Schwarz's readable style makes some pretty abstract concepts accessible to the reader. Casual baseball fans shouldn't shy away from this book. If you're uncomfortable with ultra-modern stats but know your way around the back of a baseball card, you can understand this book.
The only drawback is that sometimes Schwarz is a little too casual in his approach. His efforts to humanize his subjects results in a sentence like this, which opens up Chapter 4: "The Georgian Bay off Lake Huron lay peaceful and still, tall trees standing sentry over the scene's verdant tranquility." Alan Schwarz may not be Wordsworth, but he is a good author. Check out the book.
#13: The Pitch that Killed
by Mike Sowell
Perhaps no other season in baseball was as much of a turning point as 1920. Interest in the game was booming following the end of World War I, the spitball was about to be outlawed, Babe Ruth joined the Yankees and hit an earth-shattering 54 home runs, baseball hired its first commissioner, rumors about a crooked World Series would result in the banning of eight baseball players in the middle of the pennant race, and en executive decision to use cleaner, whiter, and fresher baseballs helped usher in an offensive renaissance. The latter change was largely the result of the titular killer pitch.
Sowell does a good job of bringing together all of these disparate trends into his story, which mainly follows the Indians through their season, which hinged around the tragic death of shortstop Ray Chapman. My only problem is that Sowell spends a great deal of time talking about game stories. A certain number of them are necessary, but there were 154 of them in the 1920 season, and it's hard to get excited about all of them.
#12: Mind Game: How the Boston Red Sox Got Smart, Won a World Series and Created a New Blueprint for Winning
by Steve Goldman & the Baseball Prospectus Team of Writers
This is the first book (not counting the annuals) written as a team effort by the staff of BaseballProspectus, and in my opinion it's still the best. The book consists of a series of essays and studies looking at different aspects of the 2004 Red Sox, including how they got where they were and what made them so good. It is pretty stat-heavy, though, so those uncomfortable with VORP and EQA might want to think twice before diving in.
However, my favorite chapter has very little to do with statistics at all. It argues that the racism that was endemic to the club for nearly 50 years was as much a factor in their failures as any "curse."