Synopses & Reviews
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.
"'Sports journalism is in the middle of an identity crisis,' writes Leavy (The Last Boy) in the 21st edition of this leading sports anthology. That explains the diverse range of material here, which includes stories about a Canadian hockey school that teaches young players how to fight, the evolution of the Madden NFL video game, as well as reporting about USA Swimming's sex scandal, and a posthumous profile of transgendered Los Angeles Times sports reporter Mike Penner/Christine Daniels. These 29 selections represent the changing face of sports journalism in an era when the Internet instantly delivers scores and highlights, and requires writers to dig deeper for relevant stories. 'Long-form sports stories are flourishing in new soil,' according to Leavy, who has chosen lengthy pieces from the ESPN and Deadspin web sites. Some stories are only peripherally related to sports, such as Sterry Butcher's 'Gentling Cheatgrass' about the art of taming a mustang, Wright Thompson's masterful intertwining of Franklin Lobos's dual life as an aging Chilean soccer star and one of 33 trapped miners in 'Above and Beyond,' and 'Fetch Daddy a Drink,' P.J. O'Rourke's ode to hunting dogs. Despite some duds, sports writing is alive and well. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“This is a great book for a great sports town.”
“Growing up in Chicago, I was privileged to read some of the sports columnists that Ron Rapoport includes in this marvelous collection. Though I moved to New York to write my own sports column, I continued to enjoy the contemporary Chicago sportswriters. Now, we can re-read all of them, plus greats from past years. From Black Sox to Three-Peats is pure pleasure from beginning to end.”
"Some cities can boast of more winners, but no town ever had more good people to write about than Chicago. What writers, what characters, what moments!"
"The emotional richness of the pieces selected by Moehringer and Stout defines this frequently riveting collection." -- Publishers Weekly "Excellent . . . A no-brainer pickup for the sports collection." -- Booklist "An affirmation of the strong state of American sportswriting." -- Kirkus Reviews
Well established as the premier sports anthology, The Best American Sports Writing brings together the finest writing on sports to appear in the past year. Edited by the award-winning Peter Gammons, the pieces in this volume embrace the world of sports in all its drama, humanity, and excitement.
The Best American series has been the premier annual showcase for the country's finest short fiction and nonfiction since 1915. Each volume's series editor selects notable works from hundreds of periodicals. A special guest editor, a leading writer in the field, then chooses the very best twenty or so pieces to publish. This unique system has made the Best American series the most respected--and most popular--of its kind.
The Best American Sports Writing 2005 includes
Michael Lewis Gary Smith Steve Coll Tom Verducci Ira Berkow Bill Plaschke Linda Robertson Michael Bamberger L. Jon Wertheim Thomas McGuane John Brant Pat Jordan David DiBenedetto and others
Mike Lupica, guest editor, has been a columnist for the New York Daily News since 1977 and is the best-selling author of numerous books, including, most recently, Travel Team, a number one New York Times bestseller.
For fans of sports and just plain great writing, this collection of twenty-seven of the finest pieces from the past year features "outstanding sports reporting on a wealth of different topics" (Booklist). Guest editor Michael Lewis, the best-selling author of Moneyball and Coach, has assembled a compelling look at the sports stories and issues that dominated 2005.
Pamela Colloff reports from the politically and sexually charged world of competitive cheerleading in Texas. Paul Solotaroff meets the star of the University of Georgia wrestling team, a nineteen-year-old world-record weightlifter who was born with no arms or legs. Ben Paynter travels the gay rodeo circuit. Pat Jordan profiles the world's greatest poker player, a boyish thirty-year-old whose mom still packs him a brown bag lunch. Jeff Duncan travels to Florida, where a New Orleans high school and its football program are picking up the pieces in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. We also discover Linda Robertson reporting on the supersizing of NFL players. S. L. Price profiles the most famous U.S. Paraolympian. Katy Vine introduces a girl who can dunk -- in eighth grade -- and more.
The pieces in this outstanding volume show the true reach and impact of sports, its importance often extending far beyond the playing field. As Lewis writes in his introduction, "What's reassuring about great sports writing is what's reassuring about great sports performances: facing opposition, and often against the odds, someone, at last, did something right."
In this exciting new collection, William Nack, veteran sportswriter and author of the classic Secretariat, honors the years finest sports journalism and thus upholds the tradition that began seventeen years ago, with David Halberstam at the helm. In these pages, you will find the most provocative, compelling, tragic, and triumphant moments in sports from 2007, captured by the knights of the keyboard who make sports come alive for us day after day, week after week, year after year.
Here youll find Paul Solotaroffs excellent and uncompromising take on the neglect that a growing number of crippled NFL players continually face from the NFL players union. Jeanne Marie Laskass G-L-O-R-Y!” offers a rousing inside look at the pregame rituals of the Cincinnati Bengals cheerleaders. A riveting online diary by Wright Thompson reveals a bleak and merciless landscape in China, which that countrys government would rather not have the world see during preparations for the Olympics.
Nack finds a place for the fascinating offbeat story as well as the sensational. Alongside Eli Saslows captivating article about an obscure seventeenth-century sport, similar to a giant rugby scrum, carried out in the streets of Kirkwall, Scotland, stands Franz Lidzs scoop of the year,” a controversial and rare look into the life of George Steinbrenner, baseballs largest but recently most enigmatic figure.
This years collection marks another wonderful addition to one of the most consistently satisfying titles in the Best American series” (Booklist).
Contributors include Scott Price, Rick Bragg, Gary Smith, J.R. Moehringer, and others.
Well established as the premier sports anthology, The Best American Sports Writing brings together the year's finest writing on sports. Chosen from more than 350 national, regional and specialty publications, the twenty five pieces here embrace the world of sports in all its drama, humanity, and excitement.
A collection of the year's best sportswriting
The Best American Series®
First, Best, and Best-Selling
The Best American series is the premier annual showcase for the countrys finest short fiction and nonfiction. Each volumes series editor selects notable works from hundreds of magazines, journals, and websites. A special guest editor, a leading writer in the field, then chooses the best twenty or so pieces to publish. This unique system has made the Best American series the most respected—and most popular—of its kind.
The Best American Sports Writing 2011 includes
Paul Solotaroff, Sally Jenkins, Wells Tower, John McPhee, David Dobbs, Wright Thompson, P. J. ORourke, Selena Roberts, and others
The Best American Series(R)
First, Best, and Best-Selling
The Best American series is the premier annual showcase for the country's finest short fiction and nonfiction. Each volume's series editor selects notable works from hundreds of magazines, journals, and websites. A special guest editor, a leading writer in the field, then chooses the best twenty or so pieces to publish. This unique system has made the Best American series the most respected--and most popular--of its kind.
The Best American Sports Writing 2011 includes
Paul Solotaroff, Sally Jenkins, Wells Tower, John McPhee, David Dobbs, Wright Thompson, P. J. O'Rourke, Selena Roberts, and others
Peter Gammons selects the year's best in sports writing.
For fans of sports and just plain great writing, this absorbing collection, featuring twenty-eight of the finest pieces from the past year, has something for everyone. Guest editor David Maraniss, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author, has assembled a fresh crop of the people and stories that dominated the sports world in 2006.
Michael Lewis gives a behind-the-scenes look at the legendary football coach Bill Parcells. Bob Hohler delves in the murky waters of modern amateur basketball, where teams blatantly dole out cash to players and shoe companies set their sights on prospects as young as twelve. William Rhoden traces the fate of an unknown filly injured on the racetrack. Jeff MacGregor describes the unforgettable Friars Club roast of boxing's provocative promoter Don King. Daniel Coyle follows a forty-year-old Slovene soldier who might be the worlds best ultra-endurance athlete. L. Jon Wertheim tells of a young pro-basketball player who found himself wrestling the shoe bomber Richard Reid to the ground during a transatlantic flight. And Derek Zumsteg provides a hilarious and utterly original in-depth account of the baseball career of Bugs Bunny, the greatest banned player ever.”
These pieces and many more go beyond the spotlight, revealing the people and issues that make sports so relevant and important to all of us.
THE BEST AMERICAN SPORTS WRITING brings together the finest writing on sports to appear in the past year.
The Best American Sports Writing gathers the very best from sports journalists from the past year.
J. R. Moehringer, a Pulitzer Prize-winning feature writer and the author of The Tender Bar, has selected the best in sports writing from the past year. Chosen from more than 350 national, regional, and specialty publications and, increasingly, the top sports blogs, this collection showcases those journalists who are at the top of their game.
About the Author
PETER GAMMONS is currently an analyst and writer for the MLB network and makes regular appearances on MLB Tonight. Gammons began his career at the Boston Globe and also worked for Sports Illustrated. He was a long-time analyst for ESPN and regularly contributed to Baseball Tonight, SportsCenter, and ESPN, the Magazine. He was voted National Sportswriter of the Year for 1989, 1990, and 1993, and in 2004, he was awarded the J. G. Taylor Spink Award at the Baseball Hall of Fame for outstanding baseball writing.
GLENN STOUT is the author of Young Woman and the Sea and Fenway 1912.
Table of Contents
A Hot Tip from the UmpireBy Ring Lardner
A Polecat in the Hotel: Major Leaguers Fail to Drop Color BarBy Frank A. Young
The Game of the CenturyBy Arch Ward
George Halas: “I Always Liked the Tough Ones”By Jack Griffin
Ray Meyer: The Name of the Game Is LoyaltyBy David Condon
Bill Veeck: A Man for All SeasonsBy Jerome Holtzman
Double Duty Radcliffe: The One and OnlyBy Dave HoekstraLegends and Heroes
It’s a Beautiful Day for Mr. CubBy David Condon
Walter Payton: Records Are Like DreamsBy Bernie Lincicome
The Compelling Absence of Bobby HullBy David Israel
A Whale of a Tale about Tony ZaleBy John Schulian
Gale Sayers: Curtain Call for a LegendBy Ray Sons
Nellie Fox: The Mighty Mite Battles OnBy David Condon
Da Ex-Coach Hasn’t Mellowed One BitBy Rick Telander
Summer Love: Harry Caray, a Radio, and BaseballBy Skip Bayless
Back to the Bush Leagues with Minnie MinosoBy Tom Fitzpatrick
Ryne Sandberg: Every Day Was a BattleBy Barry Rozner
Just One Word for Terror: ButkusBy Don Pierson
Andy Pafko and the Cubs: How Do You Explain a Love Affair?By Steve Daley
What’s Up with Phil CavarrettaBy Joe Goddard
For Chico Carrasquel, White Sox Are Always ThereBy Mike Downey
Ron Santo: “I’m Way Ahead of the Game”By Paul Ladewski
Leo Durocher: The Spit Take and the BowBy Ron RapoportOnly in Chicago
What Is Wrong with the White Sox? Kid Gleason AsksBy James Crusinberry
The Called Shot Heard Round the WorldBy Westbrook Pegler
Ten Years after Woodstock, There Was VeeckstockBy David Israel
Lee Elia Swings for the Seats, Hits FansBy Robert Markus
William Perry: Fat Is Where It’s AtBy Mike Imrem
The Bottom Line: Acupuncture Puts Jim McMahon’s Troubles behind HimBy Bob Verdi
Steve Bartman: In the Middle of the MaelstromBy John KassMagic Moments
Sox Join Cubs, Pennant Is Won: Thousands of Baseball Fans Frantic with Joy over Victories Which Bring Both Flags to ChicagoBy Hugh S. Fullerton
Cubs Supreme in Baseball World:Final Victory over Detroit gives Chicago Club Greatest Record in the History of the GameBy I. E. Sanborn
White Sox Beat Giants: Crepe Dims Happy Lights of Broadway—Chorus Girls Weep, Waiters Sulk, and Joy Is GoneBy James Crusinberry
Tan Tornado Tears Loose with a Right: Joe Louis Writes His Name in Book of Champions at Sox ParkBy Dan Burley
The Homer in the Gloamin’: “Lord God Almighty”By John P. Carmichael
Bears Shock Redskins, and Everybody Else, 73–0By Warren Brown
A Tale of Three Bears—and the NFL TitleBy John P. Carmichael
No Contest: Bears the Best, Win Super Bowl XXBy Don Pierson
White Sox Seize the Day, Own the CityBy Jay Mariotti
From Glad to Verse: for Sox Fans, There’s No Rhyme or Reason behind 2005 SeasonBy Mike Downey
Wildcats Pinch Themselves—All the Way to PasadenaBy Gene Wojciechowski
Say Cheesesteak: Blackhawks Win Stanley CupBy David HaughAny Team Can have a Bad Century
1918: The Curse of the Bambino, Chicago Style—Ruth Triumphs over Vaughn, 1–0, in First Game of World SeriesBy Charles Dryden
1945: The Great, the Good, and the AwfulBy Warren Brown
Brock for Broglio: Joined at the HipBy Jerome Holtzman
Madness in Wrigley Field; Enjoy It While It LastsBy Brent Musburger
1969: Trial by Torture, One Day at a TimeBy Rick Talley
45 Runs Later, Cubs Come Up One ShortBy Dave Nightingale
1984: “This One Will Hurt for a Long, Long Time”By Bob Verdi
A Very Solid BookBy Mike Royko
1989: The Boys of Zimmer Leave Their Hearts in San FranciscoBy Philip Hersh
2003: One More Desolate Night at Wrigley FieldBy Rick MorrisseyMichael
“The Shot” Is Too Good Not to Be TrueBy Terry Boers
When Jordan Cried behind Closed DoorsBy Bob Greene
Champions: Bulls Stampede to First TitleBy Sam Smith
Baseball, Birmingham, and Dreams of His FatherBy Melissa Isaacson
Jordan Applies a Perfect Touch to One Last MasterpieceBy Jay Mariotti
So Long, Michael: It’s Been GreatBy Bernie LincicomeNeighborhoods
K TownBy John Schulian
Roof BumsBy Ron Rapoport
The Sun Sets on Cubs’ IllusionsBy Bernie Lincicome
North versus South—the Twain Shall Finally MeetBy Dave Hoekstra
A Space Invasion in WrigleyvilleBy Carol Slezak
Sox Fan Enters Lineup at Comiskey ParkBy Mark Brown
“If They Don’t Have a Truce by Tuesday, Derrick Rose Day Will Never Happen”By Rick TelanderSidekicks and Amateurs, Forgotten Men and Lost Teams, Hustlers and Clowns
Scottie Pippen Thrived in Jordan’s ShadowBy Sam Smith
Eric Nesterenko and the Examined LifeBy Bob Greene
Lou Novikoff: “I Am Dead and Only Waiting to Be Buried”By Tom Fitzpatrick
Doug Plank Leaves a Lasting ImpressionBy David Israel
Blood, Sweat, Tears, and Worse at the Finish LineBy Carol Slezak
Darren Pang Measures Up as a GoalieBy Terry Boers
Doug Atkins: A Study in Pride and PainBy Rick Telander
The Chicago Football Cardinals: Fabric of a ChampionBy Bill Gleason
The Wimp at WorkBy Bob Greene
There Were Lots of Clowns, but Only One AndyBy Richard Roeperthe real world
Slaying of Israelis Recalls Nightmare at DachauBy Robert Markus
For Troops, Sports Provide a Strong Link to HomeBy Mike Imrem
They Teach You a Special LessonBy Bob Verdi
An Earthquake That Brings Out the Best in So ManyBy Ray Sons
Remembering SarajevoBy Philip Hersh
Oklahoma City: “Part of My Hometown Died”By Skip Bayless
Remembering Ben Wilson: “We Must Rise Up and Seize Control”By Taylor Bell
From the Depths of Darkness, Theo Fleury and Sheldon Kennedy Find LightBy Barry Rozner
When Silence Is the Only AnswerBy Rick MorrisseyBattles Won and Lost
Look Who’s Beating the Cubs NowBy Al Monroe
“We Are Tired of Staying in Flop Houses”By Wendell Smith
Taking a Stand and Paying the PriceBy Wendell Smith
When Jackie Robinson Came to Wrigley FieldBy Mike Royko
High Time for Bud Selig to Pardon Buck WeaverBy Mike Downey
Crystals on Top of an IcebergBy Jeannie Morris
From Too Tall to Scaling the HeightsBy Melissa IsaacsonFrom the Heart
“God Is My Primary-Care Physician”By Lacy J. Banks
I Cannot Escape the Compulsion to Be Thin—Even though I Know It Could Kill MeBy Diane Simpson
Fishing with Mother: Strangled Chicken for DinnerBy Jack Griffin
I Was a Bears Baby, TooBy Greg Couch
Remembering the Land of EnchantmentBy John Kuenster
Wishing for Dreams That Can’t Come TrueBy Skip Bayless
That Stinging Sensation: This One’s for You, DadBy Phil Arvia
A Short Walk Down a Long CorridorBy Carol Slezak
Summer’s End Recalls Memory of a Faded DreamBy John Schulian
ContributorsAcknowledgmentsAbout the Editor