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WSI News - Season Features

The WSI Bookshelf
What the intelligent Sox Fan is reading!

The level of discussion inside WSI's Sox Clubhouse can get a bit elevated at times.  Sure, there are the garden variety insults, like "your momma wears combat boots", and "who let  the Cubs fan in", but sometimes the discussion takes a turn towards the serious side, too.  This is especially true in discussing baseball's union/management issues.

So as a public service to Sox Fans the world over, here are a few handy references to bone up on at the local library, or with a latte at Border's.

If you're going to bring it inside WSI's Sox Clubhouse, bring it strong.  Otherwise, don't bring it at all.

Go Sox!!!

-George Bova

Don't waste your time reading endless news stories and opinion columns in the newspapers, magazines, or online.  Stop being confused!  For an equal amount of reading time, you'll get 100-times the education reading any one of these titles...

General Baseball Books

Ball Four by Jim Bouton. (1970).  ISBN 0-8128-2771-6.  If you're going to read only one baseball book, make it this one.  In fact, if you're going to read only one book, period, make it this one, too.  A glimpse into the world a baseball player lives in, circa 1969.  Bought, sold, and traded, popping pills, fretting over the future--and otherwise having fun.  It's really much more than a baseball book.  It's a metaphor for the human condition.  Bouton gores baseball's sacred cows.  Still the best of this genre.  Five Stars.

Lords of the Realm by John Helyar. (1994).  ISBN 0-679-41197-6.  Reading this book is probably the easiest way to catch up on all the major trends that effect baseball today, especially union/management negotiations.  Balanced and lively.  Includes quote from Reinsdorf naming his occupation as "O.P.M." standing for "other people's money."  Four Stars.

The Business of Baseball

A Whole Different Ballgame by Marvin Miller.  (1991).  ISBN 1-55972-067-0.  The definitive book for understanding what sets apart the MLBPA from every other professional sports union in the world.  Miller writes with the same wit and ruthless nature that made his crusade on behalf of baseball players so successful.  Second only to Ball Four for enlightening the reader about the inner workings of baseball.  Five Stars.

Hardball by Bowie Kuhn.  (1987).  ISBN 0-8129-2378-0.  To fully appreciate the wit in Miller's A Whole Different Ballgame, it's a good idea to read Kuhn's book, too.  Kuhn never understood what he was up against in Miller.  Writing this book, it's apparent he still didn't get "it" three years after retiring.  As Miller put it, "Bowie was indispensable to our success."  Three Stars.

Baseball and Billions by Andrew Zimbalist.  (1992).  ISBN 0-465-00614-0.  This is the book that nearly cost MLB its anti-trust exemption.  Senator Howard Metzenbaum (D-Ohio) was seen numerous times thumbing through it during the congressional inquiries regarding baseball in the mid-90's.  Zimbalist is an economist and his book reads like a college text book.  However he offers groundbreaking insights into what drives the decision-making process of major league baseball owners.  Economic models covering competitive imbalance, the minor leagues, and player salaries.  Three Stars.

Playing the Field by Charles Euchner.  (1993).  ISBN 0-8018-4572-6.  A political science professor, Euchner studies the forces that drive local politicians to build stadiums for major league sports teams.  He devotes an entire chapter to the fight to build New Comiskey Park and has some very unique insights into why the ballpark is located where it is and the motives of Chicago's Bridgeporters to prevent it from being built on Armour Square Park.  Three Stars.

If this is popular, we'll add additional sections with additional titles.

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