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Big Game, Small World

Dr. Harvey Frommer on Sports

Sports Book Review

Every once in a while a book like this comes along – one that you read and place on a prominent place on your bookshelf.  “Big Game, Small World” by Alexander Wolff (Warner, $24.95, 424 pages) is a keeper – especially for basketball fans. Part travelogue, part cultural guide, all entrancing sports writing.

Wolff’s thesis is that the game invented in Springfield, Massachusetts by James Naismith has a pull all over the world from school children in China to those running for president, through 16 nations and ten states in America – “Big Game, Small World” unravels as its sub-title states as a basketball adventure. As I said, this book is a keeper.

“On the Sweet Spot” by Richard Keefe (Simon and Schuster 25.00, 288 pages) is by a clinical psychologist, the Director of Sports Psychology at Duke University

The book carefully traces the linkage between top athletic performance and higher awareness – probes the source of excellence that we all have.

“On the Sweet Spot” is thought provoking, filled with concrete techniques to assist amateurs to attain the right athletic state of mind. “Playing in the zone,” accomplishing something magical has happened to athletes like Ben Hogan, Tiger Woods, Mark McGwire, Michael Jordan - - “On the Sweet Spot” tries to show us how to get a little closer to what they have attained.

In words and pictures - -the phenomenon of spring training and its grip on fans and players is evoked in Dan Shaughnessy’s new book.  With photos by Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist Stan Grossfeld “Spring Training” (Houghton Mifflin, $28.00, 192 pages) ranges from Alligator Alley to Cactus Way, from Florida to Arizona. A special section of spring training memories by such as Johnny Pesky, Reggie Jackson, Dom DiMaggio, Frank Robinson and Stephen King gives the book a personalized and authentic dimension that it needs. This is a book to hold close to you – and think – can the season be far behind?

The book begins with a very interesting foreword from Cal Ripken, Jr. and then goes on through fabulous pictures and words to bring spring training past, present and future front and center.

Venerable BoSox legend Johnny Pesky, as usual, has some of the best words: “I still like to work out…in spring training. I get a little sore now and then, because I still think I’m twenty-five years old and I’m not. But that’s what spring training does. It makes you believe you are young all over again.” 

Still on a Red Sox theme, part of the Images of Baseball series from Arcadia Publishers, “The Pawtucket Red Sox” by David Borges ($19.99, paper, 128 pages) is a beautifully put together book. The focus on one of the most successful of minor league teams – from its beginnings as a Double-A holding of Boston to its elevated status as a Triple-A farm team in 1973 - makes for interesting reading and viewing via more than 200 photographs. Before most of the baseball world even heard about them – players like Mo Vaughn, Nomar Garciaparra, Roger Clemens, Wade Boggs and Carlton Fisk, all made their make as PawSoxers.

Team histories have long been the focus of baseball writing. One of the classics in this genre is “The New York Giants” by Frank Graham first published in 1952. Now re-issued with a foreword by Ray Robinson by Southern Illinois University Press (308 pages, paper), the book’s sub-title is “An Informal History of a Great Baseball Club.”

Coming in April: “Game Time  A Baseball Companion” by Roger Angell (Harcourt, $25.00, 356 pages) a collection of his own favorite pieces on the game.

Harvey Frommer is the author of 33 sports books, including "The New York Yankee Encyclopedia, "Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball,” and "Growing Up Baseball" with Frederic J. Frommer. His “Rickey and Robinson: The Men Who Broke Baseball’s Color Line” (Taylor) and “A Yankee Century: A Celebration of the First Hundred Years of Baseball’s Greatest Team” (Berkley Putnam) will be published in paperback in 2003.

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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