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Let's Go To The Videotape by Warner Wolf 

Harvey Frommer's Sports Book Review

by Harvey Frommer

Harvey Frommer - Click to Enlarge          

Let's Look at Some More Sports Books

 It seems these days that everyone who has some connection to the wide and wondrous world of sports wants to get into the act of writing a book. Some have something to say; others want to say something.

A case in point is "Let's Go to the Videotape" by Warner Wolf (Warner Books, {no relation} $24.95, 304pp.), which is a non-self-effacing and definitely high-profile story of a sportcaster's 39 years in the business.

Known for such expressions as "Let's Go to the Videotape," (hence the title of this opus), "Gimme a break!", "Here's the boo of the week" and "If you had the Clippers and 37 points - you still lost," Wolf sets out to give the reader a tour of "All the plays - and replays - from my life in sports". Warner does so with the assistance of co-author Larry Weisman.

Subject matter comes and goes in a dizzying pace - a bit like Wolf's style on CBS-TV in New York or his regular stint on WFAN's "Imus in the Morning".

Page 205 talks about tollbooths (no kidding). "Do you think Shaq just drops money in a toll booth, or does he slam it?" We get five pages on the 1998 World Series and why Wolf maintains it "was a letdown". There is a page and a half of bashing Mike Tyson: "His toughest opponent was never the one in the ring, always the one in the mirror".

Wolf gives his view on how in the past five decades sports and sportscasting has changed, what it was like for him to come into contact with Robert Redford and Robert Duvall, his "takes" on Joe DiMaggio, Hank Aaron, John McEnroe, etc. There is even, no kidding, a slim section on the best sports movies. The book has no index and mercifully comes to an end after 112 sections spread thinly over 302 pages.

A more standard offering is "Sporting News Selects 50 Greatest Sluggers " by Tony DeMarco ($29.95, 174pp.). The book loads up on 200 archival black and white and full color photographs that fill its pages to perfection. There is the Babe and Reggie and "The Big Hurt: and "Big Mac," Yaz, George Foster ,DiMag and Sammy and all the rest.

The book not only profiles and ranks the 50 greatest sluggers, it also covers in some detail the history of the run starting with material from back in the 1890s.

Yankee immortal manager Miller Huggins said "Fans like the fellow who carries the wallop". Fans also like sports books that carry a wallop, and "The Sporting News Selects . . . 50 GREATEST SLUGGERS" carries a wallop. It is definitely worth owning as a research tool, as a lively read, as a decorative touch for your coffee table or bookshelf.

Book Ends: "The Hot Stove League" by Lee Allen, a re-release of a 1955 classic from Total Sports Illustrated is a nifty read focusing as it does on what happens to players who slip through the cracks of the game's memory and how they cope with life after baseball.

Coming soon from Taylor Publishers - KOUFAX by Edward Gruver. Billed as the first book in more than 30 years on the legendary southpaw, KOUFAX relies heavily on extensive interviews including one with your fearless reviewer.

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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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