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Fiction: Sports

Fiction: Sports

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Man on Spikes, Asinof, Eliot
1 Asinof, Eliot Man on Spikes
New York McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc. (c.1955) NO First Edition Hardcover Very Good+ in Good dj Illustrated by (dj design) Volney Croswell 
[moderate shelfwear to bottom edge and top of spine; jacket has a few small closed tears, some paper loss at top spine corners, general rubbing and edgewear]. A "realistic, powerful, and outspoken novel about the world of professional baseball," by the author of one of the undisputed non-fiction classics in the field, "Eight Men Out," about the 1919 Black Sox scandal. 
Price: 45.00 USD
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Sometimes You See It Coming, Baker, Kevin
2 Baker, Kevin Sometimes You See It Coming
New York Crown Publishers Inc. (c.1993) 0-517-59088-3 / 9780517590881 First Edition Hardcover Near Fine in Near Fine dj Illustrated by (dj design) Corsillo/Manzone 
[nice copy, apparently unread, small red "A" at upper corner of rear pastedown; jacket shows just the slightest trace of handling wear]. The author' s first novel, and a classic of modern baseball fiction. Although set in the modern era, the book's protagonist, John Barr, who plays "with a single-minded ferocity that makes his New York Mets team all but invincible," was reportedly based somewhat on the legendary Ty Cobb. 
Price: 10.00 USD
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Love Forty, Barker, Robert
3 Barker, Robert Love Forty
Philadelphia/New York J. B. Lippincott Company (c.1975) 0-397-01069-9 / 9780397010691 First Edition Hardcover Near Fine in Fine dj Illustrated by (dj) Robert Handville 
[nice copy, minimal wear to bottom edge, previous owner's signature on ffep]. "Relentlessly realistic novel of the United States tennis circuit," by an author who was himself a highly-ranked player. 
Price: 15.00 USD
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Balls, Bechard, Gorman
4 Bechard, Gorman Balls
New York Plume/Penguin 1995 0-452-27294-7 / 9780452272941 First Edition Softcover Very Good+ Illustrated by (cover design) Melissa Jacoby 
[covers clean and bright, tiny nick at right edge of front cover, very slight bump/dog-earing to bottom right corner of front cover]. Trade PB "It's the year 2000 [ahem], and baseball has changed dramatically. Dan Quayle is the new commissioner, the Yankees have moved to New Jersey, and the Supreme Court has ruled that women can play in the major leagues. Enter Louise 'Balls' Gehrig, sporting baby blue eyes and a smile that can steal a heart almost as quickly as she can steal a base. As first baseperson for the expansion Manhattan Meteorites, she's about to break baseball's gender barrier and change America's pastime forever." A trade paperback original. 
Price: 12.00 USD
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Little League Victory, Bishop, Curtis
5 Bishop, Curtis Little League Victory
Philadelphia/New York J. B. Lippincott Company (c.1967) NO First Edition Hardcover Good in Very Good+ dj Illustrated by (dj) Francis Chauncy 
[ex-library book with typical markings (incl. pocket on ffep), spine moderately turned, page edges a bit soiled, tape marks on covers; the jacket, however, is quite nice-looking and makes this a very presentable copy; the front panel and spine are basically flawless, but there is some discoloration along left edge of rear panel due to internal tape-repair of a long vertical tear]. 
Price: 15.00 USD
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Out at the Old Ball Game, Bookbinder, Bernie
6 Bookbinder, Bernie Out at the Old Ball Game
Bridgehampton NY Bridge Works Publishing Co. 1995 1-882593-09-X / 9781882593095 First Edition Hardcover Very Good in Very Good dj 
[spine very slightly turned; one tiny tear in dj at bottom of spine]. A "Runyonesque" (it sez here) novel about a major league first baseman -- the only star player on a failing team -- who comes out as gay, whereupon the team's sleazy manager takes advantage of the situation by "outing" other closeted ballplayers and shaking up the "high-testosterone world of American baseball" by assembling the first all-gay team. 
Price: 8.00 USD
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Blue Ruin: A Novel of the 1919 World Series, Boyd, Brendan
7 Boyd, Brendan Blue Ruin: A Novel of the 1919 World Series
New York W. W. Norton & Co. (c.1991) 0393030202 / 9780393030204 First Edition Hardcover Fine in Near Fine dj Illustrated by (dj design) Jack Ribik 
[nice tight unread copy, minimal handling wear; jacket shows minor surface wear, vertical scuff line on rear panel]. 
Price: 8.00 USD
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Out of Bounds, Cannon, Ralph
8 Cannon, Ralph Out of Bounds
Chicago The Reilly & Lee Co. (c.1937) First Edition Hardcover Near Fine in Very Good dj Illustrated by (photographic dust jacket) 
[minimal shelfwear, slight fading to cloth at spine ends; jacket edgeworn, short ragged closed tear at top of front panel, shorter closed tear at top of rear panel, rubbing/scuffing to rear panel]. Juvenile novel with a college football background. A tough street kid from Little Italy, "where the gang played a lawless game, with no rules, no standards, no loyalties," goes to the University, and "finds on the football field that there is something more than that, something finer and more lasting." (That would be in addition to the traumatic brain injury, I guess.) Oh, it's this: "The team-spirit, the loyalty to one another and to the coach and -- lastly -- to the school, is a revelation to him, a complete re-education." The author was a Chicago sportswriter during the 1920s and 1930s; he had written an earlier football-themed book, "Grid Star," and later turned out an historical novel, "Lee on the Levee." 
Price: 75.00 USD
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Ladies and Gents, Caspary, Vera
9 Caspary, Vera Ladies and Gents
New York Grosset & Dunlap [1930] (c.1929) Reprint Hardcover Very Good+ in Good dj 
[slight deterioration to binding at spine ends, otherwise a solid clean book with only minor shelfwear; jacket has a one-inch chip at top right corner of front panel, additional chipping at bottom of rear panel, a bit of paper loss at both ends of spine, rubbing/scuffing on spine and front panel]. First novel by the Chicago-born author who turned out over twenty novels during her career (plus a bunch of plays and screenplays), but is ultimately remembered almost entirely for just one: "Laura." This early work tells "the saga of a shimmy shaker -- little Rosina Monticelli, who rose from the obscurity of a carnival show to become the Sweetheart of American Vaudeville and the Queen of Musical Comedy." The book's copyright page declares it a "Second printing August 1929," but that's likely a holdover from the original plates; the fact that the front jacket flap blurbs Caspary as the author of "White Girl" and "Music in the Street" dates this reprint more accurately as 1930 or possibly even 1931. Very scarce in any edition, even jacketless; this reissue jacket reproduces the art of the first edition jacket, with the exception of the addition of a front-panel slug plugging "[The] White Girl." [Note that at least one source I consulted states that "The White Girl" was published in January 1929, and implies that "Ladies and Gents" was written first but wasn't published for two years because of a "publishers delay," whatever that means; the latter assertion is obviously incorrect, however, which in turn makes me dubious about that January 1929 date -- especially since the copyright page on this edition (again, probably printed from the Century Company plates) dates the first printing as July 1929.] 
Price: 250.00 USD
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The Backyard Five [*SIGNED*], Cox, William R.
10 Cox, William R. The Backyard Five [*SIGNED*]
New York Dodd, Mead & Company (c.1973) 0-396-06810-3 / 9780396068105 First Edition Hardcover Near Fine in Very Good+ dj Illustrated by (dj design) Neil Waldman Signed by Author
[slight wear to heel of spine, faint dust-soiling to top edge; jacket very lightly soiled, small closed tear at bottom rear hinge with associated diagonal crease in rear panel]. INSCRIBED briefly ("Mark -- / Best of luck -- ") and SIGNED by the author on the ffep. Juvenile fiction about a team of 12-year-olds in the "Valley Basketball League." The Valley in question isn't identified by name, but it's probably the San Fernando Valley, given that the team's coaches -- the father of one of the boys and the uncle of another -- both work in the entertainment industry, one as a TV cameraman and the other as "one of the few Negro stunt men in films." Per the jacket blurb, the author (1901-1988) had "written fifty books, including several sports stories for Dodd, Mead, [and] works in television and motion pictures on occasion." IMDb shows numerous TV credits for him during the 1950s and 1960s (mostly Westerns), along with a handful of inconsequential big-screen credits (THE VEILS OF BAGDAD, JESSE JAMES' WOMEN, and the like). He also wrote under a variety of pseudonyms, including Mike Frederic, John Parkhill, Joel Reeve, Roger G. Spellman, and Jonas Ward. Signed by Author 
Price: 25.00 USD
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Chappie and Me: An Autobiographical Novel, Craig, John
11 Craig, John Chappie and Me: An Autobiographical Novel
New York Dodd, Mead & Company (c.1979) 0-396-07660-2 / 9780396076605 First Edition Hardcover Good in Very Good dj Illustrated by (dj painting) Higgins Bond 
[presentable ex-library book, minor wear, with small library stamps on ffep, all page edges, and in margins of occasional pages; two "DISCARD" stamps on ffep, inked call number on copyright page, tape marks on front and rear boards; the jacket is quite nice apart from some slight yellowing of the spine except the small spot where the call number label has been removed]. Baseball/coming-of-age novel, set in 1939, about a young white first baseman who dons blackface in order to go barnstorming through the Midwest (both in Canada, where the narrative begins, and the U.S.) as a member of a Negro Leagues team, "Chappie Johnson & His Colored All Stars." The author acknowledges that the book is a memoir in the form of a novel, stating in a brief preface: "In essence, this is a true story. I know because I was there. But it is told under the novelist's license to shape time and place to his purpose. Let it be the more real for that." Its primary value, indeed, is likely as an eyewitness account of the day-to-day lives of African-American ballplayers of that era; in fact, the great majority of the book takes place off the playing field, as the team makes its way through one tank-town after another, dealing with often unpleasant racial and economic realities. (George "Chappie" Johnson, by the way, was an active player from 1896 through 1921, and continued as a manager through 1939.) A native of Peterborough, Ontario, Craig wrote a number of autobiographically-informed novels, and often dealt (as here) with issues of social taboo and racial prejudice. This book, called his "finest achievement" by The Canadian Encyclopedia, was also adapted into a play (co-written by the author), "Ain't Lookin'," in 1981. 
Price: 20.00 USD
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Noonan: A Novel About Baseball, ESP, and Time Warps, Fisher, Leonard Everett
12 Fisher, Leonard Everett Noonan: A Novel About Baseball, ESP, and Time Warps
Garden City NY Doubleday & Co. (c.1978) 0-385-11692-6 / 9780385116923 First Edition Hardcover Very Good+ in Very Good dj Illustrated by the author 
[book slightly twisted on its axis, a bit of wear at spine extremities; jacket has some spots on rear panel, mild wear at corners, one tiny chip at top of spine]. 
Price: 12.00 USD
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Getting Blue, Gethers, Peter
13 Gethers, Peter Getting Blue
New York Delacorte Press (c.1987) 0-385-29523-5 / 9780385295239 First Edition Hardcover Fine in Near Fine dj Illustrated by (dj design) Fred Marcellino 
[beautiful copy, tight and clean, apparently unread, with no discernible wear; jacket similarly nice, bright and clean, but slightly marred by a teensy-tiny tear and small associated crease at top of front panel, and some minor bumping/wrinkling at spine ends]. A baseball novel that's ever so much more than that -- it's "about one man's life and the many lives he touches. It is about a twenty-five-year marriage and the nature and results of love; it is about friendship and the vulnerability that comes with trust; it is about a group of people who are trying to survive their dreams and the 'little tragedies' that constantly surround them." A modern classic of the genre, and for good reason. 
Price: 75.00 USD
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The Dark House in Florissant, Kauffman, Reginald Wright
14 Kauffman, Reginald Wright The Dark House in Florissant
Philadelphia Henry Altemus Company (c.1927) First Edition Hardcover Very Good in Very Good dj Illustrated by (dj) John Drew 
[binding solid, moderate wear to book at extremities, tiny vintage bookseller's label on rear pastedown; jacket has tiny tears and a bit of paper loss at most corners (Popular Fiction Series) Series Murder mystery set in Geneva, Switzerland; issued in this publisher's "Popular Fiction Series." Kauffman was a prolific author of all sorts of fiction, from serious social-issue material to magazine fluff. 
Price: 50.00 USD
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Just Another Love Story, Knudson, R.R.
15 Knudson, R.R. Just Another Love Story
New York Farrar Straus Giroux 1983 0-374-33967-8 / 9780374339678 First Edition Hardcover Very Good+ in Very Good+ dj Illustrated by (dj design) Fred Marcellino 
[solid clean copy, light shelfwear; jacket shows a little wear at extremities, minor soiling to rear panel]. "Dusty Blaisdale loves Mariana Fleming. He loves he so helplessly that when she tells him she never wants to see him again, he drives his only other love, his car, into the Atlantic. But he's saved from drowning by Rush, the champion bodybuilder of Muscle Beach, Long Island. Rush promises to help Dusty win Mariana back if Dusty will join him and the other Iron Club members -- L.A., Gordon, Mr. Pop -- in training for bodybuilding contests. Dusty agrees to pump iron -- he'd do anything to get Mariana back." 
Price: 50.00 USD
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Wild and Outside, Lang, Allen Kim
16 Lang, Allen Kim Wild and Outside
Philadelphia Chilton Books (c.1965) First Edition Hardcover Near Fine in Very Good+ dj 
[tight and clean, just a trace of wear at spine ends; jacket rubbed a bit along edges, slight wear at corners, a little wrinkling at both ends of spine, but all in all a nice example of this very wear-prone jacket]. Ex-Mets shortstop Eddie Keenan (.342 in the team's second consecutive pennant-winning season) becomes Warrior Iddikinnin, drafted by Earth and dispatched across the galaxy to civilize the feudal economy of the planet Melon. "Allen Kim Lang has produced a hilarious blend of baseball, exobiology, ethnology, and pure fun in this glorious, slam-bang adventure, the story of baseball's introduction to an alien planet." Unusual blending of sci-fi and sports fiction, and an unfortunate omission from McCue's generally excellent baseball fiction bibliography. 
Price: 25.00 USD
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The Dreyfus Affair: A Love Story, Lefcourt, Peter
17 Lefcourt, Peter The Dreyfus Affair: A Love Story
New York Random House 1992 0-679-40344-2 / 9780679403449 First Edition Hardcover Very Good+ in Near Fine dj Illustrated by (dj design) Lawrence Ratzkin 
[spine turned, otherwise no significant wear]. "Consider the possibilities -- In the middle of a pennant race, a team's star shortshop falls in love with his second baseman." Lefcourt does consider those possiblities, and the result is this funny and touching novel. 
Price: 8.00 USD
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Squeeze Play, Lochlons, Colin
18 Lochlons, Colin Squeeze Play
New York Thomas Y. Crowell Company (c.1950) NO First Edition Hardcover Near Fine in Very Good dj 
(price-clipped) [minimal wear to book, nice and clean with slight age-toning to edges of text block; jacket lightly soiled, just a bit browned at edges of flaps, moderate wear along right edge of front panel, a touch of wear at spine ends]. Juvenile fiction about a small-town junior high school baseball team, centered around one particular team member, Mike Pavelec, a troubled kid from Detroit who has a difficult year adjusting to life in a new school -- but he's helped out by a friend "whose home life wsa so different from Mike's" and by his coach, but mostly by baseball itself: "It took a whole season's games and some sacrifice of pride to conquer himself." 
Price: 40.00 USD
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5 Good Boys, Rutman, Leo
19 Rutman, Leo 5 Good Boys
New York The Viking Press 1982 0-670-31704-7 / 9780670317042 First Edition Hardcover Very Good+ in Very Good+ dj Illustrated by (dj design) Bob Silverman 
[good solid copy, slight browning to top page edges, slight fading to boards along top/bottom edges; jacket faintly soiled, very minor chipping at top of spine]. A novel obviously inspired by the New York college basketball point-shaving scandal of the early 1950s. "A driven coach forges five good boys from the playgrounds and ghettos of Brooklyn and the Bronx into possibly the best team ever to play college basketball, a team that will win both the NCAA and NIT championships. The boys are street-smart but not wise enough to resist the easy money that comes from winning--by not too many points." [The non-fiction companion to this volume would be the classic "The Game They Played" by Stanley Cohen.] 
Price: 25.00 USD
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The World Is Mine: A Dramatic Love Story of the Prize Ring, Shoaf, Pal
20 Shoaf, Pal The World Is Mine: A Dramatic Love Story of the Prize Ring
Hollywood/New York Pal Shoaf Publishers, Inc. (c.1948) First Edition Hardcover Very Good+ in Very Good+ dj Illustrated by (dj illus) Wes Bennett 
[nice clean copy, spine slightly turned, minor soiling to top edge; jacket shows just a bit of wear at corners, a couple of tiny tears along top edge, one small chip at top of rear panel]. (B&W photo frontispiece) Self-published novel that practically screams "make me into a movie, PLEASE!" The author, described as a "former boxer" (my research has uncovered that he compiled a not-too-stunning 4-11-3 record between 1925 and 1932), must have also been a glad-hander par excellance: among the back-cover blurbers (under the banner "ACCLAIMED FROM COAST TO COAST") is none other than Frank Sinatra, who opined that it was "a terrific fight love story that held my interest all night [and] should be made into a motion picture so everyone can see it." Alas, this dream appears to have never materialized, and apparently Mr. Shoaf's movie career led straight to nowheresville. (By the way, the book's protagonist -- at least as depicted on the dust jacket, literally "on top the world" -- bears a suspicious resemblance to Joe Palooka.) 
Price: 100.00 USD
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