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Best books on sports?

Discussion in 'General Sports' started by Hagios, Oct 25, 2017.

  1. Hagios

    Hagios lurker

    I'm looking for some new Audiobooks so I don't have to listen to Felgar and Max on my commute. Does anyone have any sports books to recommend?

    In the interest of contributing my recommendations are Men at Work by George Will and A Good Walk Spoiled by John Feinstein.
  2. Saints Rest

    Saints Rest Well-Known Member Lifetime Member SoSH Member

    I don’t know if these are available on audiobook, but here are some:
    A False Spring (non-fiction about a “bonus baby” pitcher in the 60’s and his struggles to snake it thru the minors)
    A Season at Dornoch (about a summer spent golfing in north Scotland)
    Faithful (Stephen King and some other guy exchange emails over the course of the 2004 season)
    Ball Four
    A Bronx Zoo (about the 78 Yankees)
    Three Bricks Shy of a Load (about the 70’s Steelers)
    The latter three all do a good job of showing inside the locker room at team dynamics
  3. Buck Showalter

    Buck Showalter Member SoSH Member

    The Junction Boys by Jim Dent
  4. Strike4

    Strike4 Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

    I will second A False Spring (as somebody who reads books but not sports books - it's that good).
  5. loshjott

    loshjott Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

    If you like Feinstein he has a ton of them.

    If Tom Boswell's compilations of columns are available on audio, I'd recommend those, though they are dated: Why Time Begins on Opening Day, How Life Imitates the World Series, and The Heart of the Order. Trigger warning: the essay on the 1978 playoff game will break your heart all over again.
  6. SoxJox

    SoxJox Member SoSH Member

    Don't know if it comes in audio, but When Pride Mattered, by David Maraniss. The story of Vince Lombardi.

    And 2 recommendations for "non-traditional" sports:
    1. Into Thin Air, by Jon Krakauer. Story of the disastrous Mt. Everest expedition in 1996
    2. Seabiscuit, by Laura Hillenbrand. She also authored Unbroken, the story Louie Zamperini during WWII (also a great, great read).
    And, a personal friend of mine, David Kaiser, wrote Epic Season, the story of the 1948 American League pennant race, which ended with Cleveland and Boston tied, and Cleveland advancing to the WS by beating the Red Sox in a single-game tiebreaker.
  7. luckiestman

    luckiestman Son of the Harpy SoSH Member

    A Season on the Mat

    It's about Dan Gable and Iowa wrestling
  8. mwonow

    mwonow Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

    Game Six is available on audiobook. It was a really good read (about the Fisk HR game, but with tons of backstories on both sides). I don't know how the audio sounds, and I find that the quality of the reader is a big deal with these things...
  9. Was (Not Wasdin)

    Was (Not Wasdin) family crest has godzilla SoSH Member

    For Baseball, anything by Roger Angell, but especially The Summer Game (a chapter about the 67 world series) and Five Seasons (a chapter about the 75 world series).
    For Football, I'll second Junction Boys, and add Friday Night Lights.
    For Basketball, Loose Balls, a History of the ABA. Maybe the funniest book I've ever read.
  10. John Marzano Olympic Hero

    John Marzano Olympic Hero has fancy plans, and pants to match Dope

    Subject aside, this might have been one of the worst books I've ever read. Stewart O'Nan (the other guy) kills this book dead. It's awful. Avoid at all costs.

    One hundred percent agree. One of the best books around.

    A Season on the Brink by Feinstein is terrific even if his subject is a raging asshole.
    Ball Four by Jim Bouton is a classic.
    Ted Williams by Leigh Montville is perhaps one of the best non-fiction books I've ever read. It's excellent.
    Henry Aaron by Howard Bryant is great.
    Beyond the Sixth Game by Peter Gammons is well done. It gives you insight into a part of Sox history that isn't explored too often (early 80s)
    Seasons in Hell by Mike Shopshire is funny.
    The Worst Team Money Could Buy is funny too.
    Fall River Dreams by Bill Reynolds is poignant.
  11. Kliq

    Kliq Member SoSH Member

    And if you like Loose Balls; you should read Tall Tales; which is the same book but about the early days of the NBA.

    Simmons' Book of Basketball is great if you really like basketball.
  12. budcrew08

    budcrew08 Member SoSH Member

    A lot of the Jeff Pearlman books are good: He has ones on Walter Payton, the Cowboys and he has ones coming out about Brett Favre and the USFL.
    (P.S. I'm not him)
  13. Buck Showalter

    Buck Showalter Member SoSH Member

    Heck yeah.....The Last Amateurs is really good.

    Let Me Tell You a Story

    A Civil War

    JF is a great writer.
  14. Rudi Fingers

    Rudi Fingers Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

    Beyond the books above -- especially Ball Four by Jim Bouton, I *highly* recommend Joe Posnanski's The Soul of Baseball, about his year traveling the country with Buck O'Neil when he was in his '90s.
  15. Marciano490

    Marciano490 Urological Expert SoSH Member

    A Flame of Pure Fire by Roger Kahn about Jack Dempsey.
  16. Jordu

    Jordu Member SoSH Member

    Off the top of my head, but I don’t know if these are available as audiobooks.

    “The Game,” Ken Dryden (hockey)
    “The Glory of their Times,” Lawrence Ritter (baseball)
    “The Sweet Science,” A.J. Liebling (boxing)

    Best sports novel I know: “A Fan’s Notes,” Frederick Exley (football and drinking)
  17. Doug Beerabelli

    Doug Beerabelli Killer Threads Lifetime Member SoSH Member

    Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown. About the 1936 Olympic men's crew team. Slightly biased as a former rower, but just and excellent book.

    The book about Roberto Clemente by Maraniss.

    David Hamberstam's The Teammates.

    The Kid by Ben Bradlee Jr. Also loved Montville's Ted bio mentioned above.
  18. Doug Beerabelli

    Doug Beerabelli Killer Threads Lifetime Member SoSH Member

    For a fun read for non Duke fans, To Hate Like This is to Be Happy Forever, by Will Blythe

    Heaven is a playground by Rick Telander - about playground hoops in NY (Bed-Stuy) in the 70s.
    #18 Doug Beerabelli, Nov 21, 2017
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2017
  19. Hagios

    Hagios lurker

    I've been thoroughly enjoying the recommendations and thought I'd put up mini-reviews in the hope of piquing someone else's interest. I'll edit this post periodically as I get time to write more reviews.

    The Breaks of the Game

    I don't think this was on this thread but I stumbled upon it after getting Loose Balls. It is nominally the story of the Portland Trailblazers in the 78-79 series but it covers a huge sweep of basketball history. It covers the time when TV money started flooding into basketball and changing the game (salaries in the six figures!), when the NBA became a blacker and more athletic league, the legacy of the ABA and some of it's more interesting players like Marvin Barnes and Julius Erving, as well as the Celtics history and traditions and why Red Auerbach was getting left behind the times until Larry Bird.

    Halberstam is definitely the GOAT and he does an amazing job of putting you in the life story of variety of players like Billy Ray Bates who grew up the son of a sharecropper picking cotton, and Kermit Washington's reclamation after punching Rudy Tomjanavich so hard he fractured his skull. He really drives home the personalities of the players, particularly the black ones, and how they are so different from the roles the media casts them into.

    A False Spring

    The story of a highly-touted baseball pitcher who never made it out of the minor leagues. I was expecting a Crash Davis type - wise and humble after realizing how thin the line between success and failure can be. But instead the book was much more puzzling: how did this a prospect with such great stuff suddenly lose everything? At the same time you get an interesting tour of a different era of class D baseball in tiny towns where the "bonus babys" were moved up even if they weren't the best players.
  20. ConigliarosPotential

    ConigliarosPotential Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member


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