FFB: The Red Smith Reader

this is the 62nd in my series of forgotten books

The Red Smith Reader by Red Smith, edited by Dave Anderson, forward by Terence Smith, Random House 1982 hardcover – sports

With the summer upon us and baseball in (excuse this) full swing, I thought it was time for something of a sports nature, and what could be better than a book collecting 128 columns of one of the great sports writers of our times, or perhaps of times recently gone by, as newspaper sport columnists are a rare breed these days, having been replaced by 100-word opinion bits on websites and blogs.

Not so here. While Smith covered all the major sports and sports events, I’m of the opinion that his columns on baseball, of which there are many in this collection, are his best work. If you prefer another sport you’ll find things to please you here as well: the book is divided into these sections:

Olympics, Racing, Football, Baseball, Politics, Other Sports, Fishing, Offbeat, Boxing, Pals, Collegues and Himself

That’s a breath over 300 pages, 128 columns by  – yes, I know I’m repeating myself here, but these are really terrific columns on the topics of sport – by perhaps the greatest sports columnist to ever pound a typewriter. This is a really good book to put on the nightstand or near your favorite chair to dip into one  an afternoon or night, but be warned, you may find yourself continuing past that one column a day. These are kind of habit forming.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~

All the Friday Forgotten Books can be found at the blog of Patti Abbott, Pattinase.

About Rick Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
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11 Responses to FFB: The Red Smith Reader

  1. chrislatray says:

    I love good sports writing. And you’re right — there isn’t much of it anymore.

  2. Bill Crider says:

    When I was in college, my favorite writers were sports columnists: Bud Shrake and Gary Cartwright. Later on, I found Blackie Sherrod. Those guys could write. As could Red Smith.

  3. Richard says:

    As could Jim Murray, sportswriter for the L.A. Times. This is a book well worth finding and reading.

  4. Patti Abbott says:

    I have read many a baseball book by Roger Angell and Roger Kahn. I used to be quite a fan.

  5. Todd Mason says:

    William Campbell Gault. Brilliant crime-fiction writer, even more brilliant sports-fiction writer. Too bad he had essentially no adult market for the latter after the death of the pulps…and boy do those stories need collection.

    But in fiction and nonfiction, did you ever read ELYSIAN FIELDS QUARTERLY, Rick?

  6. We’ll never see another Red Smith. Sports reporting has devolved into Tweets and blogs.

  7. I don’t think I’ve read any thing by him. I really like only one major sport, and that’s football. I do read books about it but not a lot of sportswriters.

  8. Richard says:

    Even for the person who is a fan of only one or two sports, these columns will be of interest, I think. This one, though not recent, may be available at the library and cn be read just for the sections that interest.

    Football and college basketball are my preferred sports, though we do watch the Olympics when they come around.

  9. Zoinks says:

    By the way, there was a terrific set of Friday Forgotten Books today!

  10. Jeff Meyerson says:

    I tried all day yesterday and this is the first time I was even able to type something here, so I don’t know what is going on.

    Anyway, I wanted to say that I did read a couple of Red Smith’s books, including this one, back in 1983 and I agree with everything you said. Good stuff.

    At one point I was reading a lot of old sportswriters, back to Fred Lieb who wrote about the earlier years of the century. Smith was definitely worth reading.

  11. Richard says:

    Don’t know either, Jeff, but glad your persistence paid off. Smith is still definitely worth reading!

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