Martin” by Bill Pennington, Houghton Mifflin
Harcourt, $30.00, 530 pages is a monster lode of
material on the man the book's sub-title calls
“Baseball's Flawed Genius.” An award winning sports
writer for the New York Times, Pennington
covered Martin's time with the Yankees when he was a
beat writer. So his work is an up close and personal
look at Martin through the author’s recollections of
perceptions and from many who knew him well.
I knew Billy Martin, too, but not
well. I recall going into his office at Yankee
Stadium to do an interview for one of the Yankee
books I was writing.
He snapped at me. “You are here at
the wrong time and the wrong date.”
I snapped back: “You are wrong. This
is what we had agreed on.”
“No, it is tomorrow, come back then
and we will talk.”
I came back and Martin's manic
personality was in full bloom.
“You have the wrong day and time
again,” he said, fondling his pipe.
I didn't bother to respond. I simply
walked out on him.
It is lucky for all of us that
Pennington had better luck. The book is truly worth
its cover price. Detailed, filled with new insights,
anecdotes that move the reader time after time. This
is the definitive Billy Martin. WORTH BUYING.
“Riverside International Raceway”
by Pete Lyons Spry Publishing,
$49.95, 204 pages, coffee table size, is a sprightly
put together tour of the legendary races and
memorable drivers who have made history at this one
of a kind track that made its legendary name in
Southern California and all over the globe. In
pictures and words, Lyons brings the whole gestalt
“The Games Must Go On”
by John Klimt (Thomas Dunne Books,
$27.99, 418 pages is a neat fusion of World War Two
history and baseball anecdotes. Innovative, always
interesting, this book is required reading for those
interested in this slice of Americana.
by Jeff Katz (St. Martins, $27.99, 326 pages) is all
about the 1981 baseball season, a time the national
pastime was ripped and then evolved into something
better than anyone could imagine. Carefully crafted,
painstakingly researched, Katz gives us
Fernandomania, the Bronx Zoo and as the book's sub
title notes -- the strike that saved baseball.
“The League of Outsider Baseball”
by Gary Cieradkowski (Touchstone,
$25.00, 232 pages) is an usual and
entertaining baseball books showcasing the author’s
amazing art and his insights into the national
pastime. A hardball archeologist, Cieradkowski
brings us back into days of yore and to the world of
forgotten heroes and places and times.
by Ed Lucas and Christopher Lucas (Jeter Publishing
Crown Books, $25.00, 275 pages is as its sub-title
rightfully announces a blind broadcaster's story of
overcoming life's greatest obstacles. And we are
there through six decades with Ed Lucas In his time
as an Emmy winning broadcaster, his friendships with
sports legends, his moments of triumphs and also
heartbreak. This is especially a book for Yankee
fans but also for all readers who want insights into
what makes a handicapped man like Ed Lucas prevail.
“The Dad Report”
by Kevin Cook (Norton, $26.95, 288 pages) is focused
on connections between baseball and fathers and
sons. Subjects given the up close and personal
include: Bobby and Barry bonds, Dan Haren, senior
and junior, Julia Ruth Stevens, the Babe's adopted
daughter and her famous dad, the Griffeys, three
generations of Boones. The book has a lot of inside
info, charming anecdotes.
IN THE WORKS FOR FALL 2015:
Written by acclaimed sports author and
oral historian Harvey Frommer, with an
intro by pro football Hall of Famer
Frank Gifford, When It Was Just a Game
tells the fascinating story of the
ground-breaking AFL–NFL World
Championship Football game played on
January 15, 1967: Packers vs. Chiefs.
Filled with new insights, containing
commentary from the unpublished memoir
of Kansas City Chiefs coach Hank Stram,
featuring oral history from many who
were at the game—media, players,
coaches, fans—the book is mainly in the
words of those who lived it and saw it
go on to become the Super Bowl, the
greatest sports attraction the world has
ever known. Archival photographs and
drawings help bring the event to life.