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Top of the Order: 25 Writers Pick Their Favorite Baseball Player of All Time

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  55 ratings  ·  13 reviews
There have been many anthologies devoted to our national pastime’s greatest players, but here, at last, is one dedicated to those, for reasons far more personal than stats-based, we call our favorites. In Top of the Order twenty-five of today’s premier sports journalists, cultural critics, novelists, and humorists (as well as a couple of former major leaguers) deliver memo ...more
Paperback, 240 pages
Published April 6th 2010 by Da Capo Press (first published 2010)
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Jul 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: baseball
Random library find that features an array of great writers writing about a wild mix of ball players for a bunch of unexpected angles. Really great use of anthology form!

“But if I had to a favorite....the man who floats to the top is the one who best encompasses my belief that baseball is a sport of connections, of coincidence, of eerie, spiritual, all-consuming synchronicity. I focus more on the rhythms than the individuals, more on the fill season than the specific game, more on how things aff
Michael Brown
Jan 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. It is not the book I envisioned when I picked it up. Even though I knew it was about why each player was a writers personal favorite ball player. It was way more personal then I was expecting.

Yet with that said, I really enjoyed the book and the stories each told.
Gordon Kwok
Nov 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A great book for baseball fans. Essentially it is sportswriters being asked to write a brief article about their favorite player and why. Highly recommended for any baseball fan!
Aug 26, 2010 rated it liked it
Whitney Pastorek identifies Roger Clemons as her favorite player, for the simple reason that he was the only baseball player to ever break her heart. That, to me, is a perfect capsule description of the power that we bestow on our favorite players - people we may never meet, but who we choose as proxy receptacles for our hopes, dreams, and aspirations.

This book is a wonderful exploration of the ephermeral reasons that people decide on a 'favorite' player, and the absolute dedication that our fav
Tom Choi
May 05, 2010 rated it liked it
For anyone who grew up following baseball, the legends of the sport are like distant family members, each with his own story of greatness. "Top of the Order" is comprised of writers reminiscing about their favorite players. You have your usual icons of lore (Lou Gehrig, Jackie Robinson, Tom Seaver) but it's the unlikely left-of-center entries that makes this book truly special. Take for instance former SI writer Jeff Pearlman writing about how Garry Templeton's bad-assed personality allowed the ...more
Jul 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: baseball, non-fiction
Although not all of the essays in this anthology are to my liking, it is always interesting to read which ball players another person likes and why. My favorite of these is the one by Jim Bouton, by far, but there are many I liked. Jonathan Eig's essay on Lou Gehrig has inspired me to get and read his book on Gehrig; Roger Kahn on Jackie Robinson is an affecting remembrance of a friendship and a good effort at retrieving the reality of a black leader who has been sentimentalized and memorialized ...more
Jan 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
A very pleasant set of 25 essays of various writers about their favorite baseball players. They ranged from snarky to nostalgic to poignant. Johanthan Eig on Gehrig was a particular favorite, but of the 25, I really enjoyed about 20 of them. Unfortunately, it is a collection of essays, so the ones I didn't enjoy (mostly ones that were too narcissistic or snarky) kept it from being five star. But there is a lot of good writing in this book! ...more
Apr 27, 2010 rated it liked it
Great essays from two of baseball's best reporters, Buzz Bissiner (an ode to Pujols) and Roger Kahn (Jackie Robinson). While somewhat predictable selections, Bissinger and Kahn are certified power hitters in this sub-genre with a considerable following.

Given the range of reasons for each writer's selection, the collection serves a reminder of the multitude of reasons to make baseball a pleasurable diversion.
May 06, 2011 rated it liked it
Pat Jordan (Tom Seaver) and Jonathan Eig (Lou Gehrig) blew my doors off with their essays. Others so far are strong, some less so. So it's an uneven compilation...but Jordan and Eig are stupendous. Also, Jim Bouton's essay on Steve Dembowski, who was 5-foot-4 but hit .375 with a .730 on-base percentage as a college senior, was outstanding. ...more
Oliver Bateman
Oct 30, 2010 rated it it was ok
25 essays of varying quality, but some of the best--pieces on Jim Rice, Neifi Perez, Yutaka Enatsu, Steve Dembowski, Bobby Murcer, and Dave Kingman--are well worth your time. The entire book is rather short and perhaps not worthy of a purchase; I read it in less than two hours at a local Borders. Also: Michael Ian Black's Mookie Wilson anecdote is distressingly bad and completely out of place. ...more
Leslie Zampetti
Nov 16, 2010 rated it it was ok
Some of the essays in Top of the Order are truly enlightening and entertaining, but most are just okay. Baseballs fans would do better to pick up Glanville's recent book or another of the excellent baseball memoirs available. ...more
Tim Wendel
Aug 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: baseball
Anthologies can be a bear to pull together, but Sean Manning does a masterfully job here.
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Jim Turvey
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Dec 02, 2012 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed them all but loved Jim Bouton's piece on Steve Dembowski & Kinsella's forward. ...more
Bill Palmer
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Aug 01, 2010
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It’s good policy to keep a book of essays handy for those nights when you want to read but need something of a more digestible length....
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