Archive for October 2011

In this remarkable sports book, Knocking on Heaven’s Door, Marty Dobrow explores the “anguish of almost” as he examines the lives of six minor league baseball players who are so close to something they want so much, something they have always wanted, but something they still might not get. What links them together, aside from their common goal of wanting to play on a major league team, is they are all represented by the same team of agents whose own aspirations parallel those of the players they represent.

In a starred review, Publishers Weekly called the book, “A beautifully written, meticulously orchestrated account of the families, common agents, notable triumphs, and devastating failures of half a dozen talented young men who want to play in the Major Leagues.”

Marty Dobrow is an associate professor at Springfield College.  He has written for the Boston Globe, Sports Illustrated, and the International Herald Tribune.  Five of Marty's pieces have earned recognition in the "Best American Sports Writing" series.

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70 years ago.  The summer of 1941.  Young American men were being drafted for war. The nation was apprehensive. Yet for two months, America was captivated by Joe DiMaggio’s astonishing hitting streak -- the most resonant baseball achievement of all time.

In 56, Kostya Kennedy tells the remarkable story of how the streak found its way into countless lives, from the Italian kitchens of Newark to the playgrounds of Queens to the San Francisco streets; from the Oval Office of FDR to the Upper West Side apartment where Joe’s first wife, Dorothy, the movie starlet, was expecting a child. DiMaggio emerges in a new light, a 26-year-old on the cusp of becoming an icon. He comes alive -- a driven ballplayer, a mercurial star and a conflicted husband -- as the tension and the scrutiny upon him build with each passing day.  DiMaggio’s feat lives as the greatest sports record.

Alongside the story of the dramatic quest, Kennedy examines the nature of hitting streaks and with an incisive, modern-day perspective gets inside the number itself, as its sheer improbability heightens the magic of 56 games in a row.

Kostya Kennedy, a senior editor at Sports Illustrated, writes on a wide range of subjects. Before joining SI, he was a staff writer at Newsday and contributed to The New York Times and The New Yorker. Kennedy earned an M.S. from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, from which he received a Pulitzer Fellowship. He has taught in the graduate journalism programs at Columbia and at N.Y.U.

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