There was a time not too long ago in this great land, that the entire world was not at your fingertips. You could not hop on your computer, or pick up your cell phone and see almost instantaneously what was going on in the world. Hard core sports fans had to wait until the local or national scribes pieced together stories for the newspapers. With that delay in place fans had come to rely on their writers for accurate details and vivid pictures painted through the use of words. It helped form a bond between writer and fan that could last a lifetime. The saying goes, the cream always rises to the top, and the sports reporting field is not exempt from that wise saying. Now there are two books that celebrate and give their just due to two of the giants of their field.
Red Smith and W.C. Heinz are easily two of the most recognizable names in the sports reporting world. They both made writing look easy. Each was able to relay countless stories to hundreds of thousands of fans in a way that endeared them to almost every reader. Their knowledge of multiple sports and of people in general, allowed them to cover various sports and appeal to different generations.
Library of America has produced two great books that compile some of the best writing of each. W.C. Heinz’s writings cover everything from Horse Racing, to Football, to Rodeo and of course Baseball. His knowledge and insight give the reader a great account of events and allow for you to get a great picture in your mind’s eye as to how the games unfolded. The same can easily be said for Red Smith. His ability to cover multiple sports allows the reader to have a plethora of choices in topics to read, learn, relive and enjoy.
Books that are compilation books of a reporters articles usually scare me off. I always feel like they are grasping for content to fill an entire book and sometimes you don’t get the greatest of articles in the book. Happily that can not be said about these books, the articles chosen are all of great quality, and each book gives you over 500 pages of great writings.
Writers like this are a great link to the history of our favorite sports. They can take us back to a simpler time and allow the fans to gain some insight on events that the history books may have missed. If you ask most people who their favorite author is, you will get an answer of at least some person. If you ask a sports fan, they may not answer with an author, but more than likely a sports writer. These two men are credits to the writing industry, the sports that they covered, and both will be remembered for generations to come for their contributions to recording the history of each one’s chosen game.
Normally I say that Baseball fans would enjoy these, but honestly, all sports fans will enjoy these books. The sports covered in the writings are so varied, that if you are not well versed in certain sports as you would like, you may learn some new things.
You can get these books from the nice folks at The Library of America