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Thread: For all you sports nuts

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    For all you sports nuts

    Do you read sports novels? If so, what have been some of your favorites and why?

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    practical experience, FTW Ken's Avatar
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    ... does YA count? I recently read one on Roberto Clemente. It was pretty good, though possibly a bit more factual than I'd have liked. The beginning was the best, describing his impoverished childhood and drive to overcome the odds and succeed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken View Post
    ... does YA count? I recently read one on Roberto Clemente. It was pretty good, though possibly a bit more factual than I'd have liked. The beginning was the best, describing his impoverished childhood and drive to overcome the odds and succeed.
    Thanks, Ken. I grew up in Pittsburgh, at the end of Clemente's reign. Of course I ask because what a shock, I've got a sports novel! One based on a real boxer who had a plate in his right arm from a childhood "accident". Actually at the age of ten he dove off a two story roof. What's the name of the Clemente book?

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    practical experience, FTW Ken's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bebop View Post
    Thanks, Ken. I grew up in Pittsburgh, at the end of Clemente's reign. Of course I ask because what a shock, I've got a sports novel! One based on a real boxer who had a plate in his right arm from a childhood "accident". Actually at the age of ten he dove off a two story roof. What's the name of the Clemente book?
    ... I'll get back to you next week on the title of the Clemente book. Don't recall the title. I got it out of the library so I can easily find out. Two movies you might be interested in that are somewhat related to your novel are:

    Fear Strikes Out, 1957
    True story of the life of Jimmy Piersall, who battled mental illness to achieve stardom in major league baseball.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0050383/


    The Stratton Story, 1949
    Star major league pitcher Monty Stratton loses a leg in a hunting accident, but becomes determined to leave the game on his own terms. (Awesome ending!)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0041928/

    G'luck.

    (I've got a cousin out in Pittsburgh. Sounds like a nice place.)

    ps If I recall correctly, I think Clemente had a very serious illness when he was young that almost ended his career. The doctor actually told him to call it quits I believe.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken View Post
    ... I'll get back to you next week on the title of the Clemente book. Don't recall the title. I got it out of the library so I can easily find out. Two movies you might be interested in that are somewhat related to your novel are:

    Fear Strikes Out, 1957
    True story of the life of Jimmy Piersall, who battled mental illness to achieve stardom in major league baseball.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0050383/


    The Stratton Story, 1949
    Star major league pitcher Monty Stratton loses a leg in a hunting accident, but becomes determined to leave the game on his own terms. (Awesome ending!)
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0041928/

    G'luck.

    (I've got a cousin out in Pittsburgh. Sounds like a nice place.)

    ps If I recall correctly, I think Clemente had a very serious illness when he was young that almost ended his career. The doctor actually told him to call it quits I believe.
    I've been gone a long time. I've actually seen those two movies. That ring's a bell, Clememte's illness- can't recall. BTW, I posted the first few pp on SYW literary (didn't know where else to put it). You get a chance, I'd love to get your take on it.

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    practical experience, FTW knightrunnermat's Avatar
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    Once a Runner is a cult classic for running nuts. It was written in the 70s, and I think a sequel came out just a few years ago, although I haven't read it. Once a Runner is my favorite fictional sports book of all time, though. If you are interested in running, it's worth finding.
    A blog I'm actually current with:

    http://matthewgyoung.wordpress.com/

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    Thanks Matt- You hip to these guys?

    http://www.breakawaybooks.com/

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    practical experience, FTW Ken's Avatar
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    ... the title of that book was "Roberto Clemente," by Macht, Norman L.. (1994). Sorry for the delay.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken View Post
    ... the title of that book was "Roberto Clemente," by Macht, Norman L.. (1994). Sorry for the delay.
    That's cool, Ken- thanks. What an odd title, right?

  10. #10
    practical experience, FTW Ken's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bebop View Post
    That's cool, Ken- thanks. What an odd title, right?
    ... lol. Not exactly an imaginative title :-)
    Still a decent read.

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    Having been a sports writer, I'm often disappointed with the quality of most of the sports related novels I've read. Either they're written by non-insiders, which means a lack of realism, or they're written by former athletes, who are often not the best writers. One notable exception to this is North Dallas Forty by former Cowboys receiver Peter Gent. Excellent novel.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Jacobs View Post
    Having been a sports writer, I'm often disappointed with the quality of most of the sports related novels I've read. Either they're written by non-insiders, which means a lack of realism, or they're written by former athletes, who are often not the best writers. One notable exception to this is North Dallas Forty by former Cowboys receiver Peter Gent. Excellent novel.
    Curious if you've heard of Roy McHugh, covered the boxing beat for the Pittsburgh Press till 1983. In his 90's now, but still sharp as ever.

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    One writer I think you should look at is Dan Jenkins. He was once a senior writer at Sports Illustrated and I think one of his best is You Gotta Play Hurt. (a review from 1991 NY Times) It follows a magazine sports writer as he covers several events worldwide.

    A couple of his others are Semi-Tough (football) and Dead Solid Perfect (golf).

    Edit: The three books are fiction, forgot to mention that.
    Last edited by sailor; 05-06-2012 at 04:13 AM. Reason: adding info

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    nurturing tomorrows criminals today PorterStarrByrd's Avatar
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    If I never Get Back by Daryl Brock

    Fantastic book on the first admittedly pro baseball team the 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings ... played coast to coast, went undefeated .. and made a profit (though not much mor than pennies) proving pro ball was viable.

    This is historical Fiction but VERY well done.
    http://porterstarrbyrd.blogspot.com/


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    Thanks for the recommendations, all. I'll throw a couple into the pot.

    Every time I Talk to Sonny Liston,
    Brian DeVido.

    The Professional, W.C. Heinz

    The Harder They Fall, Budd Schulberg

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    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Sorry for the late response Bebop (are you a Charlie Parker fan, by chance?) but haven't been on the site the last couple of weeks. No, I'm not familiar with Roy McHugh. I actually used to be a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and wrote for Ring Magazine but I'm afraid McHugh was before my time. If you enjoy boxing related fiction, I'd suggest Thom Jones, he has several collections of short stories, a few of which have some boxing related portions. The Pugilist at Rest and Sonny Liston Was a Friend of Mine are two of his books. I'm also coming out with my own boxing novel in a few weeks which you might find of interest. Will make mention of it on the site when it's out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Jacobs View Post
    Sorry for the late response Bebop (are you a Charlie Parker fan, by chance?) but haven't been on the site the last couple of weeks. No, I'm not familiar with Roy McHugh. I actually used to be a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and wrote for Ring Magazine but I'm afraid McHugh was before my time. If you enjoy boxing related fiction, I'd suggest Thom Jones, he has several collections of short stories, a few of which have some boxing related portions. The Pugilist at Rest and Sonny Liston Was a Friend of Mine are two of his books. I'm also coming out with my own boxing novel in a few weeks which you might find of interest. Will make mention of it on the site when it's out.
    Love all the jazz guys. But my username is really taken from the nickname of one of the characters in my book.

    Roy McHugh was before most everyone's time. But he's still kickin' and writing and sharp as ever. He covered the boxing beat for the Pittsburgh Press for a lot of years, including the career of the fighter upon whom my MC is based. He reviewed my book and liked it, thought the dialogue and the ring scenes rang true, which meant a lot to me. He recently co-wrote a book on the late Pittsburgh Steeler owner, Art Rooney, "Ruanaidh".

    Good luck with your book.

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    My favorites:
    Ball Four
    Into Thin Air
    Bang the Drum Slowly
    Eight Men Out
    Moneyball


    If you have any interest in the Red Sox, the Stephen King and Stewart O'Nan book is pretty entertaining.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wampuscat View Post
    My favorites:
    Ball Four
    Into Thin Air
    Bang the Drum Slowly
    Eight Men Out
    Moneyball


    If you have any interest in the Red Sox, the Stephen King and Stewart O'Nan book is pretty entertaining.
    I've seen a couple of the movies, have read none of the books. Thanks. BTW, I read a biography on Al Pacino where he was quoted as citing Bang the Drum Slowly, with De Niro as a dying baseball player, as his favorite movie.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Augustus22 View Post
    It was very excellent, though probably a bit more informative than I'd have liked. The starting was the best, explaining his poor child years and generate to get over the possibilities and be successful.
    Which book or movie are you talking about Augustus?

  21. #21
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    Hey, Bebop, thanks for allowing me to mention this here. Just letting everyone know the boxing novel I previously mentioned, A Bittersweet Science, is free today, Sunday August 19 on Amazon. Please check it out, here: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008Y15TZS

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    Noob Writers United Eddyz Aquila's Avatar
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    What I Talk About When I Talk About Running from Haruki Murakami?
    Check out my blog!

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    The Miracle of St. Anthony by Adrian Wojnarowski cuz I am in loveee with basketball
    I also had to watch Moneyball for a stats class, was pretty cool imo
    Empty barrels make the most noise

  24. #24
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    Since the thread is now including non-fiction, here's a couple of more boxing books you might enjoy, Bebop - Blood Season: Tyson and the World of Boxing by Phil Berger; and Muhammad Ali by Thomas Hauser. Enjoy the old boxing bios because the way the sport is going, there may never be another fighter interesting enough to merit a new one.

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    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin flowerburgers's Avatar
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    The Natural by Bernard Malamud is wonderful. I haven't seen the movie, but I was told that it ends on a completely different note and I'm guessing that when I eventually see it, I will prefer the book. It's about a phenom pitcher whose career ends before it begins when he is shot by a woman on the way to Chicago, and it uses the myth of the Fisher King from Arthurian lore as the framework. Probably my favorite baseball book.

    W.P. Kinsella's Shoeless Joe is also great, if only for that fantastic speech at the end (immortalized in the film): "I don’t have to tell you that the one constant through all the years has been baseball. America has been erased like a blackboard, only to be rebuilt and then erased again. But baseball has marked time while America has rolled by like a procession of steamrollers..." and so on.

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