A Q&A with author Joe Posnanski
Can you talk a little bit about how this project came about? For almost a decade, I’d been thinking about the ultimate baseball project, something that would allow me to tell the story of baseball and why it has had such a powerful hold on me and my life. On a different track, I started a countdown of the 100 greatest players, then started another countdown of the 100 greatest players. And then it hit me: Both of these projects — telling baseball’s story and counting down the 100 greatest players — are really the same project, and that’s what led to The Baseball 100.
Have any of your picks or rankings proven controversial to readers? I would say only 99 of the 100 have been controversial. Everybody disagrees about which players are on this list, which players are not on this list, where the players are ranked. But that’s why it’s fun, right?
This book is longer than Moby Dick—what is it about the game of baseball that inspires so much passion in you and so many others?
Baseball is unique in so many ways. It’s the only game where the defense controls the ball. It has a leisurely pace that is different from other games. Its history, as Ken Burns will tell you, runs an almost perfectly parallel track to America’s history. And, I think, it is the sport that best mixes the individual with the team; by that I mean that the batter, the pitcher, even the fielder, all of these people are doing individual things, they can’t rely on anybody else to help them, but all of it is inside a team game.
What is some of the most interesting research you did for the book?
I think and hope there’s interesting research everywhere … I did spend a lot of time on each of the players. But my favorite research involved the Negro Leagues players on this list. I’m hoping that people will really enjoy learning more about Oscar Charleston and Buck Leonard and Bullet Rogan and players they might not know that much about.
You’ve ranked the players here—what do you think is the best baseball team in history?
I’m afraid that you’ll have to wait for The Baseball Team 100.
Publisher : Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster (September 28, 2021)
Language : English
Hardcover : 880 pages
ISBN-10 : 1982180587
ISBN-13 : 978-1982180584
Item Weight : 2.7 pounds
Dimensions : 6.13 x 1.8 x 9.25 inches
, $19.99, $19.99