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Baseball Books

Being a true fan is all about knowing more than your neighbor. And this season's books mean you'll start the year with more to say than the guy next to you at the stadium -- or that interloper from Oakland with the fat contract.

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1. Baseball as America
We like any book that calls Charlie Brown a "baseball icon." This companion to the Museum of Natural History's exhibit also has Paul Simon's reflections on Joe DiMaggio and gorgeous photos. (National Geographic Books, $35.)

2. Bombers: An Oral History of the New York Yankees
Culled from interviews with nearly every living Yank, Bombers has enough goodies to make you forget that author Richard Lally lives in Queens. (April 9; Crown, $25.)

3. Amazin': The Miraculous History of New York's Most Beloved Baseball Team
Pegged to the Mets' fortieth anniversary, Peter Golenbock's exhaustive, entertaining history starts with the Giants' exit and ends with Al Leiter's wrap-up of the 2000 Subway Series: "Ah, well, what the hell are you going to do?" (April 8; St. Martin's Press, $27.95.)

4. Pennants and Pinstripes
Filled with historical minutiae, Ray Robinson and Christopher Jennison's chronicle of the Yankees' 99 years is sprinkled with all-time-team picks from the likes of Bob Costas and David Halberstam. (Viking, $34.95.)

5. Baseball: A Literary Anthology
From the lost first verse of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" to Stephen King's essay on Little League, Nicholas Dawidoff's collection should be a hit with believers in the American religion. (Library of America, $35.)


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