Category Archives: sports history

It’s hard to call it labor when it doesn’t feel like work

TweetLabor Day in the United States is being observed today, and I thought I’d use the occasion to select some blog posts that I truly enjoyed putting together. What I discovered wasn’t surprising: The posts that were the most fun to write and ponder were those that best exemplified the intersection of sports and creativity […]

Sports History Files: The original sins of college football

TweetThe violence, crippling injuries, academic short cuts and other dysfunctional components of the present-day world of college football are hardly new. Nor do they date back only a half-century or so, when the NCAA finally modernized in the early 1950s, cracked down on rule-breakers and reigned in athletic departments that wanted to cut their own […]

Sports History Files: Germany’s stylish soccer renaissance

TweetWhile I’m taking a summer break from the blog, I’m posting recent links about sports history, books, culture and the arts that I haven’t mentioned here before. If you have any suggestions on great sports reads you’d like to bring to my attention, contact me at Enjoy! * * * * * * * […]

Sports History Files: Remembering Alfredo Di Stéfano

TweetOne of Argentina’s — and the world’s — greatest soccer players ever never played in a World Cup. Alfredo Di Stéfano, who died on Monday at the age of 88, was one of the central figures of the great Real Madrid teams that won five consecutive European Cup titles in the late 1950s. After the […]

Sports History Files: Remembering Louis Zamperini

TweetLouis Zamperini, an Olympic distance runner, World War II prisoner of war and the subject of an acclaimed biography by Laura Hillenbrand, has died at the age of 97. Zamperini’s life was recounted in “Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption,” and published in 2010. He was a track star at […]

An art lover’s glimpse of the World Cup

TweetOnce upon a time, the Olympics used to award medals for art work. Yes, it was as competitive as swimming and track and field, with more than 150 medals being handed out from 1912 to 1952, when IOC boss man Avery Brundage halted this very popular component of the Games. Why? Because many of the […]

Sports History Files: Playing old-school hoops stats forward

TweetLast week Carl Bialik of FiveThirtyEight wrote about the legend of Dick Pfander, who started clipping NBA box scores in the late 1940s, and whose trove was obtained in 2012 by During his many years of doing this, Pfander, now 79, hooked up with Harvey Pollack, who was parsing numbers before there was an […]

The modest birth of a sporting spectacle

TweetThis NFL Films clip of Super Bowl I gives you an indication how far ahead of their times the likes of Pete Rozelle and Lamar Hunt truly were. The celebrity sightings and entertainment pizzazz were there from the start. We’ve gone from birds flying overhead in 1967 to fighter jets, pop culture halftime shows and […]

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 […]

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 […]