i am researching spirituality and baseball, and i need your help.

creationover the past six months or so, i have gone on a complete baseball book binge. i am in the early phases of doing extensive research on the topics of baseball and spirituality. i believe there are countless connections to be made between the two, and i hope to explore those intersections in the future. this is just a quick sampling, but for example…

  • what can opening day in major league baseball teach us about our perspective of hope in the world?
  • how does tradition influence both our fandom and how we understand God and how we approach Scripture?
  • what can we learn about sacred space from ballparks like wrigley field and fenway park?
  • what are blessings and curses, and what involvement does God have in them?
  • how do faith and doubt get played out in our life as fans and as spiritual beings?
  • theologically speaking, what is the importance of playing games like baseball at all?
  • what is the role of storytelling in all of this? how do we tell stories and why are they necessary?
  • what is the importance family systems and self-differentiation in the life of a baseball fan and as a human being?
  • what role do myth and history play in both baseball and spiritual life?
  • what can we learn about the importance of community and camaraderie from ballplayers and fans?
  • does God even care about winning or losing?

as a seminary student, i’m right in the middle of my theological education, but i am working hard to educate myself on the game of baseball as well: histories, biographies, stories, movies, essays, fiction and non-fiction. if you follow me on twitter, you know that baseball is pretty much all i have anything to say anything about nowadays. (also, on a somewhat funny side note: i’ve lost 11 twitter followers in the past two weeks. october baseball has that effect, and i refuse to apologize about single mindedness.)

anyway. here’s what i need from you guys – resource suggestions. as you read the questions above, what books (theological or baseball-related) come to mind? what baseball memories do these questions conjure in your mind? or maybe you have other questions that i didn’t include here, what are they?

here’s a list of the baseball books i’ve already got in my initial arsenal…

The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract – Bill James
The Faith of 50 Million: Baseball, Religion and American Culture – Christopher H. Evens & William R. Herzog II
Baseball: A History of America’s Favorite Game – George Vecsey
The Machine – Joe Posnanski
The Soul of Baseball – Joe Posnanski
The Head Game – Baseball Seen from the Pitcher’s Mound – Roger Kahn
The Boys of Summer – Roger Kahn
Baseball as a Road to God – John Sexton
The Natural – Bernard Malamud
The Art of Fielding – Chad Harbauch
Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game – Michael Lewis
The Universal Baseball Association Inc., J. Henry Waugh, Prop. – Robert Coover
Shoeless Joe – W.P. Kinsella
The Physics of Baseball – Robert K. Adair, Ph.D.
The Greatest Baseball Stories Ever Told – Jeff Silverman
The Baseball: Stunts, Scandals and Secrets Beneath the Stitches – Zack Hample
30 Ballparks in 30 Days: A Journey from the Road – Travis Greene
Up, Up and Away: The Kid, The Hawk, Rock, Vladi, Pedro, le Grand Orange, Youppi!, the Crazy Business of Baseball, and the Ill-Fated but Unforgettable Montreal Expos – Jonah Keri (pre-ordered)
The Kevin Costner Baseball Trilogy

obviously this is nothing close to a completely holistic list, so which ones am i missing? so fellow baseball fans…what do i need to read? any favorites of yours? what major books am i leaving out?

…and ministry, theology, church friends…what resources would you recommend as i explore these questions?

thanks everyone. excited to see where this research goes!


photo source: http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/ethicalesq/files/2008/04/creation.jpg

4 thoughts on “i am researching spirituality and baseball, and i need your help.”

  1. great reading list. I’d also recommend, the mickey mantle bio by jane leavy as well as her bio of koufax. Kinsella’s The Iowa Baseball Confederacy is fantastic. University of Nebraska press has several good titles out.
    I was tagged by our mutual friend Allyn, but do you know Ethan Bryan? He’s written on this very thing and currently in Springfield.

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