The Baseball 100 Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
New York Times Best Seller
“An instant sports classic.” (New York Post)
“Stellar.” (The Wall Street Journal)
“A true masterwork…880 pages of sheer baseball bliss.” (BookPage, starred review)
“This is a remarkable achievement.” (Publishers Weekly, starred review)
A magnum opus from acclaimed baseball writer Joe Posnanski, The Baseball 100 is an audacious, singular, and masterly book that took a lifetime to write. The entire story of baseball rings through a countdown of the 100 greatest players in history, with a foreword by George Will.
Longer than Moby-Dick and nearly as ambitious,The Baseball 100 is a one-of-a-kind work by award-winning sportswriter and lifelong student of the game Joe Posnanski that tells the story of the sport through the remarkable lives of its 100 greatest players. In the book’s introduction, Pulitzer Prize-winning commentator George F. Will marvels, “Posnanski must already have lived more than 200 years. How else could he have acquired such a stock of illuminating facts and entertaining stories about the rich history of this endlessly fascinating sport?”
Baseball’s legends come alive in these pages, which are not merely rankings but vibrant profiles of the game’s all-time greats. Posnanski dives into the biographies of iconic Hall of Famers, unfairly forgotten All-Stars, talents of today, and more. He doesn’t rely just on records and statistics—he lovingly retraces players’ origins, illuminates their characters, and places their accomplishments in the context of baseball’s past and present. Just how good a pitcher is Clayton Kershaw in the twenty-first- century game compared to Greg Maddux dueling with the juiced hitters of the nineties? How do the career and influence of Hank Aaron compare to Babe Ruth’s? Which player in the top ten most deserves to be resurrected from history?
No compendium of baseball’s legendary geniuses could be complete without the players of the segregated Negro Leagues, men whose extraordinary careers were largely overlooked by sportswriters at the time and unjustly lost to history. Posnanski writes about the efforts of former Negro Leaguers to restore sidelined Black athletes to their due honor, and draws upon the deep troves of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and extensive interviews with the likes of Buck O’Neil to illuminate the accomplishments of players such as pitchers Satchel Paige and Smokey Joe Williams; outfielders Oscar Charleston, Monte Irvin, and Cool Papa Bell; first baseman Buck Leonard; shortstop Pop Lloyd; catcher Josh Gibson; and many, many more.
The Baseball 100 treats readers to the whole rich pageant of baseball history in a single volume. Chapter by chapter, Posnanski invites readers to examine common lore with brand-new eyes and learn stories that have long gone unheard. The epic and often emotional listening experience mirrors Posnanski’s personal odyssey to capture the history and glory of baseball like no one else, fueled by his boundless love for the sport.
Engrossing, surprising, and heartfelt, The Baseball 100 is a magisterial tribute to the game of baseball and the stars who have played it.
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|Listening Length||30 hours and 46 minutes|
|Whispersync for Voice||Ready|
|Audible.com Release Date||September 28, 2021|
|Publisher||Simon & Schuster Audio|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #8,269 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#2 in Baseball & Softball
#47 in Sports Reference (Books)
#72 in Sports Encyclopedias
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And placing DiMaggio at #56 and Seaver and Robinson at 41 and 42 is gimmicky and makes the whole project less authoritative. It's a nice idea, and thoroughly subjective, of necessity, but could have been more thoughtfully presented.
I hope, for Posnanski's sake, that these issues are the fault of the editors and not his.
Finally, the baseball on the cover should have had a smiley face to let us know that this could not be taken seriously.
Then, though there is the ratings. Unlike Bill James who spends most of a chapter, pages and pages defining his tools and process of determining the ratings, this author uses less than one page rattling off a number of terms and then writing the following:
- Mariano Rivera is ranked 91 because of Psalm 91 (the protector psalm),
- Joe DiMaggio is ranked 56 because of 56 consecutive game hitting streak,
- Jackie Robinson is ranked 42 because that is his jersey number.
Robinson and DiMaggio should have been ranked in the top 20 and Mariano Rivera should have been higher. He was the only player to get 100% of the Hall of Fame to vote for him.
And, then there is the three PED players: Alex Rodriquez, Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds. They are all rated in the top 20 and because all of them cheated, they don't belong there. (Barry Bonds is actually ranked 3rd. Wrong.) In the Barry Bonds chapter, the author breaks the review into the people who think that Barry Bonds is great and those that despise him. I belong to neither. These three players belong in the top 100 but definitely not in the top 20.
If you are looking for a objective ranking, I recommend Bill James and after this book I still go by his rankings because they are not subjective or potentially biased like this book. His rankings of the top 10 are:
1. Babe Ruth
2. Honus Wagner
3. Willie Mays
4. Oscar Charleston
5. Ty Cobb
6. Mickey Mantle
7. Ted Williams
8. Walter Johnson
9. Josh Gibson
10. Stan Musial
I recommend this book for baseball history and stories. If you want an objective ranking, I recommend Bill James' books.
It's the stories, stories about the players, stories about the game and stories about history that make this book so good. More than once while reading this book, I've turned to my wife (who knows nothing about sports) and read her a paragraph or two, that really have nothing to do with baseball but with life.
I found this book to be very informative, entertaining and at times very touching. It's an easy to read book that I think you'll really appreciate and enjoy.
I particularly appreciate that he took a big picture view of the career of a ball player - much more demanding than simply looking for Gold Glovers, Triple Crown and Cy Young Award winners - and included athletes who were wonderful players, but came 'this close' again and again to winning an award or title that would have recognized and immortalized their prowess that season. Posnanski seems to have an affinity for players who labored in the shadow of a flashier, more successful teammate and who shunned the limelight in favor of just playing a game they loved. It makes for more compelling reading than the simple recitation of stats of the players at the top of each category. He clearly appreciates players whose humanity and personality made them the favorites of fans and sportswriters and he's unafraid to call out the handful of egotistic jerks who played the game.
Posnanski is a terrific writer - technically proficient, readable and not above poking fun at himself. Baseball is a game in love with statistics and Posnanski is able to geek out on stats without getting too far into the weeds. The book is great fun and a terrific read. Get it!