Baseball by the Book

A veteran baseball writer and editor explores the world of books about baseball through interviews with today's best baseball authors.
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Baseball by the Book





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Feb 18, 2019

Author Doug Wilson returns to the podcast to talk about his new biography of the legendary Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks. The Hall of Fame sluggers was a more complicated personality than his sunny reputation would suggest, Wilson says. 

Featured song: "Boom Boom," John Lee Hooker.

Feb 11, 2019

Author Jonathan Eig joins us to discuss his Casey Award-winning biography of legendary Yankees slugger Lou Gehrig. Eig conducted dozens of new interviews and relied on hundreds of pages of previously letters to tell the story off baseball's Iron Horse.

Featured song: "Lucky Man," the Verve. 

Feb 4, 2019

In October 1981, Rick Monday of the Dodgers hit a home run that broke the hearts of Expos fans  and changed the course of the Montreal franchise forever. Danny Gallagher joins us to talk about that infamous homer and its long-lasting repercussions. 

Featured song: "I Don't Like Mondays," the Boomtown Rats. 


Jan 31, 2019

On the 100th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's birth, Joe Cox joins us to discuss the enormous impact Robinson had on the lives of people who knew him. From Pee Wee Reese to Red Barber to Dixie Walker, Robinson helped change lives.

Featured song: "Better Git It in Your Soul," by Charles Mingus.

Jan 28, 2019

Using WAR and other measures, Tom Stone spent years compiling a list of each major league franchise's all-time dream team. He joins to discussing the resulting book, which is sure to start many arguments among baseball fans.

Featured song: "Field of Diamonds," Johnny Cash. 

Jan 21, 2019

Author Noel Hynd joins us to discuss his classic history of John McGraw, Mel Ott, Wille Mays and the rest of the legendary New York Giants. 

Featured song: "Giant Steps," John Coltrane. 

Jan 15, 2019

George Gmelch joins us to recount his days as a minor league baseball player in the late 1960s. Now an anthropology professor, Gmelch got to know small-town life against the backdrop of the Vietnam War, civil rights protests and the emergence of the counterculture. 

Featured song: "Summertime Blues," Blue Cheer. 

Jan 7, 2019

Bill Gruber spent a summer following an American Legion baseball team in a small Idaho town. He joins us to discuss the many-sided narrative book that resulted, which part sports journalism, part history and part memoir.

Featured song: "Small Town," John Mellemcamp

Dec 31, 2018

Author Stacy DeKeyser joins us to discuss her middle school novel about a boy who loves baseball and must get past his hard-working immigrant parents—and the rhino in the outfield—to become a batboy.

Featured song: "At the Zoo," Simon and Garfunkel. 

Dec 17, 2018

Who is Pete Rose? Author Michael Sokolove explored that question in his classic 1990 biography of Charlie Hustile. The author joins us to take a look behind the myths and lies at the heart of the Rose story. 

Featured song: "Blood and Roses," the Smithereens. 

Dec 10, 2018

Peter Devereaux takes us on a tour of rare and colorful early baseball cards from the Library of Congress’s Benjamin K. Edwards Collection. The books features 300 images tobacco cards issued between 1887 to 1914.

Featured song: "I've Just Seen a Face," by the Dillards.

Dec 3, 2018

For baseball fans, 1980 was the year of George Brett and Mike Schmidt, Super Joe Charboneau and fireballing J.R. Richard. Author J. Daniel joins us to discuss the Phillies, the Royals and the season that almost ended in a strike. 

Feautred song: "Whip It," by Devo. 

Nov 26, 2018

Philosophy professor Mark Kingwell joins us to discuss his book, which attempts to explain why baseball matters through a series of essays. Kingwell argues there is no better tutor of human failure’s enduring significance than baseball. 

Featured song: "My Philosophy," by Boogie Down Productions.

Nov 19, 2018

Author Mike Sowell joins us to discuss his Casey Award-winning account of Ray Chapman's on-field death in 1920. Sowell's classic book takes an in-depth look at Chapman, Carl Mays, the 1920 pennant race and more.

Featured song: "It's a Shame About Ray," by the Lemonheads. 

Nov 12, 2018

Eddie Dominguez spent six years with MLB's Department of Investigations, looking into PEDs, gambling human trafficking and other crimes. He joins us to discuss the dark side of the national pastime. 

Nov 5, 2018

Jane Leavy, the award-winning biographer of Sandy Koufax and Mickey Mantle, now takes on the biggest ballplayer of 'em all: Babe Ruth. Join us as Leavy discusses how she uncovered previously unknown information about the immortal Bambino.

Oct 29, 2018

When the Dodgers and Giants headed to California following the 1957 season, Major League Baseball increased its national profile and broadened its fan base, author Lincoln Mitchell tells us. The effects of the moves are stilling being felt six decades later. 

Oct 22, 2018

Filip Bondy joins us talk about George Brett's infamous 1983 "pine tar home run" agains Goose Gossage and the Yankees, and incident that set off an absurd and enduring baseball controversyl 

Oct 15, 2018

The Bad News Bears is considered a classic baseball movie. Its 1977 sequel is not. But author Josh Wilker thinks the mostly forgotten tale of Kelly Leak, the Astrodome and a van full of misfits is a quintessential American movie of the 1970s. 

Oct 8, 2018

Rob Neyer returns to the podcast to discuss his new book, which looks at modern baseball through the lens of the single Astros-A's game played in September 2017. It's a work in the tradition of "A Day in the Bleachers" and "Nine Innings."

Oct 4, 2018

Author Brad Snyder joins us to discuss Curt Flood and how his principled stand against the reserve clause set off a chain of events that changed professional sports forever.

Oct 1, 2018

Inspired by The Glory of their Times, author Brendan Donley tracked down the men who played in the classic 1968 World Series. He joins us to discuss the book on the 50th anniversary of the series. 

Sep 24, 2018

Author Kevin Kerrane joins us to talk about his classic book on baseball scouting. Sports Illustrated once ranked Dollar Sign on the Muscle as one of the 100 best sports books of all time.

Sep 20, 2018

100 years ago this month, war raged in Europe, a flu epidemic spread throughout the globe and the Red Sox and Cubs battled in the earliest World Series ever. Author Skip Desjardin joins us to discuss the remarkable series of events. 

Sep 17, 2018

In 1971, a small-town baseball team made a magical run to the Illinois state baseball finals. Author Chris Ballard tells us the amazing tale of the Macon Ironmen and their unlikely coach. 

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