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Top Books for Sports Encyclopedia Fans

Dr. Harvey Frommer on Sports

Sports Book Review

For those hooked on sports as readers or collectors - two new books belong right up there on your bookshelf: "Ultimate Sports Lists" by Mike Meserole (DK Publishing, $17.95, 224pp.) and "The Giants Encyclopedia" by Tom Schott and Nick Peters (Sports Publishing, Inc., $39.95, 592pp.).

"Ultimate Sports Lists" is the second annual edition of this work, and in its expanded form is even more enjoyable, full of stats and facts. All the major sports are included as well as the Olympics, horse racing, auto racing and some miscellaneous items.

This is the "ultimate" book for settling sports arguments and for looking up trivia and information. The hockey section, for example, has lists like: most career hat tricks, best teams by decades, winningest WHA teams 1972-1979, and oldest and youngest head coaches (King Clancy, age 69, Toronto -1972 and Gary Green, age 26, Washington 1979.

"Ultimate Sports Lists" in trade paperback format, carefully organized by sport, is highly attractive with many color and black and white photographs. It is a product that does not fall into the bad habit so many "stat" books have - printing tables and numbers in small type. That is definitely a plus.

My favorite section of the book deals with what Meserole calls "Etcetera." Here we learn that Michael Jordan leads all athletes for bragging rights for being on the cover of "Sports Illustrated" - 46 times.

Muhammad Ali is the runner-up with 35 appearances. Then there is "TV Guide's" Greatest Sports Moments. In first place was Carton Fisk's 12th-inning homer in Game Six of the 1975 World Series. Most popular participation sport in the United States is exercise walking, as 76.3 million engage in that activity, according to the National Sporting Goods Association.

"The Giants Encyclopedia" has a massive amount of data from the first pitch at the original Polo Grounds on May 1, 1883 to the final out at 3Com Park on September 30, 1999. Unlike many other baseball encyclopedias, this one is not all stats. There is an awful lot to read about owners and executives, prominent managers, broadcasters, post-season play.

There are all kinds of interesting collections of facts and insights into the fabled Giants franchise. Examples include the team that played in eight different locations through 1999; catcher Ernie Lombardi had seven RBI in a 26-8 rout of the Brooklyn Dodgers during a 1944 game. But in that same game, the franchise record for RBI was set by Giant first baseman Phil Weintraub, who collected 11.

Such is the style and the substance of "The Giants Encyclopedia". The only real complaint about this neatly laid out and well organized publication is in the area of proofreading. Errors in spelling abound and there are instances where key words get transposed as in the Lombardi-Weintraub entry.

BOOKENDS: "Godforsaken Sea" by Derek Lundy (Algonquin Books, $22.95, 272pp.) is one of the best books ever written about sailing. It is the story of the 1996-1997 Vendee Globe, a grueling and demanding circumnavigation of the globe in the highly dangerous waters of the Southern Ocean.

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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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on the Web: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~frommer

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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