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Holiday Gift Reading Guide 2020

Happy Holidays from the Great Fenway Park Writers Series! The members of the Steering Committee would like to post our recommended holiday gift reading. If you, like us, are always looking for a good book to read (either to give to someone else, or to add to your own holiday wishlist), these are great options! These are only a few of our favorites – for starters, we obviously would include the titles we have presented to you this year in the Great Fenway Park Writers Series!

  1. Paul Boghosian
  2. Donna E. Cohen
  3. Gordon Edes
  4. Dick Flavin

Paul Boghosian| President, HarborSide Films

These books are part of my own sports library. I’ve read them all. They all have their entertaining features, and they are all informative, and will provide insights and anecdotes—and in many good cases—lots of humor that will brighten your holiday season. Some of these books are directed towards younger readers and others may be better suited to those of a certain “vintage” age

Paul Boghosian’s Christmas And Hanukah Book-Giving List: My Merry Thirteen Books:

Auker, Elden, “Sleeper Cars And Flannel Uniforms: a Lifetime Of Memories From Striking Out Babe To Teeing It Up With The President”

This is for the true baseball fan, who loves to talk about old-time baseball was so much better than the contemporary game, and who revels in the storytelling of the ball players of an earlier generation. Auker was noted for his submarine delivery and his offbeat and oftentimes hilarious stories. This book is ideal for the fan who remembers when ballplayers traveled by train and the game was played in the midafternoon. I love the anecdotes, and perhaps you will too.

Benedict, Jeff, “The Dynasty”

I’ve never been an inside football guy;  as I am with inside baseball—but you can’t believe how entertaining and enlightening the anecdotes are on Bob Kraft, Tom Brady, and, of course, the maestro himself, Bill Belichik. You will learn more about these personalities than you ever thought you would know—and the ingredients of success of the Patriots’ dynasty can carry over into both public and private business organizations.

Cramer, Richard Ben, “Joe DiMaggio: The Hero’s Life”

This characterization of what many Yankees fans think is the noblest of them all, Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio of 56 games in a row fame, and his even-grater exploits with Marilyn Monroe. This biography of DiMaggio  will dazzle and astound you with his stories insights into the true Joe: a man who is less than a hero in his personal life, and who diminished himself through his  retirement activities. A must-read for all baseball aficionados intrigued about the roots of the Yankee dynasty  and into the Yankee personalities from the 1930s into the 1950s. Give this gift to Yankees fans. They may never forgive you.

Flavin, Dick, “Red Sox Rhymes: Verses And Curses”

The cleverest and nicest man in the Red Sox universe has written a book for all seasons, for all gift-giving possibilities. It’s impossible not to smile, and, at times, laugh uproariously, at the creative touches of the Poet Laureate Of The Boston Red Sox.

Garner, Joe, “And The Crowd Goes Wild: Relive The Most Celebrated Sporting Events Ever Broadcast”

This book comes with a CD, and is a marvelous gift for your young ones just getting into baseball, and who would be intrigued by the history, the magnificent moments that bring both attendees and players to their feet in admiration and astonishment. This book is a wonderful pictorial history on the great moments of baseball, and will remind you, once again, why you love the game.

Lidz, Frank, “Fairway To Hell: Around The World In 18 Holes”

For golf nuts like myself this little book given to me by my nephew several years ago, will fill you with insights and reminders and solemn   thoughts on the beauty and grace of the game and why we love to play it.

Linn, Ed, “Hitter: The Life And Turmoils Of Ted Williams”

This was one of the first of what we might refer to as an “inclusive biography” of the greatest hitter of all time. Ed Linn knew Ted for many years going back decades, and as editor of Sports Magazine he made Ted the cover story on numerous occasions. He covers the high points and low points of his career and is a good primer on Ted’s professional career and relationships.

Montville, Leigh, “Ted Williams: The Biography Of An American Hero”

This is my favorite biography on Ted, by the famed and always extremely brilliant and insightful former sports columnist of the Boston Globe. If you only want to read one book on Ted, this is probably the one. He covers his entire life, and the book is filled with memorable anecdotes and personality portraits, not only of Ted but of his teammates and the players he competed against—and has a few words on Ted’s relationship with the press as well.

Nathanson, Mitchell, “Bouton: The Life Of A Baseball Original”

This biography just came out this year. It will be featured in an upcoming Fenway Park Writers Series Zoom event. I recommend that you read the book in advance. As I was coming of age in my understanding of baseball in the 1960s, I found this book to be a great read.  You will receive an unvarnished portrait of Bouton and his Yankee contemporaries of the 1960s and what really happened in the Clubhouse. This book is a wonderful companion piece for those of us who read “Ball Four” several years ago. This is the best baseball biography I read this year. You won’t be disappointed.

Pomerantz, Gary, “The Last Pass: Cousy, Russel, The Celtics, And What Matters In The End”

This book we featured earlier in the fall, and for those of us who came alive with the Celtics in the 1950s this is a must-read as you will learn from the points of view of the Celtics’ greatest icons: Cousy and Russell, and what they experienced as teammates and as individuals in the hothouse of Boston race and politics of the 1950s and 60s. The anecdotes and the portraits of the enduring friendship between Cousy and Russell are crisply and, at times, excitingly drawn by the perceptive writing of Pomerantz. This is a must-read for Celtics fans.

Stout, Glenn, Johnson, Richard J, “Red Sox Century: One Hundred Years Of Red Sox Baseball”

This is another wonderful picture-book with great stories of the Red Sox and their first 100 years. This is a great gift book for your mature adolescents and teenagers who want to know where Red Sox madness came from—and for the younger generation who has only experience 4 World Championships this century—this book will remind them how lucky they’ve been not to experience the tears sand disappointments of previous generations. The stories and pictures are wonderful.

Sullivan, Frank, “Life Is More Than 9 Innings: Memories Of A Boston Red Sox Pitcher”

This is an offbeat book to recommend. I enjoyed it because Frank Sullivan, along with Jackie Jensen are the 1950s stars I most followed—aside from the Splendid Splinter, of course.   Frank spoke at a Bosox Club luncheon a number of years ago. He was retired in Hawaii at that time, along with his battery-mate Sammy White. His stories of his career and of Red Sox life in the 1950s are all priceless and all told from a personal point of view. Frank impressed us all at the Bosox Club with his humility and humor, and all that is included in his autobiography. A rare read on a precious period of Red Sox baseball lore.

Williams, Claudia, “Ted Williams, My Father”

For years I spoke to my sister Marilyn, and she couldn’t care a penny about anything to do with Williams; until she read this book. This is a very personal story as you can imagine. Claudia pulls no punches and tells it like it is—actually, like it was—growing up as Ted Williams’ daughter. Claudia impressed us all with her star turn at a Fenway Park Writers Series about five years ago. It’s a terrific gift for a daughter, or actually any fan interested in the effect that a superstar, one-of-a-kind athlete can have on the most personal relationships in his life.


Donna E. Cohen | Attorney and Principal, Donna Cohen Strategies

Baseball

Flavin, Dick, “Red Sox Rhymes, Verses and Curses”

Mellor, Dave, “One Base at a Time: How I Survived PTSD and Found My Field of Dreams”

Cafardo, Nick, “100 Things Red Sox Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die”

Forward by Dave Roberts

Castiglione, Joe, “Can You Believe It?”

Remy, Jerry, Cafardo, Nick, and McDonough, Sean, “If These Walls Could Talk: Boston Red Sox”

Kurkjian, Tim, “I’m Fascinated by Sacrifice Flies: Inside the Game We All Love”

Women in Baseball

Bob, Luke, “The Most Famous Woman in Baseball: Effa Manley and the Negro Leagues”

Borders, Ila Jane, “Making My Pitch: A Woman’s Baseball Odyssey”

Children’s

Underwood, Malaika, “Birdie Can, Too!”

Illustrated by Anika Orrock

Van Auken, Lance and Van Auken, Robin, “Play Ball! The Story of Little League Baseball”


Gordon Edes | Freelance journalist, former Boston Red Sox Historian

This list is not intended to be exhaustive by any means. And I obviously would include the titles we have presented to you this year in the Great Fenway Park Writers Series.  These are just some favorites; I’m sorry I was limited to 10. Listed in alphabetical order.

Gordon Edes’ holiday list of sports books suitable for giving:

Duncan, David James, “The Brothers K”

Kriegel, Mark “Pistol: The Life of Pete Maravich”

Leavy, Jane, “The Big Fella: Babe Ruth and the World He Created”

Posnanski, Joe, “The Soul of Baseball: A Road Trip Through Buck O’Neil’s America”

Price, S.L., “Playing Through the Whistle: Steel, Football and an American Town”

Rapoport, Ron, “Let’s Play Two: The Legend of Mr. Cub, The Life of Ernie Banks”

Schulian, John, “Sometimes They Even Shook Your Hand: Portraits of Champions Who Walked Among Us”

Tye, Larry, “Satchel: The Life and Times of an American Legend”

Vaccaro, Mike, “The First Fall Classic: The Red Sox, the Giants and the Cast of Players, Pugs and Politicos Who Reinvented the World Series in 1912.”

Winegardner, Mark, “The Veracruz Blues”


Dick Flavin

In Memoriam

George Mitrovich

Chairman
The Great Fenway Park Writers Series

(1935-2019)

A message from Dick Flavin:

As many of you know, George Mitrovich, the founder and keeper of the flame of The Great Fenway Park Writers Series, passed away on July 24 in his native San Diego, California. George had many dear friends in the Boston area and was a much loved member of the Red Sox family who will be greatly missed. A memorial service will be held in San Diego in August when the Red Sox are scheduled to play there. George was a unique personality whose enthusiasm for baseball, the Red Sox and books was contagious. The Writers Series is the only literary series sponsored by a baseball team, a fact of which the Red Sox are proud and for which they are greatly indebted to George. Please remember our great friend in your thoughts and prayers.

John Updike – A Tribute

A great writer creates a world of his own and his readers are proud to live in it.

Cyril Connolly

In my role as chairman of The Great Fenway Park Writers Series for the Red Sox, I tried several times to persuade John Updike, the literary immortal, to come to Fenway and speak at one of our luncheons. I thought it would be an easy sale, as Mr. Updike lived not far away in Beverly Farms, but to my very great regret those efforts failed – and now the great man is gone.

Jackie Robinson – A Tribute

On March 2nd, 2005, in the Great Rotunda of the Capitol of the United States, President George W. Bush presented to Rachel Robinson the Congressional Gold Medal, given posthumously in honor of her late husband, Jackie Robinson. Ms. Robinson’s daughter, Sharon, and her son, David, were present at the special ceremony, as were Congressional leaders and more than 500 people.The Congressional Gold Medal given Mr. Robinson took place 58 years after he became the first black player in major league baseball. It is worthy of note that the first recipient of the Gold Medal, the nation’s highest civilian award, was first presented to George Washington.

Civil Society and the Boston Red Sox

Community is a word often invoked. Its usage, however, has so many subtexts its meaning is frequently puzzling; it’s become a coin of the realm word, but the value of its coinage is devalued; its unspecific nature confounds the public’s understanding.

To be sure community is a wholly valid word. The Latin of its origin denotes its honorable lineage. But its application in today’s society is so common that one wonders what specifically does it mean? When one says “community” to what “community” does one refer? There is an African-American community, Hispanic community, Asian community, business community, education community, arts community, faith community – but there is no one specific community unless otherwise designated.

Community has thus become a self-limiting word. Its overuse leading to its misuse.

There is a better expression, an all-encompassing phrase – “civil society.” That phrase speaks to interests beyond one group, reminding us America’s greatness is indivisible from participation by all its communities, for only by coming together in behalf of one great civil society are the interests of all served – and the life of our nation strengthened.

Original “About Us” Page


Originally written by our late Chairman, George Mitrovich, this text that used to adorn the About Us section of the website still describes the principles of the Great Fenway Park Writers Series today.


Fenway Park Writers Series written up in Boston Globe

Boston Globe Columnist Brian McGrory has taken an interest in the Great Fenway Park Writers Series, another of the public forums supported by President George Mitrovich and wrote a fabulous column in yesterday’s paper. You can read the full article by clicking here. It’s a very well written piece, giving a brief history of the founding of the Series and the people who make it all possible.

“Ben Bradlee Jr. is responsible for persuading McGrory The Writers Series was worth a column,” said George Mitrovich, Chairman of the Series.  “I’m grateful.”

The Denver Forum Celebrates 25 years

Our 25th anniversary luncheon last Friday was by any measure, an exceptional event. But 9,134 days after The Forum’s first event with Senator Alan Simpson, March 1, 1985, should it have been anything less?

You Are What You Read

This article originally appeared in the Huffington Post.

Paras’ newsstand in San Diego’s North Park community has been there as long as I can remember (if only I could remember how long that’s been).

I love newsstands, and no matter where I’ve lived over the years, there have been newsstands in my life.

When we lived in Pasadena and Whittier, I thought nothing of driving to Hollywood to a newsstand that first opened in 1937 (no, I didn’t make the opening). Then and now the stand had just about everything – from foreign newspapers and magazines to the broadest possible range of American periodicals. Why would I make that trip? because neither Whittier nor Pasadena offered anything comparable.

Buck O’Neil – The Human Spirit Triumphant

By
George Mitrovich
9 October 2006

Buck O’Neil at age 94 has passed into the eternal presence of God; the God he believed in, the God he loved, the God he worshipped, and the God he honored by the quality and character of his life – not least his loving acceptance of others, of their inherent dignity as God’s children. His death came in Kansas City, where he lived, and where his greatest achievement stands – the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.