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.
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.
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.
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
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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).
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.
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).
They have no sanction from the Commissioner, appear nowhere in any official publication, and are generally not posted on any clubhouse wall. They represent a set of time-honored customs, rituals, and good manners that show a respect for the game, one's teammates, and one's opponents. Sometimes they contradict the official rulebook. The fans generally only hear about them when one is bent or broken, and it becomes news for a few days.
Now, for the first time ever, Paul Dickson has put these unwritten rules down on paper, covering every situation, whether on the field or in the clubhouse, press box, or stands. Along with entertaining baseball axioms, quotations, and rules of thumb, this essential volume contains the collected wisdom of dozens of players, managers, and reporters on the secret rules that you break at your own risk, such as:
1.7.1. In a Fight, Everyone Must Leave the Bench and the Bullpen Has to Join In
1.13.3. In a Blowout Game, Never Swing as Hard as You Can at a 3-0 Pitch
5.1.0. In Areas That Have Two Baseball Teams, Any Given Fan Can Only Really Root For One of Them
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.
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.
With his unmistakable wit and storytelling verve, McCarver succinctly explains the fundamentals and proper mechanics of baseball at the level necessary for success in the major leagues. Once the skills have been learned, the viewer can devise smart strategies, getting into the heads of the players, coaches, and managers: When should a player or manager be conservative or aggressive; what factors change as the count goes deeper; how do you set up an effective running game, and how can a defense try to sabotage it?
This book is a gold mine for all fans, from brain surgeons and rocket scientists to beginners who want to start with the basics. (Even major leaguers will be able to pick up some pointers.) With a deeper knowledge and understanding of baseball, any fan will be able to watch it like a pro.
"A riveting and comprehensive history of the Yankees" – New York Times
Is there a sports team more synonymous with winning than the New York Yankees? The team of Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Berra, Ford, Mantle, Jackson, Mattingly? Of Torre, Jeter, and Rivera? Of forty American League pennants, twenty-seven World Championships, and nearly forty Hall of Famers?
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.
His path to success was as grounded in philosophical study as in ballpark wisdom. Striving to find stillness within the rip-roaring scene of Major League Baseball—from screaming fans to national scandals— Green learned to approach the sport with a clear mind. In the tradition of Phil Jackson’s Sacred Hoops,
Green shares the secrets to remaining focused both on and off the field, shedding light on a signature approach to living by using his remarkable baseball experiences to exemplify how one can find full awareness, presence, and, ultimately, fulfillment in any endeavor. Following his development from inconsistent rookie to established All-Star to aging veteran,
The Way of Baseball illustrates the spiritual practices that enabled him to “bring stillness into the flow of life.” Requiring mastery of perspective and continual management of ego, the game of baseball afforded Green the opportunity to explore his potential as more than just a ballplayer. A treasure of practical wisdom and an intimate look at what it really means to “let go,” The Way of Baseball illuminates the creative possibilities within us all.
“An ideal Father’s Day present...It’s this year’s baseball book most likely to be made into a terrific movie.” —The Chicago Tribune
“Affecting...A simply told, deeply moving story, quite unlike the usual baseball book.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
A baseball rules book. A tape measure. A lottery ticket.
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 Las Vegas High School sophomore already had dominated the competition like Mickey Mantle on the playground and appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated, which dubbed him the "most exciting prodigy since LeBron James." Seeking greater tests as a hitter, the precocious phenom got his GED and enrolled at the College of Southern Nevada, where he could face pro prospects in a challenging wooden-bat league that prohibited the hitter-friendly aluminum bats used throughout college ball. Harper shattered the school's home run record with 31 (the previous mark was 12) and compiled a startling 1.513 OPS while leading his team to the Junior College World Series. For his heroics, the 17-year-old became the only position player from a junior college to win the Golden Spikes Award, given to the nation's best amateur baseball player.
Las Vegas sportswriter Rob Miech was "embedded" with the Southern Nevada Coyotes team and brings us along for the ride—into the dugout and locker room and on team buses and in motel rooms, from the scorched fields to the snow-capped horizons of the Scenic West Athletic Conference—to deliver a warts-and-all account of a boy among men playing like a man among boys. Amid the media circus that descended upon team and town, we read fascinating personal stories including the dynamics between veteran coach Tim Chambers and Harper's protective father, the camaraderie with—and jealousies of—other players, the fans and autograph seekers (and girls) who all want a piece of the young star, and how Harper is suspended from the World Series after protesting an umpire's call, and the role his faith plays in his life.
The Last Natural shows us a season in the life of baseball's top rising star, culminating in a dramatic conclusion when Harper is drafted #1 by the Washington Nationals and, after tense negotiations that go up until just seconds before the midnight deadline, signs a $9.9 million contract. Even more than this, Miech's book is the story of a team and its community, the hopes and aspirations of its players and coaches, and the spirit of pure baseball that lies at the heart of the American dream.
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.
With a new Preface by Carla Hayden, Librarian of Congress
A lavishly illustrated history of America's game, from the unparalleled collections of the Library of Congress.
“One of the most seductively designed books about the sport to come our way. … A book like this, so rich and deep in material. … brings baseball history to multifaceted life and reminds us that baseball is the sport that celebrates its history more than any other. … This book itself is a form of time-traveling—a pleasurable, often surprising and aesthetic trip.”—San Diego Union-Tribune
Baseball, the sport that helped reunify the country in the years after the Civil War, remains the National Pastime. The Library of Congress houses the world's largest baseball collection, documenting the history of the game and providing a unique look at America since the late 1700s. Now Baseball Americana presents the best of the best from that treasure trove. From baseball's biggest stars to street urchins, from its most newsworthy stories to sandlot and Little League games, the book examines baseball's hardscrabble origins, rich cultural heritage, and uniquely American character.
The more than 350 fabulous illustrations—many never before published—featured first-generation, vintage photographic and chromolithographic baseball cards; photographs of famous players and ballparks; and newspaper clippings, cartoons, New Deal photographs, and baseball advertisements. Packed with images that will surprise and thrill even the most expert collector, Baseball Americana is a gift for every baseball fan.
August “Augie” Garrido has led his baseball teams to more victories than any coach in any sport in NCAA Division I history. He is also the winner of more National Coach of the Year awards than any other college coach. Garrido’s former teams at Cal State Fullerton and, more recently, at the University of Texas together have compiled a total of five College World Series championships under his leadership.
But despite his unmatched record as a winner, Coach Garrido is not a win-at-all-costs coach. He teaches his players to focus on developing character, being good teammates, mastering all facets of the game, and playing with joy in the moment rather than focusing on the scoreboard.
Augie teaches that the challenges faced in the batter’s box or on the pitcher’s mound are universal—and that the lessons learned on the diamond are applicable off the field, too. Life Is Yours to Win follows the coach’s journey of self-discovery and his evolution from being driven by fear to being motivated by passion. His unique and compelling book offers this revered leader’s philosophy on life and his thoughtful approach to helping young men understand both who they are and how they can be successful in their work, their relationships, and their communities.
Every individual will find advice worth following including:
•BE A PLAYER, NOT A PROSPECT—If you want to be considered a star in your field, whatever that may be, you need to be fully engaged. Augie once had his Labrador retriever demonstrate the joy of play to a team that needed a reminder of why they loved baseball as children.
•STEP UP, SUPERMAN—Augie stages a costumed Superhero Scrimmage each Halloween to remind his players that their inner superhero is just waiting for the perfect moment when preparation meets opportunity, potential is fulfilled, and destiny is realized.
•THE FEARLESS FIELD—To be successful in the often cruel game of baseball, players must master fear and other emotions so they are energized rather than paralyzed. Augie once rented a hearse and placed a casket on the pitcher’s mound to help a slumping Cal State Fullerton team bury their fears and put losses behind them.
•BUDDHA AT BAT—Bunting and other “small ball” skills are not as glorified as home runs and big plays, but Coach Garrido’s teams are known for putting players in scoring position and winning games by following a Zen-like philosophy of claiming small victories during each at bat, in each inning that add up to winning records. Augie’s coaching methods are unconventional, but his creativity and wry humor provide masterful life lessons. His insights will help you both on and off the field by providing fresh approaches to conquering fears, living with joy and passion in each moment, establishing personal principles, and appreciating the value of both losing and winning. This is a book by a beloved college coach but it is packed with Major League insights and anecdotes featuring many of baseball’s greatest players and most inspiring spirits. Life Is Yours to Win will appeal to anyone who appreciates the wisdom of a proven winner in sports and in life.
Mary Kay Linge recounts the extraordinary story of Robinson's life-from his early childhood in the South, to his college years at UCLA, to becoming a Hall of Famer and a major figure in the NAACP. In analyzing the surrounding social and cultural contexts of Robinson's time, this biography examines the legacy of a man who forever changed baseball. A timeline, statistical appendix, bibliography of print and electronic sources for further reading, and photographs enhance this biography.
“I believe that a man’s race, color, and religion should never constitute a handicap. The denial to anyone, anywhere, any time of equality of opportunity to work is incomprehensible to me. Moreover, I believe that the American public is not as concerned with a first baseman’s pigmentation as it is with the power of his swing, the dexterity of his slide, the gracefulness of his fielding, or the speed of his legs.”—From Foreword by Branch Hickey
In 2008, the ten-day, eight-team tournament was the scene of one of the greatest series in its illustrious history. And Ryan McGee puts the reader behind closed doors with the underdog champs, the Fresno State Bulldogs, as well as with their seven opponents, from the first batting practice session, to bus rides to the ballpark, to the locker room and the dugout. It's the CWS as few ever see it.
But The Road to Omaha goes far beyond the 2008 season. It's an in-depth look at the managing strategies and playing style of college baseball, as well as a series of profiles that examine the people behind and around the CWS---the players, coaches, and fans who keep that feeling of good-old-days innocence alive through their reverence for the Great American Pastime.
McGee also takes up residence at Rosenblatt Stadium itself, reliving its rich history and tapping into the electricity around it, from the tailgating fans to the surrounding neighborhoods. "The Blatt" is America's last real connection to the baseball belief that Field of Dreams can actually happen: a wooden-framed ballpark with cramped concourses where teams share locker rooms, change clothes in the parking lot, and sign autographs for kids until their fingers cramp. "The Blatt" is a monument to tradition---and the last of its kind to keep that tradition alive.
Thanks to Ryan McGee's quick eye for play-by-play action, as well as his deep love for sports, The Road to Omaha is a rare glimpse into the kind of baseball our grandfather's knew---a snapshot of the one of the last remaining vestiges of pure Americana: a hometown, baseball, and the people who shape it and are shaped by it in turn.
Complete with dozens of drills and more than 100 photographs, "Pitching Mechanics Explained" illustrates the sequential movements the body must go through in order to deliver all types of pitches for a strike. The book describes the grips and releases for each pitch, discusses how to maximize velocity, and provides arm and shoulder exercises designed to enhance velocity and avoid injury. Also included are sample pitching practices, which can be used to improve both control and velocity at the same time.
Below are just some of the many topics the book covers:
- Coordinated Step-by-Step Approach
- Pitching Secrets
- Establishing Muscle Memory
- The Grip
- Throwing With Rotational Forces
- Aim With the Feet
- Strengthening the Throw
- Traits of a Successful Pitcher
- The Stretch and Wind-Up Deliveries
- The Power Triangle
- The Three Pitching Stages
- Balance Points
- Practicing in Cold Weather Regions
- Righty vs. Lefty
- Building Velocity
- Advanced Techniques
Luck—or hard work and skill? Zack Hample has caught more than 7,600 baseballs from the stands of 51 major league stadiums. His snags include Mike Trout’s first career home run and Barry Bonds’s 724th; the last homer hit by a Met at Shea Stadium; and a regular old Cubs-Reds contest from which Hample walked away with 36 balls. You, too, can do what Zack does, whether you’re at Opening Day batting practice or Game 7 of the World Series. From a baseball expert and skilled raconteur, “The Art of Snag” tells you what to wear, how to talk, where to go, and what exactly you need to do to become the (Skillful? Just plain prepared? Either way, legal) proud owner of a Major League baseball.
An eBook short.
Award-winning essayist Lucas Mann delivers a powerful debut in his telling of the story of the 2010 season of the Clinton LumberKings. Along the Mississippi River, in a Depression-era stadium, young prospects from all over the world compete for a chance to move up through the baseball ranks to the major leagues. Their coaches, some of whom have spent nearly half a century in the game, watch from the dugout. In the bleachers, local fans call out from the same seats they’ve occupied year after year. And in the distance, smoke rises from the largest remaining factory in a town that once had more millionaires per capita than any other in America.
Mann turns his eye on the players, the coaches, the fans, the radio announcer, the town, and finally on himself, a young man raised on baseball, driven to know what still draws him to the stadium. His voice is as fresh and funny as it is poignant, illuminating both the small triumphs and the harsh realities of minor-league ball. Part sports story, part cultural exploration, part memoir, Class A is a moving and unique study of why we play, why we watch, and why we remember.
Before he famously became a Major League All-Star as a teenager, Harper already had dominated high school competition like Mickey Mantle on the playground and appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated, which dubbed him the "most exciting prodigy since LeBron James." Seeking greater tests as a hitter, the precocious star got his GED after his sophomore year and enrolled at the College of Southern Nevada, where he would face future pro pitchers in a difficult wooden-bat league. Sportswriter Rob Miech was "embedded" with the team—in the dugout and locker room and on team buses and in motel rooms—to provide a warts-and-all account of a boy among men playing like a man among boys. Amid fascinating personal stories including the dynamics between a veteran coach and Harper's overprotective father, the jealousies of teammates and opponents, and the sudden descent of press armies on a tiny college field, the author chronicles a season-long experiment that culminates in Harper leading the Coyotes to the Junior College World Series and signing a $9.9 million contract negotiated by notorious agent Scott Boras. Sporting a fresh cover and a bonus chapter that covers Harper's award-winning rookie season with the Washington Nationals, this expanded edition of Phenom (originally published as The Last Natural) gives fans an all-access pass to baseball's newest rising star.