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24: Life Stories and Lessons from the Say Hey Kid

24: Life Stories and Lessons from the Say Hey Kid

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THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER AND SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE BESTSELLER

The legendary Willie Mays shares the inspirations and influences responsible for guiding him on and off the field in this reflective and inspirational memoir.

Even if, like me, you thought you had pretty much read and heard all there was to read and hear about Willie Mays, this warmhearted book will inform and reward you. And besides, what true baseball fan can ever get enough of Willie Mays? Say Hey! Read on and enjoy. --From the Foreword by Bob Costas

"It's because of giants like Willie that someone like me could even think about running for President." --President Barack Obama

Widely regarded as the greatest all-around player in baseball history because of his unparalleled hitting, defense and baserunning, the beloved Willie Mays offers people of all ages his lifetime of experience meeting challenges with positivity, integrity and triumph in 24: Life Stories and Lessons from the Say Hey Kid.

Presented in 24 chapters to correspond with his universally recognized uniform number, Willie's memoir provides more than the story of his role in America's pastime. This is the story of a man who values family and community, engages in charitable causes especially involving children and follows a philosophy that encourages hope, hard work and the fulfillment of dreams.

"I was very lucky when I was a child. My family took care of me and made sure I was in early at night. I didn't get in trouble. My father made sure that I didn't do the wrong thing. I've always had a special place in my heart for children and their well-being, and John Shea and I got the idea that we should do something for the kids and the fathers and the mothers, and that's why this book is being published. We want to reach out to all generations and backgrounds. Hopefully, these stories and lessons will inspire people in a positive way." --Willie Mays

Amateurs: The Story of Four Young Men and Their Quest for an Olympic Gold Medal

Amateurs: The Story of Four Young Men and Their Quest for an Olympic Gold Medal

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"Astonishing . . . Moving . . . One of the best books ever written about a sport."
; *Walter Clemons
Newsweek
"A PENETRATING, FASCINATING AND REMARKABLY SUSPENSEFUL NARRATIVE."
; *David Guy
Chicago Tribune
In The Amateurs, David Halberstam once again displays the unique brand of reportage, both penetrating and supple, that distinguished his bestselling The Best and the Brightest and October 1964. This time he has taken for his subject the dramatic and special world of amateur rowing. While other athletes are earning fortunes in salaries and-or endorsements, the oarsmen gain fame only with each other and strive without any hope of financial reward.
What drives these men to endure a physical pain known to no other sport? Who are they? Where do they come from? How do they regard themselves and their competitors? What have they sacrificed, and what inner demons have they appeased? In answering these questions, David Halberstam takes as his focus the 1984 single sculls trials in Princeton. The man who wins will gain the right to represent the United States in the 84 Olympiad; the losers will then have to struggle further to gain a place in the two- or four-man boats. And even if they succeed, they will have to live with the bitter knowledge that they were not the best, only close to it.
Informative and compelling, The Amateurs combines the vividness of superb sportswriting with the narrative skills of a Pulitzer Prize-winning correspondent.
"RIVETING."
; *Christopher Lehmann-Haupt
Casting into the Light

Casting into the Light

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Tales of a champion surfcaster: the education of a young woman hell-bent on following her dream and learning the mysterious and profound sport, and art, of surfcasting, on the island of Martha's Vineyard.

Janet Messineo knew from the get-go that she wanted to become a great fisherman. She knew she was as capable as any man of catching and landing a huge fish. It took years--and many terrifying nights alone on the beach in complete darkness, in search of a huge creature to pull out of the sea--for her to prove to herself and to the male-dominated fishing community that she could make her dream real.

Messineo writes of the object of her obsession: striped bass and how it can take a lifetime to become a proficient striped bass fisherman; of stripers as nocturnal feeders, hard-fighting, clever fish that under the cover of darkness trap bait against jetties or between fields of large boulders near shorelines, or, once hooked, rub their mouths against the rocks to cut the line.

She writes of growing up in Lawrence, Massachusetts, and Salem, New Hampshire, the granddaughter of textile mill workers, tagging along with her father and brother as they cast off of jetties; of going to art school, feeling from a young age the need to escape, and finding herself, one summer, on the Vineyard.

She describes the series of jobs that supported her fishing--waitressing at the Black Dog, Helios, and the Home Port, among other restaurants. She writes of her education in patience and the technique to land a fish; learning the equipment--hooks, sinkers, her first squid jig; buying her first one-ounce Rebel lure.

She re-creates the thrill of fishing at night, of being buffeted by the island's harsh winds and torrential rains; the terror of hooking something mysterious in the darkness that might pull her into water over her head.

She gives us a rich portrait of island life and writes of its history and of Chappaquiddick's (it belonged to the Wampanoags, who originally called it Cheppiaquidne--"separate island"); of the Martha's Vineyard Derby: its beginning in 1946 as a way to bring tourism to the island during the offseason, and the Derby's growing into one of the largest tournaments in the world.

Messineo describes her dream of becoming a marine taxidermist, of learning the craft and perfecting the art of it. She writes of the men she's fished with and the women who forged the path for others (among them, Lorraine "Tootie" Johnson, who fished Vineyard waters for more than sixty years, and Lori VanDerlaske, who won the Derby shore division in 1995). And she writes of her life commingled with fishing--her marriage to a singer, poet, activist; their adopting a son with Asperger's; and her teaching him to fish. She writes of the transformative power of fishing that helped her to shake off drugs and alcohol, and of her profound respect for fish as a magnificent animal.

With eighteen of the author's favorite fish recipes, Casting into the Light is a book about following one's dreams and about the quiet reckoning with self in the long hours of darkness at the water's edge, with the sounds of the ocean, the night air, and the jet-black sky.

Cost of These Dreams: Sports Stories and Other Serious Business

Cost of These Dreams: Sports Stories and Other Serious Business

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The instant New York Times bestseller!

From one of America's most beloved sportswriters and the bestselling author of Pappyland, a collection of true stories about the dream of greatness and its cost in the world of sports.

Wright Thompson's stories are so full of rich characters, bad actors, heroes, drama, suffering, courage, conflict, and vivid detail that I sometimes thinks he's working my side of the street - the world of fiction. - John Grisham

There is only one Wright Thompson. He is, as they say, famous if you know who he is: his work includes the most read articles in the history of ESPN (and it's not even close) and has been anthologized in the Best American Sports Writing series ten times, and he counts John Grisham and Richard Ford among his ardent admirers (see back of book). But to say his pieces are about sports, while true as far as it goes, is like saying Larry McMurtry's Lonesome Dove is a book about a cattle drive. Wright Thompson figures people out. He jimmies the lock to the furnaces inside the people he profiles and does an analysis of the fuel that fires their ambition. Whether it be Michael Jordan or Tiger Woods or Pat Riley or Urban Meyer, he strips the away the self-serving myths and fantasies to reveal his characters in full. There are fascinating common denominators: it may not be the case that every single great performer or coach had a complex relationship with his father, but it can sure seem that way. And there is much marvelous local knowledge: about specific sports, and times and places, and people. Ludicrously entertaining and often powerfully moving, The Cost of These Dreams is an ode to the reporter's art, and a celebration of true greatness and the high price that it exacts.

Dream Team: How Michael, Magic, Larry, Charles, and the Greatest Team of All Time Conquered the World and Changed the Game of Basketball

Dream Team: How Michael, Magic, Larry, Charles, and the Greatest Team of All Time Conquered the World and Changed the Game of Basketball

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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Acclaimed sports journalist Jack McCallum delivers the untold story of the greatest team ever assembled: the 1992 U.S. Olympic Men's Basketball Team. As a writer for Sports Illustrated, McCallum enjoyed a courtside seat for the most exciting basketball spectacle on earth, covering the Dream Team from its inception to the gold medal ceremony in Barcelona. Drawing on fresh interviews with the players, McCallum provides the definitive account of the Dream Team phenomenon. He offers a behind-the-scenes look at the controversial selection process. He takes us inside the team's Olympic suites for late-night card games and bull sessions where superstars like Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Larry Bird debated the finer points of basketball. And he narrates a riveting account of the legendary intrasquad scrimmage that pitted the Dream Teamers against one another in what may have been the greatest pickup game in history. In the twenty years since the Dream Team first captivated the world, its mystique has only grown. Dream Team vividly re-creates the moment when a once-in-a-millennium group of athletes came together and changed the future of sports--one perfectly executed fast break at a time.

With a new Afterword by the author

"The absolute definitive work on the subject, a perfectly wonderful once-you-pick-it-up-you-won't-be-able-to-put-it-down book."--The Boston Globe

"An Olympic hoops dream."--Newsday

"What makes this volume a must-read for nostalgic hoopsters are the robust portraits of the outsize personalities of the participants, all of whom were remarkably open with McCallum, both then and now."--Booklist (starred review)

Dumb Luck and the Kindness of Strangers

Dumb Luck and the Kindness of Strangers

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Witty, shrewd, and, as always, a joy to read, John Gierach, "America's best fishing writer" (Houston Chronicle) and favorite streamside philosopher, extols the frequent joys and occasional tribulations of the fly-fishing life.

"After five decades, twenty books, and countless columns, [John Gierach] is still a master" (Forbes). Now, in his latest fresh and original collection, Gierach shows us why fly-fishing is the perfect antidote to everything that is wrong with the world.

"Gierach's deceptively laconic prose masks an accomplished storyteller...His alert and slightly off-kilter observations place him in the general neighborhood of Mark Twain and James Thurber" (Publishers Weekly). In Dumb Luck and the Kindness of Strangers, Gierach looks back to the long-ago day when he bought his first resident fishing license in Colorado, where the fishing season never ends, and just knew he was in the right place. And he succinctly sums up part of the appeal of his sport when he writes that it is "an acquired taste that reintroduces the chaos of uncertainty back into our well-regulated lives."

Lifelong fisherman though he is, Gierach can write with self-deprecating humor about his own fishing misadventures, confessing that despite all his experience, he is still capable of blowing a strike by a fish "in the usual amateur way." The "voice of the common angler" (The Wall Street Journal), he offers witty, trenchant observations not just about fly-fishing itself but also about how one's love of fly-fishing shapes the world that we choose to make for ourselves.

Fever Pitch

Fever Pitch

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In America, it is soccer. But in Great Britain, it is the real football. No pads, no prayers, no prisoners. And that's before the players even take the field.
Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream (Anniversary)

Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream (Anniversary)

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Named Sports Illustrated's best football book of all time and a #1 NYT bestseller, this is the classic story of a high school football team whose win-loss record has a profound influence on the town around them.

Return once again to the timeless account of the Permian Panthers of Odessa -- the winningest high-school football team in Texas history. Socially and racially divided, Odessa isn't known to be a place big on dreams, but every Friday night from September to December, when the Panthers play football, dreams can come true.

With frankness and compassion, Pulitzer Prize winner H. G. Bissinger unforgettably captures a season in the life of Odessa and shows how single-minded devotion to the team shapes the community and inspires -- and sometimes shatters -- the teenagers who wear the Panthers' uniforms.

The inspiration for the hit television program and film of the same name, this anniversary edition features a new afterword by the author.

Gods at Play: An Eyewitness Account of Great Moments in American Sports

Gods at Play: An Eyewitness Account of Great Moments in American Sports

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As a columnist for Time magazine, among many other publications, Tom Callahan witnessed an extraordinary number of defining moments in American sport across four decades. He takes us from Roberto Clemente clinching his 3,000th, and final, regular-season hit in Pittsburgh; to ringside for the Muhammad Ali-George Foreman fight in Zaire; and to Arthur Ashe announcing, at a news conference, that he'd tested positive for HIV. There are also little-known private moments: Joe Morgan whispering thank you to a virtually blind Jackie Robinson on the field at the 1972 World Series, or Kareem Abdul-Jabbar saying he was more interested in being a good man than in being the greatest basketball player.

Brimming with colorful vignettes and enlivened by Callahan's eye for detail, Gods at Play offers surprising portraits of the most celebrated names in sports. Roger Rosenblatt calls Callahan "the most complete sportswriter in America. He knows the most and writes the best.

Heaven Is a Playground

Heaven Is a Playground

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"The best basketball book I've ever read." --Barack Obama

Heaven Is a Playground, now in its fifth edition to include more information on Fly Williams, was the first book on the uniquely American phenomenon of urban basketball. Rick Telander, a photojournalist and former high school basketball player, spent part of the summer of 1973 and all of the summer of 1974 in Brooklyn living the playground life with his subjects at Foster Park in Flatbush. He slept on the floor of a park regular's apartment, observing, questioning, traveling, playing with, and eventually coaching a ragtag group of local teenagers whose hopes of better lives were often fanatically attached to the transcendent game itself. Telander introduces us to Fly Williams, a playground legend with incredible leaping ability and self-destructive tendencies that threatened to keep him earthbound.

Another standout was Albert King, a fourteen-year-old phenom whose shy, quiet demeanor masked an otherworldly talent that eventually took him to the NBA. This edition also includes Telander's perspectives on the arrival of an NBA team in Brooklyn. Heaven Is a Playground is one of a kind--a funny, sad, ultimately inspiring book about Americans and the roots of the sport that they love.

How Baseball Happened: Outrageous Lies Exposed! the True Story Revealed

How Baseball Happened: Outrageous Lies Exposed! the True Story Revealed

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The fascinating, true, story of baseball's amateur origins. "Explores the conditions and factors that begat the game in the 19th century and turned it into the national pastime....A delightful look at a young nation creating a pastime that was love from the first crack of the bat."--Paul Dickson, The Wall Street Journal

Baseball's true founders don't have plaques in Cooperstown. The founders were the hundreds of uncredited amateurs -- ordinary people -- who played without gloves, facemasks or performance incentives in the middle decades of the 19th century. Unlike today's pro athletes, they lived full lives outside of sports. They worked, built businesses and fought against the South in the Civil War.

But that's not the way the story has been told. The wrongness of baseball history can be staggering. You may have heard that Abner Doubleday or Alexander Cartwright invented baseball. Neither did. You may have been told that a club called the Knickerbockers played the first baseball game in 1846. They didn't. You have read that baseball's color line was uncrossed and unchallenged until Jackie Robinson in 1947. Nope. You have been told that the clean, corporate 1869 Cincinnati Red Stockings were baseball's first professional club. Not true. They weren't the first professionals; they weren't all that clean, either. You may have heard Cooperstown, Hoboken, or New York City called the birthplace of baseball, but not Brooklyn. Yet Brooklyn was the home of baseball's first fans, the first ballpark, the first statistics--and modern pitching.

Baseball was originally supposed to be played, not watched. This changed when crowds began to show up at games in Brooklyn in the late 1850s. We fans weren't invited to the party; we crashed it. Professionalism wasn't part of the plan either, but when an 1858 Brooklyn versus New York City series accidentally proved that people would pay to see a game, the writing was on the outfield wall.

When the first professional league was formed in 1871, baseball was already a fully formed modern sport with championships, media coverage, and famous stars. Professional baseball invented an organization, but not the sport itself. Baseball's amazing amateurs had already done that.

Thomas W. Gilbert's history is for baseball fans and anyone fascinating by history, American culture, and how great things began.

I'm Fascinated by Sacrifice Flies: Inside the Game We All Love

I'm Fascinated by Sacrifice Flies: Inside the Game We All Love

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The New York Times Bestseller!

In the aftermath of the Steroid Era that stained the game of baseball, at a time when so many players are so rich and therefore have a sense of entitlement that they haven't earned, ESPN baseball commentator Tim Kurkjian shows readers how to love the game more than ever, with incredible insight and stories that are hilarious, heartbreaking, and revealing.

From what Pete Rose was doing in the batting cage a few minutes after getting out of prison, to why everyone strikes out these days and why no one seems to care, I'm Fascinated By Sacrifice Flies will surprise even longtime baseball fans. Tim explains the fear factor in the game, and what it feels like to get hit by a pitch; Adam LaRoche wanted to throw up in the batter's box. He examines the game's superstitions: Eliot Johnson's choice of bubble gum, a poker chip in Sean Burnett's back pocket. He unearths the unwritten rules of the game, takes readers inside ESPN, and reveals how Tony Gwynn made baseball so much more fun to watch.

And, of course, Tim will explain to readers why he is fascinated by sacrifice flies.