Category Archives: Sports

Fifty-nine in ’84 by Edward Achorn

Reviewed by Cy Hilterman

fiftyI have always been a baseball “nut” but I have never been exposed to the early history of the game with its raw beginning when there were few, if any, rules used. The beginnings of rules were in place but seldom used in the correct way. Today’s baseball players from the street game through to the professional ranks probably would not have fared well in the early days. Edward Achorn takes us to the days when no one wore a glove with which to catch the baseball; no pitcher threw from what we know today as the rubber but rather had a box approximately 6 X 4 foot that they could roam and pitch from any area within that box; there was one umpire-if one could be found-and that umpire was very often biased against one of the teams or some players on a team and used that bias to sway the outcome of a game; there was no decent way to travel from city to city other than slow trains with no decent accommodations; no base was awarded because of a hit batsman and most pitchers did aim at batters and were not punished even if a batter was badly hurt; over night sleeping accommodations were not in very good hotels; food was take-what-you-could-get; brothels were in every city and in between and were used very frequently by most players; Syphilis and other sexual diseases were rampant since there were so many women available of every class and character; unless a player was unable to walk, he had to play because there were no substitutes, even with split open fingers, hands, or other extremities; crowds were small and very brutal towards players, even their own cities team; pitchers on many teams pitched every day regardless of their tired arms and were generally given a day off only when they could not move their arms but they still usually had to play another position in case they would have to pitch—like it or not. I think I have given you a good background of the game in the 1800’s.

Built to Win by John Schuerholz

Reviewed by Allen Hott

builtThe current Atlanta Braves’ president, John Schuerholz, has put together an interesting account of his tenure as General Manager of the Braves. Actually he even goes back a bit to talk of his growing up, working his way into baseball administration on a low level, being General Manager of the Kansas City Royals and finally to the Braves.

The title Built to Win is more or less the story of Schuerholz’s life. He prides himself on his ability to build organizations through unity. Making everyone a part of the whole and then making them believe in themselves as part of the whole. Much of the book relates how he has always exemplified certain characteristics in having an organization that truly is one unit. And that unit believes that it is and will be the best by the way they handle themselves, others, and adversities.

Although he does touch on prior happenings, Schuerholz zeroes in on the Atlanta baseball team from when he joined them in late 1990 until 2005. These were in fact the glory years for the Braves and much of the credit goes to Schuerholz and his building a tremendous organization. The Braves not only went from last to first in the National League in 1991 (Schuerholz’s first full year) they had actually been last in three of the four previous seasons.

He Crashed Me, So I Crashed Him Back: The True Story of the Year the King, Jaws, Earnhardt, and the Rest of NASCAR’s Feudin’, Fightin’ Good Ol’ Boys Put Stock Car Racing on the Map by Mark Bechtel

crashed1Reviewed by Joanne Reynolds

It is 1979 and NASCAR is not a sport that most of the country is watching on TV. On a very snowy Sunday in February, the country is pounded by winter weather and a lot of the major sports (football, hockey, basketball) are not having games because of that. CBS decides that it will broadcast the Daytona 500 and keep sports fans happy.

The fans are treated to the whole race, where in the past they are treated to highlights only. The end of this particular race was exciting, as a fight ensued between three of the good ol’ boys, Bobby Allison, Donnie Allison & Cale Yarborough.

This started a little trend to cover more racing, because the end was such a fanfare. Who knew that auto racing was such a physical sport? Reporters were flocking to every race now wondering who would beat on who next time.

This book is definitely for the veteran NASCAR fan. The names that are written about in this book are mostly retired and no longer involved in the sport.