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Thread: Books about sports

  1. #1
    The Lemon Drop Kid Northern Star's Avatar
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    Books about sports

    I'm always looking for recommendations on good sports books...

    I'm reading You Know Me Al by Ring Lardner right now, and it's fantastic. So funny, and yet the clueless busher who's the main character is so endearing.
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  2. #2
    Resident Old Fart Spudboy's Avatar
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    I highly recommend two books that I read in the '70s.

    Foul The Connie Hawkins Story

    Ball Four Jim Bouton

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    Deity Bellhorn04's Avatar
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    The best work of sports fiction IMHO is Peter Gent's North Dallas Forty. It's one of my favorite novels period. They made a movie of it which was pretty bad except for Nick Nolte.

  4. #4
    King of TalkSox a700hitter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bellhorn04 View Post
    The best work of sports fiction IMHO is Peter Gent's North Dallas Forty. It's one of my favorite novels period. They made a movie of it which was pretty bad except for Nick Nolte.
    I feel the same way about sports fiction as I do about War fiction. The real stories are much more interesting than anything anyone could imagine.
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    Unlike hot streaks and clutch, the “Cliff” is a myth. It can’t be defined, and it’s future existence cannot be proved.

  5. #5
    Deity Bellhorn04's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by a700hitter View Post
    I feel the same way about sports fiction as I do about War fiction. The real stories are much more interesting than anything anyone could imagine.
    Gent's book is semi-autobiographical, though, and it spilled a lot of inside stuff from his years with the Cowboys the same way Ball Four did with baseball. Gent was a drinking buddy of Dandy Don Meredith's and the QB in the book is assumed to be largely based on Meredith.

  6. #6
    King of TalkSox a700hitter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bellhorn04 View Post
    Gent's book is semi-autobiographical, though, and it spilled a lot of inside stuff from his years with the Cowboys the same way Ball Four did with baseball. Gent was a drinking buddy of Dandy Don Meredith's and the QB in the book is assumed to be largely based on Meredith.
    Ball Four was a sort of tell all -- a first of its kind resulting in Bouton being ostracized by MLB. It was not fiction.
    The King of TalkSox has Spoken.

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    It's the bullpen, stupid.

    Quote Originally Posted by a700hitter View Post
    Unlike hot streaks and clutch, the “Cliff” is a myth. It can’t be defined, and it’s future existence cannot be proved.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by a700hitter View Post
    Ball Four was a sort of tell all -- a first of its kind resulting in Bouton being ostracized by MLB. It was not fiction.
    The book that has stayed with me for over the past 40+ years since I first read it was Roger Kahn's classic "THE BOYS OF SUMMER", a semi-biography of two years that he covered my childhood baseball team when I was starting growing up in Queens so long ago. What made the book more than that was the fact that it was also a sort of expose of what happened to these childhood heroes of mine from the time Khan left his assignment as Brooklyn Dodgers beat writer to their current status in the early 70"s. In many ways it was heart wrenching as many had developed health or financial or personal problems by 1972 when it hit the bookstands. Soon after that same year Gil Hodges and then Jackie Robinson both succumbed to fatal heart attacks and now only Carl Erskine is still with us. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to know about these men and the times in which they played, not to mentioned the burdens that befell them after the cheering and shouting could no longer be heard.

    When the Red Sox were out here before the 2008 season for a game at the old Coliseum where the Dodgers played after they deserted Brooklyn, I chanced to meet Erskine and had a long conversation with him. He seemed very disappointed that I no longer followed his old team, but understood why I had become a rabid Red Sox fan. Still I wonder if he really understood.

  8. #8
    Deity Bellhorn04's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by a700hitter View Post
    Ball Four was a sort of tell all -- a first of its kind resulting in Bouton being ostracized by MLB. It was not fiction.
    I read Ball Four when it first came out. It was pretty shocking at the time.

    Gent's book also got a lot of NFL people pissed off at him because even though it was fiction, it was obviously based on real experiences, and it made the Cowboys and the league look pretty evil.

  9. #9
    Resident Old Fart Spudboy's Avatar
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    To me it's hard to imagine a city that has not two but three Major League teams as did New York.

    There is a ton of history there. The Dodgers were big stuff when breaking the "Color Barrier". And other stuff as well.

    I remember spending several weeks in the Cornell University Law Library reading about the Dodgers and other teams from that era. I was writing a term paper on the history of anti-trust in baseball. Most people believe that anti-trust was not an issue until Curt Flood. But I can remember reading a ton of micro fishe about the Dodgers anti-trust issues.

    Of course I don't remember any of the specifics.


    To anyone who is a big baseball fan I highly recommend reading Ball Four and Boys of Summer. They are both kind of must reads to any serious baseball fan. My opinion, though.

  10. #10
    Resident Old Fart Spudboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bellhorn04 View Post
    I read Ball Four when it first came out. It was pretty shocking at the time.

    Gent's book also got a lot of NFL people pissed off at him because even though it was fiction, it was obviously based on real experiences, and it made the Cowboys and the league look pretty evil.
    Bouton got a ton of crap for his expose. I can't recommend Ball Four enough.

    The "fiction" like the book you mentioned is usually very interesting. I remember when "The Hunt for Red October" came out. I had a friend who worked at electric boat in Groton. He has secret clearance. He told me many people were mega pissed off at Tom Clancey for some of the things revealed in his book.

  11. #11
    The Lemon Drop Kid Northern Star's Avatar
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    Clancy was questioned by the Feds on more than one occasion about how he acquired his information in his books.

    Definitely mean to read some of the suggestions so far. I think sports fiction can still be interesting - any fiction that poses "what if?" is interesting. I'm just tired of the "ragbag group of misfits win the title" kind of stories. Mike Lupica's Bump and Run was like that, but still good. The sequel was flat out terrible, though.
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  12. #12
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    Game SiX (1975) brought back a lot of memories for me. The game itself is an obvious classic for anyone who has ever followed the game. The individual stories dealing with the players and managers on both teams brought back so many memories for me. Quite often today, we hear about athletes being bigger, faster, and stronger than players from yesteryear. I truly believe that some of the greatest who ever played the game were represented in this series that featured arguably the greatest World Series game of all time. I had forgotten how young the Red Sox outfield was during that season. I like to think that if Fred Lynn had stayed in Boston he would be in the Hall today. As a right fielder for me it will always be the great Roberto Clemente first but Dewey runs a close second in my book. I truly fee that if Rice had not been injured we would have won that series. Louis Tiant may not ever get into the Hall but he would certainly get my vote. The two catchers were as good as any I have seen play the game. The characters were incredible baseball players but boy were they ever characters. Bernie Carbo - Come on! Couldn't be a better story. i finished the book with a very deep appreciation of just how good a manager Sparky Anderson was. Everything he got he earned. Most of you have already read this book. If you witnessed this game like I did, I hope you enjoyed reading and learning a little more about the lives of some of the greatest who ever played.

  13. #13
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    Boys of Summer and Ball Four also great reads. I have forgotten the title but the book dealing with the trip taken by Pesky. D. Dimaggio, and Doer to visit Ted one last time was also a classic for any Sox fan. Been a while since I read that one. I enjoy my life but I also spend plenty of time thinking history and suffering from hindsight phobia. What if Dom had been in centerfield on that day in 1946? What if Tony C. hadn't gone down in 1967 and of course Rice in 75?

  14. #14
    Deity Bellhorn04's Avatar
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    I've read a ton of books about the Sox, of course. I've even read both of Shaughnessy's 'Curse' books.

    If I was going to pick just one that covers the 2004 season I would go with Bill Simmons's 'Now I Can Die in Peace', which is a collection of his blog pieces about the Sox from 2003 and 2004. I'm not a big fan of Simmons since he became a star, but most of the stuff in this book is pretty damn good, and funny too.

  15. #15
    King of TalkSox a700hitter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cp176 View Post
    Boys of Summer and Ball Four also great reads. I have forgotten the title but the book dealing with the trip taken by Pesky. D. Dimaggio, and Doer to visit Ted one last time was also a classic for any Sox fan. Been a while since I read that one. I enjoy my life but I also spend plenty of time thinking history and suffering from hindsight phobia. What if Dom had been in centerfield on that day in 1946? What if Tony C. hadn't gone down in 1967 and of course Rice in 75?
    The "what ifs" are what keep us thinking about baseball in the dead of winter.
    Last edited by a700hitter; 05-25-2015 at 12:41 AM.
    The King of TalkSox has Spoken.

    Quote Originally Posted by a700hitter View Post
    It's the bullpen, stupid.

    Quote Originally Posted by a700hitter View Post
    Unlike hot streaks and clutch, the “Cliff” is a myth. It can’t be defined, and it’s future existence cannot be proved.

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