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"One Day at Fenway" and Other September Reads

Dr. Harvey Frommer on Sports

Sports Book Review


For most of the 2004 season I have been deeply involved along with my son Fred in the fortunes of the Red Sox and Yankees. After all, as authors of "Red Sox Vs.Yankees: the Great Rivalry" we have done a lot of promotion, signing, media. We do have a vested interest in things Yankees and Red Sox.

And along comes "One Day at Fenway" by Steve Kettmann (Atria Books, $25.00, 306 pages). Since the Frommer book focuses on decades of Boston-New York battles, the Kettmann work made me wonder a bit about the relevancy of an opus focused on an old ball game played at Fenway - on August 30,2003, to be exact.

But Kettmann quickly ended my wondering as I got into his goldmine of a book researched and painstakingly chronicled by the author and a dozen reporters set loose that day. Not only was "Kettmann's crew" in Boston but a couple of members were in Santo Domingo and Kwangiu, South Korea.

The end result is a fascinating read, a kind of ground breaking read, one that shows the many facets of the national pastime and why there are stories still out there waiting to be told. Congrats Steve Kettmann. 

Speaking of things Boston, a welcome re-issue from Northeastern University Press is Harold Kaese's "The Boston Braves , 1871-1953." The book compellingly tells the story of Boston's other team, the National League Braves $14.95, 294 pages

Also in re-issue and also entertaining reading is the story of Hank Aaron's first year in the minor leagues - "A Summer Up North" by Jerry Polling (University of Wisconsin Press, 187 pages, paper). We meet the young Aaron on his way to greatness.

"Where Have All Our Yankees Gone? Past the Pinstripes" by Brian Jensen (Taylor,
$24.95, 272 pages) continues along the same path of the author's "Where Have All Our Cowboys Gone?" There are profiles and visits with a bunch of former Bronx Bombers ranging from Jim Abbott to Bob Cerv to Irv Noren to Charlie Silvera to Dooley Womack.  For Yankee die-hards, the book is required reading. For the rest of us, it is a worthy acquisition to place on your sports bookshelf.

"Phillies Where Have You Gone?" by Fran Zimniuch (Sports Publishing, $24.95, 200 pages) follows the same idea as the Yankee book described above but with not the same impact. There are too many Phillies and too little detail on each of them - and the writing reads like a series of short book reports. The book starts with Larry Andersen and ends with Lonnie Smith.

"Nine Feet From Fame" by Mike Robbins (Carrol & Graf Publishers, $14.95, 336 pages) is a unique look at players (some who will be unknown, even to die-hard fans ) just a step shy of making it. 

New York's "other baseball team" is given the up close (perhaps too up close look) in "The Bad Guys Won!" by Jeff Pearlman (Harper Collins, $24.95, 287 pages). Prodigious work went into this effort - interviewing 187 people. The result is a rambling, entertaining, gossipy look at the 1986 Mets - perhaps the most dysfunctional and rowdiest crew to ever wear the uniform of the Shea Stadium stalwarts. The book is peppered with some terrific stories and memorable one-liners like Bobby Ojeda's "I might have drunk like Dean Martin, but I wasn't a bad guy."  For Mets fans of that era - required reading - definitely.

A fascinating read is Donald Dewey's "The Tenth Man" (Carol and Graf Publishers, ($15.95, 416 pages, paperback). The author of seventeen books, Dewey turns his attention to the long lasting love/hate affair between baseball teams and players and their fans.  Carefully researched and written with a fan's attention to detail - "The Tenth Man" is an important contribution to baseball history.

"The Baseball Anthology" by Joseph Wallace (Abrams, $19.95, 304 pages, 200 illustrations) is a book that  - if you missed the first time around - grab this paperback beauty. In words and pictures as its sub-title proclaims we have 125 years of stories, poems, articles, photographs, drawings, interviews, cartoons and other memorabilia. And not a loser in the bunch!

For those into baseball and into coffee table books there is "A Team for the Ages" by Robert W. Cohen (Lyons Press, $24.95, 291 pages). Cohen teamed with J. Michael Johnson, an artist and illustrator, to put out this opus focused on baseball's all-time, all-star team. You might argue with some of the choices here for "best," but the book overall is well worth the price of admission.

And finally, there is "September Swoon" by William C. Kashatus (Penn State Press, 258 pages) about the 1964 Phillies who seemed headed to post-season play but folded. Sound Phillies familiar? The book is also about racial integration, an era, the antics of Richie Allen and is a terrific read.


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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 .

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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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