Sports Biblio

A Blog About Sports Books, History And Culture

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Selecting The Best Sportswriting of 2016: Sports Biblio Digest 12.18.16

Rick Telander, the guest editor of a collection of the best sportswriting of 2016, describes how even his own voracious reading habits were stretched by the task of selecting longform pieces for the book.

best sportswriting of 2016, best american sports writing 2016, fall 2016 sports booksIn addition to preferring stories that “get to the essence of the human struggle,” he tells sports media writer Ed Sherman that much of what he chose from “all had the sense of possibility.”

I think that’s a terrific approach to what could have been a predictable process for the latest edition of the  “The Best American Sports Writing” anthology, and Telander’s credentials are impeccable.

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Bud Selig, Steroids and the Baseball Hall of Fame: Sports Biblio Digest, 12.11.16

The announcement this week of retired Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig as a 2017 inductee into the Baseball Hall of Fame didn’t come as a surprise, and it has sparked a renewed discussion about the inclusion of players in the so-called Steroids Era.

the game, jon pessah, bud seligSelig was selected with longtime Atlanta Braves executive John Schuerholz by the newly formed Today’s Era Committee, which votes on non-playing contributors from 1988 to the present.

Selig, the first owner-turned-commissioner, presided when performance-enhancing drug use in baseball was on the rise. His induction, with more than 90 percent of the vote, is prompting several voting members of the Baseball Writers Association of America to reconsider their refusal to vote for players they believe were aided by steroids. Continue reading

An ode to a sports photograph: Sports Biblio Digest, 12.4.16 

The year 2016 figures go down as a memorable one for chroniclers of the art of the sports photograph, and what these images reflect about the cultures and eras they depict.

stroke of genius, gideon haigh, cricket books, notable sports books, sports photographEarlier this summer, Gail Buckland’s “Who Shot Sports” was hailed as the companion catalog to her curated Brooklyn Museum exhibit about some of the luminaries of sports photography, and some of their best work.

At the end of the year, Australian author Gideon Haigh’s new book about a famous photograph of cricket legend Victor Trumper was being celebrated well before its official publication. Continue reading

Sports Biblio’s list of 2016 notable sports books

In the ever-subjective world of books and the reviews that may or may not define them, trying to come up with a year-end listing of books that stand out is a seemingly impossible task. Even using the loosely defined category of 2016 notable sports books, which can mean many things.

the selling of the babe, babe ruth, glenn stout, baseball books, 2016 notable sports booksThe second annual Sports Biblio list of notable sports books does have this parameter: Books published in the calendar year 2016. That’s why you will not see below some of the books that have been garnering acclaim by the brand-name sports book award houses, some of which cover the previous year (William Hill in the U.K., ESPN/PEN in the U.S.)

What does follow is an incredibly subjective and seemingly random list of 15 sports books published around the world during the year 2016 on a variety of subjects, and that generally received some noteworthy critical attention. Continue reading

Fidel Castro and Cuban Sports: Sports Biblio Digest, 11.27.16

Fidel Castro’s impact on Cuban sports was among the topics of discussion in the wake of his death Friday at the age of 90, as retrospectives poured in about “The Last Cold Warrior,” and his legacy on his country and global affairs.

domino diaries, brin-jonathan butler, cuban boxing, cuban sportsInjecting sports into his country’s Communist identity was one of Castro’s initial and enduring actions, affecting far more than his beloved béisbol.

In his 2015 book “The Domino Diaries” (Sports Biblio review here), author Brin-Jonathan Butler wrote:

“Sport wasn’t an opium for those people; their culture was an opium for sport.” Continue reading

A Thanksgiving Holiday Of Sports Books: Sports Biblio Digest, 11.20.16

One of the great joys of doing this blog and newsletter is hearing from authors as well as readers. As another Thanksgiving holiday approaches in the United States, I want to thank all of you for reading, subscribing and getting in touch.

Mark Kram Jr., Great Men Die Twice, Thanksgiving holidayThis is a passion project, and I’m grateful I get to do this every week. Lately I’ve been limited with my Sports Biblio project, as I’ve taken on several freelance assignments. I have a number of blog posts lined up that I will be publishing soon, an assortment of book reviews and book-related topics that are long overdue.

I’ve been very thankful to hear from authors offering to send me copies of their book, and recently I got a couple of very nice surprises. Continue reading

A Few Good Autumn Reads: Sports Biblio Digest, 11.13.16

There’s no over-arching theme to this week’s newsletter, but so many great longform and magazine pieces to share—a few good autumn reads, to repeat the headline. Some are seasonal and topical, fitting the rhythms of the fall that’s finally arrived here in North America; others are not.

I think of this as a dip into serendipity, and if you see anything that you’d like to share here, please let me know. Reader contributions are always welcome! Several books I’ve been reading will be reviewed here soon, and some meatier topics I’ve wanted to explore are also on the horizon.

My friend Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News wrote of his nephew, who’s winding down his final season of Division III—non-scholarship—football at Ferrum College in Michigan:
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The Chicago Cubs and World Series Memories: Sports Biblio Digest, 11.6.16

Even if there hadn’t been such a momentous victory by the Chicago Cubs, the World Series that ended this week may have been the best I’ve ever seen.

a season for the ages, chicago cubsI don’t like saying things like that, in the heat of the moment. Before the Cubs staged their stirring recovery from a 3-1 deficit, thus ending a 108-year curse, comparisons were being made to what I thought had been the best World Series of my lifetime.

The 1991 World Series between the Braves and the Twins didn’t go the way I wanted, and maybe declaring the Cubs-Cleveland Indians saga the best is my way of vanquishing the ghost of Charlie Liebrandt.

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Arnold Palmer’s Exemplary Life: Sports Biblio Digest, 10.30.16

When Arnold Palmer died last month, the finishing touches were being made for what had long been planned to be his final book.

arnold palmer, a life well playedIn “A Life Well Played,” published Tuesday by St. Martin’s Press, Palmer admits he never cared for the nickname “The King,” long bestowed on him by fans, writers and his legions of gallery admirers, “Arnie’s Army.”

In a statement issued by St. Martin’s upon the release of the audiobook version, Palmer said his final book was difficult for several reasons: Continue reading

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