My Top 50 all-time sports books, five questions with Jonathan Eig, an embarrassing story from my career, a college scribe worth watching and random thoughts on this week's journalism scene ...
Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch would be toward the top of my list. Even though he was talking about arsenal, I’d never read a better description of sports fandom. North American centric list, but added a few to my list.
Just a few, The Miracle of Castel di Sangro by Joe McGinnis, Tiger Woods by Benedict and Keteyian, Vision Quest by Terry Davis, The Universal Baseball Association by Coover, The Game That Was by Cope, A Voyage for Madmen by Nichols, Finding the Winning Edge by Walsh, America’s Game by MacCambridge, Armchair Quarterback by Thorn, American Mirror and Once They Heard the Cheers by W.C Heinz, The Damned United by Peace
Agassi book is great and I’m not even a tennis fan
Welcome to this crazy world of Substacking Jeff. Glad you;re here and I enjoyed this. wild to me how few of the books I've read. Heaven Is a Playground was massively important to me and getting Rick to read and blurb my first book meant a ton.
A couple I enjoyed: A Well Paid Slave - by Brad Snyder, about Curt Flood's fight for free agency. And also, One Day In September by Simon Reeve - on the 1972 Olympics
What about The Game by Ken Dryden? One of the best books on hockey by one of the game’s most astute observers.
Bouton's "Ball Four" was not an original; Jim Brosnan's "The Long Season" was.
A great list. Thank you. One addition I’d suggest: Let Me Tell You a Story by John Feinstein on Red Auerbach. I’m re-reading it after watching episode 2 of Winning Time. ( Also re-reading Showtime…).
Willie’s Time by Charles Einstein
A Day in the Bleachers by Arnold Hano
I’d include Boys in the Boat, which has the added layer if lots of interesting history, and Jonathan Eig’s Jackie Robinson book, Opening Day. And I second the earlier nomination of Fever Pitch.
I also thought The Wax Pack was an amazing idea and was kicking myself to have not thought of it first. Great list, though I'm surprised how my library doesn't have quite a few of these (and I live in Indianapolis, which has a pretty good-sized public library system).
Agree with Tim Burch, if you have ANY interest in the nature of fandom, Fever Pitch is a must, whether you like soccer or not. In my top 5 sports books for sure, and maybe #1.
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Quite an impressive list, no “The Glory of Their Times”?!
I have to second The Game, by Ken Dryden...even if you're not a hockey fan.