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Dr. Harvey Frommer on Sports

Sports Book Review

Built to Win and Other Noteworthy  Reads


John Schuerholz of the Atlanta Braves is the winningest general manager in the big leagues. His "Built to Win" with Larry Guest (Warner Books, $24.95, 272 pages) is a true inside look at how the fate and fortunes of the most successful baseball team of the last 15 years has been handled.    

Schuerholz's tricks of the trade, how he copes with an $80-million payroll in an era of megabuck payouts, what he thinks of the much ballyhooed "Moneyball" baseball management theory and why he prefers his  own style - "winning-ball." These and many more themes pervade "Built to Win," a book filled with interesting, inside  anecdotes and perspectives on the national pastime.  Highly recommended reading.

One wonders why after all these years Mike Schmidt decided to write a book. No matter - the Philly legend has done the right thing in "Clearing the Bases" (with Glen Waggoner, $24.95, 199 pages).  The ten time Gold Glover, Hall of Famer and member of the All Century team lets it all hang out in his spirited broadside on sham records, juiced players, and other things wrong with the game he lovess. As the book's sub-title proclaims - it is Mike Schmidt's search for the "soul of baseball." There is much to agree with Mike about, much to admire him for saying what others would not say. If you are a Mike Schmidt fan or just care about the state of Major League Baseball - this is the books for you.

For those who never got their fill of New York sports radio's WFAN's Christopher Russo - there is now "The Mad Dog Hall of Fame, the Ultimate Top-Ten Rankings of the Best in Sports" (Doubleday, $23.95, 284 pages). Shrill, over-stated, and of course highly opinionated - that's what C.  Russo and his book are all about.
For zealots only.

The much celebrated Ira Berkow has been on the staff of the "New York Times" for a long, long time. His "Full Swing Hits, Runs and Errors in a Writer's Life" (Ivan R. Dee, $26.00, 289 pages) is a marvelous memoir of events witnessed and written about, of celebrities known and learned from. I was especially interested as the biographer of Red Holzman to read what Berkow had to say about the sorely missed, late and legendary coach of the New York Knicks.  On target stuff here - and moving, too.

If you like Berkow - and why shouldn't you - get a copy of this book and keep it in a place of prominence on your sports bookcase.  Terrific stuff.

"Day By Day with the Boston Red Sox" by Bill Nowlin (Rounder Books, $19.95, 614 pages, paper) is a must have reference book for all fans of the team from the Hub. The author, born just 3.9 miles from Fenway Park is a BoSox zealot. That zeal and many facts and factoids intermingle on the pages of this terrific timeline tome.

More Lou Gehrig: The classic "Iron Horse Lou Gehrig in his Time by "Ray Robinson (W.W. Norton, $14.95, 300 pages. paper) is thankfully out in this brand new edition - and we are all the better for it. Marvelous writing by a true old pro.  And there is also" The Life of Lou Gehrig Told By a Fan" by Sara Kaden Brunsvold  (Acta Sports, $14.95, 252 pages, paper.   This is a highly readable montage of memories about the legendary Yankee first baseman who died too soon.

The first black full-time beat reporter to cover the Yankees - Cecil Harris - offers anecdotes and opinions on his time there in "call the Yankees My Daddy" (The Lyons Press, $14.95, 241 pages, paper).

A little book with a lot to offer is "Extraordinary Putting" by Fred Shoemaker with Jo Hardy (G.P. Putnam's Son, $21.95, 189 pages). A revered coach muses on the game and offers many tips from a pro.

"Black Maestro"  by New York Times reporter Joe Drape is a bio of Jimmy Winkfield, the last black jockey to win the Kentucky Derby.

The book is riveting and consciousness raising.

FOR THE KIDS: "Roasted Peanuts" by Tim Egan (Houghton Mifflin) is a beautifully produced book about baseball and loyalty and friendship. Highly recommended.


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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. 
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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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