I'm not one to focus so much on sports history. I like learning more about the upcoming games and analyzing recent ones. That's probably why I spend more time reading rumor mill columns from this winter than I spend time on reading rumor mill columns from, uh, 1947.
However, Peter Handrinos' (of the United States of Baseball blog) most recent book, The Best New York Sports Arguments:
The 100 Most Controversial, Debatable Questions for Die-Hard New York Fans, was an impressive read, covering most all memorable moments in New York sports history.
It covers an incredible breadth of topics, a lot of which are important for young baseball fans. It's valuable to learn about the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York (baseball) Giants, as most of us are used to a two-teams-in-two-leagues setup for New York baseball. Handrinos spends a lot of the book discussing baseball scenarios past and present, capturing some of the most important personalities in the city, like John McGraw (not the mediocre former Jets safety) and George Steinbrenner.
There is quite a bit of forgotten material in there, as I myself was unaware of what "Merkle's Boner" was. Needless to say, the book made sure that I didn't continue to think it was a low-budget porno. Of course, the book too goes into discussing A-Rod and Jeter, which is a regrettably all-too pressing sports issue in this town.
However, baseball coverage is only a small part of the book, as Handrinos goes on to cover all sorts of other sports, including football, hockey, basketball, boxing, racing, as well as several very interesting crossover chapters. The writing is of a style which allows the book to go into great depth on many topics without actually becoming dry. If you don't care for a chapter, although it's difficult to find ones without appeal, there are 99 more to read into.
The book also does a very good job of seeing both sides of the issues discussed, which can be difficult when picking such contentious issues. The thing I have to give the author most credit for was his statement that Spike Lee is New York's worst sports fan. I wouldn't be surprised if Reggie Miller stars in Do The Right Thing 2.
This book would make an excellent Christmas (and Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/Boxing Day) gift for every sports fan in your life. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
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