Author Archives: Wendy Parker

Sports History Files: Baseball’s hidebound gatekeepers

TweetThis time a year ago I wrote about baseball’s dwindling Romantics — those who have Hall of Fame votes but want to deny any player they suspect of steroids use from a having a plaque in Cooperstown — and thought the matter couldn’t get any more bizarre.
But that was last year. The addition next summer [...]

New January sports books: Wooden, Beckham and athletes’ minds

TweetA good variety of newly published sports books will be out this month, and here’s a quick look at some of the leading titles.
• John Wooden: A Coach’s Life, by Seth Davis — Davis, of Sports Illustrated and CBS Sports, went in-depth with a 608-page full-scale biography of the late UCLA basketball legend that’s broken [...]

Backtracking 2013: The best of Sports History Files

TweetOn Monday, I wrote about the marvelous longform sportswriting that continues to proliferate on the Web, despite some crabbiness to the contrary.
Today I’m linking to posts I wrote in the past year about sports history, one of the foundations of this blog and something that will become a stronger focus here in the coming [...]

Backtracking 2013: Longform sports hits its stride

Tweet‘Tis the season for year-end “Listicles,” “Bests Of,” etc., that try to come off as more authoritative than they really are. If you read enough of these pieces, you’ll find that there’s a certain “must read” herd mentality to them.
This week I’m referencing a few of my favorite links from the past year in [...]

‘Time is short, don’t waste it:’ A tribute to Dr. Z

TweetI haven’t been enamored with the rebranding of NFL Films to suit the here-and-now programming needs of the NFL Network.
But “A Football Life” has been a refreshing NFL Films-produced series profiling leading coaches and players, some with a more recent historical perspective.
And just recently, NFL Films has gone back in time with a wonderful short film [...]

The rise of literary sportswriting, on two shores

TweetI love this piece from Simon Kuper about the rise of contemporary sporting literature in Britain, written last month as the 25th William Hill Sports Book of the Year winner was to be named.
Kuper’s a former winner of the award. His “Football Against the Enemy,” published in 1994, was essential reading for this American grasping [...]

Sports History Files: Remembering Walt Bellamy

TweetThere have been some marvelous tributes over the weekend to Walt Bellamy, the NBA Hall of Famer who died on Saturday at the age of 74.
He had played for five other NBA teams when he joined the Atlanta Hawks I grew up watching, and featured on a team with Pete Maravich and Lou Hudson that [...]

Midweek Books: Remembrances of Octobers past

TweetIt’s been 36 years — my high school days! — since the legend of “Mr. October” was cemented.
Reggie Jackson was the catalyst of three consecutive World Series championship teams with the Oakland Athletics in the mid-1970s. After he signed with the Yankees as a free agent, guiding title teams in 1977 and 1978, that moniker, [...]

Sports History Files: A century of ‘reforming’ football

TweetFollowing the suicide of former NFL All-Pro linebacker Junior Seau last year, and the media frenzy that surrounded his San Diego-area home, Buzz Bissinger blasted the press for trying to perpetuate a narrative he thought foolhardy as he asserted that the culture of violence in football was essentially unreformable.
(A few months later, Bissinger called for [...]

Midweek books: A sports-related book on the banned list

TweetFour parents are what I have altogether, not unlike a whole lot of other kids. But quite unlike a whole lot of other kids, there ain’t a hetero among ‘em. My dad’s divorced and remarried, and my mom’s divorced and remarried, so my mathematical account of my family suggests simply another confused teenager from a [...]