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Dr. Harvey Frommer on Sports

Sports Book Review

Baseball. . . The Perfect Game, Red Sox Vs Yankees Reads and other sporting fare.

A slew of highly readable, very likable baseball books are on the shelves as the world of sports turns over into the 2005 season. Steroids notwithstanding, the game and baseball books . . .go on.

Baseball, the Perfect Game: An All-Star Anthology Celebrating the Game's Greatest Players, Teams, and Moments” edited by Josh Levanthal (Voyageur Press, $29.95,224 pages) is a book to put in a place of prominence on your baseball bookshelf.  Lavishly and lovingly illustrated, the coffee table sized tome is intelligently organized into The Joys of the Game, Seasons of Dreams: Teams of Destiny and Legends of the Diamond. It provides a literary history of baseball through memoirs, essays, contemporary news accounts, and fiction. This collection includes writings by Doris Kearns Goodwin, George Plimpton, John Thorn , Roger Angell and  Harvey Frommer.

For me, it was a privilege and a pleasure to write the essay: “The Greatest Rivalry: Yankees Vs. Red Sox” and to see how tastefully the publisher enhanced the writing with wonderful visuals as was done with all the other writing in the book, too.

Speaking of Red Sox and  Yankees and books – the 2005 season has a veritable explosion – everybody seems to have wanted to get into the act.

There is “Blood Feud” by Bill Nowlin and Jim Prime (Rounder Books, $16.95, 292 pages, paper) with an intro by Bill Lee and an afterward by Johnny Pesky – this is a tome whose sub-title proclaims: “The Red Sox, the Yankees and the Struggle of Good Versus Evil.” And you know who these authors had in mind. Despite the blatant BoSox bias, worth reading.

There is “The Yankees Vs Red Sox Reader” edited by Mike Robbins (Carroll & Graf, $15.95, 364 pages) – paperback of articles, essays, etc. previously published.  There is “Reversing the Curse” by Dan Shaugnessy (Houghton Mifflin, $23.00, 272 pages), a riveting read focused front stage and back stage about the way the Red Sox ran the table in 2004.

 There is also “Why Not Us?” by Leigh Montville (Public Affairs, $22.95, 183 pages) -  a slim and rushed book but one with a lot of heart, a lot of Red Sox Nation! There is also “Emperors and Idiots” by Mike Vaccaro (Doubleday, $22.95, 364 pages). The New York Post writer goes over much familiar ground and some new territory probing the “rivalry.” The book is an  entertaining read especially for those who can’t get enough on the subject.

        And there is “Yankees Suck!” by Jim Gerard (Chamberlain Bros., Penguin Group USA, $9.95, 197 pages, paper for sure). There is a book to warm the heart of the Boston faithful and to annoy Yankee rooters – all god natured fun, I think. There is also “Bat Boy” by Matthew McGough (Doubleday, $22.95, 240 pages). This a delightful ride of a book inside the two years that the author spent as a Yankee bat boy.  There is so much to like - funny, charming and

 Truly “inside material.”  “Must” reading for Yankee fans. 

        Two very interesting prisms through which the national pastime gets viewed include “Baseball: An Encyclopedia of popular Culture” by Edward J. Rielly (University of Nebraska Press, 371 pages, paper) which is a succinct and encyclopedia walk through all kinds of items dealing with the national pastime from Hank Aaron to Cy Young. The other is “Dream Season” by E Dee Merriken (iuniverse, $16.95, 240 pages, paper) – a novel that tells the story of the author’s grandfather Walter Settle who was a 19th century base baller with Los Angeles.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED: “The Washington Baseball Fan’s Little Book of Wisdom” by Frederic J. Frommer (Taylor, $7.95 110 pages, paper) is required reading for all those with an interest in baseball in Washington. Factoids, trivia, insightful commentary and wonderful anecdotes all merge in this home run of a book. Of course, I am partial to the author!

HIGHLY NOTABLE   It is always a treat to be able to cast one’s eyes on prose summoned up by Roger Kahn. And to have his latest “Beyond the Boys of Summer” edited by Rob Miraldi (McGraw-Hill, $24.95, 364 pages) is to have a special treat.         Roger Kahn writes in his prologue: “This is my 19th book; all my life I have tried to write literature. I am aware that like Stan Musial and Ted Williams at bat most of the time I have failed. But the critical word is ‘try.’ That effort has been a wonder of my life.” The book has a lot of “wonder” to it – having as it does “noshes” from the food Kahn has served us all these decades – from his books, his magazine pieces, newspaper articles. Go relish!

        In a Dodger frame of mind, there is also from McGraw-Hill “What I learned from Jackie Robinson” by Carl Erskine with Burton Rooks ($19.95, 162 pages). This is a slim book with a lot of wisdom about life and baseball. As the author of a few books on Jackie Robinson, I can especially appreciate this effort.

        From Mark Langill, publications editor and team historian for the L.A.  Dodgers comes “Dodgertown”($19.99, 128 pages) -  a bit over-priced for this slim soft cover. But for Dodgers zealots – highly recommended with its archival illustrations of the spring training home of the Dodgers since 1948.

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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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