The hot weather is always a good time to turn on the air conditioner in your living room and relax by reading a book. Here are three sports titles that should be of interest.
Ron Swoboda was one of the most colorful players in Mets history and he’ll forever be best remembered for his miraculous ninth inning diving catch on a screaming line drive belted by Baltimore Orioles third baseman Brooks Robinson in Game 4 of the 1969 World Series. Thus it’s not surprising that he titled his memoir “Here’s the Catch” (St. Martin’s Press).
While Swoboda does devote a lot of pages to the Miracle Mets of 1969 his autobiography is a fun read because he goes far beyond that topic. He reminisces about the time Philadelphia Phillies slugger Richie Allen missed a game at Shea Stadium because he wanted to watch his thoroughbred race at Monmouth Park. He also talks about how he and Jerry Koosman, arguably the second-best pitcher in Mets history, like to razz each other by exchanging political postings. Swoboda is a liberal while Koosman is as right-wing as you can imagine. The lesson here that Swoboda is imparting is that you can still have a friendship with someone whom you disagree with politically.
Staying with 1969 heroes, Joe Namath, who led the Jets to victory in Super Bowl III over the Colts in what ranks as one of the greatest upsets ever, has written his memoir, “All the Way: My Life in Four Quarters” (Little, Brown).
Namath does a nice job reminiscing about the 1968 season that led up to Super Bowl III and he even discusses his short tenure with the Los Angeles Rams at the end of his career in 1977 but he doesn’t share with the reader the ups and downs of his post-NFL life which makes the book’s title a bit of a misnomer.
A lot has been written understandably about the 50th anniversary of the Miracle Mets but this is also the 10th anniversary of the Yankees’ 27th, and so far last, World Series championship. MLB.com Yankees beat writer Bryan Hoch has written a detailed tome about that season titled “Mission 27” (Triumph Books).
While he ably recaps the on-field highlights of that season Hoch is at his best when he takes the reader behind the scenes such as how first baseman Mark Teixeira’s wife influenced him to choose the Yankees when he became a free agent because she liked New York; Alex Rodriguez’s wild birthday party in which everyone jumped into the pool fully clothed; and how CC Sabathia saw his job as not just being the Yankees’ ace but serving as the team’s de facto social director as he organized trips for the players and their families.
One of the best bargains in sports takes place next week (August 19-23) at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows Park as the US Open qualifiers will be taking place. Some of tennis’s best up-and-coming players as well as some familiar names whose rankings may have slipped will be competing to earn a wild card berth into the main draw. Admission is free and many of the concession stands will be open.
Another solid freebie is enjoying the beautiful backyard at Belmont Park while the New York Racing Association is up in Saratoga. You can bet on races that are being simulcast and there are a number of food vendors who will welcome your business.