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Sports Books,

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by dkphxf, Dec 1, 2010.

  1. dkphxf

    dkphxf Member

    Yes, I know there already is a book thread. However, I wanted to see what sports-only books people would recommend.
  2. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member

    I'll give you five.

  3. JR

    JR Active Member

    And here's a thread on one of ours. And it is first rate

  4. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    I just started reading the Jane Leavy Mickey Mantle book last night. She structures it in an odd way - instead of writing a straight biography, she picks a series of important dates in his life, and uses those days as a window into Mantle, the man. Seems like Leavy can't do straight biography - her Koufax book used his perfect game as a narrative backbone.

    Second on DD's recommendation of Agassi. In the S.L. Price category, though, I would instead select "Heart of the Game." Read it not just for the story, but pay very close attention to the amount of reporting that goes into it, and how he's also able to tie the Coolbaugh story into other digressions like deaths in baseball through the years.

    Some other sports books I have really enjoyed through the years that stand up as excellent books, not just excellent sports books:

    "The Echoing Green" by Joshua Prager
    "When Pride Still Mattered" by David Maraniss (I also like his Clemente and 1960 Olympics books)
    "Pistol Pete" by Mark Kreigel
    "Ted Williams: Biography of an American Hero" by Leigh Montville
    "Moneyball" by Michael Lewis
    "Boys Will Be Boys" by Jeff Pearlman
    "A Well-Paid Slave" by Brad Snyder
    "Where Men Win Glory" by Jon Krakauer
  5. swenk

    swenk Member

    I love this list from Sports Illustrated, 2002, mainly because it highlights the classics from the last few decades, not the usual rehash of current books in the news or books hyped by friends of the authors.


    #1--AJ Liebling's The Sweet Science, 1956.
  6. Hank_Scorpio

    Hank_Scorpio Active Member

    Fab Five by Mitch Albom (waiting for slappy's head to explode).


    Eight Men Out, Eliot Asinof
    Secretariat, William Nack
    Ruffian, William Nack
    Seabiscuit, Laura Hillenbrand

    If you're a baseball fan, you can't go wrong with any of Ernie Harwell's books.
  7. Steak Snabler

    Steak Snabler Well-Known Member

    I'm sure most of the better ones have already come up or will come up at some point, but let me cast my vote for Kriegel's "Namath" and Allan Barra's "The Last Coach" (about Bear Bryant). Probably the two best sports bios I've read.

    One book that's long out of print, but that you might be able to find on eBay or elsewhere is James Kirby's "Fumble," which is about the 1962 Alabama-Georgia game-fixing scandal. Quite possibly the only college football book by a Southern writer that doesn't paint Bear Bryant in reverential tones (Kirby was a lawyer for the SEC, so he's got first-hand knowledge of a lot of the proceedings).

    "Seasons in Hell," by former Fort Worth Star-Telegram writer Mike Shropshire about the early 70s Texas Rangers is hysterical. Anything by David Halberstam is good, though I particularly like "Summer of '49" and "October 1964."

    I'm about halfway through Joe Posnanski's "The Machine" about the 1975 Cincinnati Reds and it's pretty good, but doesn't bowl me over or anything. Michael Sokolove's "Hustle" (about just Pete Rose) is great, though.

    Mike Sowell's "One Pitch Away," about the 1986 MLB postseason, is outstanding as well. Tom Adelman's "The Long Ball" and "Black and Blue" about the 1975 and 1966 MLB seasons, respectively, are very good.
  8. JR

    JR Active Member

    If you read that list, not only would you have read some great sports books, you'd also end up being a better writer.

    Some small quibbles: James Fixx's "The Complete Book of Running" is just a plain odd choice.

    W.P Kinsella's novel "Shoeless Joe" is a sappy piece of crap. Not as horrendously bad as the movie "Field of Dreams" but really, a piece of dreck.
  9. TwoGloves

    TwoGloves Active Member

    Double J might have a suggestion:

  10. Shaggy

    Shaggy Guest

    "Play Their Hearts Out" by George Dohrmann was an outstanding unmasking of the slimey grassroots basketball underworld. Go read it.
  11. playthrough

    playthrough Moderator Staff Member

    I'm in the middle of Leavy's Mantle book now. It's great. I like to peek at the back first to see the extent of the author's research, and for this it's beyond exhaustive.

    Ditto on Kriegel's Namath book.
  12. Huggy

    Huggy Well-Known Member

    Reading The Last Coach right now. Excellent stuff. Barra's book on Yogi Berra was great too.
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