SPORTS ILLUSTRATED'S
TOP 100 SPORTS BOOKS OF ALL TIME

The following description and list was included in Sports Illustrated December 16, 2002 issue. "In the early 1900s editor Maxwell Perkins told anyone who would listen that Chicago sports columnist Ring Lardner was the most talented writer he knew, high praise given that Perkins' stable included Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Thomas Wolfe. It shouldn't have come as a shock, though. Many of the country's best writers have long been fascinated with sports, and that passion shows up in their prose. After all, when done right, sportswriting transcends bats and balls to display all the traits of great literature: incision, wit, force and vision, suffused with style and substance. Herewith the editors of Sports Illustrated's favorite sports books, compiled with love and reason, out of intense and sometimes unruly discussions." The annotations to each of the 100 titles can be read by clicking HERE.

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1 A.J. Liebling The Sweet Science. 1956
2 Roger Kahn The Boys of Summer. 1971
3 Jim Bouton Ball Four. 1970
4 H.G. Bissinger Friday Night Lights. 1990
5 Ring Lardner You Know Me Al. 1914
6 John Feinstein A Season the Brink. 1986
7 Dan Jenkins Semi-Tough. 1972
8 George Plimpton Paper Lion. 1965
9 Ken Dryden The Game. 1983
10 Nick Hornby Fever Pitch. 1991
11 Norman MacLean A River Runs Through It. 1976
12 Laura Hillenbrand Seabiscuit. 2001
13 Terry Pluto Loose Balls. 1990
14 Mark Harris Bang the Drum Slowly. 1956
15 Rick Telander Heaven Is a Playground. 1976
16 John McPhee Levels of the Game. 1969
17 David Halberstam The Breaks of the Game. 1981
18 Roger Angell The Summer game. 1972
19 Jim Brosnan The Long Season. 1960
20 Jerry Kramer and Dick Schaap Instant Replay. 1968
21 Frank Deford Everybody's All-American. 1981
22 Leonard Gardner Fat City. 1969
23 Pete Axthelm The City Game. 1970
24 Bernard Malamud The Natural. 1952
25 Peter Gent North Dallas Forty. 1973
26 David Maraniss When Pride Still Mattered. 1999
27 Robert Creamer Babe: The Legend Comes to Life. 1974
28 P.G. Wodehouse The Golf Omnibus. 1973
29 Ray Blount Jr. About Three Bricks Shy of a Load. 1974 
30 Frederick Exley A Fan's Notes. 1968
31 Richard Ben Cramer Joe Dimaggio: The Hero's Life. 2000
32 Stanley Cohen The Game They Played. 1977
33 Bill Veek and Ed Linn Veeck as in Wreck. 1962
34 Ben Hogan and Herbert Warren Wind Ben Hogan's Five Lessons. 1957
35 Apsley Cherry-Garrard The Worst Journey in the World. 1922
36 C.L.R. James Beyond a Boundary. 1963
37 Pat Jordan A False Spring. 1975
38 Bill Bradley Life on the Run. 1976
39 Red Smith The Red Smith Reader. 1982
40 Thomas McGuane An Outside Chance: Essays on Sport. 1980
41 Gordon H. Fleming The Unforgettable Season. 1981
42 Eric Rolfe Greenberg The Celebrant. 1983
43 William Nack Big Red of Meadow Stable. 1975
44 Bill James The Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract. 1985
45 Dan DeLillo End Zone. 1972
46 David Wolf Foul! The Connie Hawkins Story. 1972
47 W.P. Kinsella Shoeless Joe. 1982
48 Jon Krakauer Into Thin Air. 1997
49 Eliot Asinof Eight Men Out. 1963
50 Jules Tygiel Baseball's Great Experiment. 1983
51 Boll Barich Laughing in th Hills. 1980
52 Kevin Kerrane Dollar Sign on the Muscle. 1984
53 Sparky Lyle and Peter Golenbock The Bronx Zoo. 1979
54 W.C. Heinz The Professional. 1958
55 Macmillan (Publisher) The Baseball Encyclopedia. 1969....... 
56 Richard Hoffer A Savage Business. 1998
57 Lawrence Ritter The Glory of Their Times. 1966
58 John Thorn (ed,) The Complete Armchair of Baseball. 1999
59 Bill Buford Among the Thugs. 1991
60 John Helyar Lords of the Realm. 1994
61 Robert Coover The Universal Baseball Association, Inc. 1968 
62 Arhur Ashe and Arnold Rampersad Days of Grace. 1993
63 Dave Maggyesy Out of Their League. 1970
64 John Updike Golf Dreams: Writings on Golf. 1996
65 Madeleine Blais In These Girls, Hope Is a Muscle. 1995
66 John Wooden and Jack Tobin They Call Me Coach. 1972
67 Howard Cosell Cosell. 1973
68 Bobby Jones and O.B. Keeler  Down the Fairway. 1927
69 Alexander Wolff Big Game, Small World
70 Darcy Frey The Last Shot. 1994
71 Arnold Schwarzenegger and Douglas Kent Hall  Arnold, The Education of a Bodybuilder. 1977
72 Rex Lardner Out of the Bunker and Into the Trees. 1960
73 Norman Mailer The Fight. 1975
74 Robert Peterson Only the Ball Was White. 1970
75 Harvey Penick with Bud Shrake Harvey Penick's Littlt Red Book. 1992
76 Joe Jares Whatever Happened to Georgeous George? 1974
77 Maurice Herzog Annapurna. 1951
78 Philip Roth The Great American Novel. 1973
79 Eduardo Galeano Soccer in Sun and Shadow. 1998
80 Herbert Warren Wind The Story of American Golf. 1948
81 Christine Brennan Inside Edge. 1996
82 Paul Gallico Farewell to Sport. 1938
83 Thomas Hauser Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times. 1991
84 Jimmy Breslin Can't Anybody Here Play This Game? 1963 
85 James Fixx The Complete Book of Running. 1977
86 Ted Williams and John Underwood The Science of Hitting. 1970
87 Robert Daley Only a Game. 1967
88 Michael Novak The Joy of Sports. 1976
89 Vyv Simson and Andrew Jennings The Lords of the Ring. 1992
90 Steve Rushkin Road Swing. 1998
91 Michael Murphy Golf in the Kingdom. 1972
92 Russ Conway Game Misconduct. 1995
93 Jerome Holtzman No Cheering in the Press Box. 1973
94 Murray Sperber Beer and Circus. 2000
95 Budd Schulberg The Harder They Fall. 1947
96 Grantland Rice The Tumult and the Shouting. 1954
97 Robert Lipsyte SportsWorld. 1975
98 William Brashler The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings. 1973
99 Joe McGinniss The Miracle of Casteldi di Sangro. 1999
100 Joan Ryan Little Girls in Pretty Boxes. 1995

 
 
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