While every sport has a library you can turn to for technique, history, rules, recommended gear, and any other number of things, there are few books that capture the essence of what a sport is about. Not the nuts and bolts, but the sort of inside dope, whether fiction or non-, that the outside world could never understand but that those devoted few, whether in the grip of competition or mere nostalgia, cling to like sport-specific bibles. These are our picks for the 11 best.
Cult Sport Books: Baseball
by Jim Bouton
As the diary of a professional ball player, 'Ball Four' is that rarest of sports-writing jewels: A first-rate work of literature written entirely by the athlete himself. No other baseball book – and the sport has a disproportionate share of shelf space compared to most others – even comes close.