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Best Sports Stories series vs BASW

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by friend of the friendless, Apr 22, 2008.

  1. friend of the friendless

    friend of the friendless Active Member

    Sirs, Madames,

    I picked up a copy of the 1970 Best Sports Stories, part of that much loved series put out by Irving T Marsh back when. I have utmost respect for BASW but the old BSS had a lot going for it, and not just for those old enough for nostalgia. What makes for some interesting reading (for sjs more than average readers, no doubt) are:
    1. a breakdown of categories (news-coverage, news-features, magazine)
    2. an effort to represent every sport with at least one piece
    3. the judges' scoring and their comments about pieces. In the 1970 book (the 1969 sports season, a helluva canvas to work with by any stretch) the judges were John Chamberlain, John Hutchens and Red Smith.
    I knew some of the pieces going in: Lipsyte's heartbreaking NYT piece on Dick Tiger which won best news-feature, although Smith didn't have it in his top three (even tho' a piece about a dog from an outdoors-mag made his cut); Roger Kahn's Sport piece on Willie Mays, the best mag-story winner. But in the pre-internet days (and pre-database archive) there was some amazing writing, e.g. Wells Twombly on the '69 Super Bowl in the Detroit Free Press (the winner of the deadline-news category), Roy McHugh on Frazier-Quarry in the Pittsburgh Press, Mickey Herskowitz on Texas-Arkansas Game of the Century in the Houston Post. Those three pieces wouldn't make it in BASW today, I suspect. And they and other newspaper pieces would probably be internet-redundant, i.e. avid sports fans/readers would have access to them in real time. (Probably any anthology is listing the way of internet redundancy.). Though the omission of SI was egregious, there's still something to the far-ranging representation of writers (Greensboro Daily News, the Muncie Star, the Nashville Banner, the Dallas Times Herald, Look, True, Argosy, Jock[!], the Columbus Citizen-Journal, the Washington Daily News and others more likely, some still publishing).
    Anyway, there's something more than nostalgia that has me looking at these old collections more often than some of the BASWs over the years. More plates on the buffet table, I guess.

    YD&OHS, etc
  2. tapintoamerica

    tapintoamerica Well-Known Member

    Seems to me the problem with any "Best Sportswriting" contest is the fascination with stories about horse racing and boxing, both of which have been romanticized to sickening degrees over the decades.
  3. spaceman

    spaceman Active Member

    One of my favorite stories is "Lobos on the Ice" which I think is from the 1947 edition of Best Sports Stories.
  4. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    FOTF, where do you get those Best Sports Stories books? Used book stores?
  5. friend of the friendless

    friend of the friendless Active Member

    Mr Hack,

    Used-book stores but they cost a buck online at abebooks. I've only bought one, the first in the series, by online order (and it was the only one that was remotely pricey).

    I think there is something to the horse & ring point but only that you can look at the BSS series for evidence of shifting tastes--a lot more nags and pugs early on (and precious little hoops). Ah, good times, no MMA.

    YD&OHS, etc
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