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The 1970s Oakland Raiders: Tales from the Dark Side

By C Douglas Baker On March - 27 - 2011
Badasses: The Legend of Snake, Foo, Dr. Death, and John Madden's Oakland Raiders by Peter RichmondHarper Collins, 2010ISBN-13: 978-0061834301 Love them or hate them, the 1970s Oakland Raiders under John Madden were certainly an entertaining cast of misfits in the guise of one the best professional football teams of their era.  Here, Peter Richmond tells the story of this cast of characters, and characters they were. The distinctive personality of this team that set it apart from all others of the 1970s was the perception that this was a group of outlaws and rebels who thumbed their noses at convention.  Add to ...

Michael Oher in His Own Words

By C Douglas Baker On March - 20 - 2011
I Beat the Odds: From Homelessness to The Blind Side and Beyond by Michael Oher with Don YaegerGotham Books 2011ISBN: 978-1-59240-612-8 Michael Oher has had so many other people tell his story that he must have felt he finally had to tell his own story in his own words. Michael Oher may be the most well-known offensive lineman in the history of the National Football League after the movie The Blind Side, based on the best-selling book of the same name by Michael Lewis, was a hit. The Blind Side tells of an inner city Memphis kid who grew up virtually ...

A Well Done Short History of the New England Patriots

By C Douglas Baker On November - 28 - 2010
Then Belichick Said to Brady: The Best New England Patriots Stories Ever Told by Jim Donaldson Triumph Books 2009 There are so many "The Best Stories Ever Told" books about the New England Patriots and other NFL teams that it all starts to get jumbled together and it becomes difficult to distinguish between them, but this book stands out. While there is nothing really new in this volume, it is well written, well organized and has a bit more than similar recent books on the New England Patriots. There are many good, short, player profiles of prominent Patriots ...

Informative History of the NFL/AFL Merger

By C Douglas Baker On November - 27 - 2010
The Birth of the New NFL: How the 1966 NFL/AFL Merger Transformed Pro Football by Larry FelserThe Lyons Press 2008ISBN: 978-1-59921-151-0 Despite the stodgy prose, this is a comprehensive history of the merger between the American Football League and the National Football League in 1966.  The most informative aspect of this book is the story behind the formation and advancement of the upstart American Football League when several wealthy (and some not so wealthy) businessmen wanted into the professional football fold.  Thwarted by the NFL and desiring a team, it was Lamar Hunt, owner of the Dallas Texans (later the Kansas City ...
If you love good writing, football history and the meaning of football to society, look no further than this account of the 1925 Pottsville Maroons.  This is sports history and sports writing at its very best. The Pottsville Maroons were a team located in a small, hard scrabble coal mining town in Eastern Pennsylvania, the kind of small town that would never be able to successfully host a professional team in 2010.  But 1925 was a different era when professional football was a more quixotic endeavor and college football reigned supreme.  The team featured some great players that came from the coal ...

Bret Hart’s Account Of His Life in Professional Wrestling

By C Douglas Baker On August - 1 - 2010
  Hitman: My Real Life in the Cartoon World of Wrestling by Bret Hart Grand Central Publishing, 2008 ISBN: 978-0-466-54607-2 Bret Hart’s account of his career in professional wrestling is not only an outstanding autobiography of an icon in the sport, but also of the history of pro wrestling period. Bret Hart grew up in a wrestling family.  His father, Stu Hart, was a pioneer in the sport, promoting wrestling matches in Canada through the late 1940’s through most of the rest of his life.  Up to the 1990s, wrestling was largely controlled by regional promoters who respected each ...

A Look Back at The NFL’s 1943 Steagles

By C Douglas Baker On June - 26 - 2010
Last Team Standing: How the Steelers and the Eagles – “The Steagles” – Saved Pro Football During World War II by Matthew Algeo Da Capo Press, September 30, 2006 ISBN 10: 0931250358 World War II was a devastating time in American history, and the drain of manpower had similarly dire consequences for professional sports. The fact that professional sports even survived the war is a testament to the gutsiness of the well-off owners of sports teams and the “luck” of those not able to serve for one reason or another. The National Football League was not ...

Inspirational Autobiography By Sportscaster James Brown

By C Douglas Baker On January - 8 - 2010
The Role of a Lifetime: Reflections on Faith, Family, and Significant Living by James Brown with Nathan WhitakerFaithWords, September 2009 This book is part autobiography and part testimonial to a Christian way of life. Maybe, in some ways, people could see it as a self-help book, but that's not exactly a good description of this work. Here, Brown talks about his life growing up in a modest Washington, D.C. neighborhood and being the first member of his family to go to college, and Harvard at that. He went on a basketball scholarship and had dreams of playing in the NBA. Once he ...

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