When I was a kid I loved baseball. Loved playing, loved watching it, and loved reading baseball books, mostly novels. In honor of the Texas Rangers winning the American League pennant last night and going to the World Series for the first time in team history, here are some of my favorite baseball books I read as a kid and a young adult.
The Bronc Burnett series by Wilfred McCormick. High school hero Bronc Burnett (who was a modest, decent guy despite his athletic prowess) played all the major sports, but it’s the books about his baseball exploits that I remember the best. In one of the books, I don’t remember which, Bronc’s high school team plays an exhibition game against the Yankees and beats them.
THE KID WHO BATTED 1.000 by Bob Allison and Frank Ernest Hill. This is one of the books where I bought the Scholastic edition at school.
THE KID COMES BACK by John R. Tunis. I don’t recall much about this one except the climactic scene about a great catch in the first game of the World Series. I need to find a copy of this and read it again.
THE YEAR THE YANKEES LOST THE PENNANT by Douglas Wallop. My junior high library had a copy of this book, which was the source novel for the musical DAMN YANKEES. I thought it was pretty funny and risqué then. Don’t know how it would hold up now.
RHUBARB by H. Allen Smith. The classic about the cat who inherits a baseball team. One of the funniest books I’ve ever read, and another one I need to reread. Made into a decent movie.
THE SOUTHPAW, BANG THE DRUM SLOWLY, and A TICKET FOR A SEAMSTITCH by Mark Harris. I read BANG THE DRUM SLOWLY, the middle book in this trilogy, when the movie based on it came out, then backtracked and read the other two. Great stuff, although A TICKET FOR A SEAMSTITCH is a fairly minor novel, as I recall. The first two are great, though. There may be a fourth book in the series, I can’t recall, but if there is, I’ve never read it.
I’m sure there were other baseball novels I read, but these are the ones that come to mind first. If you have a favorite baseball novel, feel free to mention it in the comments.