Frommer on Sports
The Book Review:
"The First Fall Classic," Heroes & Ballyhoo,"
Ron Darling's "The Complete Game" and more.
The economy is bad. The complaints abound that
book publishing is in trouble. All kinds of other media seems to be
parading to center stage. With all of this, sports books of all
kinds - - historical, autobiographical, analytical, inspirational -
-keep on coming. And for the most part, we are all the better for
The First Fall Classic" by Mike Vaccaro
(Doubleday, $26.95, 290 pages) was of special interest to me
having just completed my REMEMBERING (or CELEBRATING, title is
still being discussed) FENWAY PARK due out in 2010 and having
devoted a segment of it to the 1912 World Series between the Red
Sox and NY Giants. My mission was not to go into depth on that
landmark series, but we are fortunate that it was the mission of
NY Post sports columnist Vaccaro. We are there with John J.
McGraw, Christy Mathewson, Tris Speaker, Smoky Joe Wood and the
others in a riveting read. If you like careful research and old
time baseball, go for "The First Fall Classic"
Spaking of old time sports, another winner is "Heroes
and Ballyhoo" by Michael K. Bohn (Potomac, $27.50, 320 pages). I
read the book before it was a book and praised it thusly with these
words which now appear on the back cover. "Hype, hoopla, and
histrionics characterized American sports in the 1920s, as well as
all kinds of talented and unusual characters. Michael Bohn's "Heroes
and Ballyhoo" is a treatise, a tribute and a tip of the cap to that
special time. Carefully researched and written, this book belongs on
your sports bookshelf."
Bill James iis still out there cranking out a lot of
the same stuff he has been giving us for many years now his
"Handbook," 2010 edition (Acta, $23.95, 514 paperback pages) is a
niagara of baseball nuggets.
Ron Darling's "The Complete Game," Knopf, $24.95,
272 pages) is part memoir, part rumination on the rigors and rewards
of pitching, part self indulgent "and then I did that..." If you are
a fan of the NY Mets and /or Darling you will enjoy the "The
Complete Game," completely. For others, the book is highly optional
"Heart of the Game" by S. L. Price (Ecco, $24.99, 306
pages) traces the lives of two minor leaguers in a heart breaking
account of hope and disappointment, pain and prevailing, resiliency
and reward. Thr book's sub-title is "Life, Death, and Mercy in Minor
League America" and it all about that. Price has created a very
For all the Andre Agassi fans out there and they add
up to a multitude "OPEN" by the tennis legend (Knopf, $27.95, 386
pages) is an ace! Front stage, back stage, on the court and off the
court, "OPEN" is all we would expect from the outspoken, thoughtful,
talented crowd pleaser. There is gossip and there is game; there is
the very young Agassi (a heart wrenching childhood) and the older
Agassi like Frank Sinatra replaying romantic get-togethers. No one
is spared in the book, least of all its author, and we are all the
better for it. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
# # #
You can reach
Harvey Frommer at:
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.
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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.
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