Top 10 Sports Biographies
1. "The Yankee Years," by Joe Torre and Tom Verducci - 320,000 copies sold
2. "Red and Me: My Coach, My Lifelong Friend" by Bill Russell and Alan Steinberg - 30,000 copies sold
3. "Satchel: The Life and Times of an American Legend" by Larry Tye - 28,000 copies sold
4. "It's Not About The Bike: My Journey Back To Life" by Lance Armstrong and Sally Jenkins -26,000 copies sold
5. "A-Rod: The Many Lives of Alex Rodriguez" by Selena Roberts - 21,000 copies sold
6. "Lance: The Making of the World's Greatest Champion" by John Wilcockson - 15,000 copies sold
7. "Munson: The Life and Death of a Yankee Captain" by Marty Appel - 14,000 copies sold
8. "Shooting Stars" by LeBron James and Buzz Bissinger - 13,000 copies sold
9. "Yogi Berra: Eternal Yankee" by Allen Barra - 13,000 copies sold
10. "Always by My Side: The Healing Gift of a Father's Love" by Jim Nantz - 11,000 copies sold
There are a lot of interesting stories in these numbers. On the surface, it looks like if you want to write a best-selling sports biography, odds are you should do something about the Yankees.
Four out of 10 of the top 10 books here are about the Yankees. Everything is relative, of course. "The Yankee Years" impressively blew away every book in the category. And while Selena Roberts' "A-Rod" book is currently in fifth place on the year with 21,000 copies sold, it will be considered a disappointment because Harper Collins' announced first printing was 150,000 copies.
Although much of the early attention on "The Yankee Years" focused on Torre's "A-Fraud" comments, the book written by the current Los Angeles Dodgers and former Yankees skipper with SI's Tom Verducci was critically acclaimed.
"There are a lot of sports books that get excerpted and don't sell well because it's not about the steak, it's about the sizzle," Verducci told me. "The support for this book spread through word of mouth, through people who realized this wasn't just a Yankees book, it was a book about the game. It's about why they won and why they didn't win in the context of what was happening in baseball during those years."
Verducci said that he thinks that, given the current immediacy of news, there's still solid market for in-depth books.
"I'm not sure those quick turnaround books with the World Series or Super Bowl MVP exist anymore, but there's still a lot of room for the longer form analysis."
The fact that Lance Armstrong's book, written in 2001, is still on this list is remarkable, and it looks like LeBron James' new book - which is coupled with the release of the movie on his high school team - will move up the charts by year end. The book has sold 13,000 copies in 27 days.