Top of the Order: 25 Writers Pick Their Favorite Baseball Player of All Time

Top of the Order: 25 Writers Pick Their Favorite Baseball Player of All Time

by Sean Manning, W. P. Kinsella

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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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780306818998
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication date: 04/06/2010
Sold by: Hachette Digital, Inc.
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 240
File size: 296 KB

About 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.

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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Top of the Order: 25 Writers Pick Their Favorite Baseball Player of All Time 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
SamSattler on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Maybe it is because the season is so long, some 162 games stretching over a full six months during which a baseball fan can live and die with his team for three or four hours at least five days a week. Maybe it is because the game attracts the kind of sports fan who loves nothing better than immersing himself in the detailed statistics and history of the game. Whatever the cause, there is just something special about the long-term bond between a baseball fan and his favorite players and team that other sports do not quite seem able to match.Even though most baseball fans have a favorite all time player, they might find it difficult to explain their choices to other fans because not everyone makes the obvious choice. It would be too easy if everyone chose Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Mickey Mantle, Albert Pujols, Barry Bonds (unlikely, these days) or one of the game¿s great pitchers. Choosing a favorite player is a personal thing and many fans choose their favorites as much for what they do off the field as for how those players have affected the record books.In "Top of the Order," published just in time for the 2010 baseball season, twenty-five journalists, novelists, former players, and entertainers offer short pieces about their own favorite players and how they made those choices. 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. Among the more expected choices are players like Tom Seaver, Lou Gehrig, Albert Pujols, Jackie Robinson and Mariano Rivera. But among the twenty-five favorites are also players like Steve Dembowski, Michael Jordan, Mookie Wilson, Neifi Perez and fictional catcher Crash Davis. Many readers, I suspect, will be drawn first to the essays on the second group of players out sheer curiosity to find out why a fan holds them in such high regard. As author W.P. Kinsella says in the book¿s foreword, ¿Favorites, it seems, come in all shapes, sizes, and degrees of talent.¿Readers/baseball fans will delight in the relationship between writer (and minor league pitcher) Pat Jordan and his all time favorite player, Tom Seaver. They will be astounded by the unique talent that Steve Dembowski, Jim Bouton¿s choice, had for getting hit by a pitch almost at will and how he was never given a look by a major league team despite his incredible college career .729 on base percentage. They will perhaps wonder at how Whitney Pastorek could still choose Roger Clemens as his favorite all time player knowing what we know about the man today. And they will enjoy revisiting the careers and personalities of some of the greatest players who have ever played the game.A portion of one paragraph from Jonathan Eig¿s remarks on Lou Gehrig, though, says it all for the baseball purists out there who so strongly detest how the steroid-generation of players has corrupted the game and its history: ¿As a boy, I hadn¿t cared a bit if my heroes were decent or dreadful people. They were ballplayers, and that was all. Now, with Bonds, one of the greatest ballplayers of all time struck me as one of the lowest pieces of dung ever scraped from the bottom of a shoe. He didn¿t just kill the notion of ballplayer as hero. He beat it to a bloody, lifeless pulp, and stood over the corpse and sneered.¿There is something in "Top of the Order" for everyone, even non-fans of the game, but Eig¿s words are sure to touch the hearts of those who feel betrayed by what was allowed to happen to the sport for so many years, depriving the true greats of their records and cheapening those very records forever.Rated at: 4.0
SlapShot62 More than 1 year ago
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.