I read a lot. Here are some books I recommend related to sports and sports cards. I encourage you to buy and read these. This is The Radicards™ Reading List. This list will be revised with new titles as I read them so keep an eye on it.
Sports Card Books:
The Card: Collectors, Con Men, and the True Story of History’s Most Desired Baseball Card
∼Michael O’Keeffe and Teri Thompson
If you’re as intrigued as many collectors are by the famous T206 Honus Wagner card, this book will certainly draw your interest. It covers a wide range of information around the finding and controversy surrounding the card and how it came to be. Follow O’Keeffe as he takes you through the somewhat mysterious journey of where the card’s been and where it’s gone. I read this book in just a couple days. Yes, it’s that good!
Card Sharks: How Upper Deck Turned a Child’s Hobby into a High-Stakes, Billion-Dollar Business
This interesting read covers the story and often controversial dealings behind Upper Deck’s beginnings and operations. It’s amazing what’s discussed here. Some of this information may make you think about the ultra successful company in a different light but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s packed with facts and data about interesting information such as the print run of 1989 Upper Deck, how difficult it was to create the embedded hologram, and how many things had to come into action at the same time in order for Upper Deck to secure both the MLB and MLBPA licenses. It’s a must read for any sports card collector.
Cardboard Gods: An All-American Tale Told Through Baseball Cards
This is an endearing story about the author’s childhood leading up to his adulthood. He connects life memories to baseball cards. It’s fine tuned with scans of each card and how it relates to Wilkers memories from his life. It’s a tender book. Recommended for those interested in something light and warm. This book is peppered with adult themed content so it might be best suited the matured.
Got ‘Em, Got ‘Em, Need ’em: A Fan’s Guide to Collecting the Top 100 Sports Cards of All Time
∼Stephen Laroche and Jon Waldman
This is an excellent read. It covers some of the most notable cards in the hobby of sports cards. The scan of my 1990 Upper Deck Reggie Jackson card was used in this book. It can be found on page 143 as card #34 in the list. My name is also listed in the Thank You page on page 291.
Mint Condition: How Baseball Cards Became an American Obsession
This book takes the reader through the rise and fall of hobby interest from the 1980s through 1990s. It’s fantastically engaging and written specifically with the collector in mind. No longer is the idea that we can sell those 1989 Topps singles in an effort to send our kids to Oxford. If you experienced these years or are interested in learning where the hobby’s been, this book is for you.
7: The Mickey Mantle Novel
This book is entertaining, intriguing, and educational. I can remember laughing out loud when reading this book. It’s packed with stories about Mantles life but get this – it’s written from the perspective of Mantle sitting in a bar in heaven talking to others about his life. He and Billy Martin got into lots of trouble together when they were younger. It’s a good fun read.
A Mathematician at the Ballpark: Odds and Probabilities for Baseball Fans
If you like baseball and statistics, get this. This book covers fascinating insights into topics such as the probability and possible success rates of hitting streaks, wins and losses, and certain common gambling scenarios such as “double or nothing.” With lots of complex mathematical formulas, it’s a bit dry and reads like a textbook. However, it’s possible to spark interest to mathy baseball fans.
After Jackie: Pride, Prejudice, and Baseball’s Forgotten Heroes: An Oral History
This is an exceptionally fascinating account of the voices of the players and figures that experienced the Jackie Robinson years and how integration impacted communities and perceptions. It’s an excellent educational read.
Armchair Digest: Extra Innings Baseball
This book is filled with lingo, stories, and stats highlighted throughout the sport. It’s good coffee table or side table filler. I bought this book at a discount rack at a B&N in Fullerton and it was good nightly reading until I finished it.
Baffling Baseball Trivia
∼Dom Forker, Wayne Stewart, and Michael Pellowski
If you want more than just generic Google searches, try this book. It’s filled with interesting and entertaining stories from the sport.
Ball Four: Twentieth Anniversary Edition
This is essentially Bouton’s personal journal from his minor league years. It’s a dense record but packed with interesting stories about guys you may or may not have ever heard of. It reads like a journal.
The Baseball Economist: The Real Game Exposed
If you like baseball and math, get this.
Baseball Roots: The Fascinating Birth of America’s Game and the Amazing Players that were its Champions
This book covers the beginnings of the sports invention, which includes insight on the age-old question – Who invented baseball, Alexander Cartwright or Abner Doubleday? The book covers how leagues were formed as well as the baseball diamond and the significant importance of the exact distance between the pitching mound and home plate. It’s a must read for anyone interested in history.
The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth
George Herman never really grew up to be a well adjusted adult, but that’s part of what makes his story so entertaining. Did you know he never bothered to open his mail? At one point, someone did this for him and found checks written to Ruth for thousands of dollars. This among many other tidbits of juicy details about his life are packed into this record. Get this book to learn more about the legend we all still talk about today.
Famous Firsts in Baseball
∼Joseph J. Cook
Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ‘Roids, Smash Hits, and How Baseball Got Big
This is a controversial book that hurt relationships and put a lot of fellas in the spotlight as far as who really used. Canseco has a lot to say and it’s all very engageing. Canseco discusses the problem of steroid use in baseball and how, for a lot of guys, it’s the only way to build a career. He makes some pretty strong points. I couldn’t put this book down and have new respect for the first 40/40 man.
Once Upon a Fastball
The Psychology of Baseball: Inside the Mental Game of the Major League Player
If you like baseball and psychology, get this. Stadler covers the impossible odds required to become a baseball superstar. He talks about the true rarity of this occurrence and that certain physical and mental rarities must exist in order to perform successfully at the professional level. This is a highly interesting read. Recommended for anyone studying the field of Psychology.
Vindicated: Big Names, Big Liars, and the Battle to Save Baseball
This is the follow-up to Juiced. Read that before you dive into this one. Both books will enlighten you to what’s really happened since the induction of PEDs in baseball.