Two books you should read

Last week I finished a book called A Few Seconds of Panic. Now I’m in the process of reading The Bad Guys Won. They’re both awesome, and I highly recommend them.

The first was written by Stefan Fatsis, a 43-year-old sportswriter who somehow convinced the Denver Broncos to let him suit up and participate in training camp. I don’t even like football, but I a_few_seconds_of_panic.jpg
loved this book because a) it’s about people, b) it provides a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at a world that I never would’ve gotten to see or even imagine, c) it’s funny as hell, d) the writing is excellent, e) it made me appreciate and loathe football all at once, and f) there’s lots of R-rated language (as you might expect from athletes). If you want to see what life is like in the NFL, you must the_bad_guys_won.jpg
read this book. (In case you’re wondering why I read a book about football, it’s because I know Stefan from the Scrabble world. He’s the guy who wrote Word Freak, which I also recommend).

The other book was written by Jeff Pearlman (the writer who exposed John Rocker in Sports Illustrated) and it’s about the 1986 New York Mets. I’m only 30-something pages in, but I’m already in love. I was nine years old when the Mets won the World Series, so I grew up worshiping Doc and Darryl and Keith and Mookie and Lenny and Wally and all those guys. I had no idea how much crazy/racy stuff they did off the field. It’s hilarious and eye-opening, to say the least. It’s like “Animal House” combined with my childhood heroes. So yeah, check out this book too if you get a chance.

What are YOUR favorite sports/baseball books?


  1. braves04

    Watching Baseball Smarter LOL. I’m not much of a book reader, but your book was wonderful. First comment?

  2. beach71389

    I love Michael Lewis books. So Moneyball and The Blind Side are great… also by him: Liar’s Poker… if you like wall street.

  3. Jake

    I might just have to go pick up the book by Stefan. My favorite sports book is The Rookie. It was written by Shawna Richer and follows Sidney Crosby in his rookie season. I am not a big book reader, but when I find something I like I can’t put it down. Sounds like you have been busy this offseason. Only about 2 1/2 months until camps begin here in AZ, cant wait.


    birth of a dynasty by joel sherman was good. and i gotta read this sidney book now

  5. snagfan

    You hit a homerun with my winter past time. I read about (20) baseball books a year. Here are some of my favs:

    Veeck as In Wreck (by Bill Veeck – A truly amazing baseball showman)

    Ball Four (by Jim Bouton – The first “behind the scenes” baseball book)

    Moneyball (by Michael Lewis – Details the mind of GM Billy Beane)

    No Cheering in the Press Box (by Jerome Holtzman – He interviews several of the press box greats)

    A False Spring (by Pat Jordan – Awesome book about his minor league experiences in the Milwaukee Braves system in the early 60’s)

    A Nice Tuesday (by Pat Jordan – Another awesome book by Pat)

    The Boys of Summer (By Roger Kahn – All about the 55′ Brooklyn Dodgers and their impact on his childhhood)

    The Echoing Green (by Joshua Prager – An awesome book about the Thomson homerun to win the 51′ playoff game between the Giants and Dodgers. Tells how Durocher and the Giants cheated by stealing signs via a telescope..)

    Nine Innings (by Daniel Okrent – An Awesome behind the scenes look as to “the game within the game”. Matches well with Watching Baseball Smarter)

    Cobb Would Have Caught It

    The Long Season (by Jim Brosnan – Another “diary” type book of his experiences pitching for the Cardinals and Reds)

    Pennant Race (by Jim Brosnan – Another “diary” type book like Boutan’s Ball Four, but G rated…talks about his experiences pitching for the Reds)

    Fantasyland (by Sam Walker – For us Fantasy BB geeks)

    A Whole Different Ballgame (by Marvin Miller – Gives the history of the MLB players assoc/union..great read..)

    I have a ton more…I like, thats it for now…
    Mike in Detroit
    “My wife says that I am obsessed with baseball. I told her that comment came out of left field”…..

  6. meikd423

    my favorite baseball book is 33 year old rookie by Chris Coste even though he’s a phillie

    but i have to get the book about the 86 mets. that looks good

  7. 333greystreet

    Iron Horse: Lou Gehrig in his Time (Ray Robinson) was pretty good. I also liked My Favorite Summer: 1956 (Mantle). I read both back in the mid 90’s when I was on a big Yankees kick. I then grew to hate the Yankees as I got older. I’ve softened up on them a little bit though now that they have ex-Pirate Xavier Nady.

    I also like any good ballpark book. I recently read Take Me Out to the Ballpark by Josh Levanthal. Its a pretty nice illustrated history of all of the present ballparks and many past ones.


  8. nymetsgrrl94

    I LOVE The Boys Of Summer by Roger Kahn. I read it for school this summer and enjoyed every minute of it. Aaaand, I got my dad The Bad Guys Won for his birthday this year.

  9. districtboy

    Peter Goldenbock’s “Amazin'” had some interesting stories, but the two most impactful books I’ve read are “Three Nights in August” by Buzz Bizzinger and the obvious one, “Moneyball”. It was interesting to read these books back to back, and experience two completely different types of thinking. Needless to say, I “chose” the Moneyball way.



    I have a rather large collection of baseball books, which I read every year…

    Ball Four (Jim Bouton)
    I’m Glad You Didn’t Take it Personally (Bouton)
    Foul Ball (Bouton)
    The Year I Owned the Yankees (Sparky Lyle)
    Catcher in the Wry (Bob Uecker)
    Dugout Wisdom (Dan Migala)
    Juiced (Jose Canseco…actually is a good read)
    Get in the Game (Cal Ripken, Jr.)
    I Had a Hammer (Hank Aaron)
    When You Come to a Fork in the Road, Take It! (Yogi Berra)
    Ten Rings (Yogi Berra)
    Sparky! (Sparky Anderson)
    Comeback (Dave Dravecky)
    This Ain’t Brain Surgery (Larry Dierker)
    Seasons in Hell (Mike Shropshire)
    Twice Around the Bases (Kevin Kennedy)
    The Boys of Summer (Roger Kahn)
    Baseball Letters: A Fan’t Correspondence with his Heroes (Seth Swirsky)
    Sleeper Cars and Flannel Uniforms (Elden Auker)
    Temporary Insanity (Jay Johnstone)
    Some of My Best Friends are Crazy (Jay Johnstone)
    Slick (Whitey Ford)
    The Catcher Was a Spy (Nicholas Dawidoff)
    Perfect I’m Not (David Wells)
    Sports Immortals (Joel Platt)
    My Prison Without Bars (Pete Rose)
    Watching Baseball Smarter (Zach Hample)

    Sorry for the long list…

  11. MLBallhawk

    I am not a big reader that is for sure however in the past few months since writing my own book I have read more than I ever did before. Here are my favorites:

    5. The Boys Of Summer
    4.The Natural (yes there is a book too)
    3. Ball Four
    2. Watching Baseball Smarter / How To Snag Major League Baseballs
    1. Taking Home A Piece Of The Game – Revised Edition –



    Does that mean you finished Seams? We’ll have to chat if so…

    My favorite baseball books are easily:

    1) Last Days of Summer by Steve Kluger
    2) Seams by Sean Heffron

    And of course, yours as well!

  13. zackhample

    After posting this entry, I got an email from Mister Pearlman himself, thanking me for the plug. So…not only is he a great writer who wrote an incredibly entertaining book about the Mets, he’s also a nice guy. Go buy his book(s) immediately. That’s all there is to say.

    Aww, shux.

    Moneyball is one of my all-time faves and, in my opinion, a must-read for any baseball fan.

    The Boyfriend League? Wow. I probably won’t be reading that anytime soon.

    I’m intrigued by Crosby, but I don’t think I want to read a whole book about hockey.

    In MY world, Joel Sherman is champion Scrabble player.

    Twenty?! Go you.

    I’m starting to wonder/worry about you. You claim to love the Mets so much, and yet your favorite book was written by a Phillie, and you’re an Eagles fan.

    I own that Gehrig book but still haven’t gotten around to reading it.

    Ditto about “The Boys of Summer.” I might try to knock that one off my list this winter.

    I enjoyed “Three Nights in August” but it wasn’t a magical book, in my opinion, if you know what I mean.

    That IS a good collection. Very cool to be a part of it.

    Well then, it’s official. I need to read “The Boys of Summer.”

    Dude, I finished “Seams” MONTHS ago. Maybe even last year. See what you miss when you pull a disappearing act? Anyway, it was a phenomenal book. I wish we’d discussed it as soon as I finished, but I’d still love to talk it over.

  14. baseballexperiences

    My favorite sports writer is Mike Lupica- Heat and Travel Team. {other than you zack}.
    O and i have two tickets for a mets game next year if any1 is willing to buy them. Joe

  15. 81timesayear

    Thanks to everyone who put up their lists, you’ve given me some great ideas for winter reading. I enjoy Peter Golenbeck’s writing a lot. I have already read Bums and am currently reading Dynasty. After I saw that he also had a book on the Mets and did a quick search on Amazon and also found his books on the Cardinals and Cubs. His books are very detailed and I highly recommend them to anyone interested in the history of these franchises or baseball in general.


    Hi ZAck-the search for leigh barrett is on.we have the coast guard on alert, he might be at the chargers/tampa bay bucs game in TB sunday.check his /her website,,he has 2 lives, crossdresser?he moved to the right coast maybe.Dave Smith died,he was astro closer,say hi to RodBeck.


    zack: well this joel sherman is a writer for the ny post i think

    goisles: an eagles fan!!!!!!!!????? how did such an atrocity happen?

  18. meikd423

    I love the eagles ever since i was in first grade. I wore an eagles jersey to philadelphia for game 4. you didnt see???? why, are you a ……giants “fan”

  19. Kylie

    Hey, now, don’t rag on “The Boyfriend League.” I’ve read it a bazillion times and it never gets any less hilarious.

  20. raysfan

    my favorite baseball books are “Baseball Feats, Facts, and Firsts” and your book! “Watching Baseball Smarter” :)


    i dont remember the eagles jersey specifically, but probably made note of it when i read the entry
    im a giants fan b/c that what my dad was, so thats what i am. and y did you become an eagles fan in first grade? i know they were good then but so were the g-men

  22. goisles

    Sorry I’m late on this, but mine are:

    Ball Four

    Nice Guys Finish Last–a classic by Leo Durocher covering days from Ruth and Cobb to Mays into the early 70s.

    Veeck as in Wreck–about one of the games greatest showmen

    Fishsticks by Alan Hahn (for any Islander fan who wants to know how Mike Milbury got us into this mess)

    Any of John Feinstein’s books giving an inside look at things like the PGA Tour or Booby Knight

    Anything by Roger Angell
    Birth of a Dynasty is a must read for any Yankee fan over the last 15 years.

  23. zackhample

    Thanks so much. What game?


    I left him a voice-mail the other day and still no word. He’s either turned into a major slacker…or something bad happened…or he just hates me because he’s jealous of my Heath Bell connection. :-)

    Yeah, I know who your Joel Sherman is. Mine is this guy:

    Pics would be great. Make it happen.

    Sorry sorry sorry!!!

    Ooh yeah.

    As long as he tosses me the occasional ball and doesn’t blow more than one game per month, I’ll be happy.

    Nice to see your list.

  24. sportzfreeka

    Yeah JJ gives the majority of his balls to little kids – he’s a big sucker for them – but I get easily get one each visit from him so I was always pleased.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s