By Bob Minzesheimer

USA TODAY   |  February 12, 2003

We asked Jane Leavy, author of Sandy Koufax, the new selection of the USA TODAY Book Club, for her nine favorite baseball books, fact and fiction. She cheated and gave us 13 titles.

Leavy’s literary batting order:

  • 1. Red Smith on Baseball. “His on-base percentage is still the best.”
  • 2. Glove Stories: The Collected Baseball Writings of Dave Kindred, her former colleague at The Washington Post who “can do it all.”
  • 3. Joe DiMaggio: The Hero’s Life by Richard Ben Cramer. “No holes in this swing.”
  • 4. The Natural. Bernard Malamud’s novel “bats cleanup among baseball fiction.”
  • 5. The Boys of Summer by Roger Kahn. “Always powerful.”
  • 6. You Know Me Al, Ring Lardner’s classic short stories.
  • 7. Designated hitters: Nine Innings by Daniel Okrent, and Late Innings by Roger Angell. “Elegant and invaluable” essays.
  • 8. Last Days of Summer. Steve Kluger’s novel has “unexpected clout.”
  • 9. Can’t Anybody Here Play This Game? The Improbable Saga of the New York Mets’ First Year by Jimmy Breslin.
  • 10. Ball Four by Jim Bouton.
  • Bullpen: The Southpaw, Mark Harris’ novel.
  • Pinch hitter: Pafko at the Wall (the first 60 pages from Don DeLillo’s novelUnderworld).
  • Manager: Stengel: His Life and Times by Robert W. Creamer.

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