top of page
Bob Dixon.jpg

Bob Dixon

Agency Manager


Middlesboro, KY 40965


Go Big Blue!

JAMIE'S BOOKSHELF: Plenty Of Sports Books For Summer Reading

Compiled by Jamie H. Vaught

--Coach K: The Rise and Reign of Mike Krzyzewski by Ian O'Connor (Mariner Books, $28) is an enjoyable biography of college basketball's all-time winningest coach. The hardcover takes you behind the scenes with unprecedented access to Krzyzewski's best friends, closest advisors, fiercest adversaries and his former players. Coach K grew up in a tough Chicago upbringing with his blue-collar Polish-American parents who raised him to fight for a better life.

--Red Barber: The Life and Legacy of A Broadcasting Legend by Judith R. Hiltner and James R. Walker (University of Nebraska Press, $36.95) is a compelling story about a legendary announcer who covered the Cincinnati Reds, Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Yankees, among other broadcasting duties. When the Dodgers first signed Jackie Robinson and broke the color barrier in Major League Baseball, Barber struggled to overcome the racism he had absorbed from his culture as a child growing up in Mississippi and Florida. But after observing the vicious abuse Robinson endured from opposing fans, Barber became an ardent supporter of him and the many Black players who followed. The 496-page hardcover looks at the career of a true radio and television pioneer who was committed to the civic responsibility of mass media. Barber firmly believed the most important role of a broadcaster was telling the truth and promoting public well-being. Both authors are professors emeritus at Saint Xavier University in Chicago.

--Coach: The Greatest Teachers in Sports and Their Lessons for Us All by Justin Spizman (Half Full, $29.95) is filled with profiles of the greatest coaches and managers who teach us about optimizing our performance, our character and our lives. The 560-page hardcover delivers the most teachable moments and methods―for play, for competition, and for life.

--Three Rivers Stadium: A Confluence of Champions by the Association of Gentleman Pittsburgh Journalists (History Press, $21.99) is loaded with stories and memories about the venue in Pittsburgh's Northside which opened in 1970. The local sportswriters recall the roaring crowds and the greatest moments of Three Rivers Stadium, including the Pirates, the Steelers and the Pitt-Penn State football rivalry. The stadium also was the site of superstar Roberto Clemente's 3,000th hit.

--Unlucky 21: The Saddest Stories and Games in Pittsburgh Sports History by the Association of Gentleman Pittsburgh Journalists (History Press, $24.99) delivers "sad" stories as told by a group of Pittsburgh writers and sports lovers. The number 21 may be lucky in cards, but it is very unlucky for Western Pennsylvania sports fans. Only the Pittsburgh Steelers allow a player to wear this sacred number, while to the rest of the region's franchises the number means heartbreak. The Penguins retired it after budding superstar Michel Briere died in 1971 following an automobile accident. Hall of Fame Pirate shortstop Arky Vaughan, who drowned in 1952 while trying to save a friend, also wore unlucky 21. The tragic story of Roberto Clemente is well known and caused the team to retire the cursed number.

--Moon Baseball Road Trips: The Complete Guide to All the Ballparks with Beer, Bites and Sights Nearby by Timothy Malcolm (Avalon Travel, $27.99) is a colorful paperback that you need to have if you're planning a trip to Major League Baseball cities. The 712-page volume is filled with practical tips, local expertise and flexible itineraries, including places to stay and how to avoid traffic, among other things.

--Mantle: The Best There Ever Was by Tony Castro (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, $18) presents a portrait of a baseball superstar who was misunderstood by many folks. Drawing from hundreds of interviews with ex-teammates, friends and family, the author blends Mantle's pubic and private lives to come up with a new insight about Mantle's extraordinary career. The author has written several baseball books.

--Tiger & Phil: Golf's Most Fascinating Rivalry by Bob Harig (St. Martin's Press, $29.99) is an in-depth look at the long rivalry that drove the success of golf's two biggest stars -- Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. In addition to their golf battles, they have each gone through injury and health problems, legal issues and falling in and out of favor with the news media. Both superstars have gradually become not just rivals but friends. A longtime golf writer who lives in Florida, the author has covered Woods and Mickelson since the very beginning of each of their careers, and has had dozens of one-on-one interviews with each of them.

--Whispers of the Gods: Tales from Baseball's Golden Age, Told by the Men Who Played It by Peter Golenbock (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, $24.95) brings baseball history to life through fascinating stories told straight from the baseball greats of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. Many stories were pulled from hundreds of hours of taped interviews with the author. For instance, Roy Campanella talks about life in the Negro Leagues before coming up to the Brooklyn Dodgers. Ted Williams recounts why he believes Shoeless Joe Jackson belongs in the Hall of Fame. Golenbock has written more than 60 books, including 10 New York Times best sellers.

Jamie H. Vaught, a longtime sports columnist in Kentucky, is the author of five books about UK basketball, including recently-released “Chasing the Cats: A Kentucky Basketball Journey.” He is the editor and founder of Magazine, and a professor at Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College in Middlesboro. You can follow him on Twitter @KySportsStyle or reach him via email at


edward Jones Ad 2.jpg
bottom of page