Triumph and Tragedy
Frommer on Sports
The late Stephen Jay Gould was a popular science essay writer and a
paleontologist. He was also a big time baseball fan, an informed and
lifelong follower of the New York Yankees. In "Triumph and Tragedy in
Mudville" (Norton, $24.95, 342 pages), the winner of the National Book
Award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, writes insightfully
and eloquently about the national pastime.
was Gould's friend Stephen King who encouraged this very worthy effort.
We are fortunate to have it. All kinds of moving, interesting and
sometimes arcane subject matter abound. Gould offers up an essay and an
argument on deaf outfielder William Ellsworth "Dummy" Hoy (lifetime .288
average)who he believed belongs in the Hall of Fame. There is also a
piece on Dusty Rhodes, a utility outfielder par excellence with the old
New York Giants fans. He was the hero of the 1954 World Series. "Triumph
and Tragedy in Mudville" is a keeper.
"Jack Buck Forever A Winner" (SportspublishingLLC, $24.95, 144 pages),
is a loving tribute to the Hall of Fame broadcaster who was on the scene
for five decades as the Voice of the St. Louis Cardinals . The book is
especially recommended for Redbird fans. It has perceptions and
reflections from such as Red Schoendienst, Whitey Herzog, comedian
Jonathan Winters and a special intro by cardinal manager Tony LaRussa.
It is beautifully produced with color and black and white photos
throughout, and over-sized.
"More Tales From the Cubs Dugout" by Bob Logan (SportspublishingLLC,
$19.95, 215 pages) the author became a beat writer for the Cubs way
back when Leo Durocher was manager so he knows the territory and this
book is a home run for fans of the little Bruins and baseball fans
everywhere - tasty tidbits and longer essays on all things Cubs to enjoy
"This Ain't Brain Surgery" by Larry Dierker (Simon and Schuster, $25.00,
289 pages) is a highly opinionated look at the national pastime from one
who knows the game. Dierker has been with the Houston Astros in one
capacity or another for nearly his entire adult life. He was 18 years
old when he made his major league pitching debut on his 18th birthday in
1964. The title of the book comes from the brain seizure he suffered in
1999 and the resulting brain surgery and his quip: "This is brain
There is much to like in this folksy, reader friendly rambler of a book.
But Yogi Berra, Dierker is not. But he does cover the bases on such
topics as pitching, managing, broadcasting. Steroids, the business of
What this book could have used was more careful editing, more loving
attention. There are clichés, redundancies, flat characters, blurred
focus. Dierker spent so many years on the major league scene, a more
aggressive editor would have pushed for all the stories the engaging
Texan has within him.
"Baseball's Greatest Season" by Reed Browning (University of
Massachusetts Press, $26.95, 232 pages) is an appealing and very
interesting book on the 1924 baseball season by a professor of history
at Kenyon College. Browning alternated his narrative chapters with
others focused on players, business dealings, and other sidelights. No
season in the history of baseball has matched 1924 for escalating
excitement and emotional investment by fans. It began with observers
expecting yet another World Series between the Yankees and the Giants.
It ended months later when the hapless Washington Nationals (Senators),
making their first Series appearance, grabbed the world championship by
scoring the season-ending run on an improbable play in the bottom of the
Harvey Frommer is the author of 33 sports books, including "The New York
Yankee Encyclopedia, "Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball," "Growing Up
Baseball" with Frederic J. Frommer and "Rickey and Robinson: The Men Who
Broke Baseball's Color Line." His "A Yankee Century: A Celebration of
the First Hundred Years of Baseball's Greatest Team" will be published
in paperback in October.
# # #
You can reach
Harvey Frommer at:
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.
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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.
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