Larry Ritter Book Award (Deadball)

Each year, SABR’s Deadball Era Committee presents the Larry Ritter Book Award to recognize the best new baseball book primarily set in the Deadball Era that was published during the previous calendar year. The Ritter Award is presented during the Deadball Committee’s meeting at the annual SABR convention.

The award is named in honor of late SABR member Lawrence S. Ritter, author of The Glory of Their Times, the work that revived interest in the Deadball Era and often cited as the greatest baseball book ever written.

To learn more about the origins and history of the Larry Ritter Award, click here.

The task of reviewing this year’s nominees is assigned to an awards committee chaired by Doug Skipper, with John McMurray, Mark Dugo, David Fleitz, Craig Lammers, Mark Pattison, and Ben Klein as the other judges. The nominees’ list will be pared down to four finalists in early March, with the 2019 Larry Ritter Award to be publicly announced the following month.


2020 nominations

Submit nominations for the 2020 Larry Ritter Book Award, honoring books published in the 2019 calendar year, to Doug Skipper at theskippers1@hotmail.com by December 31, 2019.


2019 nominees

Here is the list of Ritter Award nominees for 2019:

  • A Franchise on the Rise: The First Twenty Years of the New York Yankees, by Dom Amore (Skyhorse Publishing);
  • September 1918: War, Plague, and the World Series, by Skip Desjardin (Regnery History)
  • Game Faces: Early Baseball Cards from the Library of Congress, by Peter Devereaux (Smithsonian Books)
  • Manager of the Giants: The Tactics, Temper and True Record of John McGraw, by Lou Hernandez (McFarland & Co.)
  • The 1914 Boston Braves: A Miracle in Beantown, by Matthew Hock (self-published)
  • The Days of Rube, Matty, Honus and Ty: Scenes from the Early Deadball Era, 1904-1907, by Chuck Kimberly (McFarland & Co.)
  • Gettysburg Eddie: The Story of Eddie Plank, by Lawrence Knorr (Sunbury Press)
  • Take Nothing for Granted in Baseball: The Harry Pulliam Story, by Mark Peavy (CreateSpace)
  • Tinker, Evers, Chance: The Chicago Cubs and the Dawn of Modern America, by David Rapp (University of Chicago Press)
  • Ty Cobb Unleashed: The Definitive Counter-Biography of the Chastened Racist, by Howard W. Rosenberg (Tile Books)
  • America's Game: A History of Major League Baseball through World War II, by Bryan Soderholm-Difatte (Rowman & Littlefield)
  • The World Series in the Deadball Era: A History in the Words and Pictures of the Writers and Photographers, edited by Steve Steinberg (SABR and St. Johann Press)
  • Charles Ebbets: The Man Behind the Dodgers and Brooklyn's Beloved Ballpark, by John G. Zinn (McFarland & Co.)

Click here to learn more.


Larry Ritter Award winners

2018

  • From the Dugouts to the Trenches: Baseball During the Great War, by Jim Leeke (University of Nebraska Press)

2017

  • The Selling of the Babe: The Deal That Changed Baseball and Created a Legend, by Glenn Stout (Thomas Dunne Books, St. Martin's Press)

2016

  • Ty Cobb: A Terrible Beauty, by Charles Leerhsen (Simon & Schuster)

2015

  • Baseball on Trial: The Origin of Baseball’s Antitrust Exemption, by Nathaniel Grow (University of Illinois Press)
  • The Days of Wee Willie, Old Cy and Baseball War: Scenes from the Dawn of the Deadball Era, 1900-1903, by Chuck Kimberly (McFarland & Co.)

2014

  • Spitballing: The Baseball Days of Long Bob Ewing, by Mike Lackey (Orange Frazer Press)

2013

  • The Battle That Forged Modern Baseball: The Federal League Challenge and Its Legacy, by Daniel R. Levitt (Ivan R. Dee)  

 2012

  • Fenway 1912: The Birth of a Ballpark, a Championship Season, and Fenway's Remarkable First Year, by Glenn Stout (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) 

2011

  • Native American Son: The Life and Sporting Legend of Jim Thorpe, by Kate Buford (Alfred A. Knopf)

2010

  • The Federal League of Base Ball Clubs: The History of an Outlaw Major League, 1914-1915, by Robert Peyton Wiggins (McFarland & Co.)

2009

  • Ballparks of the Deadball Era: A Comprehensive Study of Their Dimension, Configurations and Effects on Batting, 1901-1919, by Ronald M. Selter (McFarland & Co.)

2008

  • Connie Mack and the Early Years of Baseball, by Norman L. Macht (University of Nebraska Press)

2007

  • Burying the Black Sox: How Baseball’s Cover-Up of the 1919 World Series Fix Almost Succeeded, by Gene Carney (Potomac)

2006

  • Peach: Ty Cobb in His Time and Ours, by Richard Bak (Sports Media Group)

2005

  • The American Indian Integration of Baseball, by Jeffrey Powers-Beck (University of Nebraska Press)

2004

  • The Tour to End All Tours: The Story of Major League Baseball’s 1913—1914 World Tour, by James E. Elfers (Bison Books)

2003

  • Before They Were the Bombers: The New York Yankees’ Early Years, 1903—1915, by Jim Reisler (McFarland & Co.)

2002

  • Hal Chase: The Defiant Life and Turbulent Times of Baseball’s Biggest Crook, by Martin Donell Kohout (McFarland & Co.)