Reviews for The Baseball 100

by Joe Posnanski

Publishers Weekly
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Sportswriter Posnanski (The Soul of Baseball) knocks it out of the park with this fascinating deep dive into the careers of those he considers baseball’s 100 greatest players. By including players from every era, as well as athletes only allowed to compete in the Negro League, Posnanski ably presents the sport’s sweeping history through captivating character studies. As his introduction notes, the order of the players he includes is not a ranking; instead, he links player portraits to a significant number, as in using 56 for Joe DiMaggio, owner of the record-setting 56-consecutive-game hitting streak. Posnanski isn’t afraid to court controversy, even going to bat for some players—including pitchers Max Scherzer and Curt Schilling—who aren’t yet in baseball’s Hall of Fame. The best sections will surprise even devoted followers of the sport, such as his profile of the obscure Bullet Rogan, a Negro Leaguer who played in the 1920s and whom Hall of Fame manager Casey Stengel called “the best all-around player in the world.” Detailed statistical analysis is balanced by moving personal stories, as with Hall of Fame catcher Carlton Fisk, whose best was never good enough for his demanding father. Sure to inspire heated debate, this is a remarkable achievement. Agent: David Vigliano, Vigliano Assoc. (Sept.)


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Longtime sports columnist Posnanski, who now writes for TheAthletic.com, offers manna for baseball geeks with his selection of the 100 all-time greatest baseball players, melding the sabermetrics chops of a Bill James with the eloquence and droll humor of a Roger Angell. Fans will disagree, feverishly, with his choices—Carlos Beltran (98), for example, was one of the principals behind the Astros team that cheated its way to the 2017 World Series title—but he appears to relish it. Yet Posnanski also nobly, and rightly, casts a wide net, embracing Japanese legends Ichiro Suzuki (100) and Sadaharu Oh (85), and, more important, long-neglected Negro leagues players, such as Oscar Charleston (5). “He was you before you,” the legendary Buck O’Neill told Willie Mays (1), who knew him and apparently didn’t disagree. The author also includes current players, including Clayton Kershaw (78), Miguel Cabrera (77), Mike Trout (27), and Albert Pujols (23). Most important, these selections will bring to the mind’s eye of any baseball fan a vision of how singularly great each of these athletes have played—or, in the case of the old-timers, might have played—the game. Recommended for the strong baseball collection.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Longtime sports columnist Posnanski, who now writes for TheAthletic.com, offers manna for baseball geeks with his selection of the 100 all-time greatest baseball players, melding the sabermetrics chops of a Bill James with the eloquence and droll humor of a Roger Angell. Fans will disagree, feverishly, with his choices—Carlos Beltran (98), for example, was one of the principals behind the Astros team that cheated its way to the 2017 World Series title—but he appears to relish it. Yet Posnanski also nobly, and rightly, casts a wide net, embracing Japanese legends Ichiro Suzuki (100) and Sadaharu Oh (85), and, more important, long-neglected Negro leagues players, such as Oscar Charleston (5). “He was you before you,” the legendary Buck O’Neill told Willie Mays (1), who knew him and apparently didn’t disagree. The author also includes current players, including Clayton Kershaw (78), Miguel Cabrera (77), Mike Trout (27), and Albert Pujols (23). Most important, these selections will bring to the mind’s eye of any baseball fan a vision of how singularly great each of these athletes have played—or, in the case of the old-timers, might have played—the game. Recommended for the strong baseball collection.

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