Thursday, July 16, 2009
The Book Review: “Cooperstown Confidential,” “Fighting Words”
It never fails to amaze me as a reviewer now of thousands of baseball books to my credit how many different takes, slants, insights into the world of games and sports can exist. Case in point are the new books - - “Cooperstown Confidential,” “Fighting Words.”
“Cooperstown Confidential” by Zev Chafets (Bloomsbury, USA, $25.00, 240 pages) is an up close and personal and also a behind the scenes look at the Baseball Hall of Fame and its inhabitants – living and dead. Part encyclopedia, part expose, part consciousness raiser, “Cooperstown Confidential” goes where few have even ventured - - -giving us a look as its subtitle proclaims at “Heroes, Rogues, and then Inside Story of the Baseball Hall of Fame.”
“Fighting Words” by Jerry Beach (Rounder, $24.95, 232 pages) probes and explains the sometimes sour and sordid relationship between the Boston media and the Old Towne Team. Ted Williams referred to the press in Boston as “the knights of the keyboard” and also used saltier phrases to characterize the sometimes over-reaching and unfair scribes around him. “Fighting Words” hits a home run going into depth about the media, the Boston Red Sox, and the always worth talking about relationship between them. Solid research, no punches pulled, crisply written – this one is a winner.
“Live All You Can” by Jay Martin (Columbia University Press, $22.95, 155 pages) is all about that well told story that Alexander Joy Cartwright and not Abner Doubleday was the true inventor of baseball. If you are into an academic treatise and are into the topic this is the book for you. If you are into spending almost 23 bucks for a book that actually runs about 122 pages when one discounts the appendices, notes, bibliography and index – this, too, is the book for you.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: With a quartette of Jewish players on the All Star rosters this season, especially attractive and timely is the 5th edition of “Jewish Major Leaguers: 2009.” The set contains photos and stats of all current players, Jewish Baseball “record-setters” and “firsts” along with updated cards of “Career Leaders” and a complete all-time roster of Jewish players. Should make a great gift for someone you know.
Harvey Frommer is his 33rd consecutive year of writing sports books. The author of 40 of them including the classics: "New York City Baseball,1947-1957" and "Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball," his acclaimed REMEMBERING YANKEE STADIUM, an oral/narrative history (Abrams, Stewart, Tabori and Chang) was published in 2008 as well as a reprint version of his classic "Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball." The prolific Frommer is at work on REMEMBERING FENWAY PARK (2010).
Frommer sports books are available direct from the author - discounted and autographed.
FROMMER SPORTSNET (syndicated) reaches a readership in the millions and is housed on Internet search engines for extended periods of time.