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Stocking Stuffers
Whether you're ready or not, Christmas is upon us. If you were wondering what to buy for that sports fan of yours, be sure to give these books a good look!

Reviewer: Marc Maturo, MarcMyWords.net; Lifetime member of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) and sports copy editor for The Journal News, White Plains, N.Y.




The Last Night of the Yankee Dynasty
Buster Olney; HarperCollinsPublishers
3 out of 5


In four seasons covering the famed New York Yankees for the New York Times, Olney had a wonderful opportunity to experience and understand what happened not only on the field (quite obvious) but what happened behind the scenes (not always so obvious). In this review of that time, which culminates with the Arizona Diamondbacks' seventh game World Series victory in 2001, Olney flops back and forth from the present to the past and back again, every page leading up to that fateful broken-bat single off Mariano Rivera. Olney paints vivid portraits of many of the key players in the sporting play. As Mike Lupica put it: What David Halberstam's Summer of '49 did for a previous Yankee dynasty, Olney's book does for the Yankees of today. We give this effort a dramatic "triple."

1955 In Sport, A Year Like None Other
Sport Classic Books; introduction by Dave Anderson
2 out of 5


Old-time baseball fans (and maybe those of today) do not have to be told that 1955 was the year that the Brooklyn Dodgers of "Wait Till Next Year" fame finally turned the tables on the New York Yankees in the World Series. But much more took place in that year and Anderson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist, brings together the people and events of that memorable year, an anthology of outstanding writing and photography that originally appeared in Sport magazine. This book is almost pocket-sized at 5 by 7 inches, making it a perfect carry for airplane or other travel. We rate this book a solid one-hop double off the wall.

Namath: A Biography
Mark Kriegel
3 out of 5


Bill Wallace, a retired sports writer at the New York Times, writing in Pro Football Weekly, gives this work high marks. This is not just another sports book, says Wallace. This is literature, a biography right up there with Bob Creamer's Babe Ruth, Richard Ben Cramer's Joe DiMaggio, and David Maraniss' Vince Lombardi, just to cite three sports figures.

Papa Bear: The Life and Legacy of George Halas
Jeff Smith, McGraw-Hill
3 out of 5


In another look at yet another mythical figure, Smith tries to unravel Halas the man, someone whose middle name should have been "Control." According to Bill Wallace, writing in Pro Football Weekly, Smith deals forthrightly with the way Halas wanted to control everything and everyone in his circle. Yet, notes Wallace, the author unearthed hidden charities and kindnesses of Halas, who prized secrecy. Wallace concludes by saying "Without George Halas there would be no National Football League. This good book tells why."


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