Bears, Bulls, Cubs, Sox, Blackhawks—there’s no city like Chicago when it comes to sports. Generation after generation, Chicagoans pass down their almost religious allegiances to teams, stadiums, and players and their never-say-die attitude, along with the stories of the city’s best (and worst) sports moments. And every one of those moments—every come-from-behind victory or crushing defeat—has been chronicled by Chicago’s unparalleled sportswriters.
In From Black Sox to Three-Peats, veteran Chicago sports columnist Ron Rapoportassembles one hundred of the best columns and articles from the Tribune, Sun-Times, Daily News, Defender, and other papers to tell the unforgettable story of a century of Chicago sports. From Ring Lardner to Rick Telander, Westbrook Pegler to Bob Verdi, Mike Royko to Hugh Fullerton , Melissa Isaacson to Brent Musburger, and on and on, this collection reminds us that Chicago sports fans have enjoyed a wealth of talent not just on the field, but in the press box as well. Through their stories we relive the betrayal of the Black Sox, the cocksure power of the ’85 Bears, the assassin’s efficiency of Jordan’s Bulls, the Blackhawks’ stunning reclamation of the Stanley Cup, the Cubs’ century of futility—all as seen in the moment, described and interpreted on the spot by some of the most talented columnists ever to grace a sports page.
Sports are the most ephemeral of news events: once you know the outcome, the drama is gone. But every once in a while, there are those games, those teams, those players that make it into something more—and great writers can transform those fleeting moments into lasting stories that become part of the very identity of a city. From Black Sox to Three-Peats is Chicago history at its most exciting and celebratory. No sports fan should be without it.
Rice was a leading sportswriter of the so-called "Golden Age of Sports." Now, 40 years after Rice's death in 1954, Inabinett pays tribute to Rice's prose and poetry, which transformed the decade's leading athletes into popular heroes. After summarizing his fellow Southerner's career, Inabinett profiles six men who became idols during Rice's tenure: Babe Ruth, Red Grange, Knute Rockne, Jack Dempsey, Bobby Jones, and Bill Tilden. Rice's own story is told in The Tumult and the Shouting (1954). This slim, nostalgic effort may appeal to libraries buying sports history.
Morey Berger, St. Joseph's Hosp. Lib., Tucson
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The best work of one of Alabama's longest-serving and most beloved sports journalists.
Although he spent 43 years at the same job, Alf Van Hoose was not a man limited by the boundaries of his profession. As Birmingham News sports editor for 21 years and a columnist for a decade before that, Van Hoose helped define a city, a state, and a region largely known for sports. He was the writer of record for some of the biggest sporting events and personalities in the state of Alabama in the last half of the 20th Century. Wayne Hester, Van Hoose's successor as sports editor of The News, in 1990, said, "To many sports fans over the years, Alf Van Hoose has been The Birmingham News." But he was also much more than the "sports guy," as older generations of Alabama sports fans who read this book will remember and younger ones will learn. He was a man for all seasons, not just those where balls get kicked, hit, or thrown around.
A native of Cuba, Alabama, and a veteran of the Third Army campaigns in WWII (where he won both the Bronze and Silver Stars), Van Hoose became a sportswriter on The News in 1947. He remained in that role until retirement in 1990, with only short breaks to serve as a Vietnam war correspondent, and to reflect on the lessons learned while serving with George Patton. Van Hoose died in 1997 at the age of 76.
This volume contains 90 of Van Hoose's best columns, selected not only to showcase his characteristic style, but also because of the enduring importance and interest of the topics--football and baseball, of course, but also golf, high school heroics, auto racing, and Van Hoose's special favorites: Rickwood Field and its various tenants, especially the Birmingham Black Barons.
Published with the College of Communication and Information Science, The University of Alabama.
Allen Iverson loved Philadelphia Daily News basketball beat reporter Phil Jasner, calling him “the best” in the world of sports journalism. From 1981 until his death in 2010, Jasner was always “on the case,” going to great lengths to track athletes down for a quote or a story. He was most known for covering the team’s famous players, including World B. Free and Bobby Jones, Julius Erving and Moses Malone, Charles Barkley, and, of course, Iverson. His tremendous output was beloved by players and fans alike, earning him many honors, including inductions into six Halls of Fame.
Phil Jasner “On the Case” collects the best of Jasner’s writing throughout his illustrious career. Jasner wrote about baseball, the Eagles, and the Philadelphia Atoms’ soccer with the same insight and aplomb he showed in his coverage of The Big 5, the 76ers’ championship season in 1983, and the Dream Team. Lovingly assembled—each chapter is introduced by some of the most prominent figures Jasner covered, from Vince Papale, Doug Collins, and Billy Cunningham to Iverson and Barkley—this collection recounts a distinguished sportswriter’s remarkable career.
In Players, Teams, and Stadium Ghosts, sportswriter Bob Hunter has assembled a Hall of Fame collection of his best writing from the Columbus Dispatch. Fans will encounter some of the biggest names in sports and relive great moments from games played by amateurs and pros. They’ll encounter forgotten players and teams that struggled.
Hunter shows us LeBron James when he was a 15-year-old high school freshman, already capturing the world’s attention; 20-year-old Derek Jeter’s meteoric rise through the minors, including the Columbus Clippers; a strange encounter with Pete Rose hustling frozen pizzas; and the excitement of watching future WNBA star Katie Smith dominate a Columbus Quest championship game. The common thread is the personal touch that Hunter consistently uses to take readers beyond the final scores and the dazzle of lights. These are the people behind the athletes. They’re remembered for how they played, but Hunter reminds us who they were.
"If this isn't the best analysis of the professional sports business
ever written, I'd like to see the book that beats it. . . . Should be
read by every sports fan or -- for that matter -- social critic."
--From a five-star review, West Coast Review of Books.
"Explores its subject so thoroughly and demolishes so many commonly
held assumptions that after reading it even the most knowledgeable fans
(and some journalists) should feel like drunks who have suddenly been
forced to sober up."
-- Chicago Tribune
"Required reading for anyone who calls himself a fan."
-- Chicago Sun-Times
"An invaluable contribution to sports literature."
-- Howard Cosell
In 1959, Gerald Eskenazi dropped out of City College, not for the first time, and made his way to the New York Times. That day the paper had two openings—one in news and one in sports. Eskenazi was offered either for thirty-eight dollars a week. He chose sports based on his image of the sports department as a cozier place than the news department. Forty-one years and more than eighty-four hundred stories later, New Yorkers know he made the right decision.
When Eskenazi started reporting, sports journalism had a different look than it does today. There was a camaraderie between the reporters and the players due in part to the reporters’ deference to these famous figures. Unlike today, journalists stayed out of the locker rooms, and didn’t ask questions about the players’ home lives or their feelings about matters other than the sports that they played. In A Sportswriter’s Life, Eskenazi details how much sports and America have changed since then. His anecdotes regarding famous and infamous sports figures from baseball great Joe DiMaggio to boxer Mike Tyson illustrate the transformation that American culture and journalism have undergone in the past fifty years.
Eskenazi gives a behind-the-scenes look into the journalistic techniques that go into crafting a story, as well as the pitfalls reporters fall into. There are cautionary tales of journalistic excess, as well as moments of triumph such as the time Eskenazi got Joe Namath to open up to him by admitting he was a sportswriter who knew nothing about football. Along the way, Eskenazi discusses interviewing other reluctant subjects and writing under the intense pressure of a deadline.
A Sportswriter’s Life is a revealing look at the people and events that were part of the history of sports from a perspective usually unavailable to the public. Eskenazi’s inside stories of sports are not always flattering, but they are always amusing, touching, and revealing. This entertaining volume will be enjoyed by anyone with an interest in reporting, sports, or just a good story.
The late Philadelphia Daily News sportswriter Stan Hochman was known for his many zingers, such as “Harry Litwack, the stoic Temple coach, stalks the sidelines like a blind man at a nudist colony.” As a reporter, he was more interested in how athletes felt, what their values were, how they lived their lives, or what made them tick than he was about how many runs they scored or punches they landed.
In Stan Hochman Unfiltered, his wife Gloria collects nearly 100 of his best columns from the Daily News about baseball, horse racing, boxing, football, hockey, and basketball (both college and pro), as well as food, films, and even Liz Taylor. Each section is introduced by a friend or colleague, including Garry Maddox, Bernie Parent, Larry Merchant, and Ray Didinger, among others.
Hochman penned a candid, cantankerous column about whether Pete Rose belongs in the Baseball Hall of Fame; wrote a graphic account of the Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier fight of the century; and skewered Norman “Bottom Line” Braman, the one-time owner of the Eagles. He also wrote human-interest stories, including features about the importance of kids with special needs playing sports.
In addition to being a beloved writer, Hochman was also known for his stint on WIP’s radio as the Grand Imperial Poobah, where he would settle callers’ most pressing debates. Hochman long earned the respect and admiration of his subjects, peers, and readers throughout his career, and Stan Hochman Unfiltered is a testament to his enduring legacy.
For 31 years, Clyde Bolton wrote four sports columns per week for the BirminghamNews. By his estimation, this makes him the most widely read Alabamian in history. He may be right.
In Stop the Presses (So I Can Get Off) he takes the reader along on a joyride through more than three decades of Alabama sports. Unsurprisingly, tales of Bear Bryant and Shug Jordan, Roll Tide and War Eagle, dominate, but at one point or another, Clyde covered just about every type of sporting event in the state. Personalities and events from the realms of high school sports, minor league baseball, college basketball, and Nextel Cup Racing are just some of the many facets of his personal and professional life that he shares in this, his 17th book.
In relating the outlines of his life, Bolton pays homage to his mentors, including famed sports editor Benny Marshall, and shares some insights he’s gained after a lifetime in the newspaper game. But throughout the book, he never forgets that any good journalist—any good writer—is in the business of telling stories. And oh, what stories!
Bolton writes of meeting Michael Jordan during the basketball star’s year with the Birmingham Barons; of having dinner with Muhammad Ali at the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity house at Auburn University; of walking incognito down sunny Birmingham sidewalks with Hall-of-Famer Johnny Unitas. He explains why Bear Bryant, in his opinion, is the greatest football coach ever, tells of interviewing Joe Namath in the men’s bathroom, and reveals why his grandmother watched professional wrestling on her hands and knees on the floor in front of the television.
Stop the Presses (So I Can Get Off) is a joyous romp through the SEC, the Nextel Cup Circuit, and, in the end, life itself.