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"Fred Claire: My 30 Years in Dodger Blue"

Dr. Harvey Frommer on Sports

Sports Book Review


It was more than a couple of decades ago that I first met Fred Claire. The place was Los Angeles, Dodger Stadium to be exact. I was interviewing and researching for one of my baseball books.

Affable, knowledgeable, Fred asked if was alone in Los Angeles. "No," I replied, "My family had come along so that we are combining business with pleasure."

"Would you like tickets to tomorrow's game?"

"You bet," I said.

So our five member family sat behind home plate at beautiful Dodger Stadium and enjoyed baseball. The game was a sellout.

That was my intro to Fred Claire, a caring and dedicated baseball man - especially where the Dodgers are concerned.
Now in "Fred Claire: My 30 Years in Dodger Blue" (Sports Publishing, $24.95, terrific photos throughout) we get the full behind-the-scenes picture of the universe that the former Dodger executive vice president and general manager was either a part of or observer to.

Detailed anecdotes about Al Campanis's ill fated appearance on "Nightline," the trading of legend Mike Piazza, insights into so many events and personalities like Walter O'Malley, Jackie Robinson, Steve Garvey, Tom Lasorda, Daryl Strawberry the sale of the team to Fox . . . truly entertaining reading. If you are a fan of the Dodgers or interested in an inside view of baseball history - this is the book for you.
From Harcourt in paperback - Roger Kahn's "October Men" ($14.00, 382 pages) and Roger Angell's "Game Time" ($15.00, 416 pages). Terrific reads by all pro baseball writers. If you missed these books the first time around when they came out in hardcover, grab them now.

Another re-issue of merit is George Plimpton's "The Curious Case of Sidd Finch (Four Walls Eight Windows $13.95, 320 pages, paper). Originally published in 1987, the book is the story of an eccentric Buddhist monk New York Mets hurler - his hurling speed -
168 MPH. It was billed as a poignant and audacious first novel. It still is poignant and audacious and pure fiction.

It was a terrific idea for a book, a replay in narrative and stats, the 35 World Series that have gone the distance. It is also carried out with style and passion in "The Seventh Game" by Barry Levinson (McGraw Hill, $24.95, 340 pages, paper).  Levinson, out of Madison, Wisconsin goes from the 1909, 8-0 thrashing of the Detroit Tigers by the Pittsburgh Pirates through October 13, 1960 when Pittsburgh's Maz hit the walk off homer to sink the Yankees to the humbling of the BoSox by the Mets in an 8-5 win on October 27, 1986 to Anaheim's 4-1 triumph over the SF Giants on October 27, 2002. These games are given the up close look as well as the others that round out the 35 "ultimate games." Loaded with info, it is pleasurable reading and belongs on your baseball bookshelf.

Of special appeal to younger readers,  "Honus and Me" by Dan Gutman (Avon Books, $15.99, 138 pages, hardcover) is a bit over-priced for such a slight tome.   


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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 .

Other Frommer sports related articles can be found at:   

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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