Red Sox Bibliography

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Here is an annotated list of some of the best and most interesting books written about the Red Sox over the years, along with a few key reference books about baseball. Many of the older books are out of print, but used copies are readily (and usually inexpensively) available through search services such as Bibliofind or Half.com.



Babe: The Legend Comes to Life, by Robert Creamer. One of the best sports biographies ever, it gives excellent info on Ruth’s years with the Red Sox (1914–19, including 3 championships). There’s a lot more to Ruth’s story, of course, and the whole book is a must-read.

The Babe in Red Stockings, by Kerry Keene, Raymond Sinibaldi, and David Hickey. An exploration of Babe Ruth’s time with the Red Sox, including a lot of new material that refutes some of the longstanding legends surrounding Ruth’s time in Boston and his sale to the Yankees.

The Ballplayers, edited by Mike Shatzkin. A mammoth book containing brief biographies and essays about more than 6,000 players, teams, leagues, and other baseball topics. The book appeared in 1990.

Beyond the Sixth Game, by Peter Gammons. This book shows why Gammons built a reputation as one of the finest local sportswriters in the country, long before he moved to ESPN. Gammons uses the 1975 Red Sox as a microcosm of how baseball changed in the free agency era. The descriptions of the great 1970s teams and how the team lost its way in the early 1980s clarifies a confusing time.

Blood Feud, by Bill Nowlin and Jim Prime. A complete history of the rivalry between the Red Sox and Yankees, from the inception of both teams through the 2004 World Series and beyond.

The Boston Red Sox: An Illustrated History, by Donald Honig. A coffee table book with lots of great photos and a basic history of the team.

Boston Red Sox 100 Years: The Official Retrospective. Glossy coffee table book put out by the Sporting News. Lots of pretty pictures, not a whole lot of text—and not the place to look for controversy.

The Boys of October: How the 1975 Red Sox Embodied Baseball’s Ideals—and Restored Our Spirits, by Doug Hornig. Hornig, a New Englander better known for his suspense writing, uses the 1975 team as a metaphor for heroism in troubled times. Includes interviews with Yaz, Tiant, Bernie Carbo, Don Zimmer, and many of the others involved with the team.

Broadcast Rites and Sites: I Saw It on the Radio With the Boston Red Sox, by Joe Castiglione with Douglas B. Lyons. Collection of vignettes by the longtime radio broadcaster.

The Bronx Zoo, by Sparky Lyle with Peter Golenbock. This diary of the infamous 1978 season is a must-read for masochistic Sox fans, though it’s told from the perspective of the hated Yankees. We’re not crazy about the ending, but Lyle’s descriptions of clubhouse pranks and fights are often hilarious. Lyle briefly discusses his days as a Red Sox reliever, prior to his disastrous trade.

The Catcher Was a Spy, by Nicholas Dawidoff. A biography of Moe Berg, the brilliant Red Sox catcher who also served as a World War II–era intelligence agent.

The Curse of the Bambino, by Dan Shaughnessy. A dark and pessimistic, but funny, history of the Red Sox. Includes a lot of gossip about who was sleeping with whom on the 1980s teams. Also worth picking up is Shaughnessy’s At Fenway.

Day by Day with the Boston Red Sox, by Bill Nowlin and Red Sox Journal: Year by Year and Day by Day with the Boston Red Sox Since 1901 by John Snyder both take a look at important days in team history. The Nowlin book takes a "this day in history" approach, while the Snyder book is more linear.

Faithful, by Stewart O’Nan and Stephen King. A day-by-day account of the 2004 World Championship season told through the correspondence of two writers. King’s second foray into Red Sox writing, following the fictional The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon.

Fear Strikes Out, by Jimmy Piersall and Al Hirshberg. Later turned into a powerful, if not particularly accurate movie, this 1955 baseball classic recently was brought back into print. A moving account of baseball and mental illness, co-written by the popular but troubled outfielder and noted sportswriter Hirshberg.

Feeding the Green Monster, by Rob Neyer. Neyer, an ESPN website columnist and former assistant to Bill James, spent the entire 2000 season in Boston, attending every Red Sox home game. Writing mainly from a fan’s perspective, Neyer describes his impressions of Fenway, baseball, and a controversial, disappointing Red Sox season.

Fenway, by Peter Golenbock. Entertaining team history, aided by many interviews of players and fans. Very similar to the author’s acclaimed histories of the Yankees (Dynasty) and Brooklyn Dodgers (Bums). Nitpickers may be distracted by the surprising number of errors.

Fenway: A Biography in Words and Pictures, by Dan Shaughnessy, with photographs by Stan Grossfeld, and introduction by Ted Williams. A history and commentary on the ballpark, with some tremendous photographs.

Fenway Lives: The Team Behind the Team, by Bill Nowlin. Interviews with and recollections by the people who work in and around Fenway during a ballgame.

The Fenway Project, edited by Bill Nowlin and Cecilia Tan. One night in the life of Fenway Park, as chronicled by 64 different writers and photographers under the auspices of the Society for American Baseball Research in 2002.

The Fifty Greatest Red Sox Games, by Cecilia Tan and Bill Nowlin gives context and contemporary excitement to some of the team's greatest moments, even if it was conceived and co-written by a Yankee fan. (It's a companion to Tan's Fifty Greatest Yankee Games.)

The First World Series and the Baseball Fanatics of 1903, by Roger Abrams. The story of baseball fans and the first World Series, won by Boston in 1903. Bob Ryan explores the same topic in When Boston Won the World Series: A Chronicle of Boston's Remarkable Victory in the First Modern World Series of 1903.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Cooperstown, by Mickey McDermott with Howard Eisenberg. Lighthearted memoir by the charismatic Red Sox pitcher, published just before his death in 2003.

The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, by Stephen King. A short novel about a girl lost in the woods who depends on the Red Sox pitcher—listened to over her Walkman—for support. A novel written as a tribute to the Sox by one of the team’s greatest fans—even if catcher Jason Varitek’s name is misspelled throughout, and Gordon had to have arm surgery as soon as the book came out.

The Glory of Their Times, by Lawrence Ritter. Many say it’s the best baseball book ever written. The book is made up of interviews with a wide variety of players from the early twentieth century, told in the first person. This style has been copied many times, but there’s something magical about the way Ritter edited the players’ stories; you feel like you’re on the field with them. Two Red Sox greats are included, Harry Hooper and Smoky Joe Wood, so you’ll learn a lot about the old-time teams.

Idiot, by Johnny Damon with Peter Golenbock. The beloved and outspoken center fielder’s take on the 2004 World Championship, written in the irreverent style of Golenbock’s famed collaborations with Sparky Lyle and Billy Martin.

Images of Baseball: The Pawtucket Red Sox. The book includes more photos (over 200) than text, tracing the history of baseball in Pawtucket back to the Slaters and Indians in the pre-Mondor decades. It also includes pictures from the longest game, McCoy Stadium’s 1999 renovation, and of former PawSox greats like Jim Rice, Wade Boggs, Mo Vaughn, and Nomar Garciaparra. It’s available in paperback from the Pawtucket Red Sox.

Jimmie Foxx: The Pride of Sudlersville, by Mark R. Millikin. A new entry in the American Sports History Series that looks at the life and dazzling but alcohol-shortened career of the A's and Red Sox star.

Lefty Grove: An American Original, by Jim Kaplan. An excellent biography published by the Society for American Baseball Research in 2000.

The Long Ball, by Tom Adelman. Like The Boys of October, another good book on the 1975 season.

Lost Summer, by Bill Reynolds. The story of the 1967 “Impossible Dream” season.

Mr. Red Sox: The Johnny Pesky Story, by Bill Nowlin. A recent biography of the Red Sox great by a well-known Red Sox historian.

My Turn At Bat, by Ted Williams. Still one of the best autobiographies by a ballplayer.

Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, by Michael Lewis. An in-depth study of Oakland GM Billy Beane, who was coveted by the Red Sox and who pioneered a view of baseball shared by Boston management, during the 2002 season. A hugely influential and important book with a number of Red Sox tie-ins, such as a Bill James profile, Scott Hatteberg disagreeing with the old Red Sox coaching philosophy, Kevin Youkilis described as the Greek God of Walks, and an analysis of Johnny Damon’s defensive value.

1918: Babe Ruth and the World Champion Red Sox, by Alan Wood. Extensive, well-researched look at the Red Sox championship season. Wood’s book covers Ruth’s transition to the outfield, the effects of World War I on the season, and Boston’s World Series victory over the Cubs.

One Day at Fenway, by Steve Kettman. With the assistance of a corps of researchers, this book attempts to capture a single Red Sox game.

Now I Can Die in Peace, by Bill Simmons. After the Red Sox won the 2004 World Series, the former Boston Sports Guy (now a fixture at ESPN Page 2) finally produced his long-promised book.

One Pitch Away: The Players’ Stories of the 1986 League Championships and World Series, by Mike Sowell. The history of the events leading up to the 1986 World Series, as well as accounts by the key players involved, drawn from records and interviews.

The Progress of the Seasons: Forty Years of Baseball in Our Town, by George Higgins. Covers the years 1946–86.

Real Grass, Real Heroes, by Dom DiMaggio with Bill Gilbert. Light, but very interesting look at the last prewar season, 1941, written by the man who was a teammate of Ted Williams and the brother of Joe DiMaggio.

Red Sox Century, by Glenn Stout and Richard Johnson. Comprehensive account of the team’s first 100 years, written by two prominent sports historians. Gained attention for contradicting the prevailing accounts about Babe Ruth’s sale and Boston’s delay in signing black players. Stout also edited Impossible Dreams, a reader on the Red Sox.

Red Sox Heroes of Yesteryear, by Herb Crehan. A massive collection of interviews with former Red Sox players and managers, previously published in Red Sox Magazine. The word “heroes” is used loosely—Don Zimmer, never a hero to Red Sox Nation, is included—but the soft-focus remembrances of the team’s past are fascinating.

The Red Sox Reader, edited by Dan Riley. A cross-section of articles about the team through the years, including the famous John Updike piece on Ted Williams.

Red Sox Rule: Terry Francona and Boston's Rise to Dominance, by Michael Holley. A new book by the popular radio host and former Boston Globe columnist, written with the cooperation of the Red Sox manager.

A Rooter’s Guide to the Red Sox, by Harold Kaese. An odd 1974 collection of facts and tidbits compiled from 41 years of the longtime sportswriter’s notes.

The Science of Hitting, by Ted Williams and John Underwood. Possibly the best book ever written about hitting a baseball. First published in 1971.

Shut Out: A Story of Race and Baseball in Boston, by Howard Bryant. Critically acclaimed study of Boston’s racial dynamics as played out in the history of the Red Sox and their minority players. It provides insight into the history of race relations in Boston, segregation, busing and politics. Written by a noted sportswriter who grew up as a black baseball fan in Boston.

Tales from the Red Sox Dugout, by Jim Prime with Bill Nowlin. A collection of anecdotes and strange stories, with something of a greater focus on recent players. An overview of the historical and current wackiness of the team. There’s also a sequel, More Tales from the Red Sox Dugout: Yarns from the Sox and the two writers have done a number of other Red Sox-related books, such as Fenway Saved (with Mike Ross).

The Teammates, by David Halberstam. A study of the relationship between four all-time Red Sox greats, who were also longtime friends: Ted Williams, Bobby Doerr, Johnny Pesky, and Dom DiMaggio.

Ted Williams, by Leigh Montville. Widely acclaimed as the definitive biography of the Splendid Splinter. Montville tells great stories of Williams’s success on the ballfield, heroism in the military, and battles with the “knights of the keyboard,” while also detailing Teddy Ballgame’s complex personal relationships (including the sad details of his later years). Neither a whitewash nor a hatchet job, Montville’s biography humanizes a legend—yet doesn’t make him any less compelling.

Ted Williams: The Pursuit of Perfection, by Jim Prime and Bill Nowlin. A tribute to Ted, drawn from over 200 interviews, including Hank Aaron, Bobby Knight, Stan Musial, George Bush, Bobby Doerr, Cleveland Amory, Bill Lee, Curt Gowdy, and Bud Leavitt. Many of the illustrations come from Nowlin’s vast collection of Williams memorabilia. Nowlin's other books on Ted Williams include The Kid: Ted Williams in San Diego and Ted Williams at War.

Ted Williams: Reflections on a Splendid Life, edited by Lawrence Baldassaro. A collection of original newspaper and magazine articles judging, analyzing, vilifying, and adulating Ted Williams, from the beginning of his career in Boston, right up through his retirement 50 years later. An earlier version was titled The Ted Williams Reader.

Ted Williams: The Seasons of the Kid, by Richard Ben Cramer. Large format coffee-table book, featuring a fabulous collection of photos with relatively brief biographical text. Currently out of print and hard to find, but well worth having if you can track it down. Other notable Ted Williams books include Teddy Ballgame: My Life in Pictures, by Ted Williams and David Pietrusza; Hitter: The Life and Turmoils of Ted Williams, by Ed Linn; and Ted Williams: A Baseball Life, by Michael Seidel.

This Time, Let’s Not Eat the Bones, by Bill James. A best-of compilation by a writer who redefined baseball analysis with his Baseball Abstract (and who now works for the Red Sox). There are articles on a number of Red Sox players and teams included, as well as many other fascinating bits (including what may be the best and clearest article ever written about the salary arbitration process). James’s Historical Baseball Abstract (extensively revised in 2001) is a terrific study of how the game, teams, and players evolved over the years, and his Whatever Happened to the Hall of Fame is a fascinating look at the players who were selected (as well as many who weren’t) and the shifting politics of the Hall of Fame. Actually, anything by Bill James is worth reading. Don’t be put off by the stathead reputation; James is a lively and incisive sportswriter.

Total Baseball, edited by John Thorn, Pete Palmer, and others, is the official encyclopedia of Major League Baseball. Like the legendary but out of print Baseball Encyclopedia (whose role has been largely superseded by Baseball-Reference.com, Total Baseball has a complete record of major league players, but instead of a season-by-season record of teams, the book has a more anecdotal approach to each season. Total Baseball also includes essays on key players and topics, and features many newer statistical categories.

Tris Speaker: The Rough-and-Tumble Life of a Baseball Legend, by Timothy M. Gay. A recent book about the now almost forgotton Red Sox superstar.

Watching Baseball: Discovering the Game Within the Game, by Jerry Remy with Corey Sandler. Now in its fourth edition, a book by the longtime Red Sox broadcaster and second baseman, who’s become a New England favorite.

What Do You Think of Ted Williams Now? A Remembrance, by Richard Ben Cramer. Adapted from Cramer’s acclaimed 1986 profile in Esquire magazine, updated to cover Williams’s struggles in his last years. Contains rare, moving insights about The Splinter’s personal life, without diminishing the traits that made him a hero to millions.

Why Not Us?, by Leigh Montville. A collection of stories from Red Sox fans about what the 2004 World Championship meant to them personally. The genesis of Montville’s book came from a post on the Sons of Sam Horn online message board, when dozens of fans implored the Red Sox to “Win it For” various long-suffering relatives and friends. Many of those touching, emotional posts are included in this book.

The Wrong Stuff, by Bill Lee with Dick Lally. A quirky autobiography from one of the Red Sox’s quirkiest players. Also worth reading is Lee’s Little Red (Sox) Book.

Yaz: Baseball, The Wall, and Me, by Carl Yastrzemski with Gerald Eskenazi. Better than most “as told to” sports autobiographies, with insights on what it took for Yaz to play so well for so long. Has some interesting anecdotes about Yaz’s relationship with Ted Williams, Tom Yawkey, and many of his teammates.

The Year of the Gerbil, by Con Chapman. About the 1978 season.

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