The Essential Baseball Library
December 11, 1998
The Baseball Encyclopedia edited by Joseph L. Reichler. The classic reference work that includes a brief history of the game, seasonal breakdowns, complete statistics for every player and manager, all-time leaders and a trade register. No fan should be without it.
The Sports Encyclopedia Baseball edited by David S. Neft & Richard M. Cohen. The editors take a slightly different approach presenting their material in a yearly format complete with seasonal and world series recaps, rosters and statistics. This work is a must for cross-referencing as every single game appearance is accounted for starting at 1901.
Total Baseball edited by John Thorn & Pete Palmer. Even more complete than the MacMillan effort, TB is a virtual baseball library in one mammoth volume. Included are articles on history, demographics, nicknames, superstitions, fans, scandals, tragedies, managers, umpires, streaks, awards, lore, business, trades, broadcasting and other leagues. Biographical essays, all-time rosters, all-time leaders and of course, complete player and pitcher records (with sabermetrical stats) make up the bulk of the work.
The Ballplayers edited by Mike Shatzkin (1994). Over 6,000 thumbnail sketches of players, managers, teams, leagues, umpires, owners, scouts, writers, broadcasters and ballparks including Negro leaguers. Length ranges from two pages (Babe Ruth) to one sentence (several). Many respected authors and SABR members contributed to this impressive volume.
Baseball's First Stars by Frederick Ivor-Campbell, Robert Tiemann and Mark Rucker. Two volumes of SABR's biographies of 19th century players. Includes career statistics on them as well as profiles of other prominent figures. Both books combined includes 289 entries. Society for Baseball Research.
Baseball Records Registry edited by Joe Dittmar. Compiled from hours and hours of box score research. SABR.
The Baseball Timeline: The Day-by-Day History of Baseball from Valley Forge to the Present Day by Burt Solomon (1997). The definitive timeline-style book to date makes an excellent addition to all baseball libraries. Starts with a 1778 diary entry of a Valley Forge soldier and continues day-by-day, year-by-year through 1996. In addition to the on-the-filed highlights (and lowlights), the reader is notified along the way of births, deaths, significant trades, unusual and/or humorous occurrences, rules changes, important books, movie releases, television programs and much, much more all of which is referenced in a handy index. Also included is a helpful bibliography. Avon.
The Biographical History of Baseball edited by Donald Dewey & Nicholas Acocella (1995). Over 1500 players, managers, executives, broadcasters and writers are profiled in this collection which is a comprehensive review of the essential and most influential people in baseball history.
The Dickson Baseball Dictionary edited by Paul Dickson (1989). Contains the meaning, origin, usage and synonyms of over 5,000 baseball-related terms and names.
Encyclopedia of Major League Baseball Teams edited by Donald Dewey & Nicholas Acocella (1994). The editors provide detailed accounts of all 121 major league franchises since 1876. Included are the owners, players, ballparks, dramatic events and pivotal moments in each team's history from the Altoona Mountain Citys to the Worcester Brown Stockings.
The Great Encyclopedia of 19th Century Major League Baseball by David Nemec (1997). Highly recommended, it goes well beyond any contemporary encyclopedia and is essential for all baseball historians. Donald I. Fine.
Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract by Bill James (1986). Baseball history as only Bill James, pioneering sabermetrician, can tell it. He not only provides stimulating insights to each decade but ranks the all-time players by his time-honored methods. 1986 Casey Award winner.
The Bill James Guide to Baseball Managers by Bill James (1997). The grand master takes a look at the all-time skippers, decade-by decade, statistically analyzing them as only James can. He also breaks down the managers in a categorical chart in the back of the book allowing one to evaluate the best of all time from this unique perspective. Scribners.
All-Time Baseball Sourcebook (1998). Provides intricate breakdowns of seasons, awards, drafts, franchises, ballparks and much more. A monster of a reference book. Stats Inc.
The Total Baseball Catalog edited by David Pietrusza, Lloyd Johnson and Bob Carroll. Updated version of the Whole baseball Catalog including information on radio, television, music, collectibles, fantasy camps, books, films, videos, award winners and much more. Total Sports.