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Dr. Harvey Frommer on Sports

Sports Book Review

Father's Day 2005:  Have Glove Will Travel and Other Reads     

The one special baseball book to read in 2005 is "Have Glove Will Travel" by Bill Lee and Richard Lally. This gem from Crown costs $23.00 and runs 320 pages.

It is, as its sub-title proclaims, a remarkable odyssey of a man and his love for a game. The former Boston Red Sox and Montreal Expo hurler, Bill Lee, for more than two decades has gone anywhere he has been able to play baseball. Pickup games, town tourneys, fantasy camps, senior leagues, you name it and Lee has done it in the United States, South America, China, Cuba, Russia, all of the provinces in Canada.

There are so many baseball books now on the market with an attitude, so many that could have just been an article, so many that should not have been published. Compared to those, "Have Glove Will Travel" is a special treat filled with oddball characters Lee encountered in his travels.

Colorful details, intelligent ruminations on baseball and life - it's there for the reading. If you never read Lee's bestselling "The Wrong Stuff", pick that book up, too, and have a double treat.

Where Bill Lee is a cult figure, Johnny Damon has massaged everything about him to become somewhat in the same league. He does get screams and squeals from adoring fans to the consternation of some. His book "Idiot: Beating the Curse and Enjoying the Game of Life" with Peter Golenbock (Crown, $24.00, 272 pages)
is billed as a behind-the-scenes look at what the players thought of the moves by the Red Sox in 2004 on their way to the world championship.

On "The Curse"..."When you got down toward the end of the season, that's all you heard about...'Do you believe in the curse?' 'Is the curse overtaking the team?'...Since Dan Shaughnessy is the guy who invented this curse nonsense in the first place, I find it kind of odd that he keeps talking about it. He's a bright guy. I can't believe he actually believes it. I guess the Curse of the Bambino has a better ring to it than the Curse of Dan Shaughnessy."

It is entries like these that makes one wince. And despite the admirable skills of a world class author like Peter Golenbock, "Idiot" fails to satisfy especially compared to all that Bill Lee delivered.

For those in a Red Sox frame of mind there is "The Boston Red Sox Fan Book" - it took four writers to put out this $12.95, 275 page paperback from St. Martin's - David S. Neft, et al.

There is also from Rounder, "Red Sox Heroes of Yesteryear" by Herb Crehan  ($17.95, 388 pages) and "The Red Sox Fan Handbook" by Leigh Grossman ($16.95, 386 pages) which omits in its bibliography the best-selling "Red Sox Vs Yankees: The Great Rivalry" by your faithful reviewer and his son Frederic - making the completeness of the book suspect - at the very least.

"Greats of the Game" by veteran baseball authors Ray Robinson and Christopher Jennison (Abrams, $35.00, 224 pages) is a picture-filled romp through baseball history. If you have room on your coffee table or bookshelf - go for this tome that celebrates the players, games, teams and managers that made baseball history.

"Voices of Summer" by Curt Smith (Carroll and Graf, $15.95, 419 pages, paper) is the author's rankings of the 101 All-Time best announcers. You'll have to get a copy of the book to find out who was ranked Number One and also Number 101 and those in between. It makes for some interesting reading.

Re-issued by University of Nebraska Press is "The Worst Team Money Could Buy" by Bob Klapisch and John Harper ($16.95, 287 pages, paper). It is an up-close look at the 1992 Mets who had the highest payroll in history to that point in time - $45-million. Bobby Bonilla, Vince Coleman and Bret Saberhagen were some of the "names" on that team.

"The College World Series" by W.C. Madden and John E. Peterson (Arcadia, $19.99, 128 pages) is a very high priced and heavily illustrated primer on the subject.

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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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