posted by Matt W on November 11th, 2011

As you know, Joe A and I throw out lists every once in a while for fun. Okay, really in order not have to write quite as much. When we stumble across any category containing books, they pretty much fall in my lap as Joe A prefers to get his entertainment viewing a screen.  As I continue to come up with good sports books in my head even while typing these words (sorry John Feinstein), here is my best list right now until further notice.

10.          They Call Me Coach,  John Wooden – I went to see UCLA take on the University of Washington with my grandfather when Bill Walton was their center. UCLA won 100-48. It was then that I figured John Wooden was probably a pretty good coach. I learned to bank most of my shots because I heard that John Wooden taught that shot to all his players. The book was a good book from a great coach. Phil Jackson and Pat Riley also have good coaching books to read.

9.            Paper Lion, George Plimpton – Paper Lion is one of the many books from this list that I remember reading in high school. This is a great book about Plimpton, a writer, playing for the Detroit Lions. Needless to say he didn’t fare too well.

8.            The Natural, Bernard Malamud – Joe’s addition to this list. My guess is he read it (if he read it) because of the movie and not saw the movie because he read the book. Either way, it is a great book. It is different from the movie, so be forewarned.

7.            The River Why, David James Duncan – I walked into a little book store in Seattle and asked for a suggestion and they handed me this book. It was an excellent suggestion. It is a book about fishing and life and is very well done.

6.            The Boys of Summer, Roger Kahn – This is another book I read in high school. It is a behind the scenes look at the Brooklyn Dodgers. This is one of the reasons that, to this day, I continue to read non-fiction. It is just an excellent look at the real lives of players.

5.            Instant Replay, Jerry Kramer – My cousin was a huge Packers fan and I noticed this book was in his room so I read it because I thought my cousin was cool. The book doesn’t disappoint. This is an excellent look at the Packer Championship teams and why they were so good.

4.            Spikes, Michael Griffith – I went to the library and picked out a book on tape because I had a long drive coming up. For some reason, I picked this one up and it was a great find. It is about a golfer on a mini-tour that is about to give up competitive golf and all the feelings he has about leaving the tour. It is witty and made me laugh out loud enough times that when I got home, I bought the book.

3.            Fever Pitch, Nick Hornby – I am an unapologetic Mariner fan. Hornby is an unapologetic Arsenal fan. While I have never followed English Soccer all that closely, that is irrelevant when reading this book because it is about being a fan. A great read.

2.            Ball Four, Jim Bouton – I read Ball Four in high school because I was a baseball fan. What I didn’t know prior to reading it was that it is about all the crazy things that go on behind the scenes during a baseball season. As a young Baptist kid, the stories about drug use, womanizing, drinking and just the obscene side of baseball were intoxicating. It was awesome.

1.             Golf In The Kingdom, Michael Murphy – This is a great book about the more mystical side of golf. The characters are great and the story is hard to put down. I made Joe A read this book so he could make the movie. I will admit that it kind of goes sideways in the second half, but the first part is so good it is my number one.

What are your favorite Sport Books?

File Under Jack of all Trades, Weekend Warrior