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Top of the Order: 25 Writers Pick Their Favorite Baseball Player of All Time [NOOK Book]

Overview


There have been many anthologies devoted to our national pastime’s greatest players, but here, at last, is one dedicated to those, for reasons far more personal than stats-based, we call our favorites. In Top of the Order twenty-five of today’s premier sports journalists, cultural critics, novelists, and humorists (as well as a couple of former major leaguers) deliver memorable, never-before-published odes to their favorite players, past or present. By turns uplifting, woeful, and hilarious, these essays define ...
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Top of the Order: 25 Writers Pick Their Favorite Baseball Player of All Time

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Overview


There have been many anthologies devoted to our national pastime’s greatest players, but here, at last, is one dedicated to those, for reasons far more personal than stats-based, we call our favorites. In Top of the Order twenty-five of today’s premier sports journalists, cultural critics, novelists, and humorists (as well as a couple of former major leaguers) deliver memorable, never-before-published odes to their favorite players, past or present. By turns uplifting, woeful, and hilarious, these essays define what it means to be beset by that strange, incurable condition known as baseball fandom.

Featuring original essays by:
Roger Kahn on Jackie Robinson, Buzz Bissinger on Albert Pujols, Jonathan Eig on Lou Gehrig, Neal Pollack on Greg Maddux, Laura Lippman on Brooks Robinson, Jeff Pearlman on Garry Templeton, Jim Bouton on Steve Dembowski, Pat Jordan on Tom Seaver, Michael Ian Black on Mookie Wilson, Matt Taibbi on Jim Rice, Steve Almond on Rickey Henderson, and many more.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Leading off this impressive lineup of fiction and nonfiction writers, journalists, musicians, etc., is W.P. Kinsella with a vivid foreword reminding baseball fans why they love the sport. Then the all-star contributors (e.g., Roger Kahn, Buzz Bissinger, Laura Lippman) present their favorite ball player. These are not the best players, hence we get to read of Steve Dembowski, who parlayed an ability to be hit by pitched balls into a remarkable fan base; of Garry Maddox for his many off-field accomplishments, notably his mentoring of young players. But wondrous talent is not ignored, notably the fabled Lou Gehrig. On many occasions, the writer's explanation for his or her choice tells us much about the writer's own youth and subsequent career choices—thus the ultimate charm of this collection is how it tells us something about ourselves as well as our heroes.
From the Publisher

Library Journal, 2/1/10
“Leading off this impressive lineup of fiction and nonfiction writers, journalists, musicians, etc., is W.P. Kinsella with a vivid foreword reminding baseball fans why they love the sport. Then the all-star contributors present their favorite ball player…On many occasions, the writer’s explanation for his or her choice tells us much about the writer’s own youth and subsequent career choices—thus the ultimate charm of this collection is how it tells us something about ourselves as well as our heroes.”

Booklist, 4/1/10
“The profiles run the gamut from serious to whimsical; virtually all expose an element of baseball’s quirky, often irrational fandom. Great fun for fans, who will be inspired to examine their own fond feelings for that over-the-hill middle reliever on the downside of a mediocre career.”

BiblioBuffet.com, 3/21/10
“A wonderful addition to the baseball library…Twenty-five beautifully written, memory-evoking and all around gripping reminiscences of the players that have touched our lives…Features a diverse array of contributors…The selections of the writers is at times obvious and at other times idiosyncratic but that is one of the reasons Top of the Order is so special…The contributors to Top of the Order have been inspired to deliver some of the finest sports writing that I have read in recent years—and often from contributors who would not be considered ‘sports writers.’ Not just because the writing is beautiful, but because it resonates powerfully with the reader; it is as if the writers and the reader share a common past and common memories—the common ground of being fans of the sport…Each of the selections will evoke memories in the true baseball fan.”

Boston Globe “A Reading Life” column, 4/4/10
“’Favorite,’ unlike ‘greatest,’ covers a multitude of sins and allows for personal reflection which is what this book…is all about.”

New York Post “Required Reading” column, 4/4/10
“A delightful reminder of why we love baseball. Top of the Order gets to players’ quirks—what makes them individuals in a team game.”

Louisville Courier-Journal, 4/3/10 and Newark Star-Ledger, 4/4/10
“Some writers chose the greats: Roger Kahn, a great himself, actually manages to find something new to say about Jackie Robinson. Some selections are quirky: actor and screenwriter Michael Ian Black chooses former Mets outfielder Mookie Wilson, inspired by a visit Mookie made to Black's hometown of Hillsboro, N.J., when Black was 11…Others, like editor Sean Manning's own choice, Michael Jordan—yes, that Michael Jordan, the great basketball player and mediocre minor leaguer—are so out of left field as to inspire awe.”

Deseret News, 4/3/10
“An entertaining collection of writings that baseball fans will thoroughly enjoy.”

Bookviews.com, April 2010
“Fun reading…Between its covers you will find some unusual choices among the writers who include singers, comedians and film critics. Their enthusiasm for those whom they think are the best players of a game is contagious and reveals why baseball continues to hold a place in the heart for many Americans.”

Ron Kaplan’s Baseball Bookshelf blog, 4/1/10
“There’s an eclectic group of contributors here…Some essays cover foreign players and some aren’t even real. Some are Hall of Famers, while others aren’t exactly household names and one didn’t even make it as a pro. But these players have one thing in common: for whatever reason, they were someone’s favorite. The heart wants what the heart wants; there’s not always a logical explanation.”

Corduroy Books website, 4/6/10

“It’s a hell of a book, funny and fast…Are there misses? Reader, please: I’m not gonna subject you to a baseball metaphor or anything (not every hit can be a homer; not every game can be a winner, etc. until blech), but yes, there are misses. More often, however, there’s that great, great moment, that best term from both baseball and books: connect. There’s contact made.”

Sacramento/San Francisco Book Review, April 2010
Top of the Order differentiates itself from the standard yearly crop of baseball biographies and statistical treatises by being a collection of essays…[A] wide range of contributing authors.”

Heeb magazine
Top of the Order is the early favorite for our Best Book of 5770.”

CurledUp.com, 4/21/10
“Some of the players chosen are surprising, some not, but the real fun of Top of the Order comes from reading how and why these particular players were chosen…There is something in Top of the Order for everyone, even non-fans of the game.” 

InternetReviewofBooks.com, April 2010
“If you’re looking to gear up for the season, try Top of the Order, a nice collection of essays on favorite players…It’s a lot of fun to learn a little about each of the favorites and why that particular player strikes a chord with the writer. Each essay is a nice bite-size piece of history in a sport that is nothing if not rich in history…The Top of the Order writers deliver the goods…Overall, Top of the Order is a good book for any baseball fan, casual or die-hard. There’s a little something in it for everybody.”

Tucson Citizen, 4/14/10
“The essays chosen for this collection help define what it means to be beset by that strange, incurable condition known as baseball fandom. This isn’t just a book about RBIs or out-of-the-park homeruns but rather a tribute to the pitchers, catchers, and sluggers who connected with the hearts of their fans.”

Asbury Park Press, 5/2/10
“You may—or you may not—know all of the 25 writers here, but if you're a fan of America's pastime, you're undoubtedly familiar with the names of the famed players.”

Largehearted Boy, 4/29/10
“Baseball fans build their own personal relationship with the game and its players, and these relationships are portrayed exceptionally well in Top of the Order…Sean Manning has brought together a stellar group of writers, journalists, musicians, and entertainers, and each shares a story of a ballplayer who has touched their life.”

Farther off the Wall, 4/14/10
“There's only 25 who made this first one. We'd love to see another 25 write their essays next year, and 25 more the year after.” 

InfoDad.com, 5/6/10
“Devoted baseball fans will surely have their favorite players—and Top of the Order gives readers a chance to compare their picks with those of 25 writers...These 25 writers, making 25 choices, offer readers far more than 25 chances to argue, debate, agree, complain and then, hopefully, return to real-life pursuits.”

BaseballAmerica.com, 5/12/10
“The concept of Top of the Order is a good one…[An] eclectic roster of writers.”

ForeWord, 5/20/10
“Manning has assembled an eclectic group…All these different ‘flavors’ merely add to the enjoyment and will no doubt make the reader reflect on his or her own off-beat favorite.”

AmericanProfile, 6/6/10
“Essays ranging from whimsical to weighty. The delicious diversity of the voices and the choices makes this a home run for baseball fans of all ages and affiliations, pop-culture junkies and anyone else who has ever fallen under the spell of America’s favorite summertime sport.”

Roanoke Times, 6/6/10
“The choices are surprising, and the essayists’ reasons for loving them are delightful…You won’t read about Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Ted Williams or Joe DiMaggio in this book. But you’ll discover that even players who never won a World Series ring somehow managed to win a place in some fan’s heart.”

TheMorningNews.org, 6/9/10

“Some surprising inclusions.”

Asbury Park Press, 6/13/10
“The contributors—not all sports writers—and the players they have chosen constitute an eclectic gathering…The well-told stories—fun in some cases and moving in others—illustrate once again the literary potential of the team sport that is most absorbed in the triumphs and failures of the individual player.”
 

OxfordAmerican, 8/3/10
“The majority of entries…are illuminating…A bonus in a collection of this sort is the unplanned way in which the views of authors converse or even debate one another…Stellar writers…What I got from this book was how unfair our feelings of both love and hate can be—there can be poor reasoning behind both. I also got from this book the quiet and self-reflection that wise writing can lead to.”
 

Acadiana LifeStyle, November 2010
“Baseball fans will…find a lot to enjoy.”

Bookgasm.com, 11/11/10

“Sean Manning does a great job as editor pulling together some very fine writers to contribute some really excellent short essays on baseball players and what it all means to the writers as fans…This book [is] in the upper tier of sportswriting anthologies.”

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780306818998
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press
  • Publication date: 4/6/2010
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 871,281
  • File size: 289 KB

Meet the Author


Sean Manning is the editor of the nonfiction anthologies The Show I’ll Never Forget and Rock and Roll Cage Match. He lives in New York.
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Table of Contents

Foreword W. P. Kinsella ix

Introduction Sean Manning xix

Rickey Henderson Steve Almond 1

Tom Seaver Pat Jordan 9

Brooks Robinson Laura Lippman 17

Lou Gehrig Jonathan Eig 25

Pedro Martinez Seth Mnookin 33

Albert Pujols Buzz Bissinger 43

Steve Dembowski Jim bouton 51

Kirby Puckett Craig Finn 59

Dave Kingman Christopher Sorrentino 69

Neifi Pérez King Kaufman 79

Roger Clemens Whitney Pastorek 87

Tony Horton Scott Raab 95

Jeff Kent John Albert 103

Jackie Robinson Roger Kahn 109

Victor Felipe Pellot Pové (Power) Esmeralda Santiago 117

Michael Jordan Sean Manning 125

Garry Maddox Doug Glanville 135

Yutaka Enatsu Robert Whiting 141

Garry Templeton Jeff Pearlman 151

Crash Davis Carrie Rickey 159

Greg Maddux Neal Pollack 165

Bobby Murcer Stefan Fatsis 173

Mookie Wilson Michael Ian Black 187

Jim Rice Matt Taibbi 193

Mariano Rivera Darin Strauss 199

Contributors' Notes 211

Contributors' Credits 215

Acknowledgments 216

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Light and Fun Summer Baseball Read

    All types of writers talk about their personal favorite baseball player....which produces a diverse group of players too! The chapters ranged from informative to inspiring, nostalgic and even damn funny. It is not something you would necessarily need in your permanent library, but it is what my title says....light, fun summer time baseball reading. A great gift for a baseball fan in your life too.

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