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Sports BookShelf: “Wrigley Field Year By Year,” “A Difficult Par” and more

Many tomes have been published geared to making a buck on Wrigley Field’s centennial year. As a collection they are not top rank aside from George Will’s wondrous entry. Now we have another contender “Wrigley Field Year By Year.”

The coffee table sized book by Sam Pathy with an appealing intro by the sagacious Official Historian of MLB, John Thorn, (Sports Publishing, $35,00, 362 pages) is a winner in every way. Priced right, a labor of love and accuracy by the public librarian author who spent the past quarter century researching Wrigley’s history, this handsomely designed effort belongs on your sports bookshelf. Everything one might want to know about Wrigley’s century is here, packaged and concise. Full disclosure — as the author of Remembering Yankees Stadium and Remembering Fenway Park, I can fully appreciate the effort Sam Pathy put forward.

“Throwback” by Jason Kendall (St. Martin’s Press, $25.99, 291 pages) is a winner in the same way its author was. Former All Star catcher Kendall takes us behind the scenes, into the game, allowing us to see the national pastime with all of its nuances through his eyes. The look is astonishing, amazing and enlightening as it gets inside the clubhouses, inside the conversations at the plate. Highly Recommended.

From long-time and storied author Stan Fischler comes “Having a Career Day” (Sports Publishing, Skyhorse). The terrific tome showcases Fischler’s vast knowledge of the national pastime. Terse takes on 101 Incredible, Amazing baseball accomplishments are showcased.

“A Difficult Par” by James R. Hansen (Gotham Books, $32.50, 498 pages) is an epic work focused on the world of golf and the legend that is Robert Trent Jones. Painstakingly researched, filled with kinds of fascinating insights, – the book as its sub-title proclaims is all about the making of modern golf. We are there through the 70 year career of the mighty Jones who created or redesigned in excess of 400 golf courses around the globe. Highly Recommended.

“The Devil’s Snake Curve” by Josh Ostergaard (Coffee House Press, $15.95, 236 pages, paper) is unique, insightful, humorous and worth reading. It is a kind of radical and high subjective view of the national pastime, a kind of “Fargo” of baseball books.

“I Don’t Care If We Never Get Back” from Grove Atlantic by Ben Blatt and Eric Brewster ($24.00, 342 pages) is about the ultimate road trip taken by these college friends. It covers 22,000 miles, 37 states, 716 hours . . . exhausted enough? The book is a winner focusing as it does on “30 Games in 30 Days on the Worst Best (or Best Worst) Baseball Road Trip Ever.”

This is the first of many planned tomes on the Yankee legend Mariano Rivera — “Facing Mariano Rivera” edited by David Fischer (Sports Publishing, $24.95, 275 pages). It is essentially a collection of mini memoirs from such as Joe Torre, David Ortiz, Chipper Jones, Jim Leyland, John Smoltz — friends and foes alike on what it was like to come into contact with “the Sandman.” Required reading for all fans of the great Mario.

Finally, there is Tim Hornbaker’s “Turning the Black Sox White” (Sports Publishing, $24.95, 368 pages). Thorough, painstakingly researched, revisionist, Hornbaker’s opus is an effort to untarnish as the book’s sub-title proclaims: “The Misunderstood Legacy of Charles A. Comiskey.”

Harvey Frommer is in his 39th year of writing books. A noted oral historian and sports journalist, the author of 42 sports books including the classics: best-selling“New York City Baseball, 1947-1957″ and best-selling “Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball,” his acclaimed Remembering Yankee Stadium was published in 2008 and best-selling Remembering Fenway Park was published to acclaim in 2011. The prolific Frommer is at work on WHEN IT WAS JUST A GAME, AN ORAL HISTORY OF SUPER BOWL ONE.

Frommer mint condition collectible sports books autographed and discounted are available always from the author.

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