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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2021 Introduction copyright ©2021 George F. Will. Copyright ©2021 The Athletic Media Company. All rights reserved. (P)2021 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.

What listeners say about The Baseball 100

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A Comprehensive And Loving Remanence of Baseball

This book is a love letter to baseball, and it’s many characters along the years. Kinda like a Ken Burns documentary that examines the back of each baseball card. Each of the 100 players examined gets a essay that gives you the essence of you that player was, what he did, and his importance to the game. Stats are given to buttress the argument for the position where each player lands on the list, but are not leaned on as to not bore the listener. Great for the old baseball card collector in me.

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This one breaks into my starting lineup

If I had a starting nine of baseball books, this one might bat clean-up. Just a fabulous and gigantic work from Posnanski, whose deep love and knowledge of the game, and immense skills as a writer, come together to create a -- to use one of Joe's favorite adjectives -- "breathtaking" collection of essays. When Joe writes about baseball, I'm always reminded of why I've loved the game for so long.

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Great book, great narrator

Loved it. Didn't agree with everything Posnanski says but I think he would agree that's part of the fun. Great stories from throughout the ages of baseball.

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Get someone who can pronounce Bavasi Veeck and Lazzeri

I loved this book! Some passages brought me to, or almost to tears, but the narrator needed a pronunciation key for some of the names that any baseball fan would know. It’s not, Ba-vah-see it’s Bah-VAY-see and it’s not Veeke like Leek it’s Veck like Wreck (there’s even a book with that title…re-record those parts and it’s a damned near perfect valentine to the game

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Good even for non baseball people

This is a baseball book but it's really about people offering a great insight into 100 indelible characters. The only flaw is the narrator who mispronunced several things repeatedly and which drive me to distraction.

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Diamonds within Diamonds

Even though the 30-hour running time might put you off, if you have even a passing interest in baseball - played Little League more than 50 years ago for example - , you will enjoy this book. Joe Posnanski's style is like taking the longform writing diamonds of Roger Angell and then further refining these gems into even purer diamonds of shortform perfection. The 30-hours consists of 100 chapters, each on an individual player and the context within which he played - both the specific historical era and general baseball history - with, in audio form, none longer than 35 minutes or so. In these days of podcasts it is like having a series on the history of baseball with 100 episodes. While I suggest starting at number 100 and finishing at number 1, the audio is split into Chapters with each player's name, so you could skip ahead to Arky Vaughn, Nap Lajoie, Bob Gibson or Satchel Paige, and revisit favorites at a later date. None of this would be worthwhile if the narrator did not measure up. Fortunately, Cary Hite is more than up to the task including each player's stadium-like introduction. Cannot praise this audiobook highly enough

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An amazing collection of stories, fact, stats, joy

so well written. informative and very, very fun. quite possibly the best baseball book there is.

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Amazing

I have always loved lists, but this may be the greatest list ever put together about anything. Joe Posnanski’s The Baseball 100 is 800+ pages long (30+ hours) and I really want to read the unabridged version.

By the way, I have now learned about Cal McLish and I won’t ever forget him.