Sports Biblio

A Blog About Sports Books, History And Culture

Month: April 2016 (page 1 of 2)

Sports Biblio Digest 4.24.16: ‘Sports Detectives’ Debuts

News, Views and Reviews About Sports Books, History and Culture

Also In This Issue: George Plimpton Sports Books Reissued; Curt Schilling and Free Speech; Pulitzer Prize for ‘Barbarian Days’

sports detectivesA new six-episode program on the Smithsonian Channel, “Sports Detectives,” debuts tonight, and it details the efforts of a former FBI agent who’s searching for some notable missing sports memorabilia.

Kevin Barrows used to go after organized crime figures. Now he’s a private investigator scrounging around with sports reporter Lauren Gardner for such items as Franco Harris’ “Immaculate Reception” football, Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game ball in 1962, Secretariat’s 1973 Kentucky Derby-winning saddlecloth and Dale Earnhardt’s pink No. 3 car. Continue reading

George Plimpton sports books reissued: The Sports Biblio Podcast

On the Sports Biblio Podcast I preview the newly re-issued collection of George Plimpton sports books, examples of his “participatory journalism” exploits that took him to Major League Baseball, the NFL, the NHL and the PGA Tour.

Paper Lion, George Plimpton, sports booksThe seven books are being reissued by Little, Brown, with all-new covers and new forewords by Nicholas Dawidoff, Mike Lupica, Rick Reilly, Bob Costas, Jane Leavy and others.

Plimpton, who died in 2003, was the subject of a charming profile in the PBS “American Masters” program that included generous time given to his sports dilettantism.
Continue reading

2016 Pulitzer Prize winners include ‘Barbarian Days’

William Finnegan, author of “Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life,” a memoir about growing in California and Hawaii, has been named the 2016 Pulitzer Prize winner for biography/autobiography.

barbarian days, william finnegan, pulitzer prizeIt’s the only sports-related Pulitzer recipient on this year’s list of honorees. The Pulitzers are given for exceptional work in American journalism, history, biography and the letters, drama and music.

Finnegan used his passion for surfing to take him around the world, and he parlayed that into a writing and journalism career. He has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1984 and has won numerous awards for his international reporting. Continue reading

Sports Biblio Digest, 4.17.16: Spring 2016 Sports Books

News, Views and Reviews About Sports Books, History and Culture

harvey penick, kevin robbins, spring 2016 sports booksIn This Issue: Spring Sports Books, ‘Harvey Penick’s Little Red Book’ at 25, The Diary of Myles Thomas, The Legacy of Vin Scully

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This week on Sports Biblio I posted a preview guide to sports books published between April-June in the United States, and there’s an incredible topical variety.

That’s due not only to the start of baseball season here in America but the unveiling of new tennis and golf seasons, as well as the arrival of cricket in the northern hemisphere and the Olympics approaching in August. Continue reading

Discovering the wonders of cricket writing, or ‘cricklit’

A few years ago I promised to undertake some reading about a form of cricket writing that was starting to be called “cricklit.”

beyond a boundary, clr james, cricket writingIt was literary in style, as befitting the name, and applied to an expanding collection of both fiction and non-fiction works. Four years after making that pledge, I simply have failed, and I have to confess I’m not sure where to start, aside from digging into C.L.R. James’ classic “Beyond a Boundary.”

I’m reposting this from 2012 from another blog to kickstart this reading project and to solicit suggestions from readers on recommended books, magazine articles and other pieces published since then.  Continue reading

Sports Biblio’s preview guide to spring 2016 sports books

Among the notable spring 2016 sports books being published in the U.S. are biographies of Emil Zátopek and Harvey Penick, serious arm injuries that are ravaging some of the best pitchers in baseball, the man who blew the whistle on FIFA and tennis essays by the late American novelist David Foster Wallace.

the arm, jeff passan, spring 2016 sports booksAlso being published between April and June 2016 are books about the emergence of gay athletes and sports figures, the travails of Cuban baseball defectors, women and fastpitch softball and an anthology about the great Indian cricket batsman Sachin Tendulkar.

A reissue of a classic book about the Tour de France is among the special publications in this survey, and I will be reviewing “Players,” about the rise of sports agents and professional athletes, starting with Mark McCormack and Arnold Palmer in the early 1960s. Continue reading

Sports and civil rights in the Jim Crow era

To mark the airing of the new Ken Burns documentary on PBS about Jackie Robinson, I’m reposting something  from a few years back on a different blog about the arduous road many black athletes had to endure for decades following his arrival with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. Sports and civil rights would take on a very different appearance as the 1960s unfolded, but in the American South resistance to integrating sporting organizations remained deeply entrenched.

the soul of baseball, buck o'neill, sports and civil rightsThis post was timed for the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and includes tales by and about Negro Leagues legend Buck O’Neill, made famous in Burn’s baseball movie, and an oral history project to gather stories about the vibrant black sports community in Mobile, Ala., during the days of Jim Crow. Continue reading

Sports Biblio Digest, 4.10.16: New Jackie Robinson Film

News, Views and Reviews About Sports Books, History and Culture

Also In This Issue: Pro Basketball History, Legends at The Masters, The Rise of Bill James

 What more can be said of Jackie Robinson?

jackie robinson, ken burnsIn the 69 years since his debut for the Brooklyn Dodgers, breaking the color line in Major League Baseball and becoming an American icon, Robinson and his life have been the subject of a vast number of books, films and specials.

This week on Public Broadcasting Service in the United States, acclaimed American documentary filmmaker Ken Burns will debut a two-part, four-hour film, simply titled “Jackie Robinson,” that goes his life beyond the white lines of the diamond and explores the player’s impact on society. Continue reading

As the WNBA turns 20, more gradual steps or a big leap?

The first game in the Women’s National Basketball Association—WNBA—was played in 1997, and this summer will mark its 20th season.

wnba, wnba bookThe WNBA has lasted longer than any other women’s professional basketball league in the United States, thanks to the support of the NBA. Joining the league for the 2016 season is Breanna Stewart, who led UConn to an unprecedented four consecutive NCAA championships.

Also new is president Lisa Borders, who helped bring a WNBA franchise to my hometown of Atlanta and is a very energetic and passionate believer in pro women’s basketball. Continue reading

The American Basketball Association’s colorful legacy

One of craziest things I ever asked of my mother was to buy me a basketball. Not an orange pumpkin, mind you, but one I saw briefly on television, a ball used by the obscure American Basketball Association, of which I had not previously heard.

loose balls, terry pluto, american basketball associationIt was a red, white and blue ball, and I absolutely had to have it. This was no mere novelty, but a desperate pursuit that drove my mother to the point of exasperation (and not for the first, nor last, time).

We did find an ABA ball at a sporting goods store, and I wore it out shooting in the driveway. I also listened to Kentucky Colonels games on WHAS, a wonderful clear-channel station in Louisville I could pick up at night.  Continue reading

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