As you stuff the stockings or look for some last Hanukkah gifts, here are some suggested readings I enjoyed this year. It seems like there were less books for some reason, but more than enough good ones to pick up and enjoy, especially ones from great storytellers like Frank Deford and Mark Kriegel. These are also ones I read…if I missed a few its because well…I didn’t read em.
A Drive Into The Gap by Kevin Guilfoyle It is a literally a pocket book filled with a great story—the author follows the life of his father, longtime publicist for the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Baseball Hall of Fame, from his brushes with greatness to his descent into Alzheimer’s Disease. Along the way he also discovers the true story of where the bat that gave Roberto Clemente his 3,000th and final hit ended up residing. Quick and fun.
Bernie Parent Unmasked by Bernie Parent: In a fall without the NHL there were a slew of books. As a one-time goaltender it was fun to read the stories of one of the games greatest, through his eyes and his voice. A nice look at a time when the Flyers were king and Perent ruled the game
The Best American Sportswriting 2012. No better anthology every year, meticulously concocted from hundreds of entries by Glenn Stoudt, this year edited by Michael Wilbon. An annual must have for any lover of good non-fiction combined with sports.
Coaching Confidential by Gary Myers One of the NFL’s greatest scribes brings fans inside the minds and the locker rooms of some of the NFL’s best, from Bill Belichick and Tony Dungy to Bill Parcells and Joe Gibbs, to give fans of sport as well as lovers of leadership a very special treat. The book appeals to as wide an audience as any written in 2012.
Dream Team. By Jack McCallum. Veteran Sports Illustrated writer McCallum takes us back to the original dream team and remembers what they did, how they did it, and why we loved it. Best hoops book of the year.
Over Time. By Frank Deford. Frank Deford has reported on sports for 50 years, and in this memoir of a life on the beat, he tells the tales of the players and the characters that he came to enjoy over a lifetime.
Pinstripe Empire by Marty Appel Few people have chronicled the Yankees on and off the field or been involved with the organization and its players from many sides more than longtime Yankees historian Marty Appel. His latest work takes us in places we never knew about and is a great read for fans of any sport, especially those who love the team in The Bronx.
The Good Son by Mark Kriegel. One of America’s greatest sports storytellers, Kriegel has brought us Joe Namath and now re-tells the story of one of boxing’s greatest living legends, Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini
Wherever I Wind Up by Wayne Coffey and RA Dickey No one could have predicted the magical rum of RA Dickey this year, but even without a Cy Young and a 20 win season, Wayne Coffey’s work in telling the story of one of baseball’s great people, on and off the field, made the book a winner
Yankee Miracles by Ray Negron Ray Negron is a born storyteller who has spent his life in and around Yankee Stadium. From when he was first grabbed by George Steinbrenner for spray painting the walls outside the Stadium to his role today as a trusted advisor, “Yankee Miracles” is a fun read for fans of baseball from a guy who has been there.
There you have a list, not that I love doing lists. All worthwhile…enjoy.