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501 Baseball Books Fans Must Read before They Die Paperback – April 1, 2013


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 420 pages
  • Publisher: University of Nebraska Press; 0th edition edition (April 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803240732
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803240735
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #639,528 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"We're destined to shuffle off this mortal coil eventually, but before doing so Ron Kaplan has plenty of suggestions regarding how baseball aficionados should spend their leisure time. Specifically, they should read all of the books listed in his 501 Baseball Books Fans Must Read Before They Die.
"Kaplan, a veteran book reviewer as well as the eponymous proprietor of Ron Kaplan's Baseball Bookshelf blog, clearly knows of what he writes. 501 Baseball Books is a remarkable compendium of national pastime tomes."

Benjamin Hill/MLB.com


"George Plimpton proposed ... 'the smaller the ball, the more formidable the literature.' Of course he had the relatively small baseball in mind, because its literature is formidable.... From this bewildering array of baseball books, Kaplan has chosen 501 of the best, making it easier for fans to find just the books to suit them (or to know what they're missing).... [A]nyone who loves to read about baseball will find in this book a companionable guide, far more fun than a reference work has any right to be."

Jim Gill/Shelf Life, New Philadelphia (Ohio) Times-Reporter


"Kaplan provides a stimulating and informational tour through what could be the ultimate baseball library this side of Cooperstown."

Dennis Anderson, GateHouse News Service


"If fans don't like what they see happening on the field this season, Kaplan has loads of suggestions for reading about better days."

John Gardner/The Find, Boston Globe


"Ron Kaplan's book is a giver as well as a keeper. Get one for yourself, and buy one for every person you know who loves the game and the books that herald its greatness."

Bookreporter.com

"Sportswriter and blogger Kaplan's first book is a fun and useful guide for finding arguably the best baseball books among the mounds of titles relating to this book-inspiring sport. . . . The author's well-informed and well-written comments are compelling enough to make this either a worthwhile light read or a handy reference for all readers of baseball literature."—Library Journal
(Library Journal)

"A fantastic page-turner. . . . Without a doubt 501 is a SABRite's ultimate reading bucket list."—John Vorperian, Southern New England Chapter, Society for American Baseball Research
(John Vorperian New England Chapter, Society for American Baseball Research)

"[501 Baseball Books Fans Must Read before They Die is] a generous, well-researched, and entertaining list of suggestions of what to read next."—Allan Wood, The Joy of Sox
(Allan Wood The Joy of Sox 2013-03-30)

"A self-proclaimed pack rat and baseball junkie, it's amazing enough that Kaplan was able to read all 501 of these books—to offer comprehensive summaries of each and every one is a truly remarkable accomplishment."—Foreword Reviews
(Foreword Reviews)

"Every page of this book is a discovery and a delight. Even an avid baseball reader will discover some new books to either check out at your local library or purchase at your local bookstore. . . . As a new baseball season begins, what better time to follow this wonderful roadmap to greater enjoyment of America's greatest game?"—Stuart Shiffman, Illinois Times
(Stuart Shiffman Illinois Times 2013-04-04)

From the Author

...A

More About the Author

Greetings, everybody.

In addition to working as a sports and features editor for a weekly New Jersey publication, I'm also a freelance writer, specializing in book reviews -- primarily baseball-related -- as well as pop culture. My work has appeared in such publications as Baseball America, New York Sportscene, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Mental Floss, ForeWord Magazine, January Magazine, E Magazine, Irish America, and American Book Review, among others.

I am a long-time member of the Society for American Baseball Research and serve as editor for the Bibliography Committee Newsletter.

I write about baseball books and other media regularly at RonKaplansBaseballBookshelf.com.

"501 Books Baseball Fans Must Read Before They Die," scheduled for publication by University of Nebraska Press in the spring of 2013, is my first book. I hope you it opens up news possibilities for items and issues you had not previously considered, and that you enjoy it and share it with your friends.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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This is a must have book and hopefully Mr. Kaplan will continue to update his list as new books come out.
Josh H.
Good humor supported by Mr Kaplan's obvious love for his subject make what could have been a tedious baseball bibliography into a book that is a joy to read.
Brian R. Beebe
If you love baseball and appreciate good writing then you will enjoy reading "501 Baseball Books Fans Must Read before They Die."
Mort Zachter

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on April 9, 2013
Format: Paperback
"Six months out of every year," laments Joe Hardy's wife Meg in the musical Damn Yankees, "I might as well be made of stone." It is a feeling all too true for the wives of many baseball junkies. We love the game, we love watching the game, we love debating the game, and we love reading about the game. That is why Ron Kaplan's new compendium, 501 BASEBALL BOOKS FANS MUST READ BEFORE THEY DIE, which arrives just in time for Opening Day, is already a great joy of the 2013 baseball season.

Any lover of baseball appreciates numbers, and Kaplan has some important numbers on his side when making the case for the books that appear on his list. The Hall of Fame in Cooperstown boasts a library of more than 10,000 volumes, and Kaplan has 2,000 of them in his personal collection. There is no doubt that even a list as large as 500 books may omit someone's personal favorite. He makes no claim that the books he has selected are the best. Instead, he hopes that his list will provide an entry into the world of baseball literature as well as connecting subjects not normally associated with the game. Books are divided by subjects selected by Kaplan himself and include a brief but comprehensive summary providing substantial information for readers. One of the joys of reading the list comes from discovering previously unknown baseball books. When you sit down to read it, keep a paper and pencil handy to allow you to jot down titles for the new books you will discover and certainly want to read.

The categories are indicative of the variety of books Kaplan considers. Some are obvious and include reference, biographies, memoirs and history. But categories such as pop culture, business and international may surprise readers.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Mort Zachter on March 25, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you love baseball and appreciate good writing then you will enjoy reading "501 Baseball Books Fans Must Read before They Die." Ron Kaplan has assembled a catalogue of 501 books he calls "an entry into the fascinating world of baseball literature, with its connections to other areas one might not normally associate with the game: fiction, history, science, the arts, music...."

He shows this by selecting, and briefly discussing, baseball books in 15 different categories (analysis, biography, ballparks, behind the scenes, business, fiction, history, instructional, international, minor leagues, pop culture, reference, statistics, umpires, and young readers). He writes with wit, engaging the reader in a voice that lets you know you're in the capable hands of someone who has spent a lifetime studying both the nuances of the game and the books that have come to define it. As a result, "501" is that rare handbook that can either be used as a reference guide to find, for example, the definitive book written about umpires ("As They See `Em"), or read from cover to cover without feeling you're trying to stir cement with your eye lashes.

To his credit, Kaplan is objective in his choices as to which books to include. Although he makes it clear he's not assembling the 501 best baseball books ever written (he acknowledges that is a highly subjective task at best) he hits all the classics. And he deftly lets you know how he feels about them. For example, if you read between the lines you can tell he views "Sandy Koufax: A Lefty's Legacy" as well-deserving of its status within the pantheon of great baseball biographies, but he has his doubts about the "NY Times" selecting "The Art of Fielding" as a best fiction book of the year.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By David Martinez on April 3, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are thousands of baseball titles in the world, and Ron Kaplan has done the impossible: read, reviewed, and cataloged the best of the best. People often ask me to name my favorite baseball books. Well, they're all Kaplan's book now: The Great American Novel, Ball Four, The Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, Moneyball, etc. Plus, Kaplan has profiled some less famous but no less wonderful titles, including The Catcher was a Spy, Cult Baseball Players, and hundreds of others. If you care about baseball literature, you have to buy this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mike Reuther on June 11, 2013
Format: Paperback
I had this targeted as a purchase from Amazon, but lo and behold I was scanning the new books shelves at my local library and there it was. It was a rainy Monday so I decided to find a comfortable chair and start reading. This is a nifty resource for serious and not-so-serious baseball readers. Of course, the very first thought that comes to mind if one is a serious baseball reader is why certain books were not included. I won't make a list. There is no way anyone can agree on the best books. Kaplan does a fine job summarizing all of the ones in this volume, many of which I've read. Some on his list I haven't read. A few, I hate to admit, I never heard of. Kaplan is a good writer, which makes it a joy to read. Those looking for deep analysis of books may be disappointed as the author devotes no more than a page to each work. Hey. Someone needed to come up with a well-written reference book for us baseball nuts out there who get our jollies reading about the game. Kudos to Kaplan.
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