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"ABC Sports College Football All Time All-America Team" 

by Harvey Frommer

Harvey Frommer - Click to Enlarge

Title: ABC Sports College Football All Time All-America Team

Foreword by Keith Jackson

Publisher, price, pages: Hyperion, $40, 192 pages

Reviewed By HARVEY FROMMER

 

Glitzy. Informative. Beautiful to look at. Carries a hefty price tag. Bound to start a few arguments.

 

"ABC Sports College Football All Time All-America Team" is all of these things. It is also a product well worth owning.

 

The heart of the book is the All-America team selected by a 29-member panel. Keith Jackson, "The Voice of College Football," entering his 34th year as a play-by-play commentator for ABC Sports, and Chris Schenkel, who back in 1964 did his first college football broadcast, are just a couple of the authorities who did the picking.

 

Others include coaches like Pepper Rodgers and Frank Broyles and former collegiate stars like Dan Fouts, Bob Griese and Lynn Swann.

 

The result of the picks is three All-America teams. The "First Team" is coached by Bear Bryant and quarterbacked by John Elway. Running backs include O.J. Simpson, Herschel Walker and Archie Griffin. The punter is Reggie Roby.

 

The "Second Team" is coached by Joe Paterno and has Jim Plunkett as quarterback. Running backs include Tony Dorsett, Bo Jackson and Earl Campbell. The punter is Ray Guy.

The "Third Team" coach is Tom Osborne. There is a tie at quarterback between Peyton Manning and Doug Flutie. Incredibly, honorable mention "Third Team" quarterbacks include Troy Aikman, Steve Young, Jim McMahon and Charlie Ward. The running backs are Ricky Williams, Barry Sanders and Marcus Allen. Tom Tupa is the punter.

 

This is such an easy book to like. Virtually all of the personalities are featured in lavish color photography and carefully crafted profiles. As the author of Tony Dorsett's autobiography "Running Tough," I was very much interested in seeing how the book treated him. I was not disappointed.

"Tony Dorsett was not a young man of shallow ambition," his page begins. "After shredding Navy's defense for 180 yards midway through the 1976 season to break the NCAA rushing record, Dorsett listened" as a Pittsburgh radio man gushed, " 'In my estimation, you are the greatest back ever to play the game.' "

 

The reply from Dorsett was, "Well, my stats prove it." That was Tony as a collegian and later as a pro -- oozing self-esteem.

 

"ABC Sports College Football All Time All-America Team" is much more than a trotting-out of some of the legends of collegiate football through the years. It is also a book rich in cultural and sports history. The on-target foreword from Keith Jackson brings the reader to the opening page of text:

"On a cool afternoon in the shadow of falling leaves, a group of young men gathered at the commons on the campus of Rutgers University. The game they would play that day had 25 men to a side and would resemble soccer more than football. ..."

 

From that point, we are treated to a mini-history of college football. We see how the sport was transformed from a regional phenomenon in towns like Tuscaloosa, Boulder and Palo Alto to a big-time part of American culture -- aided by institutions like ABC television.

 

BOOKENDS

 

"Imagining Baseball" by David McGimpsey (Indiana University Press, $22.95, 208 pages) is billed as a look at America's pastime and popular culture. McGimpsey, who teaches at Concordia University in Montreal, ranges far and wide in his critical "take" on baseball literature. The book is slow but interesting reading.

"The Complete Runner's Day-By-Day Log and Calendar 2001" by John Jerome (Random House, $12.95) is compact, complete and well worth owning.

 

"Havana Heat" by Darryl Brock (Total Sports, $24.95, 320 pages) is a novel with a nice pace. It is about Luther "Dummy" Taylor, a former star pitcher who attempts a comeback at age 36 with John McGraw's New York Giants.

 

Something for sports book lovers and collectors to look forward to this holiday season: a boxed set from Sourcebooks, Inc. that will include "And The Fans Roared" and the best seller "And The Crowd Goes Wild." Look out for it!  

 

#  #  #

You can reach the Frommers at: 

Email:  Myrna Katz Frommer and Harvey Frommer

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.
on Twitter: http://twitter.com/south2nd
on Linked In: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/edit?locale=en_US
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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