The Baseball 100 Tour

Happy Sunday, everybody. The Baseball 100 officially comes out in two days. Many of you have been on this Baseball 100 journey with me from the very beginning, almost a decade ago, when one day on Joe Blogs I wrote something like, “Hey, I think it might be fun to count down the 100 greatest players in baseball history.”

Back then, some of you might remember, the idea was just to do a countdown. I think I had come up with some statistical formula I liked, and it gave me a list I liked, and that was the whole point. I wasn’t going to write these long essays diving deep into the players. I was going to write like two- or three-paragraph synopses.

But then I did dive deep anyway because, you know, I have no control over my writing impulses.

That first version sputtered out at No. 30 — it literally took over my life and I couldn’t do anything else and had to quit. I started it again and it sputtered out again. Finally came this version of the Baseball 100, and as I started it, I finally knew what it wanted to be. To me, this is so much more than a ranking of players. That doesn’t mean that I flinch from the fun arguments about who should be ranked where — I do know that’s what most interviewers and others in the media want to talk about, and I love that.

But to me, this is my story of baseball. It’s 880 pages about why I love the game, why so many of us love the game, why I think baseball matters. Though the book doesn’t actually come out until Tuesday, I’ve already received photos and heard reports from people that their kids, age 16, age 13, age 8, age 6, are reading the book or asking to have the book read to them, and it makes my heart swell.

I had not thought of it this way. But I think I wrote this book for the 13-year-old version of myself.

I’m about to launch on the book and media tour. Alas, book tours are not what they once were … because the world is not what it once was.

But I am doing some cool stuff. The crew is trying to add some other cool stuff; I’ll update you as we go. If you have an idea or a wish or an interview request, hey, send it along, we can try to make it happen. Like I say, we’re all flying blind in this COVID world we’re living in.

But here’s what’s on the books right now.

I’m in Kansas City signing and inscribing an overwhelming number of books.

You might remember a few weeks ago when I offered to sign and inscribe any book preordered through Rainy Day Books. The deal was that I would write anything you wanted, within reason, and many, many, many of you took me up on it. Well, now the bill comes due. It’s going to take me three days — full-time days — to sign all the books that were preordered. I have already put in one of those days, eight full hours on Saturday, and my writing hand is absolutely killing me.

But I’m going back so I can sign more books like this:

And this:

And this:

It will take me DAYS to sign all these books.

If you missed out on the full inscription offer … there is another offer going. If you preorder the book from anywhere — Indiebound, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, anywhere else — you can get a free signed bookplate by putting in your proof of purchase here.

And with that purchase, you will be invited to an exclusive virtual Baseball 100 event with a very special guest. I can’t tell you the guest’s name yet, but his name could possibly rhyme with Like Cure. And there might even be more than one guest.

Tuesday, Sept. 28 (launch day!)

Virtual conversation with Tyler Kepner for Philadelphia Free Library
Time: 7:30 p.m. Eastern
Cost: Free (or $45 to include book with signed bookplate)
Register: Free Library link

This will be a fun event with my friend Tyler Kepner of The New York Times. Of course, I wish it were in person but … alas. If you order the book for the event, you will get a signed bookplate, but I believe that you can also register just to watch.

Wednesday, Sept. 29 (live event!)

Conversation with Bill James
Where: Unity Temple on the Plaza in Kansas City
Time: 7 p.m. Central
Cost: $40 gets you a signed copy of the book and two tickets to the event.
Register: Online with Rainy Day Books or call at (913) 384-3126

So, this is the first live book event that Rainy Day Books has done since the start of the pandemic … and perhaps the last for a while too. Obviously, it’s going to be amazing: I’ll be talking baseball with Bill James, for crying out loud. I can tell you that we are working on recording the event and posting the audio here; I’m hoping that’s going to happen. Anyway, if you’re anywhere around KC, I’d love to see you.

Tuesday, Oct. 5 (virtual)

Virtual conversation with Dale Murphy at the Marcus JCC of Atlanta!
8 p.m. Eastern
Cost: $6 for a ticket; $46 for a book and ticket bundle
Register: With the MJCCA here.

I mean, I don’t know what more you can say. I’m talking baseball with Dale Murphy.

Lots more to come. Will update you again after I ice my hand.