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My Favorite Sports Books

5 Books | by Chris Dejesus

Ball Four

Ball Four

Books

The beloved baseball classic now available in paperback, with an updated epilogue by Jim Bouton When Ball Four was first published in 1970, it ignited a firestorm of controversy. Bouton was called a Judas, a Benedict Arnold, and a "social leper" for having violated the "sanctity of the clubhouse." Baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn attempted to force Bouton to sign a statement saying that the book wasn't true. Ballplayers, most of whom hadn't read the book, denounced it. The San Diego Padres burned a copy in the clubhouse. It was even banned by a few libraries. Almost everyone else, however, loved Ball Four, and serious critics called it an important document. Fans liked discovering that the athletes they worshiped were real people. Historians understood the value of the book's depth and honesty. Besides changing the public image of athletes, the book played a role in the economic revolution in professional sports. In 1975, Ball Four was accepted as legal evidence against the owners at the arbitration hearing that led to free agency in baseball, and by extension, in other sports. Today Ball Four has taken on another role-as a time capsule of life in the sixties. "It is not just a diary of Bouton's 1969 season with the Seattle Pilots and Houston Astros," says sportswriter Jim Caple. "It's a vibrant, funny, telling history of an era that seems even further away than three decades. To call it simply a 'tell-all book' is like describing The Grapes of Wrath as a book about harvesting peaches in California."

The Boys Of Winter

The Boys Of Winter

Books

The Story of the Greatest Sports Moment of the Twentieth Century Once upon a time, they taught us to believe. They were the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team, a blue-collar bunch led by an unconventional coach, and they engineered what Sports Illustrated called the greatest sports moment of the twentieth century. Their “Miracle on Ice” has become a national fairy tale, but the real Cinderella story is even more remarkable. Wayne Coffey casts a fresh eye on this seminal sports event, giving readers an ice-level view of the amateurs who took on a Russian hockey juggernaut at the height of the Cold War. He details the unusual chemistry of the Americans—formulated by their fiercely determined coach, Herb Brooks—and seamlessly weaves portraits of the boys with the fluid action of the game itself. Coffey also traces the paths of the players and coaches since their stunning victory, examining how the Olympic events affected their lives. Told with warmth and an uncanny eye for detail, The Boys of Winter is an intimate, perceptive portrayal of one Friday night in Lake Placid and the enduring power of the extraordinary. Also available as an eBook

Life on the Run

Life on the Run

Books

This classic memoir about life in the pros by the NBA hall of famer and former US senator was named a top 100 Sports Books by Sports Illustrated.   Before Bill Bradley became known as a US senator and presidential candidate, he was famous for being a part of the world championship–winning New York Knicks. Now, long after his athletic and political careers have come to a close, his account of twenty days in a pro basketball season remains a classic of sports literature, unparalleled in its honesty and intelligence.   Told with incredible candor, Bradley shows life on the road as a pro-athlete for what it is: a sometimes glamourous, often lonely journey. He takes readers from the court to the locker room; from the seamless teamwork of a winning game to the melancholy of a motel in a strange city. Bradley shows us the abuse of the press alongside the smothering adoration of the fans. We watch in horror as Earl Monroe is beaten outside Madison Square Garden barely an hour after twenty thousand people cheered him. And we come to understand the euphoria and exhaustion, the icy concentration and intense pressure, that are felt only by those who play basketball for keeps.   “A remarkable, searching, smart book.” —Newsweek

Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

Books

"This delightfully written, lesson-laden book deserves a place of its own in the Baseball Hall of Fame." —Forbes Moneyball is a quest for the secret of success in baseball. In a narrative full of fabulous characters and brilliant excursions into the unexpected, Michael Lewis follows the low-budget Oakland A's, visionary general manager Billy Beane, and the strange brotherhood of amateur baseball theorists. They are all in search of new baseball knowledge—insights that will give the little guy who is willing to discard old wisdom the edge over big money.

The Game

The Game

Books

Widely acknowledged as the best hockey book ever written and lauded by Sports Illustrated as one of the Top 10 Sports Books of All Time, The Game is a reflective and thought-provoking look at a life in hockey. Intelligent and insightful, former Montreal Canadiens goalie and former President of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Ken Dryden captures the essence of the sport and what it means to all hockey fans. He gives us vivid and affectionate portraits of the characters — Guy Lafleur, Larry Robinson, Guy Lapointe, Serge Savard, and coach Scotty Bowman among them — that made the Canadiens of the 1970s one of the greatest hockey teams in history. But beyond that, Dryden reflects on life on the road, in the spotlight, and on the ice, offering up a rare inside look at the game of hockey and an incredible personal memoir. This commemorative edition marks the 20th anniversary of The Game's original publication. It includes black and white photography from the Hockey Hall of Fame and a new chapter from the author. Take a journey to the heart and soul of the game with this timeless hockey classic.

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