"One Day at Fenway"
and Other September Reads
Frommer on Sports
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
$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
"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
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
# # #
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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