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About Joe Posnanski
Joe Posnanski is the New York Times bestselling author of Paterno, The Machine, and The Secret of Golf. He is currently the founder and editor of Joe Blogs at JoePosnanski.com as well as co-host of "The PosCast" podcast with television producer Michael Schur. Joe served as Senior Writer for The Athletic, MLB, NBC Sports, and Sports Illustrated, and co-founder of Passions in America. He was named national Sportswriter of the Year by the Sports Media Hall of Fame and was twice named the best sports columnist in America by the Associated Press Sports Editors. He is a two-time Emmy winner as part of NBC Sports Olympic coverage, and his first book "The Soul of Baseball," won The Casey Award as best baseball book. He was recently honored with the Tony Kubek Award by the National Polish American Sports Hall of Fame, and he was given the Buck O'Neil Award by the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. He is the author of six books and has been anthologized widely. He lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with his wife Margo, daughters Elizabeth and Katie, and standard poodle Westley.
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“An instant sports classic.” —New York Post * “Stellar.” —The Wall Street Journal * “A true masterwork…880 pages of sheer baseball bliss.” —BookPage (starred review) * “This is a remarkable achievement.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
A magnum opus from acclaimed baseball writer Joe Posnanski, The Baseball 100 is an audacious, singular, and masterly book that took a lifetime to write. The entire story of baseball rings through a countdown of the 100 greatest players in history, with a foreword by George Will.
Longer than Moby-Dick and nearly as ambitious,The Baseball 100 is a one-of-a-kind work by award-winning sportswriter and lifelong student of the game Joe Posnanski that tells the story of the sport through the remarkable lives of its 100 greatest players. In the book’s introduction, Pulitzer Prize–winning commentator George F. Will marvels, “Posnanski must already have lived more than 200 years. How else could he have acquired such a stock of illuminating facts and entertaining stories about the rich history of this endlessly fascinating sport?”
Baseball’s legends come alive in these pages, which are not merely rankings but vibrant profiles of the game’s all-time greats. Posnanski dives into the biographies of iconic Hall of Famers, unfairly forgotten All-Stars, talents of today, and more. He doesn’t rely just on records and statistics—he lovingly retraces players’ origins, illuminates their characters, and places their accomplishments in the context of baseball’s past and present. Just how good a pitcher is Clayton Kershaw in the twenty-first- century game compared to Greg Maddux dueling with the juiced hitters of the nineties? How do the career and influence of Hank Aaron compare to Babe Ruth’s? Which player in the top ten most deserves to be resurrected from history?
No compendium of baseball’s legendary geniuses could be complete without the players of the segregated Negro Leagues, men whose extraordinary careers were largely overlooked by sportswriters at the time and unjustly lost to history. Posnanski writes about the efforts of former Negro Leaguers to restore sidelined Black athletes to their due honor, and draws upon the deep troves of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and extensive interviews with the likes of Buck O’Neil to illuminate the accomplishments of players such as pitchers Satchel Paige and Smokey Joe Williams; outfielders Oscar Charleston, Monte Irvin, and Cool Papa Bell; first baseman Buck Leonard; shortstop Pop Lloyd; catcher Josh Gibson; and many, many more.
The Baseball 100 treats readers to the whole rich pageant of baseball history in a single volume. Chapter by chapter, Posnanski invites readers to examine common lore with brand-new eyes and learn stories that have long gone unheard. The epic and often emotional reading experience mirrors Posnanski’s personal odyssey to capture the history and glory of baseball like no one else, fueled by his boundless love for the sport.
Engrossing, surprising, and heartfelt, The Baseball 100 is a magisterial tribute to the game of baseball and the stars who have played it.
The first time they met, at an exhibition match in 1967, Tom Watson was a seventeen-year-old high school student and Jack Nicklaus, at twenty-seven, was already the greatest golfer in the world. Though they shared some similarities—they were both Midwestern boys who had learned how to play golf at their fathers’ country clubs—they differed in many ways. Nicklaus played a game of consummate control and precision. Watson hit the ball all over the place. Nicklaus lacked charm and theatrics, and he was thoroughly despised by most golf fans because he had displaced Arnold Palmer as king of the golf world. Watson was one of those Arnold Palmer fans. Yet over the next twenty years their seemingly divergent paths collided as they battled against each other again and again for a place at the top of the sport and drove each other to ever-soaring heights of accomplishment.
Spanning from that first match through the “Duel in the Sun” at Turnberry in 1977 to Watson’s miraculous near-victory at Turnberry as he approached sixty, and informed by interviews with both players over many years, The Secret of Golf is Joe Posnanski’s intimate account of the most remarkable rivalry and (eventual) friendship in modern golf.
Nearly a century after Harry Houdini died on Halloween in 1926, he feels as modern and alive as ever. The name Houdini still leaps to mind whenever we witness a daring escape. The baby who frees herself from her crib? Houdini. The dog who vanishes and reappears in the neighbor’s garden? Houdini. Every generation produces new disciples of the magician, from household names in magic like David Copperfield and David Blaine to countless other followers whose lives have been transformed by the power of Houdini.
In rural Pennsylvania, a thirteen-year-old girl finds the courage to leave a violent home after learning that Houdini ran away to join the circus; she eventually becomes the first female magician to saw a man in half on television. In Australia, an eight-year-old boy with a learning impediment feels worthless until he sees an old poster of Houdini advertising “Nothing on earth can hold Houdini prisoner,” and begins his path to becoming that nation’s most popular magician. In California, an actor and Vietnam War veteran finds purpose in his life by uncovering the secrets of his hero.
But the unique phenomenon of Houdini was always more than his death-defying stunts or his ability to escape handcuffs and straitjackets. It is also about the power of imagination and self-invention. His incredible transformation from Ehrich Weiss, humble Hungarian immigrant and rabbi’s son, into the self-named Harry Houdini has won him a slice of immortality. No one has withstood the test of time quite like Houdini. Fueled by Posnanski’s personal obsession with the magician—and magic itself—The Life and Afterlife of Harry Houdini is a poignant odyssey of discovery, blending biography, memoir, and first-person reporting to trace Houdini’s metamorphosis into an iconic figure who has inspired millions.
Joe Posnanski’s biography of the late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno follows in the tradition of works by Richard Ben Cramer on Joe DiMaggio and David Maraniss on Vince Lombardi. Having gained unprecedented access to Paterno, as well as the coach’s personal notes and files, Posnanski spent the last two years of Paterno’s life covering the coach, on (and off) the field and through the scandal that ended Paterno’s legendary career.
Joe Posnanski, who in 2012 was named the Best Sportswriter in America by the National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame, was with Paterno and his family as a horrific national scandal unfolded and Paterno was fired. Within three months, Paterno died of lung cancer, a tragic end to a life that was epic, influential, and operatic.
Paterno is the fullest description we will ever have of the man’s character and career. In this honest and surprising portrait, Joe Posnanski brings new insight and understanding to one of the most controversial figures in America.
From the author of Baseball 100
“A fascinating account of a man who outlasted the ignorance of a nation and persevered to become a beloved figure...One of the best baseball books in years, filled with depth style and clarity." —Cleveland Plain Dealer
An award-winning sports columnist and a baseball legend tour the country to recapture the joys and wonders of two of America’s greatest pastimes
When legendary Negro League player Buck O’Neil asked sports columnist Joe Posnanski how he fell in love with baseball, that simple question eventually led the pair on a cross-country quest to recapture the love that first drew them to the game. Baseball & Jazz recounts their emotional quest to find the heart of America’s beloved sport that still beats despite the scandal-ridden, steroid-shooting, money hungry athletes who currently seem to define the sport. At its heart is the story of 94-year-old Buck O’Neil—a man that truly played for the love of the game. After an impressive career in the Negro Baseball Leagues in which he earned two hitting titles and one championship, O’Neil made baseball history by becoming the first African-American coach in major league baseball. Posnanski writes about that love and the one thing that O’Neil cherishes almost as much as baseball: jazz. This heartwarming and insightful journey is an endearing step back in time to the days when the crack of a bat and the smokey notes of a midnight jam session were the sounds that brought the most joy to a man’s heart.
Award-winning sports columnist Joe Posnanski hits a grand slam with The Machine—a thrilling account of the magical 1975 season of the Cincinnati Reds, baseball’s legendary “Big Red Machine,” from spring training through the final game of the ’75 World Series. Featuring a Hall of Fame lineup of baseball superstars—including Johnny Bench, George Foster, Joe Morgan, Cesar Geronimo, and “Charlie Hustle” Pete Rose himself—The Machine is a wild ride with one of the greatest baseball teams in the history of the American Pastime.