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Jews in the Gym

Judaism, Sports, and Athletics -SJC Vol. 23

edited by Leonard J. Greenspoon

For some, the connection between Jews and athletics might seem far-fetched. But in fact, as is highlighted by the fourteen chapters in this collection, Jews have been participating in—and thinking about—sports for more than two thousand years. The articles in this volume scan a wide chronological range: from the Hellenistic period (first century BCE) to the most recent basketball season. The range of athletes covered is equally broad: from participants in Roman-style games to wrestlers, boxers, fencers, baseball players, and basketball stars. The authors of these essays, many of whom actively participate in athletics themselves, raise a number of intriguing questions, such as: What differing attitudes toward sports have Jews exhibited across periods and cultures? Is it possible to be a “good Jew” and a “great athlete”? In what sports have Jews excelled, and why? How have Jews overcome prejudices on the part of the general populace against a Jewish presence on the field or in the ring? In what ways has Jewish participation in sports aided, or failed to aid, the perception of Jews as “good Germans,” “good Hungarians,” “good Americans,” and so forth? This volume, which features a number of illustrations (many of them quite rare), is not only accessible to the general reader, but also contains much information of interest to the scholar in Jewish studies, American studies, and sports history.

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John McDonnell

The Most Successful Coach in NCAA History

Andrew Maloney

When John McDonnell began his coaching career in 1972 at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville—choosing it over Norman, Oklahoma, because Fayetteville reminded him of his native Ireland—he could hardly have imagined that he would become the most successful coach in the history of American collegiate athletics. But, in thirty-six years at the university, he amassed a staggering resume of accomplishments, including forty national championships (eleven cross country, nineteen indoor track, and ten outdoor track), the most by any coach in any sport in NCAA history. His teams at Arkansas won the triple crown (a championship in cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track in a single school year) five times. The Razorbacks also won eighty-four conference championships (thirty-eight in the Southwest Conference and forty-six in the Southeastern Conference), including thirty-four consecutive conference championships in cross country from 1974 to 2008. McDonnell coached 185 All Americans, fifty-four individual national champions, and twenty-three Olympians. And from 1984 to 1995, his Razorback teams won twelve consecutive NCAA Indoor Track Championships, the longest streak of national titles by any school in any sport in NCAA history. This new biography tells the story of the great coach’s life and legacy, from his childhood growing up on a farm in 1940s County Mayo, Ireland, to his own running career, to the beginnings of his life as a coach, to all the great athletes he mentored along the way.

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Joining the Clubs

The Business of the National Hockey League to 1945

by J. Andrew Ross

<i style="mso-bidi-font-style:normal">Joining the Clubs presents readers with the history of professional hockey in Canada and America. Tracing the evolution of the sport from its roots as an example of uniquely Canadian sensibilities to a sport which modeled itself on American professional baseball, this text encompasses broad and thorough research into archives, newspapers, and government records. The author explores the tension between business priorities and local pride in the history of some of the major hockey clubs and explains why the NHL became the preferred choice for uniting these top clubs. Ross shows how American capital helped grow the sport but was never allowed to dominate it, how hockey was far ahead of other major league sports in its use of media as a means of promotion, and how a “hockey capital” business model successfully merged the sport’s economic and cultural assets.

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Journal of Sport History

Vol. 37 (2010) through current issue

The Journal of Sport History is published three times a year in spring, summer, and fall by the North American Society for Sport History. The purpose of the North American Society for Sport History is to promote, stimulate, and encourage study and research and writing of the history of sport, and to support and cooperate with local, national, and international organizations having the same purposes. The Society conducts its activities solely for scholarly and literary purposes and not for pecuniary profit.

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Journal of Sports Media

Vol. 1 (2006) through current issue.

The Journal of Sports Media is a response to the undeniable influence of sports media on contemporary culture and the growing interest in the field as an area of study and research. It provides a broad-based exploration of the field and promotes a greater understanding of sports media in terms of their practices, value, and effect on the culture as a whole. The journal features scholarly articles, essays, book reviews, and reports on major conferences and seminars. While the majority of the articles are academic in nature, it also includes articles from industry leaders and sports media figures on topics appealing to a nonacademic audience.

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Keeneland's Ted Bassett

My Life

James E. "Ted" Bassett and Bill Mooney

In the December 30, 1967, edition of the weekly Thoroughbred trade publication, the Blood-Horse, was an announcement that took up one inch of space -- James E. "Ted" Bassett III had been named assistant to the president of the Keeneland Association. It was sandwiched between equally short news items about a handicapping seminar at an East Coast racetrack and a California vacation trip by a horse-owning couple. Bassett's new job, in his own words, "was not earthshaking news." More than four decades later, Ted Bassett is one of the most respected figures within the global Thoroughbred industry. He has served as Keeneland's president, chairman of the board, and trustee, playing a critical role in its ascendency as a premier Thoroughbred track and auction house. Bassett was also president of Breeders' Cup Limited during its greatest period of growth and has been a key architect in the development of the Sport of Kings as we know it today.

Written in collaboration with two-time Eclipse Award--winning journalist Bill Mooney, Keeneland's Ted Bassett: My Life recounts Bassett's extraordinary journey, including his days at Kent School and Yale University, through his U.S. Marine Corps service in the Pacific theater during World War II, and as director of the Kentucky State Police during the turbulent 1960s. He helped found the College of Justice & Safety at Eastern Kentucky University, and his continuing service to the Marine Corps has gained him the highest honors accorded to a civilian. During his forty-plus years with Keeneland, Bassett has hobnobbed with hot walkers in the track kitchen, hosted the first visit by Queen Elizabeth II to a United States track, and participated in many of the most important events in the modern history of horse racing.

With self-effacing humor, characteristic charm, and candor, Bassett describes his association with historic figures such as J. Edgar Hoover and Kentucky governors Albert B. "Happy" Chandler, Edward T. "Ned" Breathitt, and John Y. Brown; and his friendships with racing personalities D. Wayne Lukas, Nick Zito, Ron McAnally, Pat Day, and Joe Hirsch. Bassett shares details about difficult corporate decisions and great racing events that only he can supply, and about the formation of Equibase, the premier data collection agency within the Thoroughbred industry. He tells about his role as an international ambassador for racing, which has made him a highly influential figure on six continents. Bassett often describes his life as a fascinating blur.

That "blur" and all its unique components are brought into sharp focus in a book that is as wide-ranging as it is personal, filled with a gold mine of firsthand stories and historical details. In addition to highlighting Keeneland's reputation as the jewel of the Thoroughbred industry, Bassett chronicles the business of racing and accomplishments of many prominent people in the horse world, and elsewhere, during the twentieth century.

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The Kings of Casino Park

Black Baseball in the Lost Season of 1932

Thomas Aiello

In the 1930s, Monroe, Louisiana, was a town of twenty-six thousand in the northeastern corner of the state, an area described by the New Orleans Item as the “lynch law center of Louisiana.” race relations were bad, and the Depression was pitiless for most, especially for the working class—a great many of whom had no work at all or seasonal work at best. Yet for a few years in the early 1930s, this unlikely spot was home to the Monarchs, a national-caliber Negro League baseball team. Crowds of black and white fans eagerly filled their segregated grandstand seats to see the players who would become the only World Series team Louisiana would ever generate, and the first from the American South.
 
By 1932, the team had as good a claim to the national baseball championship of black America as any other. Partisans claim, with merit, that league officials awarded the National Championship to the Chicago American Giants in flagrant violation of the league’s own rules: times were hard and more people would pay to see a Chicago team than an outfit from the Louisiana back country. Black newspapers in the South rallied to support Monroe’s cause, railing against the league and the bias of black newspapers in the North, but the decision, unfair though it may have been, was also the only financially feasible option for the league’s besieged leadership, who were struggling to maintain a black baseball league in the midst of the Great Depression.
 
Aiello addresses long-held misunderstandings and misinterpretations of the Monarchs’ 1932 season. He tells the almost-unknown story of the team—its time, its fortunes, its hometown—and positions black baseball in the context of American racial discrimination. He illuminates the culture-changing power of a baseball team and the importance of sport in cultural and social history.

 

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Knocking on Heaven’s Door

Six Minor Leaguers in Search of the Baseball Dream

Marty Dobrow

The rich slice of Americana found in minor league baseball presents a contradictory culture. On the one hand, the minors are filled with wholesome, family-friendly entertainment-fluffy mascots, kitschy promotions, and earnest young men signing autographs for wide-eyed Little Leaguers. On the other, they comprise a world of cutthroat competition in which a teammate's failure or injury can be the cause of quiet celebration and 90 percent of all players never play a single inning in the major leagues. In Knocking on Heaven's Door, award-winning sportswriter Marty Dobrow examines this double-edged culture by chronicling the lives of six minor leaguers-Brad Baker, Doug Clark, Manny Delcarmen, Randy Ruiz, Matt Torra, and Charlie Zink-all struggling to make their way to "The Show." What links them together, aside from their common goal, is that they are all represented by the same team of agents-Jim and Lisa Masteralexis and their partner Steve McKelvey-whose own aspirations parallel those of the players they represent. The story begins during spring training in 2005 and ends in the fall of 2008, followed by a brief epilogue that updates each player's fortunes through the 2009 season. Along the way Dobrow offers a revealing, intimate look at life in minor league baseball: the relentless tedium of its itinerant routines and daily rituals; the lure of performance-enhancing drugs as a means of gaining a competitive edge; the role of agents in negotiating each player's failures as well as his successes; and the influence of wives, girlfriends, and family members who have invested in the dream.

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Learning to Win

Sports, Education, and Social Change in Twentieth-Century North Carolina

Pamela Grundy

Over the past century, high school and college athletics have grown into one of America's most beloved--and most controversial--institutions, inspiring great loyalty while sparking fierce disputes.

In this richly detailed book, Pamela Grundy examines the many meanings that school sports took on in North Carolina, linking athletic programs at state universities, public high schools, women's colleges, and African American educational institutions to social and economic shifts that include the expansion of industry, the advent of woman suffrage, and the rise and fall of Jim Crow. Drawing heavily on oral history interviews, Grundy charts the many pleasures of athletics, from the simple joy of backyard basketball to the exhilaration of a state championship run. She also explores conflicts provoked by sports within the state--clashes over the growth of college athletics, the propriety of women's competition, and the connection between sports and racial integration, for example. Within this chronicle, familiar athletic narratives take on new meanings, moving beyond timeless stories of courage, fortitude, or failure to illuminate questions about race, manhood and womanhood, the purpose of education, the meaning of competition, and the structure of American society.

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A Legacy Unrivaled

The Story of John Gagliardi

by Boz Bostrom with a foreword by Lou Holtz

John Gagliardi, who served as the head football coach at Saint John’s University from 1953 to 2012, won more football games than any coach at any level of collegiate ball. His innovative and unconventional approach to coaching— including not allowing tackling during practices— not only helped the team win nearly five hundred games and four national championships, but placed Gagliardi as an inspiring leader, mentor, and father figure to hundreds of student- athletes over his sixty years as a head coach. Gagliardi continues this role as teacher and mentor through his “Theory of Coaching Football” course at Saint John’s, which is one of the most popular classes on campus every year. A Legacy Unrivaled explores the man, his football philosophy, his life lessons, his sense of humor, and his connections to others through a very personal journey by author and former player Boz Bostrom. Including recollections from former Johnnies, the book offers a firsthand look at how Gagliardi’s high expectations for his students and his focus on making the person rather than the player made him so successful on the gridiron.

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