Sports Biblio

The Imagination Of Sports In Books, History And Culture

Month: June 2016 (page 1 of 2)

Sports Biblio’s preview guide to summer 2016 sports books

Among the notable summer 2016 sports books published in the U.S. are several Olympic-related titles with the Rio de Janeiro Games taking place in August.

who shot sports, summer 2016 sports booksOther sports books being released in July and August are about baseball and numbers, cricketing anthologies, the Federer-Nadal rivalry, the Manning family and a full-scale history of martial arts. Also on tap: sports books about the history of sports betting and gambling, England 1966 memories, Muhammad Ali’s last fight, essays by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and a treasure trove of classic sports photography. Continue reading

Sports Biblio Digest, 6.26.16: LeBron James and the G.O.A.T. Debate

king of the court, lebron jamesLeBron James made me turn off Facebook this week. 

Not his fault, but there was as much anger on my feeds about James and the Cleveland Cavaliers winning the NBA championship as there was over stalled gun control bills in Congress, leading to a Democratic sit-in.

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

Also In This Issue: Messi vs. Maradona; Doc Emrick in the Baseball Booth; High Times for Iceland; Remembering John Gaustad

Continue reading

A hidden history of Title IX and women’s sports: The Sports Biblio Podcast

While looking for something else on Amazon several years ago, I came across a book that provided a history of Title IX and women’s college sports that I hadn’t heard much about.

playing nice and losing, title ixThe 2003 book “Playing Nice and Losing,” by Chinese-born doctoral student Ying Wushanley, was his Penn State dissertation, and it explored the governance wars between the NCAA and the AIAW, which oversaw women’s college sports in the 1970s.

What I found was deep, nuanced history of clashes over the control women’s sports and of the efforts to help push them into the forefront before the modern feminist movement and the passage of Title IX. Continue reading

Women’s sports media coverage and the art of cultural grievance

When I wrote an upbeat, even hopeful piece about women’s sports media coverage during the 2015 Women’s World Cup soccer tournament, I braced myself for the reaction that was sure to follow.

a kind of grace, women's sports media

Since I began covering women’s sports in the early 1990s, the media environment has changed dramatically, and for the better.  While coverage of women’s tennis and Olympic figure skating and gymnastics predominates in American sports media, we are in the early stage of contemplating women’s sports as spectator sports, subject to market forces, consumer desires and television ratings. Continue reading

Women’s sports books need global, 21st century perspectives

Of all the women’s sports books I have read—and there have been dozens—the very first book I read about this topic has stood up, a quarter-century since its publication, as the best book about women’s sports I have ever read.

women's sports, allen guttmann, women's sports booksI’m referring to general historical overviews of women’s sports, not sports- or issues-specific books, or memoirs and instructional guides, all of which deserve in-depth posts of their own.

In 1991, as I was beginning to cover women’s sports seriously as a journalist, I read what I consider the best, most historically accurate and ideology-free survey of women’s sports, an ideal starting reference for someone new to the subject. Continue reading

Sports Biblio Digest, 6.19.16: Memories of England 1966

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

Also In This Issue: Sports, Labor and Money; Brooklyn Sports Photography Exhibit; Remembering George Lapides and Stephen Keshi

the boys of 66, england 1966As England took the field (pitch?) for its Euro 2016 opener last week, English native Ian Darke, calling the match for American viewers on ESPN, made the simple reference to “50 years of hurt.”

He didn’t have to say much more than that. It’s been 50 years since England won its only soccer (football?) World Cup, on English soil, and England’s last major international tournament win also came at home, in Euro ‘96. Continue reading

Book review: ‘Players’ traces origins of modern sports business

In his metaphysical romp “The Joy of Sports,” Michael Novak pleaded that the sports pages of newspapers not contain anything about sports business, lest the “Money Changers in the Temple” (an actual title of one of the book’s chapters) sully the spirit and imagination behind the games humans play:

players, matthew futterman, sports business

“It is important to our kind of civilization to keep sports as insulated as we can from business, entertainment, politics and even gossip.”

As Novak wrote this, in the late 1960s, he understood he was fighting an uphill battle, later acknowledging “that there would be no money in sports if people did not love sports, if sports did not draw.” Continue reading

Sports, labor and the legacy of Marvin Miller

Marvin Miller started his job as the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players association in March 1966, just as two of the game’s best pitchers were staging a spring training holdout.

a whole different ball game, sports and labor, marvin millerBy the time Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale reported to the Los Angeles Dodgers for what would be a National League pennant-winning season, Miller was settling into his role as one of the key figures in the revolution of professional team sport athletes, their salaries and labor rights and the attitudes of the men who lorded over them. Continue reading

The plight of the amateur athlete, from the Olympics to the NCAA

As he prepared to defend his 1956 Olympic gold medal in the decathlon, Rafer Johnson had a chance to earn some needed income as an amateur athlete and dip his toes into an activity he enjoyed as a younger man.

rome 1960, david maraniss, amateur athleteA chance meeting with actor Kirk Douglas on a track at UCLA resulted in an invitation for Johnson to read for a part in a Stanley Kubrick-directed film, “Spartacus,” that centered on a slave revolt in ancient Rome.

However, after checking with the Amateur Athletic Union, Johnson was told that in accepting even a minor role in the movie, he would be jeopardizing his status as an amateur athlete. Johnson wasn’t being hired for his acting ability, but because of his fame as an athlete. Continue reading

Sports Biblio Digest, 6.12.16: Remembering Gordie Howe

News, Views and Reviews About Sports Books, History and Culture
Also In This Issue: Ali Laid to Rest; Revisiting the O.J. Simpson Trial

Gordie Howe, 1928-2016

gordie howeHe played in more games (1,767) and competed in more seasons (32) than any other player in the history of professional hockey. Only Wayne Gretzky scored more than his 801 goals in the National Hockey League.

Gordie Howe left an indelible mark on a sport that, for the duration of most of his illustrious NHL career, was a six-team league. Continue reading

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