Thursday, May 31, 2012

Book Review: Over Time by Frank Deford

Hardcover: 351 pages
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press (May 1, 2012)

Over Time is not just a sportswriter’s memoir but a history of American Sportswriting.  Frank Deford is a genius for making it work.  There's a reason that he is one of the most respected sportswriters of his generation.

I zipped through the first 300 pages over Memorial Day weekend and I probably would have finished the book, too, had their been a few more hours in the day!

In Over Time, the longtime Sports Illustrated writer reminisces about some of his favorite moments in sports and some of his favorite sportswriters.  Deford takes us back to the days of when SI was just becoming what it is today.  The relationship between sportswriters and athletes in the 1960s is not what it is today.  Can you imagine NBA players today going out with any writer to a bar after the game, where the writer pays for the drinks?  It happened in Deford's early days, when the NBA was "bush."

There’s some mentions of Kentucky—mainly Lexington but just briefly.  Deford visited former Kentucky Wildcat Frank Ramsey at home to interview him about the tricks of the Celtics.  This was the only time that Deford made the cover of the sports magazine.

Deford goes into detail on how he became an editor for a daily sports newspaper, The National, which failed—of course—but not because of him.  Rather, in the age prior to the internet, it would be because of delivery issues.

Deford’s book is a must-own for sports fans.  If you prefer not to own it, try and find it at your library and read it.  You won’t regret it.  It’s a fun read and a rather fast one.  It's storytelling and sports history in one place.

Grade: A

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