Re: Books on baseball
The best baseball books I've read are:
* Summer of '49 by David Halberstam. Interesting cultural look at the late 1940s through the lens of the DiMaggio/Williams struggle for the batting title and the pennant race.
* The Glory of Their Times by Lawrence Ritter. Incredible collection of oral histories about baseball from the 1880s to the 1920s, in the words of the players themselves. Every baseball fan should read this book.
* The Pitch That Killed by Mike Sowell. An in-depth examination of Ray Chapman's 1920 death from a pitched ball. Explores the effects of the tragedy on Chapman, Carl Mays (who threw the pitch), the city of Cleveland and the Indians team. Sowell also has written books about the suicides of Angels' pitcher Donnie Moore (One Pitch Away) and Ed Delahanty (July 2, 1903).
* Eight Men Out by Eliot Asimov. I assume I don't have to describe this one.
* Moneyball by Michael Lewis. Likewise.
Obviously, my tastes run more toward "literary" baseball books and dealing with the early days of the game.
Baseball also lends itself to excellent short stories and magazine pieces. Two of my favorites:
* Head Down by Stephen King. A non-fiction story included in Nightmares and Dreamscapes, it tells the story of King's son's little league team and their attempts to make it to Williamsport. Great writing.
* The Razor's Edge by William Nack--1991 SI article about Reds catcher Willard Hershberger's in-season suicide. Thought-provoking and tragic, it explores Hershberger's depression and feelings of inadequacy despite being a fan favorite on an eventual World Champion club.