Each year Spitball Magazine presents an award for the best baseball book of the year. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the CASEY Award, and according to Spitball Editor-in-Chief Mike Shannon, “It seems only appropriate that we should wind up with such an outstanding field of contenders for the CASEY in this milestone year. I think the CASEYs demonstrated long ago that no other sport produces great literature, year in and year out, the way baseball does, and this lineup of excellent books proves the point yet again.”
In Charlie Murphy: The Iconoclastic Showman behind the Chicago Cubs, Jason Cannon explores Murphy’s life both on and off the field, painting a picture of his meteoric rise and precipitous downfall. Readers will get to know the real Murphy, not the simplified caricature created by his contemporaries that has too frequently been perpetuated through the years, but the whirling dervish who sent the sport of baseball spinning and elevated Chicago to the center of the baseball universe.
Red Barber follows the trajectory of Barber’s long career from radio and television play-by-play man for the Cincinnati Reds, Brooklyn Dodgers, and New York Yankees to his work calling college and professional football games, his nine-year tenure as director of sports for CBS Radio, and his second acts as an Episcopal lay reader, sportswriter, and weekly guest with Bob Edwards on NPR’s Morning Edition.
Jason Cannon worked in collegiate sports information before turning to teaching and writing. His articles have appeared in NINE: A Journal of Baseball History and Culture.
Judith R. Hiltner is professor emeritus of literature and languages at Saint Xavier University and the author of books and articles on American literature and culture, including critical and biographical studies of Herman Melville, Philip Freneau, and Deborah Sampson. James R. Walker is professor emeritus of communication at Saint Xavier University and a past executive director of the International Association of Communication and Sport. He is the author of several books, including Crack of the Bat: A History of Baseball on the Radio (Nebraska, 2015), and is the coauthor of Center Field Shot: A History of Baseball on Television (Nebraska, 2008).
And congrats to all the other finalists!