Grand Slam Reading
SPORTS BOOK REVIEW
Scott Simon is the award-winning host of National Public Radio's
"Weekend Edition." He has won every major award in broadcasting
for his war reporting, personal essays and commentary. Now, he has written
a book that should get some type of award.
and Away: Memoir of a Fan," (Hyperion, 384 pages, $23. 95) Simon
turns his attention to Chicago, the city he loves and some of its fabled
sports figures and traditions. He also has many interesting musings on
sports and culture, life and death.
book begins with these words as Simon looks back. "There was a time
when I was Billy Pierce, the high-kicking left-handed pitcher of the
Chicago White Sox. But being only two and a half feet tall, my impact on
the game was small. "
is the four-year-old Scott Simon living in the fantasy world that makes
him feel he is the star hurler of the Chicago White Sox, Billy Pierce. The
book ends with Pierce and Simon among the pallbearers at the funeral of
legendary sports broadcaster Jack Brickhouse.
that special structure shows the unusual and sensitive mind of Simon at
work. And throughout the pages of this winning book, Simon's life as a fan
comes through loud, lively and clear. There is a wonderful section focused
on the Chicago Cubsí 1969 pennant race laid side-by-side with the first
moon landing of Apollo 11 and the Vietnam War. The Super Bowl Bears of
1985-86 and the Chicago Bulls of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippin, Dennis
Rodman and Phil Jackson also get the full Simon treatment.
fragment of the final paragraph in Simon's enchanting memoir gives you an
idea of the style he writes in:
my mind, I can keep the ball hanging for a moment between the moon and the
stadium lights. Gracie is looking up from first. Sammy, smiling and
tapping out heart kisses, is dancing in from right. MJ, beaming, looks on
from the bench, while Mr. Cub stands up, clapping, on the dug-out steps -
Let's play two!
than two is played through the thickly packed pages of "Home and
Away". This is a book that has a whole lot going for it and through
gives us insights into all types of interesting personalities with sports
connections: Ernie Banks, Leo Durocher, Brian Piccolo, Gale Sawyers, and
even Richard J. Daley and Jesse Jackson.
often touching, carefully crafted, "Home and Away: Memoir of a
Fan" is a thoughtful and fresh take on the world of sports.
"The Baseball Astrologer and Other Weird Tales" by John B.
Holway (TotalSports Illustrated, 302 pages, $14.95) is as the title
suggests - a very unorthodox book. It looks into hexes, jinxes, omens,
predictions and lucky mascots. If the unusual in the world of sports is
your thing - this is the book for you.
inductions just around the corner, "The National Baseball Hall of
Fame and Museum 2000 Yearbook (175 pages, $15.00) is worth owning. Replete
with profiles of this year's inductees, it is a concise catalog loaded
with baseball facts and figures.
# # #
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.
FROMMER SPORTSNET (syndicated) reaches a readership in the millions and
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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
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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