90 Road Swing
BY STEVE RUSHIN (1998)
SI'S Rushin Logged 23,658 miles in a rented Nissan Pathfinder for this hilarious travelogue of sports destinations high (the Masters) and low (the Las Vegas restaurant that displays Andre Agassi's ponytail). A ball-sy Kerouac-ian journey, minus the mind-altering drugs.
91 Golf in the Kingdom
BY MICHAEL MURPHY (1972)
The enchanting first half of the book recounts Murphy's golf-and life-altering round with Scottish "philosopher-poet" Shivas Irons. The second half, in which Murphy floats his loopy metaphysical insights, will have some readers begging for a mulligan.
92 Game Misconduct
BY RUSS CONWAY (1995)
Dogged reporting by small-town sports editor Conway brought down Alan Eagleson, once hockey's most powerful man. The author's legwork uncovered how Eagleson, working as both an agent and as head of the players' union, cheated players out of a small fortune.
93 No Cheering in the Press Box
BY JEROME HOLTZMAN (1973)
This oral history of 18 golden-age sportswriters shows that greats such as Cannon, Gallico and Smith could talk it as well as they wrote it. Cannon sums up their philosophy: "Sportswriting has survived because of the guys who don't cheer. They're the truth-tellers. Lies die."
94 Beer and Circus
BY MURRAY SPERBER (2000)
The author is the IU professor and Bobby Knight critic who took a leave due to threats from the General's loyalists, but this indictment of "Big-time U's" is Sperber's rightful legacy. He argues that large universities use sports to numb students to increasingly shoddy academics.
95 The Harder They Fall
BY BUDD SCHULBERG (1947)
This hard-boiled novel is loosely based on the gangster-driven rise and inevitable fall of the massive but glass-jawed heavyweight Primo Camera, with Toro Molina (Giant of the Andes) in the title role. The shady promoter and press flack are the real stars.[ New York Times best-seller][Made into a movie]
96 The Tumult and the Shouting
BY GRANTLAND RICE (1954)
The last of the estimated 67 million words written by Rice; he completed this autobiography three weeks before his death. The book is showing its age, but it also displays the poetry ("Outlined against the blue-gray October sky") that made Rice king of his profession.[Out of print][ New York Times best-seller]
BY ROBERT LIPSYTE (1975)
This angry screed is Lipsyte at his combative best as he rips the lazy sportswriters, establishment nabobs, team owners and TV executives who he says have hoodwinked the public into believing that big-time sports are a "positive force on our national psyche."[Out of print]
98 The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars and Motor Kings
BY WILLIAM BRASHLER (1973)
Rather than accept a shoddy contract from the Louisville Ebony Aces, star catcher Bingo Long forms his own team and hits the barnstorming road. Brashler befriended former Negro leagues stars while doing research, and he repays them with a warm portrayal of their humor and heartbreak.[Made into a movie]
99 The Miracle of Castel di Sangro
BY JOE MCGINNISS (1999)
The author of fatal vision spent a year in a tiny mountain hamlet 85 miles east of Rome covering the local soccer team, which had, improbably, qualified for Italy's Serie B league. The season ends with a twist that will shock readers as much as it did McGinniss.