Variety of Sports
Books for November
From all kinds of publishers and from a variety of
writers, books on sports keep coming out. And there is plenty of variety
in sports books for November.
One book is a loving tribute to a hockey great,
another is a collection of top sports writing, and a third is a novel
about college football. All added up they all make for varied and
The hockey book is "99 My Life in Pictures"
by Wayne Gretzky with John Davidson (Total Sports, $29.95, 226pp.).The
collection is "The Best American Sports Writing of the Century"
(editor David Halberstam, Houghton Mifflin, $18.00, 77pp.). The novel is
"Balls" by Nanci Kincaid (Algonquin Books, $21.95, 399 pp.).
"99 My Life in Pictures" is one of those
books you feel like browsing through and then keep on your living room
table even if you are not a hockey fan. A fusion of more than 350
photographs, rare letters and documents, and complete career statistics,
the book is truly the essential Wayne Gretzky book. Chapters include
"The Meaning of Wayne," "From Kid to Pro,"
"Rewriting the NHL Record Book," "The King of Kings,"
"Briefly Blue" and "In the Apple." Each of the
chapters gives insight into different aspects of the wonderful life and
times of the man they call "The Great One."
"The Best American Sports Writing of the
Century" is a debatable batch of "the best." A different
selection team would have added other writers (women are very absent) and
pieces to the mix, and taken away some that appear in this volume.
Nevertheless, the sports authors, journalists and their work represented
in this book make for tremendous reading. Works by authors such as Gay
Talese, Tom Wolfe, Jimmy Cannon, George Plimpton, Tom Boswell, John
My favorite piece in the book is an interview,
"Mr. Rickey and the Game" done by Gerald Holland that appeared
in Sports Illustrated. It is a fascinating feature on Branch Rickey at the
age of 73 on the eve of a new baseball season. The article ends with these
lines from Rickey: "The game of baseball has given me a life of
joy," Rickey said. "I would not have exchanged it for any
"Balls" by Nanci Kincaid, recently
remarried to the head coach of the University of Arizona football team
has, it seems, many autobiographical elements. It is a sad and funny novel
that takes the reader inside the world of college football. It is a book
about sex, honor, competition and corruption. The writing style is breezy
and unusual as we hear from the coach's wife, his mother, mother-in-law,
daughter, his assistants' wives, his players' mothers, girlfriends, etc.
And what they have to say is worth listening to.
BOOKENDS: Joe Torre's "Ground Rules for
Winners" with Henry Dreher (Hyperion, $23.95, 282pp.) gives the
reader insights into the man and the manager. He says a lot that makes
"The Perfect Season" by Tim McCarver with
Danny Peary (Villard, $19.95270pp.) celebrates the 1998 baseball season.
If you haven't gotten the chance to read this book pick it up. It's a very
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.
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