Books have been piling up on the BSMW desk as of late, and I thought I would take a few moments to quickly review three books on Boston sports that I have recently received.
The Best Boston Sports Arguments – The 100 most controversial, debatable questions for die-hard Boston fans.
By Jim Caple and Steve Buckley
This book isn’t heavy lifting. It’s a light read and meant to be that way. It is predictable at times, and at other times you get the contrarian view forced on you. While there were plenty of times that I was rolling my eyes during the book, there were just as many “I totally forgot about that!” moments as well.
A few examples of the 100 arguments:
- Should Tony Conigliaro’s No. 25 Be Retired? (Guess the answer on that one.)
- If You Could Go To Any Game In Boston History, Which Should You Choose?
- Why “The Curse” Is The Biggest Joke in the History of the Universe
- What Was the Greatest Football Play in Boston History?
- Who’s Had a Better Career, Ben Affleck or Lou Merloni?
You’ve probably read a lot of the material before, as Buckley has done columns on many of the topics in the book, or has told a story on WEEI about them. In fact, a lot of the “arguments” probably originate with the radio station, and I think that I’m not off base in characterizing the book as WEEI in print.
Decide for yourselves if that is a compliment or condemnation.
Fred Cusick – Voice of the Bruins
By Fred Cusick
Sports Publishing, L.L.C.
Fred Cusick always struck me a true gentleman. His book does nothing to tarnish that image. While I was more of a casual hockey fan growing up, the legendary Boston Bruins announcer with his trademark “Scooore!!!” always stood out to me, and hearing that call on nightly sportscasts was always a treat.
The book isn’t really an autobiography, it’s more Cusick’s memoirs from his life and career. Going through the memories made me appreciate what a real treasure this man is, and how he perhaps doesn’t get the proper appreciation for his contributions to Boston sports. He understandably spends quite a bit of time on the Bruins, especially on Bobby Orr and the Bruins of the 1970’s, but Cusick’s contributions to the region go well beyond hockey.
If you watched the movie The Greatest Game Ever Played, one of the special features of the DVD is Cusick in 1963 doing the only known on camera interview with Francis Ouimet – winner of the 1913 U.S. Open! Cusick and Ouimet walk the Brookline course and Ouimet points out locations of shots and moments from that legendary 1913 tournament. A transcript of that interview is included in the book.
There is a good segment about doing analysis on the first-ever Boston Patriots game, as well as some stories from the early days of the franchise. There are boxing stories, baseball stories (he did a Sunday night show on channel 4 with Dick Stuart in the 1960’s, and also served as the Fenway Park PA announcer for two years) tennis, and even wrestling. He also talks about calling Lowell Lock Monsters’ games for five years after retiring from the Bruins, finishing his play-by-play career at the age of 83.
Fred Cusick has an incredible number of memories of Boston sports, and it’s good to have them down in this book.
A Fan’s View of the Super Bowl
By James E. Britton
James E. Britton is a lifelong Patriots fan who went to his first game at Schaefer Stadium as an 11-year-old in 1973. He now lives in central New Hampshire, and he and his wife Jane travel two and a half hours each way to and from Gillette Stadium for every home game.
The book recounts their adventures in getting tickets and attending Super Bowl 39 in Jacksonville for the Patriots/Eagles championship game. James and Jane end up heading to Florida with their friend Steve to take in the event, but they only have two tickets. From arranging transportation, hassling with motel operators, to the food they ate that week, it’s all detailed here.
When I say detailed, I mean detailed. The book chronicles almost every minute of the time in Jacksonville, and the beginning of the book has a lengthy segment on the first preseason game of the year with the Eagles. Britton leaves nothing out in the journey, and the result is as complete a picture as you can get of the events without being there yourself.