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"YANKEE FOR LIFE" & other reads

As we round third base in 2008 and head for home and 2009, there are all kinds of sports books out there vying for one's attention. Some are by big name authors and publishers; others are more modest entries. All have something of value.

"Yankee For Life" by the late Bobby Murcer with Glen Waggoner (HarperCollins, $24.95, 322 pages) is the bittersweet tale of a 17-year-major leaguer who was looked upon by many as the next Mickey Mantle.

Murcer never met that promise but he was a fan favorite, especially Yankee fans. His post-career life was spent in the broadcasting booth where his sense of humor and Oklahoma drawl and knowledge of the game earned him three Emmys as one of the voices of the Yankees. Tragically, on Christmas Eve 2006, the affable Murcer was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. His recent passing saddened millions. "Yankee For Life" is his story told honestly, humorously and unflinchingly.

Josh Hamilton's "Beyond Belief" with Tim Keown (Faith Words, $23.95, 257 pages) is the uplifting story of one of the most talented players n the big leagues today who came back from four years of struggle with drug addiction, suspensions, very down times. The book's sub-title is "finding the strength to come back" and that is what Hamilton is all about.

Bill James is at it again and those into his kind of work will be elated. From Acta Sports, priced at $23.95, 506 pages, paper), the "Bill James Handbook" is a mother and father lode of relevant and up to date stats on every major league team, player and manager through 2008.

From Triumph comes two books focused on similar approaches with different subject matter. "Then Bud Said to Barry Who Told Bob..." by Jeff Snook (Triumph Books, $22.95, 284 pages, includes CD) is a collection of Oklahoma Sooner gridiron tales. "Then Osborne Said to Rozier..." by Steve Richardson (Triumph, $22.95, 200 pages, includes CD) is a slimmer collection of stories - these about Nebraska Cornhusker football. For fans of these teams - the books are a must.

HIGHLY NOTABLE: For fans of basketball comes new film "The First Basket" that carefully evokes the history of Jews and basketball at the beginning of the 20th century. Ossie Schectman, a Jewish kid from Brooklyn , made the first basket for the New York Knickerbockers back in 1946 in a league that preceded the NBA. The film showcases this and all kinds of other little known facts and events showing the unusual connection between Jews and basketball. Director David Vyorst has done a brilliant job. There are screenings in New York City at:> EAST CINEMA

In Los Angeles: <> Laemmle's Town Center,Encino

<> LAEMMLE'S Fallbrook 7 in West Hills


Harvey Frommer is his 33rd consecutive year of writing sports books. The author of 40 of them including the classics: "New York City Baseball,1947-1957" and "Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball," his REMEMBERING YANKEE STADIUM, an oral/narrative history (Abrams, Stewart, Tabori and Chang) was published in 2008 as well as a reprint version of his "Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball."

Frommer sports books are available direct from the author - discounted and autographed.

FROMMER SPORTSNET (syndicated) reaches a readership in excess of one million and appears on Internet search engines for extended periods of time.

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