The Essential Baseball Library
Wednesday, February 17, 1999
Baseball Is a Funny Game by Joe Garagiola (1960). This is one of the first books to take a decidedly humorous look at the game. It is unique in that it is also one of the first baseball books written by player without a ghostwriter or "as told to" co-writer. Garagiola was a major league catcher who went into broadcasting. Lippincott.
Catcher in the Wry by Bob Uecker with Mickey Herskowitz (1982). The dead-pan humor of the former major league catcher follows his 6-year career through four teams. Both autobiographical and anecdotal, a treasure trove of guffaws! Putnam.
The Great American Baseball Card Flipping, Trading and Bubble Gum Book edited by Brendan C. Boyd & Fred C. Harris (1973). A humorous look at baseball cards that takes you right back to your childhood.
It's Anybody's Ballgame by Joe Garagiola (1988). More autobiographical material by the former catcher, Today Show host, and color commentator. Contemporary Books.
It's Gone... No, Wait a Minute... by Ken Levine (1993). Levine is a former scriptwriter for such hit shows as MASH and Cheers. Following his dream, he became a baseball play-by-play announcer, first in the minors then on to the big leagues. Some wonderful stories about life behind the microphone and about the mythical stadium for his fantasy league team, The Pit.
Little League Confidential by Bill Geist (1992). Geist is seen on the CBS Sunday Morning show as a roving reporter who sees life in a different way than the rest of us. This book follows his experiences as a little league coach. Macmillan.
Temporary Insanity by Jay Johnstone with Rick Talley (1985), Over the Edge by Jay Johnstone with Rick Talley (1987). Contemporary Books, Inc., Some of My Best Friends Are Crazy by Jay Johnstone with Rick Talley (1990). Macmillan. Johnstone tells what is it like to be a journeyman ballplayer with a twisted sense of humor. Again, his first book is the best of the three although all are with a generous amount of laughs.
The Umpire Strikes Back by Ron Luciano and David Fisher (1982), Strike Two by Ron Luciano and David Fisher (1984), The Fall of the Roman Umpire by Ron Luciano and David Fisher (1986), Remembrance of Swings Past by Ron Luciano and David Fisher (1988). Bantam. These four books all present the lighter side of baseball from the umpire's perspective. Told by one of the most colorful umpires ever to don the blue, Luciano regales the reader with anecdotes and personal stories that cover the greats and the not so greats. The first book is considered the best of the