10 Great Sports Books for the Holidays

Jerry MilaniContributor INovember 21, 2012

10 Great Sports Books for the Holidays

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    There is no shortage of great sports books this holiday season. 

    Covering the worlds of the four major sports plus a few others, from biographies to retrospectives to some a little out of the ordinary, there are plenty of choices for even the most obsessive fans on your list.

    We've compiled a list of 10, in no particular order, that they will likely enjoy.

Wherever I Wind Up, by RA Dickey and Wayne Coffey

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    No one knew what was going to happen to make 2012 so special for a 38-year-old knuckleballer, but Coffey gave us a great tale of what made Dickey such an amazing and introspective person even before he became one of the best success stories of 2012.

Breakaway: From Behind the Iron Curtain to the NHL, by Tal Pinchevsky

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    Hockey's Greatest Escape may be surviving after the brutal lockout that may have permanently chilled the sport for casual fans forever.  Labor negotiations—or the lack thereof—notwithstanding, there's no doubt that the influence of players from former Soviet bloc countries has been enourmous on the NHL game. 

    That didn't happen overnight, and while we take the presence the Ovetchkins, Datsyuks and Charas for granted today, it was stars of a generation ago like the Stastny brothers, Sergei Fedorov and Petr Klima who paved the way, when moving West was no easy task.

Dream Team, by Jack McCallum

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    McCallum took the most in-depth look at the assemblage of the Dream Team 20 years later and gave an insider's view as to what that team did, how it acted and what it has meant to sport since.

The Jersey Project, by Bill Humphreys

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    No, it's not a background story on The Sopranos. It is an insightful and colorful look into the jerseys that cycling teams wear and why. As Lance Armstrong gave the sport a black eye, Humphreys returned the color to the sport by tracing its global history through the backs of some of its biggest teams—and some of its most obscure.

Yankee Miracles, by Ray Negron

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    Mystique, Aura and the like made plenty of appearances inside the original Yankee Stadium.  But at least one happened just beyond the hallowed walls —or more precisely, on the wall—as Brooklyn teen Ray Negron, caught by none other than George Steinbrenner spray painting graffiti—the interlocking NY—on the House that Ruth Built, was given not a jail term but a job as a Yankees batboy.  Negron tells the unique, compelling story of how he used that break, became a friend and confidante of Yankees stars past and present and rose to the team's executive ranks.

Sports Illustrated Football's Greatest, Edited by Bill Syken

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    This is the coffee table book of the year, a compilation of "best ever" lists by some of Sports Illustrated's greatest writers over the years, along with the most amazing football photography anywhere.

The Good Son: The Life of Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini, by Mark Kriegel

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    Kriegel did a masterful job with Namath and remains one of the best American sports storytellers. He doesn't disappoint telling the tale of one of the most charismatic personalities of the last 40 years.

J.R.: My Life as the Most Outspoken... Man in Hockey, by Jeremy Roenick

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    Without the NHL, hockey fans need a fix, so Roenick provides it with some frank and interesting discussions about his career in some of the US's hockey hotbeds, from Chicago to Philly. The popular American pulls no punches in an honest portrayal of life on and off the ice.

A Drive into the Gap, by Kevin Guilfoile

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    It is a pocket book filled with a great story—the author follows the life of his father, longtime publicist for the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Baseball Hall of Fame, from his brushes with greatness to his descent into Alzheimer's Disease. Along the way he also discovers the true story of where the bat that gave Roberto Clemente his 3,000th and final hit ended up residing. Quick and fun.

You Gotta Have Balls, by Brandon Steiner

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    Collectibles innovator Brandon Steiner blends stories of his interaction and friendships with some of the biggest names in sports and those of his childhood experiences into a readable and often instructive narrative.  All the bold-face names in the Steiner world make cameos, from Jeter to Rivera to Manning.  The Steiner name may be synonymous with authentic sports memorabilia now, but 25 years ago he practically started the nascent industry as a one-man shop. New York fans will take particular delight.