December 14, 1998 12:00 PM

by Joseph Wallace

As much as the game between the white lines may fascinate us, so do the anecdotes, the lore, the very voices of baseball. Which is what makes The Autobiography of Baseball and its vintage photographs such a delight. In interviews culled from newspapers, magazines, books, radio and TV, the great and near great talk about the game they love.

Babe Ruth, recalling his rookie year, describes the time he offered to beat the tar out of everyone in the Boston Red Sox clubhouse. Sandy Koufax relives his battle to control his fastball. Pete Rose offers this bit of casual baseball poetry on the brilliance of Orioles’ third baseman Brooks Robinson: “That guy can field a ball with a pair of pliers.” (Abrams, $35)

Bottom Line: For fans, a box seat behind the dugout

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