Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ Free Shipping
+ Free Shipping
+ Free Shipping
Top of the Order: 25 Writers Pick Their Favorite Baseball Player of All Time Paperback – April 6, 2010
|New from||Used from|
See the Best Books of 2017
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for the best books of the year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
“Some of the players chosen are surprising, some not, but the real fun of Top of the Order comes from reading how and why these particular players were chosen…There is something in Top of the Order for everyone, even non-fans of the game.”
InternetReviewofBooks.com, April 2010
“If you’re looking to gear up for the season, try Top of the Order, a nice collection of essays on favorite players…It’s a lot of fun to learn a little about each of the favorites and why that particular player strikes a chord with the writer. Each essay is a nice bite-size piece of history in a sport that is nothing if not rich in history…The Top of the Order writers deliver the goods…Overall, Top of the Order is a good book for any baseball fan, casual or die-hard. There’s a little something in it for everybody.”
Tucson Citizen, 4/14/10
“The essays chosen for this collection help define what it means to be beset by that strange, incurable condition known as baseball fandom. This isn’t just a book about RBIs or out-of-the-park homeruns but rather a tribute to the pitchers, catchers, and sluggers who connected with the hearts of their fans.”
Asbury Park Press, 5/2/10
“You may—or you may not—know all of the 25 writers here, but if you're a fan of America's pastime, you're undoubtedly familiar with the names of the famed players.”
Largehearted Boy, 4/29/10
“Baseball fans build their own personal relationship with the game and its players, and these relationships are portrayed exceptionally well in Top of the Order…Sean Manning has brought together a stellar group of writers, journalists, musicians, and entertainers, and each shares a story of a ballplayer who has touched their life.”
Farther off the Wall, 4/14/10
“There's only 25 who made this first one. We'd love to see another 25 write their essays next year, and 25 more the year after.”
“Devoted baseball fans will surely have their favorite players—and Top of the Order gives readers a chance to compare their picks with those of 25 writers...These 25 writers, making 25 choices, offer readers far more than 25 chances to argue, debate, agree, complain and then, hopefully, return to real-life pursuits.”
“The concept of Top of the Order is a good one…[An] eclectic roster of writers.”
New York Post “Required Reading” column, 4/4/10
“A delightful reminder of why we love baseball. Top of the Order gets to players’ quirks—what makes them individuals in a team game.”
Louisville Courier-Journal, 4/3/10 and Newark Star-Ledger, 4/4/10
“Some writers chose the greats: Roger Kahn, a great himself, actually manages to find something new to say about Jackie Robinson. Some selections are quirky: actor and screenwriter Michael Ian Black chooses former Mets outfielder Mookie Wilson, inspired by a visit Mookie made to Black's hometown of Hillsboro, N.J., when Black was 11…Others, like editor Sean Manning's own choice, Michael Jordan—yes, that Michael Jordan, the great basketball player and mediocre minor leaguer—are so out of left field as to inspire awe.”
Deseret News, 4/3/10
“An entertaining collection of writings that baseball fans will thoroughly enjoy.”
Bookviews.com, April 2010
“Fun reading…Between its covers you will find some unusual choices among the writers who include singers, comedians and film critics. Their enthusiasm for those whom they think are the best players of a game is contagious and reveals why baseball continues to hold a place in the heart for many Americans.”
“Leading off this impressive lineup of fiction and nonfiction writers, journalists, musicians, etc., is W.P. Kinsella with a vivid foreword reminding baseball fans why they love the sport. Then the all-star contributors present their favorite ball player…On many occasions, the writer’s explanation for his or her choice tells us much about the writer’s own youth and subsequent career choices—thus the ultimate charm of this collection is how it tells us something about ourselves as well as our heroes.”
“The profiles run the gamut from serious to whimsical; virtually all expose an element of baseball’s quirky, often irrational fandom. Great fun for fans, who will be inspired to examine their own fond feelings for that over-the-hill middle reliever on the downside of a mediocre career.”
“Manning has assembled an eclectic group…All these different ‘flavors’ merely add to the enjoyment and will no doubt make the reader reflect on his or her own off-beat favorite.”
“Essays ranging from whimsical to weighty. The delicious diversity of the voices and the choices makes this a home run for baseball fans of all ages and affiliations, pop-culture junkies and anyone else who has ever fallen under the spell of America’s favorite summertime sport.”
Roanoke Times, 6/6/10
“The choices are surprising, and the essayists’ reasons for loving them are delightful…You won’t read about Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Ted Williams or Joe DiMaggio in this book. But you’ll discover that even players who never won a World Series ring somehow managed to win a place in some fan’s heart.”
“Some surprising inclusions.”
Asbury Park Press, 6/13/10
“The contributors—not all sports writers—and the players they have chosen constitute an eclectic gathering…The well-told stories—fun in some cases and moving in others—illustrate once again the literary potential of the team sport that is most absorbed in the triumphs and failures of the individual player.”
Ron Kaplan’s Baseball Bookshelf blog, 4/1/10
“There’s an eclectic group of contributors here…Some essays cover foreign players and some aren’t even real. Some are Hall of Famers, while others aren’t exactly household names and one didn’t even make it as a pro. But these players have one thing in common: for whatever reason, they were someone’s favorite. The heart wants what the heart wants; there’s not always a logical explanation.”
Corduroy Books website, 4/6/10
“It’s a hell of a book, funny and fast…Are there misses? Reader, please: I’m not gonna subject you to a baseball metaphor or anything (not every hit can be a homer; not every game can be a winner, etc. until blech), but yes, there are misses. More often, however, there’s that great, great moment, that best term from both baseball and books: connect. There’s contact made.”
Sacramento/San Francisco Book Review, April 2010
“Top of the Order differentiates itself from the standard yearly crop of baseball biographies and statistical treatises by being a collection of essays…[A] wide range of contributing authors.”
“Top of the Order is the early favorite for our Best Book of 5770.”
“A wonderful addition to the baseball library…Twenty-five beautifully written, memory-evoking and all around gripping reminiscences of the players that have touched our lives…Features a diverse array of contributors…The selections of the writers is at times obvious and at other times idiosyncratic but that is one of the reasons Top of the Order is so special…The contributors to Top of the Order have been inspired to deliver some of the finest sports writing that I have read in recent years—and often from contributors who would not be considered ‘sports writers.’ Not just because the writing is beautiful, but because it resonates powerfully with the reader; it is as if the writers and the reader share a common past and common memories—the common ground of being fans of the sport…Each of the selections will evoke memories in the true baseball fan.”
Boston Globe “A Reading Life” column, 4/4/10
“’Favorite,’ unlike ‘greatest,’ covers a multitude of sins and allows for personal reflection which is what this book…is all about.”
About the Author
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The first two stories captivate the reader. I highly recommend this book.
In "Top of the Order," 25 writers select their favorite players and write about them. The players range from Hall of Famers Lou Gehrig and Greg Maddux to Neifi Perez and Michael Jordan (yes, that Michael Jordan).
The beauty of the book is that the writers don't use a formula to write about their favorite player. Each writer has a different style, approach and perspective. Every piece is interesting.
Here are what some of the writers had to say about their favorite player:
Rickey Henderson: "Baseball is a game of small inefficiencies and no one ever exploited them as assiduously as Rickey."
Lou Gehrig: "He never wanted to be famous...the true depth of his character became clear when things didn't work out as he planned."
Neifi Perez: "The greatest lousy player I ever saw."
Jackie Robinson: "A hero, strong and indomitable in combat, caring and compassionate after the games were done."
Vic Power: "A charismatic, exciting player with balletic grace and dramatic flair."
Garry Maddox; "His grace in the field matches how he carries himself off of it."
Garry Templeton: "A prime example that one didn't always have to go along with the crowd or take orders."
Greg Maddux: "On his best nights, he controlled the game more thoroughly than any pitcher of his time."
Jim Rice: "In the Bill Jamesian view, Rice was a classically overrated ballplayer."
Pedro Martinez: "Numbers don't capture what it was like to watch him on the mound."
Dave Kingman: "He seemed almost helpless on the baseball field when he wasn't hitting homers."
Even though most baseball fans have a favorite all time player, they might find it difficult to explain their choices to other fans because not everyone makes the obvious choice. It would be too easy if everyone chose Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Mickey Mantle, Albert Pujols, Barry Bonds (unlikely, these days) or one of the game's great pitchers. Choosing a favorite player is a personal thing and many fans choose their favorites as much for what they do off the field as for how those players have affected the record books.
In "Top of the Order," published just in time for the 2010 baseball season, twenty-five journalists, novelists, former players, and entertainers offer short pieces about their own favorite players and how they made those choices. Some of the players chosen are surprising, some not, but the real fun of "Top of the Order "comes from reading how and why these particular players were chosen. Among the more expected choices are players like Tom Seaver, Lou Gehrig, Albert Pujols, Jackie Robinson and Mariano Rivera. But among the twenty-five favorites are also players like Steve Dembowski, Michael Jordan, Mookie Wilson, Neifi Perez and fictional catcher Crash Davis. Many readers, I suspect, will be drawn first to the essays on the second group of players out sheer curiosity to find out why a fan holds them in such high regard. As author W.P. Kinsella says in the book's foreword, "Favorites, it seems, come in all shapes, sizes, and degrees of talent."
Readers/baseball fans will delight in the relationship between writer (and minor league pitcher) Pat Jordan and his all time favorite player, Tom Seaver. They will be astounded by the unique talent that Steve Dembowski, Jim Bouton's choice, had for getting hit by a pitch almost at will and how he was never given a look by a major league team despite his incredible college career .729 on base percentage. They will perhaps wonder at how Whitney Pastorek could still choose Roger Clemens as his favorite all time player knowing what we know about the man today. And they will enjoy revisiting the careers and personalities of some of the greatest players who have ever played the game.
A portion of one paragraph from Jonathan Eig's remarks on Lou Gehrig, though, says it all for the baseball purists out there who so strongly detest how the steroid-generation of players has corrupted the game and its history: "As a boy, I hadn't cared a bit if my heroes were decent or dreadful people. They were ballplayers, and that was all. Now, with Bonds, one of the greatest ballplayers of all time struck me as one of the lowest pieces of dung ever scraped from the bottom of a shoe. He didn't just kill the notion of ballplayer as hero. He beat it to a bloody, lifeless pulp, and stood over the corpse and sneered."
There is something in "Top of the Order" for everyone, even non-fans of the game, but Eig's words are sure to touch the hearts of those who feel betrayed by what was allowed to happen to the sport for so many years, depriving the true greats of their records and cheapening those very records forever.