We're (hopefully) less than two weeks from the first pitch of the 2020 Major League Baseball season. It's been a long wait, but with luck, at least one of these books will be enough to hold you over until we hear "Play Ball!" for the first time this year. We have books for adults and children on this list, and we've added a bonus list of movies right at the end!
Is there life after baseball? To find out, author Brad Balukjian followed a crazy, fun premise: he took a single pack of baseball cards from 1986 and embarked on a quest to find all the players in the pack. He took this trip solo in the summer of 2015, spanning 11,341 miles in 48 days. The Wax Pack is part baseball nostalgia, part road trip travelogue, and all heart, a reminder that greatness is not found in the stats on the backs of baseball cards but in the personal stories of the men on the front of them.
Buck O’Neil once described him as “Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, and Tris Speaker rolled into one.” Among experts he is regarded as the best player in Negro Leagues history. Yet Oscar Charleston is virtually unknown today. During his prime he became a legend in Cuba and one of black America’s most popular figures. His career as a player, manager, and scout spanned nearly 40 years. His mastery of baseball under the conditions of segregation revealed what was possible for black achievement. In Oscar Charleston, baseball fans are introduced to one of America’s greatest and most fascinating athletes.
At the age of 24, Lou Gehrig decided to tell the remarkable story of his life and career. Sports agent Christy Walsh arranged for Gehrig to write regular newspaper columns, syndicated across the country. He was one of the most famous athletes in the country, in the midst of a record-breaking season with the legendary 1927 World Series-winning Yankees. These columns, telling Gehrig’s rages-to-riches story, have finally been collected and published, giving one of the all-time greats a chance to tell his origin story in his own words, nearly 100 years later.
Widely regarded as the greatest all-around player in baseball history because of his unparalleled hitting, defense and baserunning, the beloved Willie Mays offers people of all ages his lifetime of experience meeting challenges with positivity, integrity and triumph. Presented in 24 chapters to correspond with his universally recognized uniform number, Willie's memoir provides more than the story of a man who values family and community, engages in charitable causes especially involving children and follows a philosophy that encourages hope, hard work and the fulfillment of dreams.
A baseball rules book. A tape measure. A lottery ticket. These were in the pocket of Bengie Molina’s father when he died of a heart attack in Puerto Rico. The items are powerful symbols in Molina’s beautiful memoir about his father, who through baseball taught his three sons about loyalty, humility, courage, and the true meaning of success. Three sons that all became famous catchers, with World Series championship rings among them. Molina is a love story between a formidable but flawed father and a son who, in unearthing answers about his father’s life, comes to understand his own.
Other adult baseball books:
- Swing Kings, by Jared Diamond
- The Resisters, by Jen Gish
- Ballpark, by Paul Goldberger
- K: A History of Baseball in Ten Pitches, by Tyler Kepner
- The Inside Game, by Keith Law
- The Cactus League, by Emily Nemens
- The Incredible Women of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, by Anika Orrock
Celebrate the unheralded people and stories that helped shape the game of baseball! Meet unsung pioneers, like John “Bud” Fowler, William Edward White, and brothers Moses Fleetwood Walker and Weld Walker, four African Americans who integrated white teams decades before Jackie Robinson. Discover unforgettable moments, like the time a 17-year old girl named Jackie Mitchell struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. Marvel at records. Did you know that Japanese superstar Sadaharu Oh has 113 more career homers than Hank Aaron? This lively illustrated collection of baseball lore will transform you into a superfan.
The children are playing baseball at school. George really wants to play, but he can't get it right! What happens when Madame Gazelle offers to help? Find out in this great book based on the hit Nick Jr. TV show.
It's the Weird Series and Bonaparte's team, the Little Monsters, are gearing up to play against the Mighty Aliens for the championship. The competition is fierce and Bonaparte, of course, is a jumble of bones. What if he loses his backbone while at bat? What if the Mighty Aliens make fun of him?
With bullies on the other team and the bases loaded, will Bonaparte be able to hold himself together and hit a home run without losing his head? This picture book is perfect for fans of baseball and silly monsters alike!
Yogi Berra loved his family, his neighborhood, his friends, and, most of all, baseball. He was crazy for it, ever since he was a young kid playing with friends in an abandoned dump. But baseball didn't love him back--at least not at first. Yogi was different. He didn't have the right look. When he finally made it to the major leagues, Yogi faced pranks and harassment from players, sportswriters, and fans. Their words hurt, but they made Yogi determined to show all that he could do.
A young pitcher steps up to the plate. A hardworking mom interviews for her biggest job yet. Girls and women aren't always welcome in the worlds of baseball and bricklaying. But with practice, the right gear, and a whole lot of determination, this intrepid mom and daughter thrive under pressure. Readers get to see their parallel narratives unfold in tandem, coming together at the end for a sweet reward: ice cream! With fun, punchy writing and radiant illustrations, this touching story will be a hit for budding activists, kids who love sports, and the moms who cheer them on.
Other children's baseball books:
- A High Five for Glenn Burke, by Phil Bildner
- Mexican White Boy, by Michael de la Peña
- All About Mariano Rivera, by Jorge Iber
- Strike Zone, by Derek Jeter
- Get a Grip, Vivy Cohen!, by Sarah Kapit
- Strike Zone, by Mike Lupica
- We are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball, by Kadir Nelson
Last Modified October 30, 2020