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New Rochelle Author Jeff Pearlman's Five Favorite Sports Books


New Rochelle’s Jeff Pearlman, who spent five years covering the major leagues for Sports Illustrated, is the author of five books. Three of those, including his most recent, Sweetness: The Enigmatic Life of Walter Payton, were New York Times bestsellers. Here, he recommends five “don’t miss” books for sports fans’ Kindles.

1) A False Spring (Pat Jordan)
Pearlman calls this “dazzling” memoir of a former minor-league pitcher “a wild, heartwarming, and heartbreaking journey through the ranks of baseball in the sixties.” While Jordan is now known as one of America’s best sportswriters, Pearlman says, “Before he picked up a pen, he was an aspiring pitcher with mediocre stuff.”

2) Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig  (Jonathan Eig)
While the author of this biography of Lou Gehrig is best known for his Wall Street Journal work, this book, says Pearlman, “speaks to the power of dogged reporting meeting artful writing.” That Eig was somehow able to uncover new private Gehrig letters and papers, he adds, gives it a
fresh feel even all these years after his death.

3) Transition Game: How Hoosiers Went Hip-Hoop (L. Jon Wertheim)
Pearlman confesses that he never cared much about Indiana high school basketball—until he read this. “Being a New Yorker, it’s sort of hard to grasp the intensity and craziness of Midwest prep hoops. But Wertheim really brings it to life with color and texture. And it helps that the guy’s a fantastic writer.”

4) Joe DiMaggio: The Hero’s Life (Richard Ben Cramer)
People talk about the power of Jim Bouton’s Ball Four when it comes to showing the warts of pro athletes. But, Perlman says, “this meticulously researched biography of DiMaggio takes a false image—stoic, graceful, and larger than life—and shows that the mighty Joe D was, well, very human and very flawed.”

5) Namath: A Biography (Mark Kriegel)
“Supposedly, Namath was furious about this book,” Pearlman says, “which is often the sign of a top-rate work.” Kriegel wrote for the Daily News for years, Pearlman adds, “so he has a very real, very gritty understanding of New York—a fact that enables him to deftly explain Namath’s adjustment to the Big Apple, and how the city came to embrace—and define—him.



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