Although many Americans might not know just what FIFA stands for, the world’s most popular sport, soccer, is increasingly catching on in the U.S. With an American team in the tournament, along with the many nationalities that make up our citizenry, the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, which begins June 12 and will run for an entire month, should attract enormous mid-summer attention. A few publishers are hoping it generates readers as well.
There are at least four significant books timed for the World Cup. Jon Mattos, a British sportswriter, has authored the “official” World Cup title. His 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Official Book will give the rundown on all the participants and even supplies a handy chart that readers can use to keep track of the progression of teams through the brackets. Nick Holt weighs in with The Mammoth Book of the World Cup, which will cover the history of the Cup since its inception in the 1930s. Perhaps the greatest soccer player of all time, Edson Arantes do Nascimento—I mean Pelé—will give his venerable take on the game in Why Soccer Matters. Pelé, a hero in Brazil, will be much in evidence during the Cup. Not a bad book tour. And George Vecsey, the esteemed New York Times sports columnist and rabid soccer fan of longstanding, details the history of his devotion in Eight World Cups: My Journey Through the Beauty and Dark Side of Soccer.
But there is also baseball, and this years marks two anniversaries, one of them a hundred years old, the other a decade, each of which command their own narratives in the lore and history of the game. In 1914, between Waveland Avenue and Addison Street in the Lakeview section of Chicago, a ball park was built. Called Weeghman Park, it was later renamed for the owner of the team that played there. Wrigley Field has been the home of the Chicago Cubs ever since. This year, to mark the centenary, there are three books. George Will brings his at-the-ready lyricism for all things baseball to A Nice Little Place on the North Side: Wrigley Field at One Hundred, while Stuart Shea, in Wrigley Field: The Long Life and Contentious Times of the Friendly Confines, details the fiscal maneuverings that have surrounded the beloved institution.
The 10-year anniversary that will be marked in some parts of the country (and not in others) involves the lifting of a curse—when the 86-year World Series drought suffered by the Boston Red Sox (and Red Sox Nation) ended with an improbable comeback against the Yankess and then a sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals in the Fall Classic. They are still talking about it in New England—and still trying to forget it in New York. At least three books will revisit the events: Saul Wisnia’s Miracle at Fenway: An Oral History of the 2004 Boston Red Sox; Jim Prime’s Amazing Tales from the 2004 Boston Red Sox Dugout: The Greatest Stories from a Championship Season; and Allan Wood and Bill Nowlin’s Don’t Let Us Win Tonight: An Oral History of the 2004 Boston Red Sox
In a sports publishing season with few books about the scandal side of, say, NFL violence, NCAA hypocrisy, or drug use, there is a little book with a social conscience. Josh Ostergaard (who now works for Graywolf Press) has written The Devil’s Snake Curve: A Fan’s Notes from Left Field, a book of essays and “miscellany” that his publisher says evokes Howard Zinn. Oh, that left field. Enjoy the games.
PW’s Top 10: Sports
2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Official Book. Jon Mattos. Carlton Books, May 6
The Mammoth Book of the World Cup. Nick Holt. Running Press, May 6
Why Soccer Matters. Pelé. Celebra/Berkley, Apr. 1
Eight World Cups: My Journey Through the Beauty and Dark Side of Soccer. George Vecsey. Times Books, May 13
A Nice Little Place on the North Side: Wrigley Field at One Hundred. George Will. Crown Archeype, Mar. 25
Wrigley Field: The Long Life and Contentious Times of the Friendly Confines. Stuart Shea. Univ of Chicago Press, Mar. 7
Miracle at Fenway An Oral History of the 2004 Boston Red Sox. Saul Wisnia. St. Martin’s Press, Apr. 29
Amazing Tales from the 2004 Boston Red Sox Dugout: The Greatest Stories from a Championship Season. Jim Prime. Skyhorse, Apr. 1
Don’t Let Us Win Tonight: An Oral History of the 2004 Boston Red Sox. Allan Wood and Bill Nowlin. Triumph, Apr. 1
The Devil’s Snake Curve: A Fan’s Notes from Left Field. Josh Ostergaard. Coffee House Press. Apr. 15
Atlantic Monthly Press
(dist. by PGW)
Baseball Maverick How Sandy Alderson Changed the Game by Steve Kettmann (Apr. 1, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-0802119988). In the 1980s, baseball outsider Sandy Alderson revolutionized the game and took the Oakland A’s to three straight World Series. In 2010, the failing Mets hoped he could transform them into champions. Bestselling author Steve Kettman profiles Alderson’s unusual path, and the rebuilding of the Mets.
(dist. by Penguin)
Mookie Life, Baseball, and the ’86 Mets by Mookie Wilson, with Erik Sherman; foreword by Keith Hernandez (Apr. 29, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-0425271322). New York Mets fan-favorite Wilson shares stories from his life and his major league baseball career, most notably his time with the 1986 World Champion Mets.
Blue Rider Press
Tiger, Meet My Sister? And Other Hazards of Sportswriting by Rick Reilly (May 6, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-0399171253). A collection of the very best recent writings from ESPN columnist and New York Times bestselling author.
(dist. by Sterling)
2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Official Book by Jon Mattos (May 6, paper, $19.95, ISBN 978-1780974705). The official guide to the world’s biggest, most popular sports event. Packed with photos, it offers expert analysis of each team, its star players, and its prospects in the finals, along with information on the stadiums and host cities.
(dist. by Penguin)
Why Soccer Matters by Pelé, with Brian Winter (Apr. 1, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-0451468444). Even 30 years after his last game, Pelé remains the face of soccer around the world. In this thoughtful narrative—timed to coincide with his native Brazil hosting the 2014 World Cup—Pelé explores why soccer is an internationally unifying force.
How to Speak Baseball: An Illustrated Guide to Ballpark Banter by James Charlton and Sally Cook, illus. by Ross MacDonald (Mar. 4, hardcover, $14.95, ISBN 978-1452126456). This handsome guide to the language of baseball decodes the amusing, clever phrases that pepper commentary about the sport. Packed with witty explanations of everything from “duster” and “rubber arm” to “up the elevator,” this ballpark lexicon plays on a nostalgic love for the national pastime while.
(dist. by PGW)
The Local Boys: Hometown Players for the Cincinnati Reds by Joe Heffron and Jack Heffron, foreword by Chris Welsh (Foreword) (Apr. 15, paper, $17.95, ISBN 978-1578605538). The Local Boys tells the stories of men who achieved the boyhood dream of playing for the hometown team.
Coffee House Press
(dist. by Consortium)
The Devil’s Snake Curve: A Fan’s Notes from Left Field by Josh Ostergaard (Apr. 15, paper, $15.95, ISBN 978-1566893459). A humorous, historical, and hirsute miscellany that’s the baseball book Howard Zinn would have written, if he hated the Yankees.
A Nice Little Place on the North Side: Wrigley Field at One Hundred by George Will (Mar. 25, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-0385349314). Bestselling author of the baseball classics Men at Work and Bunts George Will chronicles the highs and mostly lows in the hundred-year history of America’s most beloved baseball park, Wrigley Field.
(dist. by Perseus)
Down to the Last Pitch: How the 1991 Minnesota Twins and the Atlanta Braves Gave Us the Best World Series of All Time by Tim Wendel (Apr. 1, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0306822766). From acclaimed author Wendel, the behind-the-headlines story of the “Best World Series Ever,” and the watershed season that propelled two of baseball’s worst teams to dominance and ushered in baseball’s “modern era.”. Announced first printing: 30,000.
The Magnificent Masters: Jack Nicklaus, Johnny Miller, Tom Weiskopf, and the 1975 Cliffhanger at Augusta by Gil Capps (Mar. 25, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-0306820410). Long before any of the players actually hit a golf ball, the 1975 Masters Tournament was destined for the record books when Lee Elder became the first African-American ever invited to the exclusive Augusta club’s tourney. He was among the veritable Hall of Fame-list of competitors that week: Arnold. Announced first printing: 40,000.
Ted Williams, My Father: A Memoir by Claudia Williams (May 13, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-0062259561). In this poignant memoir, Claudia Williams, the last surviving child of legendary Boston Red Sox player Ted Williams, tells the story of her father as only a daughter can, sharing never-before-heard tales from his life on and off the field and revealing the man behind “The Kid.” Announced first printing: 50,000.
Elliott & Thompson
(dist. by IPG)
Faldo/Norman: The 1996 Masters—A Duel that Defined an Era by Andy Farrell (May 1, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-1909653702). For a decade, Norman and Faldo, in their different ways, dominated the game. This is the fascinating account of one of golf’s greatest rivalries, culminating in one of the most epic encounters of the game.
(dist. by Simon & Schuster)
Duel for the Crown: Affirmed, Alydar, and Racing’s Greatest Rivalry by Linda Carroll and David Rosner (Apr. 22, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1476733203). A gripping look at the great duel between Affirmed, the last horse to win the Triple Crown, and his archrival, Alydar.
They Called Me God: The Best Umpire Who Ever Lived by Doug Harvey, with Peter Golenbock (Mar. 25, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-1476748788). The memoir from the man voted one of the best umpires of all time by the Society of American Baseball Research, filled with more than three decades of fascinating baseball stories.
(dist. by Penguin)
Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s by Jeff Pearlman (Mar. 4, hardcover, $30, ISBN 978-1592407552). The New York Times bestselling author of Sweetness delivers the first all encompassing account of the 1980s Los Angeles Lakers, one of professional sports’ most-revered—and dominant—dynasties.
The Hoops Whisperer: On the Court and Inside the Heads of Basketball’s Best Players by Idan Ravin (May 1, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-1592408917). Basketball’s most unlikely—and most sought-after—guru offers an inside look at his career, his methods, and the superstar players—Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, and Chris Paul among them—whose games he’s helped transform.
Nancy: The Course of My Life by Nancy Lopez (June 17, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-0062301628). The candid and uplifting memoir of World Golf Hall of Fame legend, Latino role model, and working mother. Lopez athlete opens up about previously unknown details concerning her adoption, discrimination due to her Mexican heritage, divorce, and her professional career. Announced first printing: 40,000.
The Yankee Way: Playing, Coaching, and My Life in Baseball by Willie Randolph, with Wayne Coffey (May 13, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-0061450778). Legendary New York Yankee Randolph tells the story of his life playing and coaching for the most storied professional sports franchise in the world, detailing his career on and off the field with some of baseball’s biggest stars. Announced first printing: 75,000.
Michael Jordan: The Life by Roland Lazenby (May 6, hardcover, $30, ISBN 978-0316194778). The definitive biography of the most legendary basketball player of all time. Announced first printing: 30,000.
The Closer by Mariano Rivera (May 6, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-0316400732). The memoir from the greatest relief pitcher baseball has ever seen. While he is listed along with Ruth, Mantle, Gehrig, and DiMaggio as a top-five Yankee of all time, Rivera is also a man of God and family whose contributions to charity and community are a significant part of his legacy. Announced first printing: 250,000.
The Hall: A Celebration of Baseball’s Greats in Stories and Images, the Complete Roster of Inductees by Tom Brokaw (May 6, hardcover, $35, ISBN 978-0316213028). A baseball treasury unlike any other, complete with essays, photos, and player bios from The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Everyone dreams of Cooperst. Announced first printing: 25,000.
(dist. by Globe Pequot)
Babe Ruth’s Called Shot: The Myth and Mystery of Baseball’s Greatest Home Run by Ed Sherman (Feb. 1, hardcover, $25.95, ISBN 978-0762785391). The full story of the Sultan of Swat’s most legendary homer and the most debated moment in baseball history.
The Fight of Their Lives: How Juan Marichal and John Roseboro Turned Baseball’s Ugliest Brawl into a Story of Forgiveness and Redemption by John Rosengren (Feb. 1, hardcover, $25.95, ISBN 978-0762787128). Two men—one African-American, one Dominican—transform one of baseball’s ugliest moments into a story of forgiveness and redemption.
McFarland & Company
Complete Baseball Scorekeeping Handbook by Andres Wirkmaa (June 15, paper, $35, ISBN 978-0786479948). A thorough and comprehensive manual on keeping a scorecard, and a detailed analysis of each of the numerous, and often complex official rules governing scorekeeping in baseball (many revised or modified in 2007), as well as scorekeeping issues outside of MLB’s rulebook.
(dist. by Quayside )
The Giants Baseball Experience: A Year-by-Year Chronicle, from New York to San Francisco by Dan Fost (Apr. 15, hardcover, $35, ISBN 978-0760345726). Beautifully illustrated with archival and modern photography, rare memorabilia, and detailed stats, The Giants Baseball Experience provides the full 130-year history of what it means to be a true fan of the Giants.
Johnny Football: Johnny Manziel’s Wild Ride from Obscurity to Legend at Texas A&M by Mike Shropshire (May 15, paper, $19.99, ISBN 978-0760346266). In Johnny Football, sportswriter Shropshire employs his signature witty, entertaining writing style to recount phenom Johnny Manziel’s extraordinary first two seasons with Texas A&M in 2012 and 2013.
Oxford Univ. Press
The Compleat Angler by Izaak Walton (Apr. 1, hardcover, $29.95, ISBN 978-0199650743). A new edition of the great classic of angling literature.
Players First: Success from the Inside Out by John Calipari, with Michael Sokolove (Apr. 15, hardcover, $28.95, ISBN 978-1594205736). The legendary—and legendarily candid—University of Kentucky basketball coach opens up about what separates good teams and coaches from bad ones and about the things that are seriously awry in today’s college game.
(dist. by Baker Publishing Group)
Coach Wooden’s Greatest Secret: The Power of a Lot of Little Things Done Well by Pat Williams (Feb. 1, hardcover, $16.99, ISBN 978-0800722760). A motivational message filled with life-changing insights and memorable stories about Wooden’s coaching philosophy.
Rowman & Littlefield
(dist. by NBN)
Boxing: A Concise History of the Sweet Science by Gerald R. Gems (Mar. 1, hardcover, $40, ISBN 978-1442229907). Gems considers race, religion, rivalries, and the growth of women’s boxing alongside the history of boxing in this social history. With photographs, biographies, and anecdotes, the growth of boxing from its Greek roots till today is laid out clearly for the general reader.
A History of Women’s Boxing by Malissa Smith (May 1, hardcover, $38, ISBN 978-1442229945). Photographs, newspaper clippings, and anecdotes accompany biographies and a timeline of events tracing the arc of female competitors in this male-dominated sport.
(dist. by Perseus)
The Mammoth Book of the World Cup by Nick Holt (May 6, paper, $13.95, ISBN 978-0762452248). A guide to the one of the few truly international events. It covers everything from its roots in Uruguay in 1930 to the modern all-singing, all-dancing Greatest Show on Earth.
St. Martin’s Press
Miracle at Fenway An Oral History of the 2004 Boston Red Sox by Saul Wisnia (Apr. 29, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-1250031631). The first Red Sox World Series’s championship in 86 years, remembered by the members of the 2004 team.
Throwback: A Big-League Catcher Tells How the Game Is Really Played by Jason Kendall (Author), Lee Judge (Author) (May 13, hardcover, $25.99, ISBN 978-1250031839). An informative and irreverent soup-to-nuts look at the inner mechanics, strategies, secret signals and customs of major league baseball.
The Price of Silence: The Duke Lacrosse Scandal, the Power of the Elite, and the Corruption of Our Great Universities by William D. Cohan (Apr. 8, hardcover, $30, ISBN 978-1451681796). A Duke alumnus whose work has been hailed “authoritative” by the Washington Post presents a stunning new account of the infamous Duke lacros.
Simon & Schuster
All Fishermen Are Liars by John Gierach (Apr. 15, hardcover, $24, ISBN 978-1451618310). From the Pacific Northwest to the Upper Midwest to the Canadian Maritimes, one of America’s leading fishing writer shows us why many valuable lessons are found while fly-fishing.
Skyhorse Publishing/Sports Publishing
(dist. by Perseus)
Wrigley Field Year by Year: A Century at the Friendly Confines by Sam Pathy, foreword by John Thorn (Foreword) (Feb. 4, hardcover, $35, ISBN 978-1613216330). More than just a lavishly illustrated and highly readable book, Wrigley Field Year-by-Year is the result of a quarter century of meticulous research. Written by a baseball historian and recognized authority on “the Friendly Confines,” this is the first book to detail each year of the storied park’s.
Facing Mariano Rivera: Players Recall the Greatest Relief Pitcher Who Ever Lived by David Fischer (Mar. 4, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-1613216392). The all-time career leader in saves, with 633, Mariano Rivera is one of the greatest professional athletes in history. Since taking over the closer’s role for the New York Yankees in 1997, Rivera saved 30 or more games in every season but one. In addition, he has an astonishing MLB record 42 postseason saves.
Amazing Tales from the 2004 Boston Red Sox Dugout: The Greatest Stories from a Championship Season by Jim Prime (Apr. 1, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-1613216873). Packed full of anecdotes, quotes, and perspectives from each member of the team, presented in the context of their on-field heroics. Announced first printing: 10,000.
Syracuse Univ. Press
(dist. by Longleaf)
1929 Bunion Derby: Johnny Salo and the Great Footrace Across America by Charles Kastner (Mar. 1, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-0815610366). On March 31, 1929, 77 men began an epic 3,554-mile footrace across America that pushed their bodies to the breaking point. Kastner’s engrossing account bolsters the arugment that the last Bunion Derby was the greatest long-distance footrace of all time.
Eight World Cups: My Journey Through the Beauty and Dark Side of Soccer by George Vecsey (May 13, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-0805098488). On the eve of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, New York Times sports columnist Vecsey gives us a personal view of the last eight World Cups.
(dist. by IPG)
Don’t Let Us Win Tonight: An Oral History of the 2004 Boston Red Sox by Allan Wood and Bill Nowlin (Author) (Apr. 1, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-1600789137). Commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Boston Red Sox’ unprecedented championship run in the fall of 2004, this guide takes fans behind the scenes and inside the dugout, bullpen, and clubhouse to reveal to baseball fans how it happened, as it happened.
How Baseball Explains America by Hal Bodley, foreword by Bob Costas (May 1, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-1600789380). Examining the connection between baseball and U.S. history, this book is a journey through the sport known as America’s pastime. Longtime USA Today baseball columnist Bodley explores just how essential baseball is to understanding the American experience.
Counterpunch: Ali, Tyson, the Brown Bomber, and Other Stories of the Boxing Ring by Ira Berkow (May 1, paper, $14.95, ISBN 978-1600789731). Spanning the period between 1967 and 2005, this compilation includes 84 of Pulitzer Prize–winning author Berkow’s columns on boxing.
Univ. of Chicago Press
Wrigley Field: The Long Life and Contentious Times of the Friendly Confines by Stuart Shea (Mar. 7, paper, $20, ISBN 978-0226134277). For the centennial of Wrigley Field, a complete history, from the founding to the newest round of renovations.
Univ. of Nebraska Press
Continental League: A Personal History by Russell D. Buhite (May 1, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-0803271906). Long before there was Moneyball, a group of investors led by baseball legend Branch Rickey proposed a new economic model for baseball. Based on an innovative approach to evaluating and developing talent, the Continental League was the last serious attempt to form a third Major League. The league’s.
When Baseball Went White: Reconstruction, Reconciliation, and Dreams of a National Pastime by Ryan A Swanson (June 1, hardcover, $29.95, ISBN 978-0803235212). The story of Jackie Robinson valiantly breaking baseball’s color barrier in 1947 is one that most Americans know. But less recognized is the fact that some 70 years earlier, following the Civil War, baseball was tenuously biracial and had the potential for a truly open game.
Jackie and Campy: The Untold Story of Their Rocky Relationship and the Breaking of Baseball’s Color Line by William C. Kashatus (Apr. 1, hardcover, $24.95, ISBN 978-0803246331). As star players for the 1955 World Champion Brooklyn Dodgers, and prior to that as the first black players to be candidates to break professional baseball’s color barrier, Jackie Robinson and Roy Campanella would seem to be natural allies. But the two men were divided by a rivalry going far beyond baseball.