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10 for a New Season

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  1. 11.6 hrs • 2/25/2014 • Unabridged

    From the #1 nationally bestselling author of A Good Walk Spoiled and A Season on the Brink John Feinstein is one of the most influential sportswriters of the last three decades. In his masterful new book, Where Nobody Knows Your Name, Feinstein delivers a fascinating account of the mysterious proving ground of America’s national pastime, pulling back the veil on the minor leagues of baseball. Where Nobody Knows Your Name takes readers inside the gritty, no-frills, high-stakes world of Triple-A baseball, which serves simultaneously as a launching pad for superstar careers and as a crash-landing pad for stars who have fallen. Introducing us to eight men—two pitchers, three position players, two managers, and one umpire—Feinstein tells the riveting stories of those who are on the cusp of greatness … and those who have toiled and come so close, just waiting for the call from the big-league teams that will make their dreams a reality. From Raleigh to Lehigh Valley, from Indianapolis to Pawtucket, Feinstein gets to the heart of the human stories in a uniquely compelling way, giving readers an intimate look at a baseball world not normally seen.

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    Where Nobody Knows Your Name

    11.6 hrs • 2/25/14 • Unabridged
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  2. 35.2 hrs • 12/3/2013 • Unabridged

    At long last, the epic biography Ted Williams deserves—and that his fans have been waiting for. Williams was the best hitter in baseball history. His batting average of .406 in 1941 has not been topped since, and no player who has hit more than five hundred home runs has a higher career batting average. Those totals would have been even higher if Williams had not left baseball for nearly five years in the prime of his career to serve as a Marine pilot in World War II and Korea. He hit home runs farther than any player before him—and traveled a long way himself, as Ben Bradlee, Jr.’s, grand biography reveals. Born in 1918 in San Diego, Ted would spend most of his life disguising his Mexican heritage. During his twenty-two years with the Boston Red Sox, Williams electrified crowds across America—and shocked them, too. His notorious clashes with the press and fans threatened his reputation. Yet while he was a god in the batter’s box, he was profoundly human once he stepped away from the plate. His ferocity came to define his troubled domestic life. While baseball might have been straightforward for Ted Williams, life was not. The Kid is biography of the highest literary order, a thrilling and honest account of a legend in all his glory and human complexity. In his final at-bat, Williams hit a home run. Bradlee’s marvelous book clears the fences, too.

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    The Kid

    35.2 hrs • 12/3/13 • Unabridged
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  3. 15.5 hrs • 9/25/2012 • Unabridged

    After thirty-three seasons managing in Major League Baseball, Tony La Russa thought he had seen it all—that is, until the 2011 Cardinals. Down ten and a half games with little more than a month to play, the Cardinals had long been ruled out as serious postseason contenders. Yet in the face of those steep odds, this team mounted one of the most dramatic and impressive comebacks in baseball history, making the playoffs on the night of the final game of the season and going on to win the World Series despite being down to their last strike—twice. Now La Russa gives the inside story behind this astonishing comeback and his remarkable career, explaining how a team facing such terrible odds was able to succeed on baseball’s biggest stage. Opening up about the devastating injuries, the bullpen struggles, the crucial games, and the players who made it all possible, he reveals how the team’s character shaped its accomplishments, demonstrating how this group came together in good times and in bad to become that rarest of things: a team that actually enjoyed when the odds were against them. But this story is much more than that of a single season. As La Russa—the third-winningest manager in baseball history—explains, their season was the culmination of a lifetime spent studying the game. Laying bare his often scrutinized and frequently misunderstood approach to managing, he explains his counterintuitive belief in process over result, present moments over statistics, and team unity over individual talent. Along the way he shares the stories from throughout his career that shaped his outlook: among them, his first days managing the Chicago White Sox, his championship years with the Oakland A’s, and his triumphant tenure as St. Louis’ longest-serving manager. Setting the record straight on his famously intense style, he explores the vital yet overlooked role that his personal relationships with his players have contributed to his victories, ultimately showing how, in a sport often governed by cold, hard numbers, the secret to his success has been surprisingly human. Speaking candidly about his decision to retire, La Russa discusses the changes that he’d observed both in the game and in himself that led him to hang up his spikes. The end result is a passionate, insightful, and remarkable look at our national pastime that takes you behind the scenes of the comeback that no one thought possible, and inside the mind of one of the game’s greatest managers.

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    One Last Strike

    By Tony La Russa, with Rick Hummel
    15.5 hrs • 9/25/12 • Unabridged
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  4. 27.4 hrs • 3/8/2011 • Unabridged

    Willie Mays is arguably the greatest player in baseball history, still revered for the passion he brought to the game. He began as a teenager in the Negro Leagues, became a cult hero in New York, and was the headliner in Major League Baseball’s bold expansion to California. He was a blend of power, speed, and stylistic bravado that enraptured fans for more than two decades. Now James Hirsch reveals the man behind the player. Mays was a transcendent figure who received standing ovations in enemy stadiums and who, during the turbulent civil rights era, urged understanding and reconciliation. More than his records, his legacy is defined by the pure joy that he brought to fans and the loving memories that have been passed to future generations so they might know the magic and beauty of the game. With meticulous research and drawing on interviews with Mays himself as well as with close friends, family, and teammates, Hirsch presents a brilliant portrait of one of America’s most significant cultural icons.

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    Willie Mays

    27.4 hrs • 3/8/11 • Unabridged
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  5. 8.5 hrs • 8/15/2010 • Unabridged

    Cardboard Gods is the memoir of Josh Wilker, a brilliant writer who has marked the stages of his life through the baseball cards he collected as a child. It also captures the experience of growing up obsessed with baseball cards and explores what it means to be a fan of the game. Along the way, as we get to know Josh, his family, and his friends, we also get Josh’s classic observations about the central artifacts from his life—the baseball cards themselves. Josh writes about an imagined correspondence with his favorite player, Carl Yastrzemski; he uses the magical bubble-blowing powers of journeyman Kurt Bevacqua to shed light on the weakening of the powerful childhood bond with his older brother; he considers the doomed utopian back-to-the-land dreams of his hippie parents against the backdrop of inimitable 1970s baseball figures such as pinch runner Herb Washington and Mark “The Bird” Fidrych. Cardboard Gods is more than just the story of a man who can’t let go of his past, it’s proof that—to paraphrase Jim Bouton—as children we grow up holding baseball cards, but that in the end, we realize it’s really the other way around.

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    Cardboard Gods by Josh Wilker

    Cardboard Gods

    8.5 hrs • 8/15/10 • Unabridged
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  6. 21.8 hrs • 5/11/2010 • Unabridged

    In the thirty-four years since his retirement, Henry Aaron’s reputation has only grown in magnitude: he broke existing records (rbis, total bases, extra-base hits) and set new ones (hitting at least thirty home runs per season fifteen times, becoming the first player in history to hammer five hundred home runs and three thousand hits). But his influence extends beyond statistics, and at long last here is the first definitive biography of one of baseball’s immortal figures.  Based on meticulous research and interviews with former teammates, family, two former presidents, and Aaron himself, The Last Hero chronicles Aaron’s childhood in segregated Alabama, his brief stardom in the Negro Leagues, his complicated relationship with celebrity, and his historic rivalry with Willie Mays—all culminating in the defining event of his life: his shattering of Babe Ruth’s all-time home-run record.  Bryant also examines Aaron’s more complex second act: his quest to become an important voice beyond the ball field when his playing days had ended, his rediscovery by a public disillusioned with today’s tainted heroes, and his disappointment that his career home-run record was finally broken by Barry Bonds during the steroid era, baseball’s greatest scandal.  Bryant reveals how Aaron navigated the upheavals of his time—fighting against racism while at the same time benefiting from racial progress—and how he achieved his goal of continuing Jackie Robinson’s mission to obtain full equality for African-Americans, both in baseball and society, while he lived uncomfortably in the public spotlight. Eloquently written, detailed and penetrating, this is a revelatory portrait of a complicated, private man who through sports became an enduring American icon.

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    The Last Hero

    21.8 hrs • 5/11/10 • Unabridged
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  7. 0 reviews 0 5 2 2 out of 5 stars 2/5
    10.1 hrs • 4/1/2010 • Unabridged

    Everyone knows that baseball is a game of intricate regulations, but it turns out to be even more complicated than we realize. What truly governs the Major League game is a set of unwritten rules—some of which are openly discussed, and some of which only a minority of players are aware. In The Baseball Codes, old-timers and all-time greats share their insights into the game’s most hallowed and least known traditions. For the learned and the casual baseball fan alike, the result is illuminating and thoroughly entertaining. At the heart of The Baseball Codes are incredible and often hilarious stories. Tales involving national heroes and notorious headhunters—Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Bob Gibson, and Don Drysdale, to name a few— reveal a century-long series of confrontations over respect, honor, and the soul of the game. With The Baseball Codes, we see the game as it is actually played, through the eyes of the players on the field. With rollicking stories from the past and new perspectives on baseball’s informal rulebook, this collection of unwritten rules is a must for every baseball fan.

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    The Baseball Codes by Jason Turbow

    The Baseball Codes

    By Jason Turbow with Michael Duca
    10.1 hrs • 4/1/10 • Unabridged
    0 reviews 0 5 2 2 out of 5 stars 2/5
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  8. 13.7 hrs • 6/9/2009 • Unabridged

    He is that rare American icon who has never been captured in a biography worthy of him. Now, at last, here is the superbly researched, spellbindingly told story of athlete, showman, philosopher, and boundary breaker Leroy “Satchel” Paige.Few reliable records or news reports survive about players in the Negro Leagues. Through dogged detective work, award-winning author and journalist Larry Tye has tracked down the truth about this majestic and enigmatic pitcher, interviewing more than two hundred Negro Leaguers and Major Leaguers, talking to family and friends who had never told their stories before, and retracing Paige’s steps across the continent. Here is the stirring account of the child born to an Alabama washerwoman with twelve young mouths to feed, the boy who earned the nickname “Satchel” from his enterprising work as a railroad porter, the young man who took up baseball on the streets and in reform school, inventing his trademark hesitation pitch while throwing bricks at rival gang members.Tye shows Paige barnstorming across America and growing into the superstar hurler of the Negro Leagues, a marvel who set records so eye-popping they seemed like misprints, spent as much money as he made, and left tickets for “Mrs. Paige” that were picked up by a different woman at each game. In unprecedented detail, Tye reveals how Paige, hurt and angry when Jackie Robinson beat him to the Majors, emerged at the age of forty-two to help propel the Cleveland Indians to the World Series. He threw his last pitch from a big-league mound at an improbable fifty-nine. (“Age is a case of mind over matter,” he said. “If you don’t mind, it don’t matter.”)More than a fascinating account of a baseball odyssey, Satchel rewrites our history of the integration of the sport, with Satchel Paige in a starring role. This is a powerful portrait of an American hero who employed a shuffling stereotype to disarm critics and racists, floated comical legends about himself–including about his own age–to deflect inquiry and remain elusive, and in the process methodically built his own myth. “Don’t look back,” he famously said. “Something might be gaining on you.” Separating the truth from the legend, Satchel is a remarkable accomplishment, as large as this larger-than-life man.

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    Satchel

    13.7 hrs • 6/9/09 • Unabridged
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  9. 5.7 hrs • 4/25/2006 • Abridged

    On New Year's Eve 1972, following eighteen magnificent seasons in the major leagues, Roberto Clemente died a hero's death, killed in a plane crash as he attempted to deliver food and medical supplies to Nicaragua after a devastating earthquake. David Maraniss now brings the great baseball player brilliantly back to life in Clemente: The Passion and Grace of Baseball's Last Hero. Maraniss offers thrilling accounts of Clemente's underdog Pirates' two World Series victories, but Clemente is for more than just another baseball book. Roberto Clemente was a work of art in a game too often defined by statistics. He was also that rare athlete who rose above sports to become a symbol of larger themes, the Jackie Robinson of the Spanish-speaking world, who paved the way for waves of Latino players who followed in later generations. The Clemente that Maraniss evokes was a ballplayer of determination, grace, and dignity who insisted that his responsibilities extended beyond the playing field. With narrative sweep and meticulous detail, Clemente captures the myth and the real man, and retraces his final days, using newly uncovered documents to reveal the corruption and negligence that led the unwitting hero on a mission of mercy toward his untimely death.

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    Clemente

    5.7 hrs • 4/25/06 • Abridged
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  10. 10.4 hrs • 3/20/2003 • Unabridged

    Moneyball is a quest for something as elusive as the Holy Grail, something that money apparently can’t buy: the secret of success in baseball. The logical places to look would be the giant offices of major league teams and the dugouts. But the real jackpot is a cache of numbers collected over the years by a strange brotherhood of amateur baseball enthusiasts: software engineers, statisticians, Wall Street analysts, lawyers, and physics professors. In a narrative full of fabulous characters and brilliant excursions into the unexpected, Lewis shows us how and why the new baseball knowledge works. He also sets up a sly and hilarious morality tale: Big Money, like Goliath, is always supposed to win…How can we not cheer for David?

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    Moneyball

    10.4 hrs • 3/20/03 • Unabridged
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