Notable Baseball Books of 2020

By Joe Pascullo, Young Adult Librarian
January 5, 2021
Grand Central Library
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Hello again everyone! Here’s hoping this blog post finds you well as we start a new year. And yes, we have indeed reached the end of 2020 (thankfully). It was by far one of the most difficult years of our lifetimes, and one we won’t ever forget unfortunately.

One of the less-important things of note that happened in the grand scheme of things, was the impact the pandemic had on sports leagues all over the world, including the postponement of the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan. Our beloved baseball too, saw its Opening Day postponed all the way to the end of July, with a season of just 60 games taking place, as well as the bulk of the postseason being played in spectator-free, neutral sites. But hey, it was better than nothing.

Who knows how 2021 will shake out, but let’s try to remain as optimistic as possible. And that’s not just hoping we get a full 162-game Major League Baseball campaign, but optimistic about everything else in the world, too. So why don’t we close out (or start out?) the year in the best way we can, and that’s by spotlighting some of the best baseball books released in 2020. Let’s go!

The New York Mets

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At the top of the lineup, let’s start some with New York Mets books. The Mets have been one of the more splashy teams this offseason. With brand new ownership and a new front office installed, the Amazins have already spent some money on a handful of new additions for the ‘21 squad and beyond, and it doesn’t look like they’re through yet. 2021 is going to be an incredibly interesting season for the Mets, so why not check out some of these titles to get pumped up? Among the, I've included some great biographies highlighting Met legends from yesteryear.

Tom Seaver: A Terrific Lifeby Bill Madden

The Captain: A Memoirby David Wright & Anthony DiComo

Mr. Met: How a Sports-Mad Kid from Jersey Became Like Family to Generations of Big Leaguersby Jay Horwitz

The New York Mets All-Time All-Stars: The Best Players at Each Position for the Amazin'sby Brian Wright

The New York Yankees

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And of course on the other side of town, we’ve got the New York Yankees. 2020 marked the 28th straight season the Bombers finished the season (whether it was truncated or not) above .500. And that isn't even the all-time record! That record belongs to...well it also belongs to the Yankees. Between 1926 (the Babe Ruth days) and 1964 (the Mickey Mantle era), the Yankees posted a winning record in 39 consecutive seasons, which is just an astounding accomplishment. Below you’ll find a few biographies about some of the men who starred during those glory years, as well as a book chronicling the 2000 Major League Baseball season, where the Yankees put the finishing touches on a threepeat of world championships.

Lou Gehrig: The Lost Memoirby Lou Gehrig

Yogi: A Life Behind the Mask by Jon Pessah

The Subway Series: Baseball's Big Apple Battles And The Yankees-Mets 2000 World Series Classicby Jerry Beach

Other Hall of Famer Biographies

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2020 was also a rough year as far as the Baseball Hall of Fame went. With Derek Jeter elected to the Hall back in January, it was obvious that the 2020 Hall of Fame weekend in Cooperstown, New York would be the biggest one of all time. And every year, that summer weekend is something the Otsego County village upstate relies upon tremendously as far as revenue goes. Obviously that didn’t occur, and who knows what the story is for 2021’s ceremony. The Baseball Hall of Fame also saw seven of its members pass away in 2020: Al Kaline, Tom Seaver, Lou Brock, Bob Gibson, Whitey Ford, Joe Morgan, and Phil Niekro. In honor of their memory, let’s look at some of these 2020  books that profile some of the best to ever suit up.

24: Life Stories and Lessons from the Say Hey Kid by Willie Mays & John Shea

One Tough Out: Fighting Off Life's Curveballs by Rod Carew & Jaime Aron

The Court-Martial of Jackie Robinson: The Baseball Legend's Battle for Civil Rights During World War IIby Michael Lee Lanning

Those Who “Made It To The Show”

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Not everyone can make it to the Hall of Fame. Heck a lot of us would do anything just to live one day in a Major Leaguer’s shoes. And these books here focus on some of the folks who may not be household names like Willie Mays or Tom Seaver. Some of the folks here received only a cup of coffee (check this blog post out for what that means!) in baseball. While others had to overcome gender inequality and stereotypes to make their dream come true. Baseball is for everyone, and these books here certainly reflect that.

The Incredible Women of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League by Anika Orrock

Wits, Flakes, and Clowns: The Colorful Characters of Baseballby Wayne StewartThe Cup of Coffee Club: 11 Players and Their Brush with Baseball Historyby Jacob Kornhauser

The In-Between Hop

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As for the rest of these entries, they sort of fall in between all the other topics. There is a lot of eclecticism in baseball as a whole, and you’ll find that these books here are no different. One of them theorizes how Buddha created baseball after a Buddhist scroll was found under now-demolished Yankee Stadium. Another deals solely with the zany rules baseball boasts, and how each of these rules came into existence. Whatever it is you’re looking for, there is surely a baseball book out there for you my fellow reader!

The Official Rules of Baseball Illustrated: An Irreverent Look at the Rules of Baseball and How They Came to Be What They Are Todayby David Nemec

Buddha Takes the Mound: Enlightenment in 9 Innings by Donald S. Lopez Jr.

Future Value: The Battle for Baseball's Soul and How Teams Will Find the Next Superstarby Eric Longenhagen & Kiley McDanielWar Fever: Boston, Baseball, and America in the Shadow of the Great Warby Randy W. Roberts & John Smith

And with that, I will close out the 2020 year in baseball at the Library in the same way I closed it out last year. And that would be with this great Roy Hobbs quote. Happy New Year everybody! Hope to see you at both the Library and the ballpark in 2021!

To check out even more newer baseball selections, please visit our catalog.