Thanks to everyone who participated in the first pick of the Let’s Go Tribe Book Club. I had a lot of fun reading Satch, Dizzy, and Rapid Robert and speaking with author Timothy Gay, I hope you enjoyed it as well. If you have any thoughts, feel free to keep the discussion going in the comments on my review.
With a new month upon us, it’s about time to pick our next selection. Below are a few options for reading and a poll. I included a couple suggestions from the comments on our previous poll and will include more in future polls. Check out our options for this pick and vote below.
The second-place book from last month was Power Ball: Anatomy of a Modern Baseball Game by Rob Neyer, I’ve brought it back based on the interest last time around. Released in October, former ESPN and SB Nation writer Neyer recreates a single game from the 2017 season to highlight the ways the modern game has changed. Rated 4.21/5 with 78 ratings on Goodreads, from the description:
As he chronicles each inning and the unfolding drama as these two teams continually trade the lead—culminating in a 9-8 Oakland victory in the bottom of the ninth—Neyer considers the players and managers, the front office machinations, the role of sabermetrics, and the current thinking about what it takes to build a great team, to answer the most pressing questions fans have about the sport today.
Similar to our last pick, The Soul of Baseball by Joe Posnanski explores a bit of what life as a negro league player was like for Buck O’Neil. However, rather than focusing on the micro, like Timothy Gay did, Posnanski explores the macro, focusing on the question of what drove O’Neil’s enduring passion for baseball. Rated 4.28 with 2,861 ratings on Goodreads, from the description:
The Soul of Baseball is as much the story of Buck O’Neil as it is the story of baseball. Driven by a relentless optimism and his two great passions—for America’s pastime and for jazz, America’s music—O’Neil played solely for love. In an era when greedy, steroid-enhanced athletes have come to characterize professional ball, Posnanski offers a salve for the damaged spirit: the uplifting life lessons of a truly extraordinary man who never missed an opportunity to enjoy and love life.
As an admirer of Jonah Keri’s work, it has been my personal shame that I still have not read his history of the Montreal Expos, Up, Up, and Away. He brings to life the dead franchise with interviews from numerous people involved in the franchise, including ownership, and provides the fan perspective that only he could. Rated 4.19 with 1,470 reviews on Goodreads, from the description:
The definitive history of the Montreal Expos by the definitive Expos fan.... 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.
Finally, something a little different, a graphic novel: Hit by Pitch: Ray Chapman, Carl Mays and the Fatal Fastball by Molly Lawless. I think most readers know about Ray Chapman, the Indians’ shortstop who was killed in 1920, but learning a bit more (with illustrations!) seems interesting. As someone who has not read a graphic novel previously, a baseball book with a Cleveland tie-in seems like the perfect entree. Rated 4.29 with 45 ratings on Goodreads, from the description:
On August 16, 1920, Yankees pitcher Carl Mays threw a fastball that struck Cleveland Indians shortstop Ray Chapman in the head. Chapman died the next morning. Hit by Pitch is a nonfiction graphic novel about these men, their lives and legacies, and the event that linked them forever. Born the same year (1891), both in Kentucky, they had similar beginnings but opposing personalities. This wonderfully drawn work brings the two men and their era back to life.
There you have it, this month’s choices. We’ll give a week for voting and then get to reading, aiming to reconvene for a discussion the Thursday after Christmas. As always, share your thoughts in the comments.
What book should we read?
This poll is closed
The Soul of Baseball
Up, Up, and Away
Hit by Pitch