Tuesday, July 15, 2008

THE BOOK REVIEW: "The Greatest Game" and other Very Interesting Reads

Yankees Versus Red Sox makes for always interesting reading. In the interests of full disclosure that was the subject of what many call the definitive book on the subject "RED SOX VS YANKEES: THE GREAT RIVALRY written by yours truly and his son Frederic Frommer.

So it was with great interest that I read "The Greatest Game: The Yankees, the Red Sox and the Playoff of '78'" by Richard Bradley (Simon and Schuster, $25.00, 286 pages).

Even though the book is focused on one aspect of the "Rivalry," it does not disappoint. It is in fact riveting reading. Bradley interviewed so many to create this montage of wonderful memories. Even some of those who were actually on the field that fateful October 2, 1978,a warm day at Fenway when "Bucky hit the tin" are here telling the old stories with vivid recall: Bucky Dent, Fred Lynn, Lou Piniella, Goose Gossage, Carl Yastrzemski, et al.

"It's going to be Yaz, Goose Gossage thought. In the bottom on the ninth, it's going to be me against Yaz," that is how "The Greatest Game: The Yankees, the Red Sox and the Playoff of '78'" begins and it never lets up.

Still in a Yankee vein is "Rumor in Town" by Matt Dahlgren (Woodlyn Lane, California, $24.95, 300 pages). It is a grandson's paean and homage and keeping of a promise to his grandfather – former pinstriper Babe Dahlgren. Matt Dahlgren completed the book his grandfather who passed away in 1996 was working on. Rich in anecdote, filled with perceptions of players and long ago days of the national pastime, "Rumor in Town" is a winner.

"FAR FROM HOME" by Tim Wendell and Jose Luis Villegas (National Geographic, $28.00, 159 pages) is all about as its sub-title proclaims "Latino Baseball Players Chasing the American Dream." Fusing excellent narrative, interviews with top name former players like Orlando Cepeda, Minnie Minoso, Luis Tiant, Sammy Sosa and 100 full color and black and white photos – the book begins in 1878 when Cuba was the host to the first league in Caribbean.

In the same vein from the University of Illinois comes "Viva Baseball" by Samuel O. Regaldo (paper) all about Latin major leaguers and their special hunger in the words of the sub-title. The book does not shy away from controversy, from racism directed against Latino players even today.

For those into the history of the national pastime expounded by an expert "Baseball: A History of America's Game" third edition by Benjamin G. Rader (University of Illinois Press, paper) is the book for you.

"The Smart Girl's Guide to Sports" by Liz Hartman Musiker (Plume, $15.00, 332 pages) is as its sub-title cleverly declares "an essential handbook for women who don't know a slam dunk from a grand slam." Recommended.

MOST NOTABLE: "Netherland" by Joseph O' Neill (Pantheon, $23.95, 256 pages) is not exactly a sports book but a brilliant and lyrical and inventive novel set against the backdrop of post 9/11 New York City and the game of cricket. It is a joy to read and just a perfect treat for hazy and humid summer days evoking a time and a place so expertly.

WORTH OWNING: The 2008 Hank Greenberg 75th Anniversary Edition of Jewish Major Leaguers Baseball Cards. Contact info: JML,104 Greenlawn Avenue Newton, MA 02459, 617-969-6244, Martin_Abramowitz@yahoo.com

Harvey Frommer, now in his 33rd consecutive year of writing sports books, is the author of 39 of them including the classics: "New York City Baseball,1947-1957" and "Red Sox Vs Yankee: The Great Rivalry." Frommer's REMEMBERING YANKEE STADIUM (Abrams, Stewart, Tabori and Chang) an oral/narrative history will be published in September as well as a reprint version of his SHOELESS JOE AND RAGTIME BASEBALL.

Frommer sports books are available direct from the author - discounted and autographed.
FROMMER SPORTSNET (syndicated) reaches a readership in the millions and appears on Internet search engines for extended periods of time.

(as of July 16)

September 3rd Wednesday/talk/signing 7:30 PM Barnes & Noble, 396 Ave. Americas NY (8th St.) (212) 674-8780

September 4th, 7:45 PM Varsity Letters 302 Broome St. NYC 212-334-9676

September 5th, 7pm Friday Book Revue 313 New York Avenue Huntington, NY 11743 Ph. 631-271-1442

Sept. 20, 2008 / 7 p.m. Northshire Bookstore 4869 Main Street Manchester Center, VT 05255 802-362-3565

September 26 afternoon Fall for the Book Festival George Mason University Fairfax, VA 22030 Phone: (703) 993-3986 FftB@gmu.edu http://www.fallforthebook.org/

October 10,7pm/ BORDERS 59th &Park (212-980-6785)

October 11th. Dartmouth Bookstore, Hanover, NH (afternoon) bksdartmouth@bncollege.com

November 1st Saturday 11:30 AM Books & Greetings 271 Livingston St., Northvale, NJ 201-784-2665

December 4th Thursday 7PM /RJ JULIA, Madison, CT 800 747-3247 talk and signing

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