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February Baseball Book Roundup

Dr. Harvey Frommer on Sports

Sports Book Review


A sure sign that spring is not that far away is the trickling out of baseball books. The trickle will soon lead to a torrent. A sampler of the late 2003 very early 2004 entries, something for every taste, follows.

"Deadball Stars of the National League" edited by Tom Simon with a foreword by Keith Olberman (Brassey's, $24.95, 367 pages, paper) contains about 150 profiles of long ago baseball stars. Charming, colorful content plus some nifty photos. Highly recommended for those with an abiding interest in the topic.   

The series goes on - this time with "Tales From the Braves Mound" by Leo Mazzone and Scott Freeman (Sports Publishing, $19.95, 218 pages). Mazzone, allegedly the best pitching coach around, has all kinds of interesting tidbits about his time as top tutor to Atlanta star hurlers.  Quick and interesting reading - best for fans of what used to be called "America's team."

From University of Nebraska Press comes two reprints of classic baseball novels by Mark Harris that should be put on a special place on your bookshelf.  "Bang the Drum Slowly and "The Southpaw."  Both books have new introductions by the author and new looks.

"Opening Day at the Great American Ball Park" by Dann Stump (Sports Publishing, $29.95, 158 pages) was published in tribute to Cincy's new baseball backyard. Color photo rich and slim on text, this is a real keepsake for fans of the Reds who don't have that much to cheer about.

Speaking of Cincinnati Reds - -what baseball book roundup would be complete without "Pete Rose: My Prison Without Bars" (Rodale, $24.95, 322 pages. One of the great baseball players of all time and also a life long gambler  and a sufferer of oppositional defiant disorder, "Charlie Hustle" waxes ineloquently about what he  says are " . . .some discoveries about myself in the last few years and I'm going to try and talk about them as best as I can."  For fans of Rose - this is very required reading, and there must be many of them judging by the book's success.  If you are caught up in the Pete Rose story, this is absolutely the book for you.

Of limited interest, but if you are in the "limited" category "Baseball in Asheville" by Bill Ballew (Arcadia, $19.99, 128 pages) and "Baseball in Mobile" by Joe Cuhaj and Tamara Carraway-Hinckle (Arcadia, $19.99, 128 pages) are interesting looks in words and pictures into the national pastime's history in two different cities in the South.  My real quarrel is with the price - twenty bucks for slim paperbacks. Give the paying reader a break. 

Speaking about slim, from Madden Publishing comes three very slight but appealing paperbacks: "Baseball Stories for the Soul," by W.C. Madden and others,  "Through the Knothole of Extra Innings," by C. Brooke Rothwell and "Ted Williams 'Hey Kid, just get it over the plate!"  by Russ Kemmerer and W.C. Madden. Kemmerer played for four major league teams and has anecdotes galore about that experience.

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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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