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SephClone89
08-10-2009, 11:26 AM
I've not seen as much discussion as I'd like about baseball books on this forum, and especially White Sox books. Does anyone have reviews, recommendations, etc? What have we all read?

As far as Sox books go, I've read Roeper's book and am currently nearing the end of Eight Men Out. Are Burying the Black Sox or any other book on the 1919 World Series worth the read? Any books you'd recommend as a general history of the team? Are any of those "Ozzie Said to Herald" or books like that any good? Anyone read the new Go-Go to Glory?

As far as regular baseball books go, I'm more interested in dead-ball era and pre-expansion baseball. I've heard The Glory of Their Times given the highest accolades, so I figure to read that one soon. I've also heard good things about We Would Have Played for Nothing and Crazy '08. Anyone else have any other recommendations here? Anyone a Negro Leagues buff? Is Only the Ball was White one of the best ones for that?

GoGoCrede
08-10-2009, 11:31 AM
I've read Eight Men Out and Roeper's book as well. I recommend "Say It's So," which covers the 2005 team. It's pretty in-depth when it comes to giving information about the players - there's some good info in there about Contreras, for example, and how he defected from Cuba. There's also a lot about AJ. There's lots of stuff in there as well about how close all the guys were.

mccoydp
08-10-2009, 11:35 AM
I bought "When Chicago Ruled Baseball: The Cubs-White Sox World Series of 1906" last Friday at Barnes and Noble. It looks pretty good. I'll read it when my class ends this Saturday.

Craig Grebeck
08-10-2009, 12:01 PM
Moneyball is a pretty good story. Lewis is an okay writer (a little too dramatic at times for my tastes, and I much prefer Liar's Poker) and it's an interesting take on a front office hellbent on exposing a market that undervalued OBP. The book by Schuerholz, Built to Win (at least that's what I think it's called), is a rag. If anything, it clues you in on what a tremendous schmuck that guy is. It's like reading a book by Bill Lumbergh.

Baseball Between the Numbers is a decent anthology, with some good essays and some not so good ones. I think a must-own would have to be James' Historical Abstract. Even if you aren't into SABR stuff, it's fun to read about the game pre-1900 in a concise and enjoyable manner.

GoGoCrede
08-10-2009, 12:04 PM
If we're talking non-White Sox books, I am currently reading "Opening Day," the story of Jackie Robinson's first year in the majors, and it's awesome. Also, I can't say enough about how great "Boys of Summer" is.

roylestillman
08-10-2009, 01:10 PM
I just got White Sox Journal by John Snyder. Its a year by year, even day by day account of highlights of the Sox. Does wonders for ending debates like "What year was the Opening Day where Ron Blomberg hit the home run?"

gobears1987
08-10-2009, 01:20 PM
Moneyball is a pretty good story. Lewis is an okay writer (a little too dramatic at times for my tastes, and I much prefer Liar's Poker) and it's an interesting take on a front office hellbent on exposing a market that undervalued OBP. The book by Schuerholz, Built to Win (at least that's what I think it's called), is a rag. If anything, it clues you in on what a tremendous schmuck that guy is. It's like reading a book by Bill Lumbergh.

Take your copy of Moneyball and burn it. Billy Beane is a ****ing idiot and any book that tells me Nick Swisher is a good player is a piece of ****. What I find funny is that Billy Beane lambasts players such as Prince Fielder only for them all outperform his crappy draft picks.

esbrechtel
08-10-2009, 01:24 PM
I bought "When Chicago Ruled Baseball: The Cubs-White Sox World Series of 1906" last Friday at Barnes and Noble. It looks pretty good. I'll read it when my class ends this Saturday.

I liked it. But I am also a history teacher....

Craig Grebeck
08-10-2009, 01:26 PM
Take your copy of Moneyball and burn it. Billy Beane is a ****ing idiot and any book that tells me Nick Swisher is a good player is a piece of ****. What I find funny is that Billy Beane lambasts players such as Prince Fielder only for them all outperform his crappy draft picks.
Sweet man. Thanks for the advice.

Swisher's an .800-.850 OPS who can play the outfield and fill in at first base. He is what he is. Check out the 2003 draft -- it was a good pick.

Also, I said it was a good story. It is. Read the chapter(s) on Scott Hatteberg. It's extremely well done.

Why do people act like Beane wrote the god damn book? Seriously. I mean, have you read it?

areilly
08-10-2009, 01:35 PM
Veeck As In Wreck is a great one, both as a Sox book and a general baseball history book. It's hard to believe any owner ever got away with the things Veeck did, or that he could ever run organizations the way he did.

If you're interested in the actual mechanics and industry of sportswriting, Jerome Holtzman's No Cheering In The Press Box offers a pretty good look behind the curtain from some of the craft's heaviest hitters.

It's probably 2/3 bull****, but David Wells' Perfect I'm Not is pretty humorous all the same - and he actually has a lot of high praise for KW (and makes a very prescient forecast for Mark Buehrle's career as well).

PaleHoser
08-10-2009, 02:00 PM
Some of my favorites that haven't been mentioned yet (Sox related) -

- "Through Hope and Despair: A Fan's Memories of the Chicago White Sox 1967 - 1997" by Dan Helpingstine

- "Park Life: The Summer of 1977 at Comiskey Park" by Peter Elliott

- "The Hustler's Handbook" by Bill Veeck

- "Shoeless Joe" by W.P. Kinsella. This book is the basis of the movie "Field of Dreams" and is much better than the movie IMO.

Unmentioned general baseball -

- "The Lords of the Realm", by John Helyar and "A Whole Different Ball Game: The Inside Story of the Baseball Revolution" by Marvin Miller. These should be required reading for anyone who wants to understand ownership and the MLBPA.

- "The Summer of '49" by David Halberstam.

- "Men at Work" by George Will.

southside rocks
08-10-2009, 02:54 PM
Why do people act like Beane wrote the god damn book? Seriously. I mean, have you read it?

And why do people persist in reacting to the book as if Michael Lewis were a big proponent of Beane's way of thinking? Lewis is a JOURNALIST. He no more canonizes Beane in Moneyball than he makes a saint out of John Gutfreund in Liar's Poker. People need to get over it already. :rolleyes:

Roger Angell has turned out some of the finest baseball writing ever, IMO. It's great to read in the off-season when you're missing the game.

I am almost finished with Yogi Berra: Eternal Yankee. It's a nice slice of history.

TDog
08-10-2009, 03:18 PM
Take your copy of Moneyball and burn it. Billy Beane is a ****ing idiot and any book that tells me Nick Swisher is a good player is a piece of ****. What I find funny is that Billy Beane lambasts players such as Prince Fielder only for them all outperform his crappy draft picks.

I have never owned a copy of Moneyball, but I sold my Oakland A's 2002 Media Guide to the man in charge of set design for the Moneyball movie, so I was looking forward to seeing the movie -- my anticipation being a past tense thing, of course.

If you want a copy of Moneyball, you needn't go to a book store. Go to your local Goodwill outlet or Salvation Army thrift store and you are likely to see a copy in near mint condition for under a dollar. You also are likely to see multiple copes available at used book sales. Dealers who frequent such sales don't buy the book because there are so many copies out there looking for a home. The money you spend on the used copy doesn't go back to the author, which some may see as a plus. Typically you can get a better deals on the Internet than you can in book stores with so many people selling used books.

As for the point about on-base percentage and Nick Swisher, I believe Nick Swisher is the poster boy for the current overvaluing of on-base percentage, which is probable the subject for another thread.

On the subject of this thread, there is a strong biography on Joe Jackson -- Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball by Harvey Frommer. It came out in 1992 and is probably available in trade paperback. I bought it in an Anaheim bookstore before seeing the White Sox beat the Angels 8-2 on the strength of a six-run ninth.

Hoopla by Harry Stein is a fictionalized account of the Black Sox scandal, told from the alternating perspectives of a fictional sportswriter and George Davis "Buck" Weaver, the most tragic figure in the scandal. I've read it twice and would be due to read it again if I had the time. The novel puts the Black Sox into the perspective of its time, beginning with the Jack Johnson-Jim Jeffries "fight of the century" in 1910 covered by co-narrator Luther Pond.

Another perspective of the 1919 World Series can be found in Red Legs and Black Sox. That one is non-fiction, told from the Reds' perspective. I haven't read it, but I've heard good things.

Newer baseball books include Watching Baseball by Jerry Remy. I don't totally agree with some of his assertions, but I enjoyed his perspective, although he is writing for an audience that doesn't know as much about baseball as I do. New, affordable copies can be found on the Internet.

Impossible to find (if, like me, you don't want to pay $50 for a book) is Percentage Baseball by Earnshaw Cook, first published in 1966 by the MIT Press. This is a book for people who think they know baseball. It explains things such as why the sacrifice bunt is low percentage baseball. It also contradicts some of the things I understand are asserted in Moneyball. Of course, it is baseball in the purest abstract -- not the Bill James abstract involving players, but how the game works exclusive of the players who play it.

TornLabrum
08-10-2009, 04:31 PM
Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball is a horrible cut and paste job. Much of the information, for example, about Comiskey Park was lifted from Green Cathedrals. As a result of not reading with any kind of discrimination, Frommer had the centerfield shower built into the ballpark in 1910 by Comiskey. Frommer also wrote a very bad book about baseball before 1900, but perhaps fortunately I forget the title.

I remember Frommer was interviewed after the Jackson book came out by Mike Murphy who actually did bother to inform him that the shower was put in by Veeck in 1960, but NO! Comiskey put it in, and Frommer had some wistful comment about showers for the fans.

A far better researched book if you can find it is "Say It Ain't So, Joe!" by Daniel Gropman (I hope I got his first name right). Interestingly enough, he went into writing the book thinking Jackson was involved in throwing the World Series and came out convinced that he hadn't been.

MeteorsSox4367
08-10-2009, 05:22 PM
As for Sox books, "Stuck on the Sox" is one of the books I remember reading as a kid. It came out in about '76 and was written by Sox historian Rich Lindberg. I met him, got a copy and he signed it for me. It may or may not still be in print.

The White Sox Encyclopedia is a stat geek's friend.

As for general baseball books, every summer I reread "Ball Four", my favorite book of all time.

I'm currently reading "Summer of '75" by Mike Shropshire about baseball in general and the Texas Rangers in particular. Some of the anecdotes in there are hilarious - especially the ones about Billy Martin when he was the Rangers' manager.

TDog
08-10-2009, 05:29 PM
Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball is a horrible cut and paste job. Much of the information, for example, about Comiskey Park was lifted from Green Cathedrals. As a result of not reading with any kind of discrimination, Frommer had the centerfield shower built into the ballpark in 1910 by Comiskey. Frommer also wrote a very bad book about baseball before 1900, but perhaps fortunately I forget the title.

I remember Frommer was interviewed after the Jackson book came out by Mike Murphy who actually did bother to inform him that the shower was put in by Veeck in 1960, but NO! Comiskey put it in, and Frommer had some wistful comment about showers for the fans.

A far better researched book if you can find it is "Say It Ain't So, Joe!" by Daniel Gropman (I hope I got his first name right). Interestingly enough, he went into writing the book thinking Jackson was involved in throwing the World Series and came out convinced that he hadn't been.

You might be right about Frommer's book. It does include the September, 28, 1920, transcripts of Jackson's grand jury testimony in an appendix. I don't see how anyone can read that and not believe he was part of the conspiracy, whether or not he played to lose.

chisox117
08-11-2009, 12:49 AM
Rich Lindberg's "Stealing First in a Two Team Town" is a great read for any Sox fan.
:gulp:

tacosalbarojas
08-11-2009, 01:10 AM
And why do people persist in reacting to the book as if Michael Lewis were a big proponent of Beane's way of thinking? Lewis is a JOURNALIST. He no more canonizes Beane in Moneyball than he makes a saint out of John Gutfreund in Liar's Poker. People need to get over it already. :rolleyes:

Roger Angell has turned out some of the finest baseball writing ever, IMO. It's great to read in the off-season when you're missing the game.

I am almost finished with Yogi Berra: Eternal Yankee. It's a nice slice of history.
Count me in as one of Angell's fans as well. Late Innings, The Summer Game, Five Seasons, and Season Ticket are all well worth your time and do not get old after several (dozens) of re-readings. Great recounting of baseball in the 60s, 70s and 80s.

tacosalbarojas
08-11-2009, 01:10 AM
Anyone here read "Blue Ruin" a fictionalized account of the 1919 fix?

popilius
08-11-2009, 01:24 AM
Veeck As In Wreck is a great one, both as a Sox book and a general baseball history book. It's hard to believe any owner ever got away with the things Veeck did, or that he could ever run organizations the way he did.



I was also going to mention Veeck as in Wreck.

Another book from which I learned a lot about the origins and growth of baseball teams, as well as the development of the National and American leagues is Playing for Keeps: A History of Early Baseball. It's mostly pre-1900.

TornLabrum
08-11-2009, 01:38 AM
You might be right about Frommer's book. It does include the September, 28, 1920, transcripts of Jackson's grand jury testimony in an appendix. I don't see how anyone can read that and not believe he was part of the conspiracy, whether or not he played to lose.

Well, for one thing, Jackson was told to confess by Comiskey's lawyer Albert Austrian, and Jackson did because he mistakenly thought that Austrian was representing him.

TDog
08-11-2009, 02:01 AM
Well, for one thing, Jackson was told to confess by Comiskey's lawyer Albert Austrian, and Jackson did because he mistakenly thought that Austrian was representing him.

Austrian didn't tell him to take the money, though. And I don't believe there is any question that he took the money.

TornLabrum
08-11-2009, 12:04 PM
Austrian didn't tell him to take the money, though. And I don't believe there is any question that he took the money.

The money Jackson brought to give to Comiskey but was told by Harry Grabiner, "We know all about that," before telling Jackson to leave? You mean that money? The money that was thrown on his bed?

kaufsox
08-11-2009, 03:52 PM
reading a good book on umpires right now, "As They See 'em." A former professor of mine has written a number of good baseball books, mostly biographies.

chisox12
08-11-2009, 04:29 PM
"The Bad Guys Won".....story of the 86 Mets and all the crazy stuff that went on behind the scenes is a very interesting read. After reading that, it's a miracle that team won the World Series.

fram40
08-11-2009, 05:14 PM
Sox book - - "Through Hope and Despair: A Fan's Memories of the Chicago White Sox 1967 - 1997" by Dan Helpingstine. One of the most depressing books I have ever read - especially since I read it near the end of the 2005 season when it seemed as if the greatest Sox season of my life would go down the toilet. I ofter wonder if I read it today for the first time - after the WS championship season - if a book detailing Sox incompetence and misfortune would seem so bad.

"Then Ozzie Said to Harold" by Lew Freedman and Billy Pierce

I was disappointed in Roeper's book. Given that he and I are the same age and usually like his writing, I expected more. But that might say more about me than the book.


Other baseball books I liked that I have read in the last year or so:

"The Big Bam" - Babe Ruth biography by Leigh Montville
"The Soul of Baseball" - Buck O'Neil memoir - by Joe Posnanski
"Rob Neyer's Big Book of Baseball Legends"

Leo Durocher's autobiography was fantastic as well. I read that about 25 years ago - but I would still recommend it.

Lip Man 1
08-11-2009, 06:06 PM
Folks:

You haven't read a Sox book until you've read both of Bob Vanderberg's classics:

59' The Summer of the Sox and

Minnie and the Mick

Both are meticulously researched.

Lip

Thome4Ever
08-12-2009, 11:40 AM
As I was reading this thread, I was wondering "what was the novel I read about the 1919 Black Sox" some years ago. And another poster mentioned it, "Blue Ruin". I read it probably 15 years ago and don't remember much about it now, but I do recall enjoying it very much.

Other great baseball books:
"Ball Four" - simply the best sports book of all time (I'm due for another read)
"The Bronx Zoo" - Sparky Lyle's chronicle of the 1978 Yankees, the year he went from "Cy Young to Sayonara"
"Ted Williams" - Leigh Montville's bio
"The Big Bam" - Montville again, this time with Babe Ruth
"The Best Seat in Baseball, But You Have to Stand" - about a MLB umpiring crew in 1974 (including Harry Wendlestadt and Doug Harvey)
Many of Peter Golenbock's chronicles of teams (Cubs, Cards, BoSox and Brooklyn Dodgers, although the Mets version he did was not very good IMHO as he depended on Al Leiter too much). I'd love to see him tackle the history of the ChiSox.
I also enjoyed Joe Torre's recent book on his time with the Yanks.

I just bought "Go Go to Glory" about the 1959 Sox and am looking forward to reading it.

VeeckAsInWreck
08-12-2009, 01:04 PM
Sox book - - "Through Hope and Despair: A Fan's Memories of the Chicago White Sox 1967 - 1997" by Dan Helpingstine. One of the most depressing books I have ever read - especially since I read it near the end of the 2005 season when it seemed as if the greatest Sox season of my life would go down the toilet. I ofter wonder if I read it today for the first time - after the WS championship season - if a book detailing Sox incompetence and misfortune would seem so bad.


Yeah, that is a great book. I read it before the start of the 2002 season and man was it depressing. But for the younger fans, it gives you an idea of the suffering that Sox fans went through in the 70's and 80's.

Obviously I will recommend the book Veeck As In Wreck. I had just finished reading the book when I joined WSI, hence my handle. I would have loved to sit down for a beer with Bill and talk baseball with him. His book is an easy read and very enjoyable. You'll find yourself laughing out loud in the first chapter as he tells the Eddie Gaedel story.

PKalltheway
08-15-2009, 12:56 PM
Here are some of my favorites:

Crazy '08 by Cait Murphy. I love baseball history, and if any of you enjoy learning about the dead-ball era, this is for you. The book is mainly about the wild NL Pennant chase of 1908 between the Chicago Cubs, New York Giants, and the Pittsburgh Pirates. It only touches lightly on the AL Pennant chase though, which was probably the only problem I had with the book.

You're Out and You're Ugly, Too is a book written by the late AL umpire Durwood Merrill, along with Jim Dent. This book gives you an insight into the world of umpires, and Durwood Merrill's life as an umpire. This book is absolutely hilarious! Easily my favorite baseball book, I've read probably four or five times!

Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball's Last Hero by David Maraniss is another good one, as well as:

You're Missing a Great Game by Whitey Herzog and Jonathan Pitts (Herzog's take on baseball, as well as a reflection on his career)

Ball Four by Jim Bouton (I don't think I need to say much about this book, it's one of the best baseball books ever written)

Three Nights in August by Buzz Bissinger (This gives an insight to the manager's side of game. Gets pretty analytical at times, but if you enjoy baseball strategy, you'll enjoy this book)

The Gashouse Gang by John Heidenry. This is a book about the 1934 St. Louis Cardinals, conflicting personalities and all.

Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig by Jonathan Eig is another great book as well.

This is a great thread, you guys have given me some great recommendations on baseball books! I'll have to try some of these out!

Eddo144
08-15-2009, 01:56 PM
I just finished, and loved, Ball Four. Anyone who follows baseball should read it at least once. Bouton provides tremendous insight into the life of baseball players, at least in the 60's and 70's, and he has a very unique and entertaining voice. The fact that he was ridiculously labeled a "deviant" for writing it only makes it more intriguing.

Anyone interested in baseball strategy should take a look at The Book, by Tango, Lichtman, and Dolphin. It's extremely dry, and I haven't made it all the way through yet, but it goes into great detail on the strategy behind lineup construction, bunting, and pinch-hitting, among many other topics.

I wasn't particularly impressed with Shoeless Joe, the book that Field of Dreams was based off. It's a rare case of me liking the movie better than the book.

I really want to read The Soul of Baseball, Joe Posnanski's biography on Buck O'Neil. I'm a big fan of Posnanski's columns and blog entries, and I also intend to pick up a copy of his book that comes out next month, The Machine, which is about the great Reds teams of the mid-70's.

TommyJohn
08-15-2009, 02:53 PM
I was also no fan of Shoeless Joe. I thought the book was awful.

There was a book about ten years ago that was about the Oakland A's World Series teams of the 1970's. I forget the title, but I am sure it can be found in libraries. It was a good book.

The Curse of Rocky Colavito. I normally don't read books with "curse" in the title, but I made an exception for this one-I like the Indians and their history is an entertaining one. Author Terry Pluto doesn't ascribe a "curse" to the team, he merely sees the trade of Colavito in 1960 as the flash point that sent the franchise into a 34 year malaise. He also thoroughly trashes Frank Lane and pretty much blames him for the Indian decline in the 1960's and after.

Who's On Third? For my money, one of the best sports books written. Ever. I am serious, I am a fan of Rich Lindberg's writing because of this book. His opening chapter "To Comiskey Park, with love" is the best chapter in the book.

Sox: From Lane and Fain to Zisk and Fisk This was Bob Vanderberg's first White Sox book-a series of "Boys of Summer"-esque interviews with Sox players and personnel from the start of the Go-Go era to the early '80's (when the book was written.) This one is no longer in print, but is available at the library. I recommend it to any Sox fan who wants to know more about the history of the team. It is from this book that I first learned the history of the team in the 50's and 60's-I also first learned the details of the 1967 pennant chase and "Black Wednesday." Also, how Eddie Stanky once denied Vice-President Hubert Humphrey entrance to the Sox clubhouse after a tough loss in Minnesota. (Seems they couldn't win big ones there back then, either.) Imagine Ozzie Guillen pulling a stunt like that today. Speaking of 1967, in the chapter of Ken Berry there is a great pic of Elston Howard of the Red Sox tagging Berry out at the plate to end a Sox-Red Sox clash in August. That play is well-remembered and revered in Boston, but hardly anyone in Chicago knows about it.

Ball Four I'll chime in with a recommendation for this one. It is the only sports book to make the New York Times' list of "The 100 most important books of the 20th century."

michned
08-15-2009, 07:41 PM
As far as books that haven't been mentioned in this thread, two I really enjoyed were "Catcher in the Wry" by Bob Uecker and "The Umpire Strikes Back" by the late, great Ron Luciano.

Also want to vouch for the authenticity of "Minnie and the Mick." Bob Vanderberg doesn't leave out a thing, recalling all of the Yankees-Sox series throughout the Go-Go era.

TornLabrum
08-16-2009, 12:10 AM
One I read, probably when I was in high school, that was very good was Joe Garagiola's Baseball Is a Funny Game. If you can find it, I highly recommend it.

tacosalbarojas
08-16-2009, 12:19 AM
Thumbs up to "Who's On Third" "Fain to Lane and Zisk to Fisk" and "Baseball Is A Funny Game". I have all three. I'll have to re-read that opening chapter from Lindberg on Comiskey.

Southsider101
08-16-2009, 01:18 AM
I highly recommend Branch Rickey: Baseball's Ferocious Gentleman by Lee Lowenfish. This book is the complete Rickey biography; it's well researched and details his career as a player, coach and executive. While Rickey is best known for his role with the Brooklyn Dodgers and bringing Jackie Robinson to the major leagues, it also describes how he built the St Louis Cardinals teams of the 1930S and 40S, and later the Pirates into contenders. After reading this book, it could be argued that Branch Rickey was MLB's most revolutionary figure. Not only did he desegregate the major leagues, he also established the modern day farm system, permanent spring training camps, and introduced modern training techniques which were years ahead of their time.

johnr1note
08-16-2009, 11:04 AM
I'd like to mention a few of my favorite baseball books not mentioned so far:

"Chicago in the World Series, 1903-2005" by Bruce a Rubenstein. A separate chapter is devoted to each World Series the Cubs or Sox participated in. Its basically a summary of newspaper accounts of the writers who covered each event, but I find it quite interesting.

"Dynasty" by Peter Golenbock. A "Boys of Summer" approach to the New York Yankee teams of the 50s and 60s. Each season from 1949-1964 has its own chapter, each chapter focuses on one or two individual players. A superb read.

"Miracle Collapse" by Doug Feldman and "Durocher's Cubs" by David Claerbaut -- both detail the Cubs teams of 1969 and the early 70s and how they ALMOST won. A sadistic pleasure for those of use who are "flubbsessed." Ron Santo never looked better.

"Total White Sox," a reference book put together by Rich Lindberg, is a decent attempt to catalog White Sox history. More of a coffee table book, its got lots of great information.

"As Good as it Got" By David Alan Heller, an in depth look at the St. Louis Browns in the only year they won the pennant, 1944. I have a soft spot for the true underdog.

"Good Enough to Dream" by Roger Kahn. Kahn's "Boys of Summer" is a classic, but in some ways, this book is better -- it takes a "Boys of Summer" approach to a minor league team, the Utica Blue Sox.

"Baseball, an Informal History" by Douglas Wallop. The author of the novel that the musical "Damned Yankees" was based upon gives us an excellent overview of baseball history, both on the field and off, from the 1869 to the mid 20th century.

"Baseball: the Early Years" "Baseball: The Golden Age" & "Baseball: the People's Game" all by Harold Seymour (though the last was published posthumously by his widow, who edited the book and put it together). If you REALLY want baseball history at its best and most detailed, you must read these books. These are extremely well written, and thoroughly researched and footnoted. The accounts of the foundations of modern baseball (the founding of the American League), the Federal League litigation, and the Black Sox scandal was all eye opening to me. If you are going to read a baseball book, read these.