Tuesday Discussion: Best Baseball Books of 2022
January 10, 2023
This week we asked our writers to share the best baseball books they read in 2022.
Here are their replies...
Tamar Chalker - I have to admit that while I read a fair amount in 2022, not much was baseball related and the two books that were are somewhat random.
The first is Bucky F*cking Dent by David Duchovny, which came out in 2016. This novel is about a Yankees fan who reconnects with his dying Red Sox fan father. It was actually better than I expected and while at times it was a bit cliche, it was a really fun read overall.
I also read Jemele Hill’s autobiography Uphill which came out late in 2022. I’ve always enjoyed her work and always like learning more about female writers. One of the things that struck me most about the book is that, regardless of your opinion of Hill, I think that just about everyone can find something they will identify with in her story. In a lot of ways, Hill and I are very different, but I took a lot away from this book and would definitely suggest people give it a chance.
Ethan Semendinger - I most enjoyed two books that wouldn't necessarily be on most people's lists, but they were both enjoyable.
Inoue Kazuo wrote a graphic novel titled Bat Kid. This story is presented as a graphic novel. It was Japan's first baseball-themed manga dating back to the post-war period of the late 1940s. I enjoyed this book a great deal.
I also acquired a great book Topps Baseball Cards: The Complete Picture Collection that shows every single baseball card from 1952 through 1985.
Paul Semendinger - As I have shared before, I enjoyed the final two books of J.B. Manheim's Cooperstown Trilogy (The Gamekeepers and Doubleday Doubletake). These two works of fiction were extremely enjoyable.
David Cone's book, Full Count, written with Jack Curry was excellent. There were a host of big ideas in this book that I thought about a lot as I pitched.
Darryl Strawberry's book of faith and inspiration/motivation, Turn Your Season Around, written with Greg Laurie was also excellent.
The baseball book I most enjoyed last year was The Church of Baseball written about the making of the movie Bull Durham. That was an outstanding book, one of the best I read in any genre last year.
Mike Whiteman - The best book I read in 2022 was Breaking the Slump: Baseball in the Depression Era by Charles C. Alexander. Baseball in the 1930s just doesn't seem to get it's "due", but there were a number of really good teams and players during the era. The book goes chronologically through the decade, while bringing in the context of the Great Depression, the upcoming World War 2, and touching on the Negro Leagues.
Lincoln Mitchell - The best baseball book I read in 2022 was Rethinking Fandom by Craig Calcaterra. Calcaterra wrote about sports other than baseball, but for me it is a baseball book. Rethinking Fandom is a fun and brief read, but it wrestles with some important questions about what it means to be a fan, and equally importantly how to enjoy being a fan and not feel that you are beholden to, and being ripped off by, wealthy team owners.
My main takeaway from the book is that it is okay to enjoy the game in any way you want. It helped me accept that it is fine for me to root passionately for two teams, not to watch every Yankees or Giant game, enjoy going to some ballparks and not others, look at old baseball cards and book, rather than study top prospects and wile away too much time on Baseball Reference.
Ed Botti - This past year I re-read the book The Artful Dodger by Tommy Lasorda and David Fisher. I have always been a fan of Tommy’s and read this book years ago. The second read was just as fun and interesting - a great account of someone who had a strong love and passion for game. Many viewed Lasorda as a comical and funny man, in addition to a great manager. What you learn about him in this book is his incredible drive, work ethic, and confidence in not just himself but his players. His motivational strategies and tactics are classic. He truly understood the game and people. Most of his players loved him like a father, and opposing teams respected him immensely. This is a really good book filled with humor and interesting back stories dating back to his playing days in Brooklyn, for the Dodgers in 1954 and 1955 as a left handed pitcher. The real Tommy Lasorda was much different than the one we all saw on This Week in Baseball and the many other public appearances he did over the years. He was an incredible ambassador and developer of talent.