Recommend me a book on sports

I almost titled this Recommend me a Sports Book, but I know plenty of those.

Well I'm always looking for something to read but usually end up gravitating towards political humor or technology/science type books. Almost done reading Better to Reign in Hell about the history of the Raiders fan base and I'm going to pick up North Dallas Forty next.

Any Sports Goodjers have any 'must reads' covering baseball or football? I'm open to other stuff but those are the sports I'm most focused on.

Other things in the library/reading list:

Ball Four
Now I Can Die in Peace
The Old Ball Game
The Artful Dodger
Friday Night Lights
The Jim Plunkett Story
Cinderella Story
I Never Played The Game

Paul Zimmermann's New Thinking Man's Guide to Pro Football (long OOP, buy a used copy)
A.J. Liebling's The Sweet Science (not baseball or football, but the only sports book on Random House's 100 Best Nonfiction book list)
Michael Lewis's The Blind Side (half about Michael Oher, half about the evolution of the left tackle)

Three Nights in August by the same guy that wrote Friday Night Lights.

Nick Hornby's Fever Pitch.

"Wait", you say, "not that kind of football".

All I can say is trust me, especially if you just borrow a copy from a library. If you have at least a passing familiarity with English soccer and are a die-hard fan of a sports team, the book will speak to you. Honestly, I do not believe that having much knowledge of soccer is a prerequisite for enjoying the book as it is more about being an obsessive fan than merely about the sport.

America's Game — fantastic history of the NFL

I really enjoyed Tim Kurkjian's "Is this a Great Game, or What?"

And yeah, Moneyball is a must read. The anecdotes are the real treat of the book, not economics.

"Clemente" by David Maraniss and "When Pride Still Mattered: A life of Vince Lombardi" by the same author. The political writer David Halberstam also wrote a number of books on baseball: I've read "Summer of '49" about the pennant race between the Yankees and the Red Sox and I highly recommend it. Also, Jerry Kramer's book, "Instant Replay" on the '67 Packers.

If you're intersted in the stats behind baseball, check out this book by the folks at Baseball Prospectus. It does a decent job of proving some of the big sabermetric principles without getting too stat-heavy.

The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract
David Halberstam - The Teammates (Or, really, any baseball book by him)
Pat Jordan - A False Spring

A Few Seconds of Panic.

And I know i'm one of the minority here who enjoys Soccer, but Soccernomics, and Inverting the Pyramid (the latter especially) are great.

Winning Ugly by Brad Gilbert

Pretty interesting book on the psychological aspect of tennis and how to better prepare oneself for a match in that aspect. Applicable to all sports, I find.

A Fighter's Heart & A Fighter's Mind, both by Sam Sheridan

Both great books with many insights into the world of competitive martial arts with great emphasis on Mixed Martial Arts, Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu on the first book. A great read as the author takes an approach to the experience that is slightly reminiscent of gonzo journalism. The second book focuses on the psychological aspect of the MMA game.

Title Shot: Into the Shark Tank of Mixed Martial Arts by Kelly Crigger

Another insightful book on the world of MMA and the media's often misguided portrayal of the sport.

Got Fight?: The 50 Zen Principles of Hand-to-Face Combat by Forrest Griffin

Possibly the best book ever written by an actual fighter about the sport he competes in. Griffin is a self-effacing writer who approaches this title with much humor while giving the reader a pretty accurate depiction of the dedication and effort needed to become a top-tier contender in one of the toughest sports around.

Longshot: The Adventures of a Deaf Fundamentalist Mormon Kid and His Journey to the NBA by Lance Allred

I think the title speaks for itself. Best NBA related book I've ever read.

The Book of Basketball

psu_13 wrote:

The Book of Basketball

I barely got through the second chapter in that book. I suppose you just have to be older to appreciate it.

It's not very intellectual but I still enjoyed it:
Men with Balls

If you enjoy the writing of Drew Magary on Deadspin.

Yeah, it does help if you are old enough to have seen Larry Bird play.

Roke wrote:

Nick Hornby's Fever Pitch.

I second that.

I would also highly recommend Mick Foley's Autobiographies.

(1999) Have a Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks. ReganBooks. ISBN 0-06-039299-1. (credited as Mankind/Mick Foley)
(2001) Foley Is Good: And the Real World Is Faker than Wrestling. ReganBooks. ISBN 0-06-103241-7.

Note - Mick Foley is a professional wrestler, so if that turns you off, avoid these books. That being said, he wrote these himself (not with a ghost writer), and he is an excellent writer.

"A Fan's Notes" by Frederick Exley.

It's not a sports book, per se, but sports is the backdrop.

Another book that has been on my pile for about a decade: David Remnick's "King of the World.". It's an Ali bio, but it's not-another-Ali-bio, if you know what I mean.


Wayne Winston used to work for the Mavericks and helped them analyze matchups and trades and such. The book covers lots of topics and has TONS of downloadable spreadsheets to help you understand some of what he talks about. If have a love of math and sports, it is a great read. Most of it is broken up to be fairly digestable and I even read portions on the throne.

Speed Secrets
If you wanna learn to drive faster and better.

Prederick wrote:

A Few Seconds of Panic.

I'll second this. It's a really fine book about the pressure the professional football undergoes for both the star and the scrub. Plus the bit with "the idiot kicker" are quite entertaining.

Thanks for all the great ideas. Enough to add another year or two to my reading backlog

Kelric wrote:

The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract

+1 for pretty much everything by Bill James, with the possible exception of Win Shares. A lot of his sabermetric theories are considered outdated at this point, but he was a major force in the analysis of Baseball. He's also got a great, very personal style of writing that I enjoy tremendously. I still have copies of a few of the 80's abstracts sitting in storage.

My View from the Corner, by Angelo Dundee, Muhammed Ali's trainer. Probably one of the most entertaining books on boxing, full of trivia and funny moments, and of course lots of boxing.

The portion about his relationship with Ali is the biggest part of the book, talks about the inside view of legendary fights like his bout with Joe Frazier, it also has a section on his other champions like Sugar Ray Leonard and George Foreman's 2nd career.

The descriptions of the fights are really good, even of fights that I've seen on video, they come across as more lively because he explains what was going on.

It's full of good parts, good quotes and it's a good biography. At the end he even says what's wrong with boxing these days.

Great book for me, 9/10