Baseball and Lesser Sports

Wilfrid Sheed, Author HarperCollins Publishers $19.95 (298p) ISBN 978-0-06-016531-4
Sheed's collection of essays on sport, although mostly, passionately, on baseball, is yet another happily obsessive contribution to the game's literary pedigree. Born in England, Sheed arrived in this country in 1941 at the age of 10, just in time to become a Brooklyn Dodgers fan and have his heart broken as the team lost the World Series to the Yankees. He has since recovered and his writing is a tonic for the heartbreaks that baseball and other sports serve up regularly. Lucid, funny and keenly perceptive, these essays (originally written for the New York Review of Books as well as for the sporting press) range wide, discussing not only the state of baseball but the allure of the minor leagues, Sheed's new status as a Mets fan, profiles of Hall of Famers like Ted Williams and Jackie Robinson, and the lifetime banishment of Shoeless Joe Jackson--well-trod topics but rendered fresh by briskly intelligent writing. The author carries on a lively discussion of baseball books, dissecting the works of such fellow intellectual baseball nuts as David Halberstam and George Will as well as memoirs by retired players, including Dick Allen and Hank Greenberg. Sheed writes just as memorably on boxing, football, tennis--even cricket--but baseball is clearly his hangup of choice. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/29/1991
Release date: 05/01/1991
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