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Other recent reviews: 2011 Spring Roundup - Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 5 / Part 6

Those Guys Have All the Fun "The House That Ruth Built," "An Accidental Sportswriter" and other Summer 2011 Reads

Also Read: Remembering Yankee Stadium Yankees World Series 2001 Baseball How to Play the Game


"A Talk in the Park" "Clubhouse Confidential,"Greatest Game Ever Pitched"

It never fails to amaze one to see the volume and variety of sports books - -terrible economy or not - -that keep being published. It is a testament to the scope and hold our games have on us and the "acts of faith" by publishers and writers to serve up these tomes - - some of top quality and others middling in many ways. None of the volumes reviewed below fit into the latter category - -all belong on your sports bookshelf.

"A Talk in the Park" by Curt Smith (Potomac Books, $27.50, 308 pages) is a worthy work focused as it is as its sub-title proclaims on "nine decades of baseball tales from the broadcast booth." Active and retired "voices" participate, 116 in all, in compelling oral history story-telling.

There is Pat Hughes recalling Harry Caray broadcasting with a tea bag dangling from his ear, Bob Wolff and the longest ever wild pitch, Lou Piniella exposed in all his varied poses - -lovable and excitable and clothes and unclothed. Ranging, riveting, really great stuff, "A Talk in the Park" is baseball history as well as very up close and personal memories of changing times in broadcast booth by those who lived it. NOTABLE

"The Greatest Game Ever Pitched" by Jim Kaplan (Triumph, $24.95, 241 pages) is billed the pitching duel of century - -Juan Marichal, Warren Spahn. Its focus is a summer night in 1963 before almost 16,000 plus, a game that went 16 innings and way past midnight. Kaplan meticulously, marvelously brings back the time. TERRIFIC READ

"Clubhouse Confidential" by Luis "Squeegee" Castillo with William

Kane (St. Martin's, $25,99, 293 pages) is a behind the scenes and no holds barred looked at the New York Yankees for whom he worked for as a bat boy and clubhouse attendant from 1998 to 2005. A star in his own rights, a guy who had the Bleacher Creatures calling his name, Castillo lays it all out - -wild nights and days, gambling, an inside look at the privacy of the Yankee clubhouse, what it was like to know and work with Bernie Williams, David Cone, Joe Torre, Don Zimmer, Derek Jeter, Roger Clemens, etc. "Clubhouse Confidential" is a bit self-serving, but I guess that's the nature of the genre. Tighter editing would have improved the read but for Yankee fans this is the real deal.

"A Glove of Their Own" by Debbie Moldovan, Keri Conkling and Lisa Funari-Willever (Franklin Mason Press, $15.95, illustrated by Lauren Lambiase) is a beautifully executed and carefull conceived tome. Reading it one is taken back to early days of playing the game - mine were on the "mean streets" of Brooklyn, stickball, and I did not have a glove of my own or a bat either. The book begins "In our town there's a park, with an oak tree so tall. We meet there each day, so we can play ball. The spot is home plate for our everyday game. Sticks are the bases; they work just the same." And from that beginning, the reader is swept away . . .HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

2011 marks Harvey Frommer's 36th consecutive year of writing sports books. A noted oral historian and sports journalist, the author of 41 sports books including the classics: "New York City Baseball,1947-1957" and "Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball," his acclaimed REMEMBERING YANKEE STADIUM, an oral/narrative history was published in 2008 as well as a reprint version of his classic "Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball." Frommer's newest work is REMEMBERING FENWAY PARK: AN ORAL AND NARRATIVE HISTORY OF THE HOME OF RED SOX NATION (Abrams) Read all about it:

He is available for speaking engagements. FROMMER SPORTSNET (syndicated) reaches a readership in the millions and is housed on Internet search engines for extended periods of time.

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"Harvey Frommer's Fenway Park first captivates the reader with its visual beauty. They are all there, some in color some in black and white, Ted the Thumper, the matchless Yaz, Mysterioso Manny, even The Babe. And the people, yes the people, from all corners of New England. Add to these images Mr. Frommer's trenchant prose and you have one memorable book."

- Roger Kahn

"Daringly organized as a mosaic of Red Sox Nation, Remembering Fenway Park glitters with fond memories and delightful surprises. Anyone who has ever sat in Fenway, or longs to, will love this book. In his sure hands with oral history, Harvey Frommer is a treasure of our national pastime." -John Thorn, Official Historian for Major League Baseball

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