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Setting the Record Straight

Dr. Harvey Frommer on Sports

Sports Book Review

During the last 16 years of Joe DiMaggio's life, he was in very close contact with his lawyer, confidante, advisor Morris Engleberg. As the attorney for the Yankee Clipper, Engleberg presided over memorabilia deals and was active in negotiations over personal appearance fees.

Marv Schneider was the man who broke the news of the Yankee Clipper's
Death. A well known sports journalist, Schneider wrote for the Associated Press for 43 years. He knew Joe Di very well.

"DiMaggio: Setting the Record Straight" by Morris Engleberg and Marv Schneider with a foreword by Henry Kissinger (MBI Publishing, $24.95, 418 pages) is a surprising book, an eye opening book, a pleasing read. There was much controversy after the Yankee legend's death and various charges were bandied about. But to read this book is be immersed in the life of Joe DiMaggio as seen by a man who was very close to him as well as DiMag's nephew, granddaughters, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Phil Rizzuto and Joe's pal Joe Nachio and others. The book is a memoir and a tribute.

Supplemented by striking and sometimes poignant photos as well as items from the Yankee Clipper's diary make "DiMaggio: Setting the Record Straight" Into a carefully crafted account of the eventful life and sad death of an American sports hero. It is a book well worth reading.

The autobiography of David Wells - "Perfect I'm Not: Boomer on Beer, Brawls, Backaches and Baseball" written with Chris Kreski (William Morrow, $24.95, 414 pages) is trash talk, trashing of others, and trashy reading. If you are into that kind of thing there's a lot to enjoy here. If you are turned off, stay away from the book. There is stuff in this trashy tome about Wells and his upbringing by his mother, "Attitude" Annie, his minor league experiences in the Toronto Blue Jays system, his times with Hell's Angels who performed the roles of father figures. There is too much here about the aches and pains of the eccentric pitcher - back pain, gout.

Ironically, while the Yankees ranted and railed about "Perfect I'm Not: Boomer on Beer, Brawls, Backaches and Baseball," remarks by Wells about his teammates and the Yankees are tame compared to the swipes he he serves up about others. A for example: his educational tip to Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos: "... (1) Open legs; (2) remove head from own ass."

Wells admits "I talk a lot of shit, but I always back it up" He said it. No argument here.

"Veeck as in Wreck," the autobiography of a baseball legend written by Ed Linn (University of Chicago Press, paper, 398 pages) is a welcome re-issue of a classic. The showman Veeck was an owner of the Cleveland Indians, the St. Louis Browns and the Chicago White Sox - twice. In his baseball time he innovated, angered, beguiled. He was an original. If you have never read this book - go for it.

"Tales From the Braves Mound" by Atlanta's pitching coach Leo Mazzone and Scott Freeman (Sports Publishing, $19.95, 218 pages) is about the nucleus of the Braves' dynasty - Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux and John Smoltz and how Mazzone contributed mightily to their success. "Tales from the Cardinals Dugout" by Bob Forsch with Tom Wheatley (Sports Publishing, $19.95, 182 pages) is required reading for St. Louis baseball fans.

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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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