Yesterday evening I finished the best sports book I’ve ever read. It’s called “A False Spring,” by Pat Jordan, and chronicles the author’s brief career as a minor league pitcher for the Milwaukee Braves in the late 1950s and early 1960s. I’ve long known of Jordan, but I never paid much attention to his work. Well, this book is, in a word, beautiful. Literary, fascinating, reeking of a supposedly innocent time period that I’ve long been fascinated by.
With that point being made, here’s my list of the five best sports books I’ve ever read:
1. A False Spring, Pat Jordanâ€”I’m in awe, but also jealous. I simply don’t have to chops to match this sort of writing. As introspective a sports book as I’ve ever seen.
2. Namath, Mark Kriegelâ€”Mark’s a friend, but this comes without bias. Namath is a fascinating dude, and Mark digs inside his head. Wonderfully written.
3. Ted Williams, Leigh Montvilleâ€”I couldn’t put this one down. Montville might be the best sportswriter of our generation. The insight into Williams is insane.
4. The Bronx Zoo, Sparky Lyle w/ Peter Golenbockâ€”More about the information than the writing. Diary format, really, really funny, chronicles Lyle’s 1978 season with the Yankees. Can’t stop laughing.
5. Joe DiMaggio: The Hero’s Life, Richard Ben Cramerâ€”An all-time classic. Painful, for those who love DiMaggio. But Cramer does exactly what a biographer shouldâ€”he pulls no punches. The final days of Joe’s life are
some of the most gripping.