Tuesday, November 9, 2021

The Baseball 100 (Joe Posnanski)

As a fan of baseball in its older days, I’ve always enjoyed books that ranked the game’s great players from the days before TV or even radio. Joe Posnanski’s The Baseball 100 is his ranking of the 100 greatest players of baseball history.

I’ll preface this review by noting that Posnanski slots players in with some creative liberty included. You’ll see evidence of this with Jackie Robinson, Frank Robinson, and Mike Schmidt. Like any list book, you may have disagreements with his rankings. I don’t agree with where Cy Young (too low), Ted Williams (too low), or Barry Bonds (too high) ended up but I can live with their rankings in general. Posnanski’s reasons and ranking system are his - his house, his rules. I can’t pick nits about a player being a few spots off where I think he should be given there have been over 20,000 baseball players in top level baseball.

With that said, The Baseball 100 is a great read into 100 great baseball players. Stories grow in length as you approach the top ten. All stories are more than just “Babe Ruth hit 714 home runs” fact checks. You’ll find some interesting insights on some of the bad boys of baseball’s early days - specifically Tris Speaker, Ty Cobb, and Rogers Hornsby. In addition, the struggle Black baseball players had to gain in not only acceptance but also respect is seen clearly through their bios. 

All told, The Baseball 100 is a very enjoyable book.