The Baseball 100

Avid: S. & S. Sept. 2021. 880p. ISBN 9781982180584. $40. REF
A rich, sweeping history of American baseball told through profiles of its 100 greatest players; the contents originally appeared on the sports blog The Athletic. In the introduction, Posnanski (The Secret of Golf: The Story of Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus) writes that this volume was sparked by his love of baseball, which originated with his mother; she wasn’t herself a baseball fan but helped a nine-year-old Posnanski collect and organize a complete set of 1976 Topps baseball cards. The book’s 100 profiles include biographical information, career achievements, statistics, and comparisons to other players. To make a truly complete top-100 of American baseball, Posnanski covers a number of players in the Negro Leagues, who for decades couldn’t play in the segregated Major Leagues. Posnanski’s ranking of players within this volume isn’t meant to be definitive; sometimes a player’s ranking corresponds to his uniform number, but other times the reasoning is unclear (the author addresses his ranking methods in a later chapter). Posnanski acknowledges that it takes gall to rank the 100 greatest players in history, and that many will disagree with him, but he contends that these disagreements and debates are part of what makes baseball fun. His devotion to the game shines through in his poetic, inspired, and entertaining writing. The volume includes a preface by George F. Will and a glossary of baseball terms.
VERDICT This thought-provoking volume is a must-have for baseball fans.
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