teams and his players, offering a detailed, up-close portrait of the Bronx Zoo’s raucous personalities such as Reggie Jackson and Catfish Hunter, as well as his close friendship with Thurman Munson and his unusual relationship with George Steinbrenner. He also delves deep into his post-Yankee experiences, from winning a World Series for the controversial owner of the Cincinnati Reds, Marge Schott, to transforming the perennial cellar-dwelling Seattle Mariners into one of the league’s best teams. Some of the game’s brightest stars are here: Ken Griffey Jr, Randy Johnson, and Alex Rodriguez, Piniella’s supremely talented and controversial protégé.
Throughout his time in the majors, Piniella has witnessed MLB grow into a multi-billion-dollar business. Piniella reflects on those changes, voicing his highly critical opinions on a range of controversial subjects, including steroids. Hilarious and uproarious, filled with eight pages of photos, Lou brings into focus a man whose deeply rooted passion for baseball has defined his life.
Forget Abner Doubleday and Cooperstown. Forget Alexander Joy Cartwright and the New York Knickerbockers. Instead, meet Daniel Lucius Adams, William Rufus Wheaton, and Louis Fenn Wadsworth, each of whom has a stronger claim to baseball paternity than Doubleday or Cartwright.
But did baseball even have a father—or did it just evolve from other bat-and-ball games? John Thorn, baseball’s preeminent historian, examines the creation story of the game and finds it all to be a gigantic lie, not only the Doubleday legend, so long recognized with a wink and a nudge. From its earliest days baseball was a vehicle for gambling (much like cricket, a far more popular game in early America), a proxy form of class warfare, infused with racism as was the larger society, invigorated if ultimately corrupted by gamblers, hustlers, and shady entrepreneurs. Thorn traces the rise of the New York version of the game over other variations popular in Massachusetts and Philadelphia. He shows how the sport’s increasing popularity in the early decades of the nineteenth century mirrored the migration of young men from farms and small towns to cities, especially New York. And he charts the rise of secret professionalism and the origin of the notorious “reserve clause,” essential innovations for gamblers and capitalists. No matter how much you know about the history of baseball, you will find something new in every chapter. Thorn also introduces us to a host of early baseball stars who helped to drive the tremendous popularity and growth of the game in the post–Civil War era: Jim Creighton, perhaps the first true professional player; Candy Cummings, the pitcher who claimed to have invented the curveball; Albert Spalding, the ballplayer who would grow rich from the game and shape its creation myth; Hall of Fame brothers George and Harry Wright; Cap Anson, the first man to record three thousand hits and a virulent racist; and many others. Add bluff, bluster, and bravado, and toss in an illicit romance, an unknown son, a lost ball club, an epidemic scare, and you have a baseball detective story like none ever written.
Thorn shows how a small religious cult became instrumental in the commission that was established to determine the origins of the game and why the selection of Abner Doubleday as baseball’s father was as strangely logical as it was patently absurd. Entertaining from the first page to the last, Baseball in the Garden of Eden is a tale of good and evil, and the snake proves the most interesting character. It is full of heroes, scoundrels, and dupes; it contains more scandal by far than the 1919 Black Sox World Series fix. More than a history of the game, Baseball in the Garden of Eden tells the story of nineteenth-century America, a land of opportunity and limitation, of glory and greed—all present in the wondrous alloy that is our nation and its pastime.