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"Moneyball " and Other Worthy Baseball Books

Dr. Harvey Frommer on Sports

Sports Book Review


Michael Lewis wrote the best seller "Liar's Poker," an entertaining and insightful work and has now followed up that effort with another that should be of interest to all baseball fans. Not that everyone will agree with what Lewis has to say, but he does say it well in "Moneyball" (Norton, $24.95, 288 pages).

Media hype and other reviewers have focused on the book's featuring of Billy Billy Bean and  the Oakland Athletics. That focus has been well placed considering the innovative and winning methods of the Oakland general manager.

But "Moneyball" is much more than a paean to Bean/Oakland. It is a whole new way at looking at the national pastime, its teams, players, even boxscores.

Lewis maintains that walks, bases on balls, have never fully gotten their due in the analysis of box scores of player performance. He also comes up with many other interesting observations

*In pro baseball, it still matters less how much money you have than how you spend it. (Case in point - the New York Yankees payroll as of this writing is double that of the St. Louis Cardinals).

* Base stealing is respected ,but sometimes it is not as valuable as it is cracked up to be.

* The belief that a baseball team starts with the manager first, is bogus.

Charming, insightful, "Moneyball" is a book that truly belongs in a special place on your baseball bookshelf. A small complaint - - it could have really benefited much from the inclusion of an
in depth index.

"The Long Ball" by Tom Adelman (Little Brown, $24.95, 372 pages) is about the summer of 1975, magical moments in baseball and in the culture of 70s America.  Adelman takes us through that season into the World Series between the Boston Red Sox and Cincinnati Reds. The heart of the book is that Fall Classic.  If you lived through that time, this book will appeal to you. If you weren't around, "The Long Ball" will fill you in.

From John Hopkins Press comes "Ichiro, Satchel and the Babe" by Mike Attiyeh (336 pages, paper). If baseball trivia is your thing - than this tome is for you. It is a mother lode of arcane, unusual, interesting fun facts.

This is the year for all sorts of books focused on the New York Yankees - and why not - a franchise's 100th anniversary gets publishers and authors into it. "The Proudest Yankees of All" by David Hickey and Kerry Keene (Taylor, $25.00, 320 pages) profiles 39 players, execs and managers with Yankee roots who have been enshrined in the big house in Cooperstown. The usual suspects are here - Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, Stengel, Mantle, Jackson, etc. The usual data is also presented.  Though the writing could have been improved with more editing - Hickey and Keene have done yeoman research.

For all those Bucco fans out there - this is the book for you -"The Pittsburgh Pirates Encyclopedia" by David Finoli and Bill Ranier (Sports Publishing, L.L.C., $39.95, 626 pages). Stats, stories, seasons of glory and defeat - a stocking stuffer of super stuff.

** Harvey Frommer is the author of 33 sports books, including "The New York Yankee Encyclopedia, "Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball," and "Growing Up Baseball" with Frederic J. Frommer.
His "A Yankee Century: A Celebration of the First Hundred Years of Baseball's Greatest Team" (Berkley Putnam) will be published in paperback in October.

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More thrilling than the most exciting pennant chase, packed with more power than a Barry Bonds home run smash, as timely as today's headlines -  "The Main Enemy" by Milt Bearden (Random House, $27.95, 576 pages) who led America to triumph in the secret war against the Soviets  - tells the heart-pounding inside story of the CIA-KGB spy wars. What is especially unusual about "The Main Enemy" is that is is based on hundreds of interviews with operatives from both sides of the street.  For sizzling summer reading, rush out now and get this page turner.


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You can reach Harvey Frommer at:   

Email:  harvey.frommer@Dartmouth.EDU 

About the Author:

Harvey Frommer is in his  38th year of writing books. A noted oral historian and sports journalist, the author of 42 sports books including the classics: "New York City Baseball,1947-1957" and "Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball," his acclaimed REMEMBERING YANKEE STADIUM was published in 2008 and his REMEMBERING FENWAY PARK: AN ORAL AND NARRATIVE HISTORY OF THE HOME OF RED SOX NATION was published to acclaim in 2011.  The prolific Frommer is at work on When It Was Just a Game, An Oral History on Super Bowel One. 

His work has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, New York Daily News, Newsday, USA Today, Men's Heath, The Sporting News, among other publications.

FROMMER SPORTSNET (syndicated) reaches a readership in the millions and is housed on Internet search engines for extended periods of time.
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Dr. Frommer is the Official Book Reviewer of Travel-Watch. 
*Autographed copies of Frommer books are available .

Other Frommer sports related articles can be found at:   

Harvey Frommer along with his wife, Myrna Katz  Frommer are the authors of five critically acclaimed oral/cultural histories, professors at Dartmouth  College, and travel writers who specialize in cultural history, food, wine, and Jewish history and heritage in the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean. 

This Article is Copyright 1995 - 2014 by Harvey Frommer.  All rights reserved worldwide.

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