Saturday, July 22, 2006

The Book Review:

For those who can't get enough of Bill Lee - - and why would anyone want to - now out and available in paperbacks are "The Wrong Stuff" (Three Rivers Press, $13.95, 278 pages) and "Have Glove Will Travel" (Three Rivers Press ,$13.95, 300 pages). Both belong on your sports bookshelf. Humorous, insightful, irreverent - the Lee Collection presents the "20 something anniversary edition" of "The Right Stuff" and the companion "Spaceman" treat about Lee's baseball vagabond adventures and mis-adventures as a star major league hurler, as a mediocre big leaguer, as a baseball lifer. Both books were written with the especially able assistance of Richard Lally, author of three international best sellers. Still in a humorous vein is "Why My Wife Thinks I'm an Idiot" by Mike Greenberg (Villard Books, $22.95), a self deprecating look at the author and his work by the co-host of "Mike and Mike in the Morning" on ESPN Radio. Greenberg is a busy, busy guy also on ESPN2, an anchor on ESPN's "SportsCenter." He is billed as one of America's fastest rising sportscaster - he is one of its busiest as the book shows. A sportsaholic, a family man, a guy with opinions and heart - Greenberg is living the life. Read all about it.

"The King of Swings" by Michael Blaine (Houghton Mifflin, $26.00, 256 pages) is one of those rags to riches stories, one that is surely stranger than fiction. It is all about a golfing star who has been largely overlooked, Johnny Goodman, working class caddy who went all the way up to become the 1933 U.S. Open champion. In doing so, Blaine became the last amateur to nip the pros in their own sport. Anchored in an era, detailed, "The King of Swings" truly swings.

"Home Plate Don't Move" by Eric Zweig who once worked on the grounds crew for the Toronto Blue Jays (Firefly Books, $15.95, 176 pages, paper) is a winner. More than 400 quotations appear in the pages of this attractively designed book ranging from Dizzy Dean's: "Son, what kind of pitch would you like to miss?' to the cleaned up Ted Williams brag: "All I want out of life I that when I walk down the street, folks will say there goes the *******greatest hitter who ever
lived." With Ted's expletive included it sound more like him.

For fans of Larry Dierker who spent virtually his entire adult life with the Houston Astros in one way or another as player, broadcaster, manager - this book "My Team" ( Simon and Schuster, $25.00, 275 pages)will be of interest. For the rest of us it is optional focusing as it does on Dieker's dream team from his years in the game. This is a book that will stir controversy (and maybe that was its intent). The author establishes a mandatory 10 year a requirement for being on "his team" - leaving off the team such as Sandy Koufax because of that stipulation. There is also a mish-mash of facts, figures and theories that confuse and beg the questions. But for the beach or backyard - "My Team" is worth a browse.

"52 Great Florida Golf Getaways" by Ed Schmidt, Jr. (Pineapple Press, 192 pages, paper) is a handy book to carry about if you are in Florida and seek some action on the links. Concise, clearly written, It is part guide and part history.

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