The sports journalism career of Dan Jenkins is one of the most storied in the profession, and extends into sports fiction.
Famous for his pro football novel “Semi-Tough,” later a film starring Burt Reynolds, Jenkins also is the chronicler of more than six decades of golf writing.
In this episode of the Sports Biblio Podcast, I discuss Jenkins’ golf writing through his 1994 collection, “Fairways and Greens,” one of his many books about a sport that he skewers and reveres in equal fashion. Continue reading
I began writing about and deeply following soccer in the early 1990s, before the Internet and the abundance of televised games in the U.S. that younger fans have grown up with. Soccer books, especially those with an international perspective, were critical to my education in the sport.
Since then, I’ve read and collected several dozen soccer books, and in more recent years they’re by American authors and some are specifically about American soccer. Soccer’s growing reception as a spectator sport in this country, with more respectful coverage from the baseball- and American football-obsessed U.S. press corps, seemed far-fetched when I began my journey. Continue reading
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.
The 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.
Included on just about every baseball lover’s list of finest baseball books, “The Glory of Their Times” endures as a testament to the best traditions of oral history and storytelling regardless of topic.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of Lawrence Ritter’s acclaimed book, which is a collection of 26 interviews he conducted with players who played in the early- to mid-20th century.
They range from Sam Crawford to Stan Coveleski to Babe Herman to Hank Greenberg. Some are in the Baseball Hall of Fame, most of them are not. Continue reading
A friend of Paul Hemphill’s once noted that his books about country music, truck driving and stock-car racing in the South made up his “Bubba Trilogy.”
It was a description Hemphill took to heart, as he left sportswriting, first at newspapers, then later for magazines and in books, but always returned.
“Maybe I can’t help myself, I don’t know,” Hemphill wrote in the prologue to his 2003 sports story collection, “Lost in the Lights” Sports, Dreams and Life.”
“Once a sportswriter, always a sportswriter.” Continue reading
Sports memoir is a book genre drowning far too often with the trite musings of celebrity athletes, coaches and other figures who don’t have much more to say than what we already know about them.
There are some masterpieces, however, that need to be savored not only for being quite different, but also for shedding significant insight on what makes these individuals tick, and what their sport is all about.
Ken Dryden’s autobiography “The Game,” published in 1983 and reissued in 2013, is at, or near, the top of the sports memoir list for reasons going beyond even the best of these books.
What I learned reading “The Game” were insights into how deeply hockey seeps into the sporting soul and culture of Canada, perhaps more so than baseball ever did for Americans. Continue reading
College basketball books published since the mid-1980s have explored a broader scope of the history, scandals, memorable games, teams and personalities of the sport than ever before.
The publication of John Feinstein’s “A Season on the Brink” in 1986 came as college basketball was entering its “March Madness” stage, named for the month the NCAA tournament is staged, and which was rendering a rash of shocking upsets.
On the latest Sports Biblio Podcast, I discussed this issue and the influence Feinstein’s book had on a new generation of college basketball writers who’ve produced some substantive, entertaining books. Continue reading
After several delays, I’m very proud to launch the Sports Biblio Podcast!
The inaugural episode is an introduction to the site, newsletter and the idea for what I’m doing here, as explained in my about page.
For those of you who have been reading, this will cover some familiar material; for those of you who are new to Sports Biblio, welcome!
A new podcast will be posted on the 2nd and 4th Friday of each month; new sports book reviews are still posted on the 1st and 3rd Friday. Continue reading
Sit back and have a listen.
When I want to feed my imagination, I tell myself to do this just as much reading printed matter, or words on a screen.
The human eye can ingest only so much type before the brain disconnects. Those who can’t live without reading and the power of narrative also understand that what is filtered through the human ear can feed those cravings.
Which is why in recent years I’ve tried to become as good of a listener as I think I am a reader.
Thankfully this is the dawn of the podcasting age, and devotees of audio narrative have never lived in better times. Continue reading