The Essential Baseball Library
April 8, 1997
The Fireside Book of Baseball (1956).
The Second Fireside Book of Baseball (1958).
The Third Fireside Book of Baseball (1968).
The Fourth Fireside Book of Baseball (1987) edited by Charles Einstein. If you like baseball, you'll love the Fireside series. Einstein continuously gathered the best writing and reporting from the previous eras and presents them in four outstanding volumes. If I were on a deserted island, I would want The Baseball Encyclopedia and the Fireside books with me. Volume three is particularly hard to find. The Baseball Reader (1980) and The New Baseball Reader (1991) feature the best of these volumes with additional material included.
The Armchair Book of Baseball (1985).
The Armchair Book of Baseball Volume II (1987) edited by John Thorn. These are probably the best non-Fireside compilations available.
The Hot Stove League by Lee Allen (1955). Allen's book is not really an anthology but rather an interesting miscellany of baseball origins, myths, legends and obscure facts and trivia. Also from Allen, The National League Story (1961) and The American League Story (1962).
How Life Imitates the World Series (1982).
Why Time Begins on Opening Day (1984) by Thomas Boswell. Both entertaining reads from the best of Boswell's Washington Post columns.
Insider's Baseball edited by L. Robert Davids (1983). A compilation of the best of the earlier editions of SABR's Baseball Research Journal. The editor is the founder of SABR and some of the contributors include Bill James, Lawrence Ritter and Pete Palmer. Also of interest is The National Pastime (1987) from SABR as the best of that publication.