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Buck O’Neil once described him as “Ty Cobb, Babe Ruth, and Tris Speaker rolled into one.” Among experts he is regarded as the best player in Negro Leagues history. During his prime he became a legend in Cuba and one of black America’s most popular figures. Yet even among serious sports fans, Oscar Charleston is virtually unknown today. In a long career spanning from 1915 to 1954, Charleston played against, managed, befriended, and occasionally fought men such as Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Lefty Grove, Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson, Jesse Owens, Roy Campanella, and Branch Rickey. He displayed tremendous power, speed, and defensive instincts along with a fierce intelligence and commitment to his craft. Charleston’s competitive fire sometimes brought him trouble, but more often it led to victories, championships, and profound respect. While Charleston never played in the Major Leagues, he was a trailblazer who became the first black man to work as a scout for a Major League team when Branch Rickey hired him to evaluate players for the Dodgers in the 1940s. From the mid‐1920s on, he was a player‐manager for several clubs. In 1932 he joined the Pittsburgh Crawfords and would manage the club many consider the finest Negro League team of all time, featuring five future Hall of Famers, including himself, Cool Papa Bell, Josh Gibson, Judy Johnson, and Satchel Paige. Charleston’s combined record as a player, manager, and scout makes him the most accomplished figure in black baseball history. His mastery of the quintessentially American sport under the conditions of segregation revealed what was possible for black achievement, bringing hope to millions. Oscar Charleston introduces readers to one of America’s greatest and most fascinating athletes.
An All-Pro line-up of writers including Red Smith, Frank Deford, Jimmy Breslin, George Plimpton, Richard Price, Charles Pierce, Michael Lewis, and Roy Blount Jr tackle our most popular pastime: Since football’s meteoric rise in the mid-twentieth century, the standout writers on the sport have gone behind and beyond the spectacle to reveal the complexity, the contradictions, and the deeper humanity at the heart of the game. Now, in a landmark collection, The Library of America brings together the very best of their work: gems of deadline reportage, incisive longform profiles of football’s storied figures, and autobiographical accounts by players and others close to the game. Celebrating the sport without shying away from its sometimes devastating personal and social costs, the forty-four pieces gathered here testify to football’s boundless capacity to generate outsized characters and memorable tales.
A first-of-its-kind celebration of the newspaper scribes who made sportswriting a glorious popular art, and immortalized America's greatest games and athletes Spanning nearly a century, The Great American Sports Page presents essential columns from more than three dozen masters of the press-box craft. These unforgettable dispatches from World Series, Super Bowls, and title bouts for the ages were written on deadline with passion, spontaneity, humor, and a gift for the memorable phrase. Read avidly day in and day out by a sports-mad public, these columnists became journalistic celebrities in their home cities, their coverage trusted and savored, their opinions hotly debated. Some even helped change the games they wrote about. Gathered here in a groundbreaking anthology, their writings capture some of sport's most enduring moments and many of its all-time greats: Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali, and Michael Jordan among them. But the best American sportswriters also found ways to write powerfully about lesser-known athletes and to convey, often with heartbreaking honesty and insight, the less glamorous and more tragic facets of the games we love. In its survey of the finest American sportswriting from Ring Lardner to Thomas Boswell, from Red Smith and Jimmy Cannon to Bob Ryan and Michael Wilbon, The Great American Sports Page takes the measure of the human richness, complexity, and competitive spirit of sports and the athletes who continue to fascinate and inspire us.

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