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February 15, 2016 BOOKLIST
Find more Top 10 Sports Books
History dominates our top 10 sports books this year, from examinations of special moments (walk-off home runs, perfect games) to re-creations of long-distant events and lives. The top 10 were selected from titles reviewed over the past 12 months.
The Best Game Ever: October 13, 1960: Pirates 10, Yankees 9. By Jim Reisler. 2007. Carroll & Graf, $25.99 (0-7867-1943-5).
Bill Mazeroski’s walk-off homer in the seventh game of the 1960 World Series remains an iconic moment in baseball history, and Reisler’s account of the game and the backstory does it proud.
The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game. By Michael Lewis. 2006. Norton, $24.95 (0-393-06123-X).
The celebrated author of Moneyball (2003) turns from baseball to football, first explaining why left tackles have become crucial to success in the NFL and then profiling a young man who early on displayed the ability to excel at this position.
Can I Keep My Jersey? By Paul Shirley. 2007. Villard, $23.95 (0-345-49136-X).
Shirley, a journeyman professional basketball player, delivers a compelling travelogue chronicling his gypsylike career playing the game for pay across five continents.
Crazy ‘08. By Cait Murphy. 2007. Smithsonian, $24.95 (9780060889371).
This fascinating history of the 1908 baseball season has something for every fan. Murphy describes on-field action with verve, but he also displays shrewd intelligence when scanning the cultural forces remaking the game beyond the ballpark.
The Echoing Green: The Untold Story of Bobby Thomson, Ralph Branca, and the Shot Heard round the World. by Joshua Prager. 2006. Pantheon, $26.95 (0-375-42154-8).
Prager brings to the boil a scandal that has been simmering for decades: Was the greatest comeback in baseball history, which saw the New York Giants beating the Brooklyn Dodgers for the 1951 National League pennant, tainted by foul play?
Four Days to Glory: Wrestling with the Soul of the American Heartland. By Mark Kreidler. 2007. HarperCollins, $24.95 (0-06-082318-6).
Why is high-school wrestling revered in Iowa? Kreidler answers that question in this gripping account of one year in the lives of two stars of the sport.
Perfect, Once Removed: When Baseball Was All the World to Me. By Phillip Hoose. 2006. 176p. Walker, $19.95 (0-8027-1537-0).
Another iconic moment in baseball history—Don Larsen’s perfect game in the 1956 World Series—is fleshed out in this affecting memoir by the pitcher’s cousin, who parallels Larsen’s triumph with his own story of Little League coming-of-age.
Pistol: The Life of Pete Maravich. By Mark Kriegel. 2007. Free Press, $26 (9780743284974).
Kriegel turns the alternately exhilarating and melancholy story of Pistol Pete Maravich, perhaps the most spectacular shooter and passer of a basketball in history, into a universal account of fathers, sons, and the perils of excellence.
The Soul of Baseball: A Road Trip through Buck O’Neil’s America. By Joe Posnanski. 2007. Morrow, $24.95 (0-06-085403-0).
A year before he died, Buck O’Neil accompanied writer Posnanski on a road trip during which the baseball Hall of Fame member recounted his life in the Negro Leagues. A treasure trove of history and a moving outpouring of joie de vivre.
Tommy’s Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golf’s Founding Father and Son. By Kevin Cook. 2007. Gotham, $27.50 (9781592402977).
In Cook’s telling, the story of Tom Morris, winner of golf’s first Open Championship in 1860, and his son, Tommy, who won the Open three years in a row, becomes a compelling saga of near-Homeric proportions.
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