Editor: Bill Syken
Publisher: Sports Illustrated
ISBN: 978-1-61893-055-2

Who is the greatest centerfielder of all time? How about the most dominant pitcher? What’s the best game ever? SI’s team of experts once and for all settles the questions baseball fans have been debating since the first pitch was thrown,” the back jacket cover announces in the book, Sports Illustrated Baseball’s Greatest.

At two hundred and eighty-eight glossy pages, this over-sized hardbound coffee table book is targeted toward those who love the game of baseball and anything to do with America’s favorite pastime. With color or black and white photographs that are full page close-up or smaller inserts, Sports Illustrated makes its mark honoring the beloved sport.

After an introduction discussing the athletes chosen and explaining how they were ranked, it gives the top ten players in each of the nine positions including right-handed, left-handed, and relief pitchers along with managers, games, ballparks, and franchises. Also added are the best designated hitters, sluggers, base runners, defensive players, and a summary of uniforms, characters, rivalries, movies, quotes, and records with a recap of results but no index listing names alphabetically.

In each of the “best of” chapters, the ten players chosen are listed with the winner first with large photographs and a few paragraphs per competitor. Also in each section, there is a full-page article reprinted from Sports Illustrated about a particular player. 

Take the “mind and soul” position of catcher with the top ten listings in order starting with the best: Bench, Berra, Campanella, Rodriguez, Gibson, Cochrane, Fisk, Dickey, Piazza, and Carter. With the narrowest group of nominees, ten had to be chosen from eleven selections, with Harnett mentioned in the final results. A 1990 article by Ron Fimrite is included about Campanella, written after the player’s car crash that paralyzed him. The photographs show the players catching, throwing, or getting ready to play ball.

Being a subjective ranking of winners, readers may debate the choices of position from long ago to current players. Was Cobb, Gehrig, Ruth, or Wagner a better player than Bonds, Glavine, Griffey Jr., or Jeter? Should gambler Rose be selected over four times in the categories or did the seven panelists overlook other games, seasons, or plays? Only readers can decide who they think had the best physical prowess, the strongest arm, or the most agility. 

Worth its weight, this book is perfect for the baseball enthusiast that likes looking at pictures of their favorite players with little reading, few statistics, and a simplistic format.

This book was furnished by DKC Public Relations, Marketing & Government Affairs in lieu of a review based on the reader’s opinion.

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