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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May 23, 2019

Pulitzer Prize–winning architecture critic Paul Goldberger joins us to discuss the the inextricable link between the history of baseball stadiums and the growth of the American city.

Featured song: "Bright Lights, Big City," the Animals.

May 20, 2019

It might be! It could be! It is the 200th episode of Baseball by the Book! Author Don Zminda joins us to discuss the life of Harry Caray, the legendary broadcaster known for his work with the Cardinals, White Sox and Cubs. Holy cow!

Featured song: "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," Harry Caray and the Wrigley Field crowd.

May 13, 2019

On the afternoon of May 17, 1979, the Phillies and Cubs played in one of the wildest, craziest games in baseball history. Author Kevin Cook joins us to discuss Dave Kingman, Mike Schmidt, WGN and MLB on the precipice of great changes.

Featured song: "Blow Away," George Harrison.

May 6, 2019

Legendary New Yorker writer Roger Angell is considered to be one of baseball's finest chroniclers by generations of fans. Author Joe Bonomo joins us to discuss more than four decades of extraordinary Angell essays.

Featured song: "Angel Eyes," Roxy Music.  

May 2, 2019

On April 29, 2015, the Baltimore Orioles hosted the Chicago White Sox at an empty Camden Yards. Author Kevin Cowherd joins us to discuss the surreal game that was played in the wake of major civil unrest following the death in police custody of Freddie Gray, a young African-American man.

Featured song: "Baltimore," Prince.
Apr 29, 2019

In the summer of 1981, with major league players on strike, the powerhouse Triple-A Columbus Clippers became the talk of the baseball world. Author J. David Herman joins us to discuss Steve Balboni, Dave Righetti, Buck Showalter and other members of one of the best minor-league teams ever.

Featured song: "Talk of the Town," the Pretenders.

Apr 25, 2019

Fifty years ago, the Miracle Mets stunned the baseball world by defeating the heavily favored Baltimore Orioles in the World Series. Author Wayne Coffey joins us to discuss the Mets and the other amazin' events of 1969.

Apr 22, 2019

On the 30th anniversary of Field of Dreams, William Steele joins us to discuss the life and works of author W.P. Kinsella, whose novel inspired the movie. Kinsella's controversial literary legacy goes beyond his celebrated baseball writings, Steele explains.

Featured song: "I'm Writing a Novel," Father John Misty.

Apr 16, 2019

César Brioso joins us to discuss how the Castro Revolution spelled the end of a once-thriving professional baseball scene in Cuba.

Featured song: "Havana Moon," Chuck Berry,


Apr 8, 2019

Hop into the DeLorean with author Chris Donnelly and take a trip back to the summer of the 1985, when the Mets and Yankees vied for baseball supremacy in New York. Meet Dwight Gooden, Don Mattingly, Gary Carter, Billy Martin and the rest who made it such a memorable season in the Big Apple.

Featured song: "Everybody Wants to Rule the World," Tears for Fears. 

Apr 4, 2019

Because of the the success of "Moneyball," many baseball fans believe in a fundamental divide between talent evaluators: Old-school, backward-thinking scouts vs. new-school, progressive analysts. But Christopher Phillips rejects this simplistic notion and tells us scouts and scorers have always had much in common.

Apr 1, 2019

New York Times baseball writer Tyler Kepner joins us to discuss his new book, which includes more than 300 interviews with major league pitchers of the past and present. Join us as Kepner explains how pitches from the fastball to the screwball to the slider have affected the development of baseball. 

Mar 25, 2019

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the infamous Black Sox scandal, in which eight members of the Chicago White Sox were banned from baseball for throwing the World Series. Author Jacob Pomrenke joins us to discuss his book, plus the classic "Eight Men Out" and several other books on the Black Sox and their legacy.

Books mentioned: 

"Eight Men Out," by Eliot Asinof

"Burying the Black Sox," by Gene Carney

"Black Sox in the Courtroom," by William Lamb

"Shoeless Joe," by W.P. Kinsella

"Shoeless," by David Fleitz

"Say it Ain't So," by Donald Gropman

"The Ginger Kid," by Irving Stein

Featured song: "New Era Rag," James Scott.

Mar 18, 2019

From Ty Cobb to Derek Jeter, baseball has always been inseparable from advertising. Author Roberta J. Newman joins us to discuss her look at the long, intertwined history of two American institutions. 

Featured song: "Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie and Chevrolet," 1970s commercial. 

Mar 11, 2019

In 1968, major pitchers dominated as never before as hitters looked helpless at the plate. Author Sridhar Pappu joins to discuss Bob Gibson, Denny McLain, Don Drysdale, Luis Tiant and the rest of the hurlers who defined the year of the pitcher.

Featured song: "White Light/White Heat," the Velvet Underground.


Mar 4, 2019

More than six decades after they left Flatbush, the Brooklyn Dodgers continue to resonate in the American imagination, particularly in pop culture. Author David Krell joins us to discuss the legacy of Rickey, Robinson, Reese and the rest of the Boys of Summer.

Featured song: "(I Used To Be A) Brooklyn Dodger," Dion.

Feb 25, 2019

For five decades, Joe Cronin had a front-row seat for some of the biggest events in baseball history. Author Mark Armour joins us to discuss the remarkable baseball life of the Hall of Fame shortstop who became American League president.

Featured song: "Hey Joe (Where You Gonna Go)," The Byrds.

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

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