Category Archives: Books

BrooklynFans Of Books: “Players” By Matthew Futterman


By Matthew Futterman

Simon & Schuster

People in this day and age are used to seeing Peyton Manning doing advertisements for multiple products while watching a game.

It wasn’t too long ago that athletes were not seen as endorsers, or anything beyond what they did on the field of play.

Matthew Futterman’s Players writes the story of how this changed, and says of the landscape of pro sports up until about 60 years ago, “The story of professional sports in the United States for the first eight decades of the twentieth century is largely one of exploitation. It’s a story of one-sided contracts and lopsided deals in which teams, leagues, national and international sports federations, and countless other moneyed interests who had put themselves into positions of power took advantage of athletes who were some combination of too young, too uninformed, or too uneducated to realize just how they were being used, and too unrepresented to do anything about it.”

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BrooklynFans of Books: Who Shot Sports

(Netherlands vs Brazil, World Cup, July 2, 2010. Photo by Mark Leech, featured in Who Shot Sports)

who-shot-sportsWho Shot Sports: A Photographic History 1843 to the Present

By Gail Buckland

Alfred A Knopf

Who Shot Sports, which is also an exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum until January 8, 2017, brings together 165 extraordinary photographers who have captured some of the most famous images ever, but the person behind the camera is unknown.

Buckland is a former curator of the Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain and Benjamin Menschel Distinguished Visting Professor at Cooper Union.

For Who Shot Sports, Buckland draws upon the work of more than 59 archives, from the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, to Sports Illustrated, Conde Nast, Getty Images, the National Baseball Hall of Fame, L’Equipe, The New York Times, and the archives of the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne.

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BrooklynFans of Books: My Father & Atticus Finch

My Father & Atticus Finch: A Lawyer’s Fight For Justice in 1930s Alabama

By Joseph Madison Beck

W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.

When one thinks of an intrepid lawyer defending a black man accused of rape in the South, one thinks of Atticus Finch in the landmark novel To Kill a Mockingbird.

The thing is there were figures in real life in the South during the time Mockingbird was set, including Foster Beck.

Joseph Madison Beck tells the story of his father’s courageous defense of a black man in South Alabama.

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BrooklynFans Of Books: Megdal Examines “The Cardinals Way”

The Cardinals Way: How One Team Embraced Tradition and Moneyball at the Same Time

By Howard Megdal

Thomas Dunne Books / St. Martin’s Press

The St. Louis Cardinals are one of the great franchises in baseball, and they are in the midst of one of the most successful periods in their history.

They have made the playoffs in each of the past five seasons. In that time, they won the World Series in 2011, made it back to the Fall Classic in 2013, and reached the National League Championship Series twice, losing to San Francisco both times, in 2012 and 2014.

Howard Megdal takes an extensive look into their history, dating back to the days of Branch Rickey a century ago, in The Cardinals Way.

“Coming on the heels of Tony LaRussa’s 2011 World Series championship in his final season, the Cardinals have put together the kind of sustained success that is rare in baseball, drawing all kinds of attention and a simple question. How are they doing it?

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BrooklynFans Of Books: Jackie Robinson In Quotes

Danny Peary’s new book, Jackie Robinson In Quotes: The Remarkable Life of Baseball’s Most Significant Player (Page Street Publishing), is perhaps the most engrossing piece of work on the pioneering Brooklyn Dodger.

This commemorated when Robinson made his debut with the Montreal Royals, the Dodgers’ International League team.

Jackie Robinson in Quotes is written differently than most books, as the story of his life is told in quotes from Robinson and others. The quotes also illuminate fun facts, like that Duke Snider debuted the same day as Robinson, so read carefully.

“I played hard, and always to win,” which Robinson said in Baseball Has Done It in 1964, is just one of his many quotes.

The book starts with his formative years, then his time in college as a multi-sport athlete, his experiences in World War II, joining the Dodgers and what he faced, and his years as a social activist.

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BrooklynFans Of Books: “House Of Nails”

Mets legend Lenny Dykstra’s House of Nails is a lot like the man himself.

It is a wild ride from beginning to end, through the highs and lows of his epic successes and failures.

House of Nails is a Shakespearian tale of an underdog who willed himself to be a champion, did whatever it took to stay on top, enjoyed wealth and fame as much as anybody, and then was undone by the very traits that propelled him up the mountain.

The book is full of wild stories, as would be expected, about drugs, drinking, groupies, and his unconventional friendship with Charlie Sheen, who was just one of the many celebrities that Dykstra was friends with.

Dykstra was known for pushing the envelope, and was an abuser of steroids, “greenies” (amphetamines), and prescription painkillers during his career. In this book, he reveals who knew about his steroid use and looked the other way.

One of the tallest tales from Dykstra is how he hired private investigators to tail umpires so he could blackmail them into preferential treatment.

After his playing days, Dykstra made it big with a carwash business and in the stock market. CNBC’s Jim Cramer was one of his biggest boosters and called Dykstra “one of the great ones.” He started a magazine for pro athletes called “The Players Club,” not to be confused with Derek Jeter’s Player’s Tribune.

At one point, Dykstra was worth $50 million, flew around the world in a private jet, and bought Wayne Gretzky’s palatial estate.

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