''Are We Winning?,'' ''Cardboard Gods,'' and more of the newest hits and strikes

By Jeff Labrecque
Updated April 30, 2010 at 04:00 AM EDT

Are We Winning?
Will Leitch
The Windup Cardinals fan and proud baseball snob Leitch recalls a trip to Wrigley Field with his gregarious dad.
Inside Baseball When Leitch went to college, the only piece of advice his father offered was ”[Don’t] date a Cubs fan.”
Final Score Leitch will capture the Field of Dreams crowd with this love letter to baseball — and dads. A-

The Baseball Codes
Jason Turbow with Michael Duca
The Windup This history explores the eye-for-an-eye justice that prevails on the diamond.
Inside Baseball Fifteen years after giving up a homer to Pete LaCock, pitcher Bob Gibson drilled LaCock with a fastball — in an Old-Timers’ Game.
Final Score The more you read, the more you realize there are no rules, but Codes is still a breezy look behind the action. B

Cardboard Gods
Josh Wilker
The Windup A ”baseball-loving loner” deciphers his complicated childhood through his old box of trading cards.
Inside Baseball When he was 11, Wilker, a frustrated Red Sox fan, greeted news of Thurman Munson’s plane crash not with sorrow but with gleeful hope that his team now stood a chance against the Yankees.
Final Score Wilker’s book is as nostalgically intoxicating as the gum that sweetened his card-collecting youth. A

The Eastern Stars
Mark Kurlansky
The Windup Kurlansky entrenches himself in the impoverished Dominican town of San Pedro de Macorís to learn why it produces so many major leaguers.
Inside Baseball One scout spirited away a 13-year-old prospect — whose parents promptly reported him missing.
Final Score Kurlansky’s seemingly low baseball IQ (he says, for example, that a .298 hitter gets ”a hit one out of every three times at bat”) will alienate hardcore fans. C

The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron
Howard Bryant
The Windup Bryant dissects both the dignified Henry and the brooding Hank, who never forgot the wounds of segregation and bigotry.
Inside Baseball Aaron’s first manager callously called him Stepin Fetchit to the press.
Final Score Bryant is determined to canonize Aaron, even if it means repeated jabs at Willie Mays, Barry Bonds, and even Jackie Robinson. B