By Budd Bailey
I read plenty of books during the course of the year, and a good percentage of them are about sports.
Therefore, when the end of the year arrives, I feel relatively well qualified to write up a list of my favorites from the past 12 months. It’s an old journalistic trick to fill space in the holidays.
I have written up a list of 10 books that I read in the past year, and I think you might like to read at some point. They all weren’t written in 2018, but they all were read in 2018.
I have included links to reviews of these 10 books on my blog about such matters. Just click on the title. Next year, I’ll have links to books reviewed on this site.
The Last Pass – Gary M. Pomerantz – Bob Cousy opens up about his relationship with Bill Russell and pro basketball’s greatest dynasty.
Collision of Wills – Jack Gilder – Who knew that Johnny Unites and Don Shula didn’t get along in the Sixties? Jack Gilder does. Fans of that era will enjoy this one.
Football for a Buck – Jeff Pearlman – Maybe my favorite read of 2018. It certainly was the funniest. Pearlman’s look back at the USFL works extremely well.
The Breakaway – Bryan Smith – How the Chicago Blackhawks got good enough to win the Stanley Cup. Maybe there will be a sequel about what has happened lately.
Golden Days – Jack McCallum – The West Coast offense comes to life, basketball version. McCallum remains one of my favorite writers about hoops.
Unbeaten – Mike Stanton – This should rank as the definitive biography of Rocky Marciano, the great heavyweight boxing champion.
The Arena – Rafi Kohan – You might have some new thoughts about the building hosting your favorite team after reading this.
99 – Wayne Gretzky with Kirstie McLellan Day – Wayne adds some personal stories to some big moments in hockey history. No. 99 is diplomatic as always, but there are some good stories here.
Cooperstown Casebook – Jay Jaffe – Don’t cast your Baseball Hall of Fame ballot without it.
Baseball Prospectus – Edited by Aaron Gleeman and Bret Sayer – I wouldn’t think of starting the baseball season without reading this. Of course, it is a little dated now.
(Follow Budd on Twitter @WDX2BB.)