Sunday, April 04, 2010
The Book Review: “1921,” and much more ...
“1921” has one of the longest sub-titles - -“The Yankees, The Giants & the Battle for Baseball Supremacy in New York” and two authors Lyle Spatz and Steve Steinberg and a foreword by Charles C. Alexander (University of Nebraska Press, $31.95, 515 pages). This is a book that carefully and cogently tells the narrative of the United States and big league baseball on the cusp of change. Its Babe Ruth vs. John J. McGraw and their respective teams and a very interesting season and much more.
The 1960 Pirates are the focus of “Kiss It Good-Bye” by John Moody (Shadow Mountain, $24.99, 372 pages, photos) is one of those peculiar books that comes along every once in a while – that blind sides you with its charm, relevance and appealing writing. The book re-lives the 50th anniversary season of the Bucs and their incredible victory over the vaunted New York Yankees. The author, just six years old then but a devoted fan of the team, writes in absorbing detail with new insights. Moody focuses on as the book’s sub-title proclaims: “The Mystery, the Mormon, and the Moral of the 1960 Pirates.” NOTABLE.
The ten greatest American sports rivalries of the 20th Century - - “Rivals” by Richard O. Davies (Wiley-Blackwell, $24.95, 280 pages, paper) is an academic look at the subject matter.
From Acta comes “Traded” by Doug Deatur, $19.95, 189 pages, paper). This trim tome is an explication and analysis of some of the most lop-sided trades in the history of baseball. There are lists of these trades by teams, in the 20th century, trading deadline deals and more. If you can find your way around the repetitious subject matter, there are lots of interesting nuggets.
“High Heat” by Tim Wendel (Da Capo Press, $25.00, 268 pages) is highly readable and slightly controversial probing as it does “the secret history of the fast ball and the improbable search for the fastest pitcher of all time.”
Unlike some of the current season’s crop of baseball books that are amateurish, repetitious, poorly conceived and edited, “High Heat” is a glistening gem.
Especially noteworthy (just half-kidding) is Wendel’s sagacious commentary in his acknowledgments: “Most athlete’s autobiographies are not much to write about. But I was struck by how candid “Throwing Heat,” (Nolan) Ryan’s autobiography with Harvey Frommer, was.”
For the golfers in the audience there is “Dream On” by John Richardson (Skyhorse Publishing, $23.95, 192 pages). This is a funny, dynamic, absorbing and inspirational story of how the author went from nowhere to somewhere, in less than a year, breaking par and playing the best round of his life. HIGHLY NOTABLE
Dr. Harvey Frommer is in his 34th consecutive year of writing sports books. A noted oral historian and sports journalist, the author of 40 sports books 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." Frommer's newest work CELEBRATING FENWAY PARK: AN ORAL AND NARRATIVE HISTORY OF THE HOME OF RED SOX NATION is next.
DR. HARVEY FROMMER ON SPORTS (syndicated) reaches a readership in the millions and is housed on Internet search engines for extended periods of time.