The Lineup

Ten Books That Changed Baseball


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About the Book

Focusing on the ten most influential baseball books of all time, this volume explores how these landmark works changed the game itself and made waves in American society at large. Satchel Paige’s Pitchin’ Man informed the dialog surrounding integration. Ring Lardner’s You Know Me Al changed the way Americans viewed their baseball heroes and influenced the work of Hemingway and Fitzgerald. Bill James’s Baseball Abstract transformed the way managers—including those in fields other than baseball—analyzed numbers. Pete Rose’s My Story and My Prison Without Bars exposed and deepened a cultural divide that paved the way for Donald Trump.

About the Author(s)

Paul Aron is an editor and writer for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. He lives in Richmond, Virginia.

Bibliographic Details

Paul Aron
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 237
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2022
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8830-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4692-3
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments v
Preface 1
1. America’s National Game by A.G. Spalding, 1911 3
2. You Know Me Al: A Busher’s Letters by Ring Lardner, 1916 21
3. Pitchin’ Man: Satchel Paige’s Own Story by Satchel Paige, 1948 35
4. The Natural by Bernard Malamud, 1952 53
5. Ball Four: My Life and Hard Times Throwing the Knuckleball in the Big Leagues by Jim Bouton, 1970 64
6. The Boys of Summer by Roger Kahn, 1972 78
7. The Bill James Baseball Abstract by Bill James, 1982 91
8. Rotisserie League Baseball by Glen Waggoner, 1984 108
9. Pete Rose: My Story by Pete Rose and Roger Kahn, 1989, and My Prison Without Bars by Pete Rose with Rick Hill, 2004 118
10. Other Influential Books 134
Chapter Notes 197
Bibliographic Essay 209
Index 219

Book Reviews & Awards

• Finalist, Casey Award—Spitball

• “No one has read the literature of baseball with as much insight as Paul Aron has. Even better, his narratives about the creation and the impact of his selected books are as engaging as many of the books themselves. I approached this book expecting cogent literary analysis; I didn’t expect to be charmed and delighted as well. This is a marvelous book.”—Daniel Okrent, author of Nine Innings and co-editor of The Ultimate Baseball Book

• “Aron’s delightful account of the most influential books on baseball is, at once, informative, insightful, entertaining, and historically penetrating. The reader is introduced not only to the great baseball narratives, but also to the historical circumstances surrounding them.”—Andrew Zimbalist, author of Baseball and Billions

• “Richly entertaining and insightful, The Lineup chronicles baseball’s long love affair with the written word, from biographies and memoirs of such immortals as Satchel Paige and Jackie Robinson to Jim Bouton’s controversial Ball Four to Roger Kahn’s elegiac The Boys of Summerto Bill James’ revolutionary Baseball Abstract. Anyone who has a love of baseball and a passion for books will want to read this remarkable book.”—James Mote, author of Everything Baseball.

• “An entertaining history of the literature of baseball, which is also a history of baseball, as well as a stealth history of the country. Working through Aron’s essays reveals different connecting threads and different ways of looking at sport as well as the larger American culture.”—The Baffler

• “Monumentally meaningful, necessary and relevant. A Top 10 list for the ages.”—Tom Hoffarth, Farther Off the Wall blog

• “The Lineup is a quick and easy read…highly recommended”—The Inside Game

• “Grabbed my immediate attention”—The Virginia Gazette

• “Unique, thought-provoking, historically insightful, and occasionally iconoclastic…Must be considered as essential reading for the legions of professional baseball fans.”—Midwest Book Reviews