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The 1929 Bunion Derby Cover

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The 1929 Bunion Derby

Johnny Salo and the Great Footrace Across America

by Charles B. Kastner

On March 31, 1929, seventy-seven men began an epic 3,554-mile footrace across America that pushed their bodies to the breaking point. Nicknamed the “Bunion Derby” by the press, this was the second and last of two trans-America footraces held in the late 1920s. The men averaged forty-six gut-busting miles a day during seventy-eight days of nonstop racing that took them from New York City to Los Angeles. Among this group, two brilliant runners, Johnny Salo of Passaic, New Jersey, and Pete Gavuzzi of England, emerged to battle for the $25,000 first prize along the mostly unpaved roads of 1929 America, with each man pushing the other to go faster as the lead switched back and forth between them. To pay the prize money, race director Charley Pyle cobbled together a traveling vaudeville company, complete with dancing debutantes, an all-girl band wearing pilot outfits, and blackface comedians, all housed under the massive show tent that Pyle hoped would pack in audiences. Kastner’s engrossing account, often told from the perspective of the participants, evokes the remarkable physical challenge the runners experienced and clearly bolsters the argument that the last Bunion Derby was the greatest long-distance footrace of all time.

The 1972 Munich Olympics and the Making of Modern Germany Cover

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The 1972 Munich Olympics and the Making of Modern Germany

Kay Schiller

The 1972 Munich Olympics—remembered almost exclusively for the devastating terrorist attack on the Israeli team—were intended to showcase the New Germany and replace lingering memories of the Third Reich. That hope was all but obliterated in the early hours of September 5, when gun-wielding Palestinians murdered 11 members of the Israeli team. In the first cultural and political history of the Munich Olympics, Kay Schiller and Christopher Young set these Games into both the context of 1972 and the history of the modern Olympiad. Delving into newly available documents, Schiller and Young chronicle the impact of the Munich Games on West German society.

ACC Basketball Cover

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ACC Basketball

The Story of the Rivalries, Traditions, and Scandals of the First Two Decades of the Atlantic Coast Conference

J. Samuel Walker

Walker focuses on the evolution of basketball programs in the ACC in its first 20 years. The continuing theme of the work is how schools tried to maintain a proper balance between academic and athletic achievements. Walker explores how conference administrators, university presidents, chancellors, faculty, coaches, and athletic directors influenced and shaped the athletic program while facing issues such as creation of standards for recruiting players and how best to offer athletes a legitimate chance of earning a degree. The book covers the ACC from its formation in 1953 to the 1972, when the U. of South Carolina left the conference in a dispute over minimum SAT scores for incoming athletes. Walker uses ACC basketball as a way to look inside our culture, situating it in postwar South during a time of racial stress, economic growth, and social change. He shows how basketball and the ACC were deeply influenced by civil rights and the struggle for racial justice. Throughout, he also chronicles on-the-court action, telling stories that recreate for the reader the brilliance and foibles of the coaches, the artistry of the players, the unforgettable games, the tense rivalries, the intense, sometimes wacky, fans, and traditions both new and old that have defined ACC basketball over the years.

Alan Ameche Cover

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Alan Ameche

The Story of “The Horse”

Dan Manoyan; Foreword by Pat Richter

This is first biography of Alan “The Horse” Ameche, one of America’s great gridiron heroes. Born in 1933 to Italian immigrants, he grew up in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where he played for one of the state’s best-ever high school football teams. From there he went on to break Big Ten rushing records for the University of Wisconsin Badgers, leading them to the 1953 Rose Bowl and winning the 1954 Heisman Trophy. He earned his nickname “The Horse” for his tremendous training ethic, power, and stamina. In a professional career with the Baltimore Colts that lasted just six seasons before injury ended it, he was the 1955 NFL Rookie of the Year and went to the Pro Bowl five times.
    The 1958 championship game of the National Football League that pitted Ameche’s Colts against the New York Giants has often been called the NFL’s “Greatest Game Ever Played.” It was the first national title game to be televised, and forty-five million people were watching. It was also the first-ever NFL game to go into sudden death overtime. Ameche and future Hall of Fame quarterback Johnny Unitas teamed up on several key plays in the decisive touchdown drive. Ameche’s dramatic one-yard plunge into the end zone ended the game at 8:15 of the overtime period, captured the attention of television viewers across the nation, and laid the groundwork for football to become the enormously popular and lucrative business it is today.
    Author Dan Manoyan has delved into Ameche’s history, interviewing the Ameche family, Kenosha friends, Wisconsin Badger players, and several of his  Baltimore Colts teammates—including NFL Hall of Fame members Lenny Moore, Gino Marchetti, Art Donovan, and Raymond Berry—to offer revealing insights about Alan Ameche the man. Manoyan gives a fuller picture of him as an Academic All-American, a devoted husband and father, a highly successful businessman after his football career, a patron of the arts, and a committed philanthropist.

Alexander Cartwright Cover

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Alexander Cartwright

The Life behind the Baseball Legend

Monica Nucciarone

Alexander Joy Cartwright Jr. (1820–92) was present during the organization of the Knickerbocker Base Ball Club of New York in the mid-1800s. That much is certain. Since that time, and especially with his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1938, Cartwright has been celebrated as the founder of our national pastime, much like Abner Doubleday. As with Doubleday, Cartwright’s claim to fame has caused all sorts of conjecture and controversy. His complex life, not just the mythography surrounding him, comes clearly into focus in Monica Nucciarone’s biography of the incomparable Cartwright.
 
Through journal entries, letters, and newspaper clippings, Nucciarone traces Cartwright’s path from Elysian Fields in New Jersey to a gold-rush adventure in California, and on to Honolulu, where he became involved in the movement to annex Hawaii to the United States. Beginning with the widely held notion that Cartwright created the game of baseball as we know it today, then spread it across North America to Hawaii like a Johnny Appleseed, Nucciarone’s book separates fact from speculation. Although the picture that emerges may not be the Alexander Cartwright of legend, it shows us a man as colorful, complicated, and immense in character—and as worthy of the history books—as any legend he inspired.

The American Dream and the National Game Cover

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The American Dream and the National Game

Leverett T. Smith, Jr.

This engaging study examines sports as both a symbol of American culture and a formative force that shapes American values. Leverett T. Smith Jr. uses "high" culture, in the form of literature and criticism, to analyze the popular culture of baseball and professional football. He explores the history of baseball through three important events: the fixing of the 1919 World Series, the appointment of Judge Landis as commissioner of baseball with dictatorial powers, and the emergence of Babe Ruth as the "new" kind of ball player. He also looks at literary works dealing with leisure and sports, including those of Thoreau, Twain, Frost, Lardner, and Hemingway.  Finally he documents the emergence of professional football as the national game through the history and writings of former Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi, who emerges as both a critic of the business-oriented society and a canny businessman and manager of men himself.

First paperback edition

The Baltimore Elite Giants Cover

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The Baltimore Elite Giants

Sport and Society in the Age of Negro League Baseball

Bob Luke

One of the best-known teams in the old Negro Leagues, the Elite Giants of Baltimore featured some of the outstanding African American players of the day. Sociologist and baseball writer Bob Luke narrates the untold story of the team and its interaction with the city and its people during the long years of segregation. To convey a sense of the action on the field and the major events in the team’s history, Luke highlights important games, relives the standout performances of individual players, and discusses key decisions made by management. He introduces the team’s eventual major league stars: Roy Campanella, who went on to a ten-year Hall of Fame career with the Brooklyn Dodgers; Joe Black, the first African American pitcher to win a World Series game; and James “Junior” Gilliam, a player and coach with the Dodgers for twenty-five years. Luke also describes the often contentious relationship between the team and major league baseball before, during, and after the major leagues were integrated. The Elite Giants did more than provide entertainment for Baltimore’s black residents; the team and its star players broke the color barrier in the major leagues, giving hope to an African American community still oppressed by Jim Crow. In recounting the history of the Elite Giants, Luke reveals how the team, its personalities, and its fans raised public awareness of the larger issues faced by blacks in segregation-era Baltimore. Based on interviews with former players and Baltimore residents, articles from the black press of the time, and archival documents, and illustrated with previously unpublished photographs, The Baltimore Elite Giants recounts a barrier-breaking team’s successes, failures, and eventual demise.

Barnstorming to Heaven Cover

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Barnstorming to Heaven

Syd Pollock and His Great Black Teams

A rare insider’s perspective on baseball’s great barnstorming age.
   
The Indianapolis Clowns were a black touring baseball team that featured an entertaining mix of comedy, showmanship, and skill. Sometimes referred to as the Harlem Globetrotters of baseball—though many of the Globetrotters’ routines were borrowed directly from the Clowns—they captured the affection of Americans of all ethnicities and classes.

Alan Pollock’s father, Syd, owned the Clowns, as well as a series of black barnstorming teams that crisscrossed the country from the late 1920s until the mid-1960s. They played every venue imaginable, from little league fields to Yankee Stadium, and toured the South, the Northeast, the Midwest, the Canadian Rockies, the Dakotas, the Southwest, the Far West—anywhere there was a crowd willing to shell out a few dollars for an unforgettable evening.

Alan grew up around the team and describes in vivid detail the comedy routines of Richard “King Tut” King, “Spec Bebob” Bell, Reece “Goose” Tatum; the “warpaint” and outlandish costumes worn by players in the early days; and the crowd-pleasing displays of amazing skill known as pepperball and shadowball. These men were entertainers, but they were also among the most gifted athletes of their day, making a living in sports the only way a black man could. They played to win.

More than just a baseball story, these recollections tell the story of great societal changes in America from the roaring twenties, through the years of the Great Depression and World War II, and into the Civil Rights era.
 

Baseball in America and America in Baseball Cover

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Baseball in America and America in Baseball

Edited by Donald G. Kyle and Robert B. Fairbanks

Presenting views from a variety of sport and history experts, Baseball in America and America in Baseball captures the breadth and unsuspected variety of our national fascination and identification with America’s Game. Chapters cover such well-known figures as Ty Cobb and lesser-known topics like the “invisible” baseball played by Japanese Americans during the 1930s and 1940s. A study of baseball in rural California from the Gold Rush to the turn of the twentieth century provides an interesting glimpse at how the game evolved from its earliest beginnings to something most modern observers would find familiar. Chapters on the Negro League’s Baltimore Black Sox, financial profits of major league teams from 1900 to 1956, and American aspirations to a baseball-led cultural hegemony during the first half of the twentieth century round out this superb collection of sport history scholarship. Baseball in America and America in Baseball belongs on the bookshelf of any avid student of the game and its history. It also provides interesting glimpses into the sociology of sport in America.

Baseball's Greatest Season, 1924 Cover

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Baseball's Greatest Season, 1924

Reed Browning

With the possible exception of 2004 no season in the history of baseball has matched 1924 for escalating excitement and emotional investment by fans. It began with observers expecting yet another World Series between the Yankees and the Giants. It ended months later when the Washington Nationals (Senators), making their first Series appearance, grabbed the world championship by scoring the season-ending run on an improbable play in the bottom of the twelfth inning of the seventh game. On the eve of the return of major league baseball to Washington, D.C., Baseball's Greatest Season recovers the memory of the one and only time when the championship of the national pastime resided in the nation's capital.

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