Play ball!

Baseball has long been deeply embedded in American culture. In 1889 Walt Whitman said that baseball “has the snap, go, fling of the American atmosphere.” Many are drawn in as children through Little League games and the hobby of collecting baseball cards. No other sport has inspired so many songs or developed its own distinctive menu. This minibibliography lists some titles for adults and children about baseball history and the basics of the game. These represent only a small fraction of the more than three hundred nonfiction titles about baseball in the NLS collection, which also includes baseball schedules (American and National Leagues) in braille. Your reader advisor can help you find titles about your favorite teams and players.

Digital braille and talking book titles can be downloaded from the NLS BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download) service. Contact your local cooperating library to register for BARD. Registered users may also download audio titles on iOS and Android devices using the BARD Mobile app. Braille titles may be downloaded using the app on a device linked by Bluetooth to a refreshable braille display. To find your local cooperating library, go to www.loc.gov/nls/findyourlibrary or call toll-free 888-NLS-READ (888-657-7323).

General History

  • Game Time: A Baseball Companion by Roger Angell
    • Sportswriter Steve Kettmann compiles his favorite Roger Angell baseball essays, spanning 1962 to 2002. The pieces profile players such as Willie Mays, Bob Gibson, Pete Rose, and David Cone, as well as the various teams and spring training camps that he’s studied. Introduction by Richard Ford. 2003. Download DB58307
  • A Great and Glorious Game: Baseball Writings of A. Bartlett Giamatti by A. Bartlett Giamatti
    • Essays by the former Yale president who was the commissioner of baseball when he died in 1989. The articles convey Giamatti’s lifelong devotion to the sport and his belief in the integrity of the game. One, “Baseball and the American Character,” interweaves the histo ry of the country with that of its national pastime. 1998. Download DB47461
  • When Women Played Hardball by Susan E. Johnson
    • Author Johnson was a fourteen-year-old fan when the All-American Girls Baseball League died in 1954 after a twelve-year span. To recreate the spirit of the league that fascinated her, Johnson interviews twenty-six of the women who played for the 1950 Rockford Peaches and Fort Wayne Daisies. Their recollections of the 1950 series are supplemented by newspaper accounts of each of the seven games. 1994. Download DB39231
  • The Head Game: Baseball Seen from the Pitcher’s Mound by Roger Kahn
    • Author of The Boys of Summer (DB16430) discusses the psychology and physics of baseball pitching, as well as some of the major personalities immortalized in the history of the sport. 2000. Download DB51995
  • The Game: Inside the Secret World of Major League Baseball’s Power Brokers by Jon Pessah
    • Focusing on the owners and officials rather than the superstar players, ESPN founding editor Pessah examines the world of baseball during the era of Commissioner Bud Selig, 1992 to 2015. Labor disputes, steroid scandals, and boardroom battles are covered. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2015. Download DB82022
  • Red Smith on Baseball: The Game’s Greatest Writer on the Game’s Greatest Years by Red Smith
    • Five decades—from the 1940s to the 1980s—of baseball columns by the Pulitzer Prize­–winning reporter who was called “The Shakespeare of the Press Box.” Includes pieces on Mickey Mantle’s first game, numerous World Series contests including Don Larsen’s perfect game in 1956, the ascent of Jackie Robinson, and the death of Babe Ruth. 2000. Download DB50569

National Baseball Hall of Fame

  • The Hall: A Celebration of Baseball’s Greats by Hank Aaron
    • The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum lists every inductee from the first class in 1936, which included Honus Wagner, Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, Christy Mathewson, and Walter Johnson. Includes essays and player bios. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. 2014. Download DB79365
  • The Baseball Hall of Fame Fiftieth Anniversary Book by Gerald Astor
    • Covers the game from its invention to the expansion era of the 1960s, presenting a concise history of the game of professional baseball. Also included are essays on nine great baseball players by some of the sport’s top writers. 1988. Download BR07663
  • Cooperstown Confidential: Heroes, Rogues, and the Inside Story of the Baseball Hall of Fame by Ze’ev Chafets
    • Journalist chronicles the history of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York, and alleges that politics affects the induction of players. Discusses the makeup of the selection committee and associated scandals and controversies. Some strong language. 2009. Download DB70370

Guides

  • The Thinking Fan’s Guide to Baseball by Leonard Koppett
    • Explains the principles of pitching, batting, game tactics, and strategies, and the relationships between players, spectators, and the press. Koppett includes discussion of team expansions, playoffs, designated hitters, unions, cable television, and night games. 2001. Download DB52790
  • So You Think You Know Baseball? A Fan’s Guide to the Official Rules by Peter E. Meltzer
    • Quiz format analyzes the official Major League Baseball rulebook using examples from actual games. Covers the roles of each player on the field, the umpires, and the official scorer; types of equipment allowed; the infield fly rule; and more. 2013. Download BR20225

Negro Leagues

  • Shades of Glory: The Negro Leagues and the Story of African-American Baseball by Lawrence D. Hogan
    • Chronicles African American baseball from the nineteenth century until Jackie Robinson broke into the major leagues in 1947. Uses first-person accounts to profile the teams and players. Covers the business aspects of the league. Commissioned by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Foreword by Jules Tygiel. 2006. Download DB67203
  • Voices from the Negro Leagues: Conversations with 52 Baseball Standouts of the Period 1924–1960 by Brent P. Kelley
    • Interviews with African American athletes from the segregated baseball teams of the twentieth century. Includes players from before and after 1947, when Jackie Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers. Includes Rodolfo Fernandez, now in the Cuban Hall of Fame, and Frazier Robinson, Satchel Paige’s favorite catcher. 1998. Download DB54770
  • The Soul of Baseball: A Road Trip through Buck O’Neil’s America by Joe Posnanski
    • Kansas City sportswriter accompanies ninety-three-year-old former Negro League veteran Buck O’Neil to baseball games for a year. O’Neil reminisces about his teammates and his career as a player, a scout, and the first African American coach in the majors. Some strong language. 2007. Download DB65019
  • Invisible Men: Life in Baseball’s Negro Leagues by Donn Rogosin
    • An account of black baseball from 1920 until 1947, when Jackie Robinson integrated the major leagues. The author, who interviewed many surviving Negro league stars, tells about their lives on and off the field and about the league’s role in black life. 1983. Download DB22042
  • Beyond the Shadow of the Senators: The Untold Story of the Homestead Grays and the Integration of Baseball by Brad Snyder
    • Explores the cultural impact of the 1940 move of the Homestead Grays, a storied Negro League baseball team, from Pittsburgh to segregated Washington, D.C. Recounts how Grays owner Cum Posey rented—and filled—the Washington Senators’ stadium. Highlights the role of black journalist Sam Lacey in confronting racism. 2003. Download DB72888

Children’s Books

  • The 25 Greatest Baseball Players of All Time by Len Berman
    • Panel of experts pick their favorite baseball stars. Discusses the players’ statistics, best games, and personalities on and off the field. Includes early greats like Cy Young and Ty Cobb and later ones like Mike Schmidt and Alex Rodriguez. For grades 5–8 and older readers. 2010.
    • Download BR19260
    • Download DB74531
  • The Good Guys of Baseball: Sixteen True Sports Stories by Terry Egan
    • Sixteen biographies describing men in baseball who exemplify some of the best traits an athlete can possess on or off the field: loyalty, decency, determination, and the willingness to work hard. Included are Don Wardlow, a sportscaster who is blind, and Jim Abbott, a pitcher who was born with only one hand. For grades 3–6. 1997.
    • Download BR11625
    • Download DB46409
  • World Series Classics by Dan Gutman
    • Play-by-play narrations of what the author considers to be the five most exciting World Series in the history of baseball: 1912, 1924, 1947, 1975, and 1991. Conveys the drama and suspense of the action-filled games, complete with interesting facts and anecdotes. For grades 5–8. 1994. Download DB43418
  • A Whole New Ball Game: The Story of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League by Sue Macy
    • A history of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League during and immediately following World War II (1943–1954). The league was born during a period when the nation’s men were away at war and women enjoyed unprecedented freedom in employment and activities, including sports. For grades 6–9 and older readers. 1993. Download BR09473

Children’s Guides

  • Ultimate Guide to Baseball by James Buckley
    • Presents facts and statistics about the all-American game—baseball. Covers the major league teams, the World Series, playing tips, and stars including Honus Wagner, Satchel Paige, Rickey Henderson, and Albert Pujols. For grades 5–8 and older readers. 2010. Download BR19120
  • How Baseball Works by Keltie Thomas
    • Facts and figures about the basics of baseball, its rules, strategy, and history. Describes bats, baseballs, mitts, and uniforms. Explains a slugger’s stats, a pitcher’s throws, including recipes for spitballs and mud balls. Discusses great players, major ballparks, and even ballpark sounds. For grades 4–7. 2004. Download BR15898

Negro Leagues

  • A Strong Right Arm: The Story of Mamie “Peanut” Johnson by Michelle Y. Green
    • Mamie Johnson recalls her playing days, stating she was one of three women to play professional baseball in the Negro Leagues. Depicts Johnson’s overcoming racism and sexism in 1948 to pitch at age twelve for an all-white boys’ team and at eighteen for the Indianapolis Clowns. For grades 4–7. 2002. Download DB60256
  • Black Diamond: The Story of Negro Baseball Leagues by Pat McKissack
    • History of the baseball leagues formed when entry into the major leagues was denied. Describes the teams, players, and competition that existed from the nineteenth century until their dismantlement almost one hundred years later. Includes a player profile list as well as a time line. For grades 6–9 and older readers. 1994. Download DB49035
  • We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball by Kadir Nelson
    • Presents the history of Negro League baseball from its beginnings in the 1920s through its decline after Jackie Robinson moved to the major leagues in 1947 and broke the racial b rrier. Discusses gifted athletes, discrimination, and the players’ passion for the sport. For grades 3–6 and older readers. Coretta Scott King Award. 2008.  Download BR18223  Download DB66426
  • Stars in the Shadows by Charles R. Smith
    • A story in rhyme recounts the second Negro League baseball all-star game in Chicago. Recaps each of the nine innings in which legendary players such as Satchel Paige, Cool Papa Bell, and Turkey Stearnes brought fans to their feet. For grades 2­–4 and older readers. 2012. Download DB74753