Sorry, Whitey Bulger and Derek Sanderson. Books about those two Boston Bad Boys are destined to stay unfinished for a spell more, because I am deep into Thomas Hauser's new book, “Thomas Hauser on Sports: Remembering the Journey.”
This is book number 44 for the Manhattan author, best known as a “boxing guy” but someone whose output has ranged from a children's book to murder mysteries, along with copious sweet science-related text.
I chatted with Hauser, who contributes to TSS, about this book.
Here is a short Q n A.
Q) Why this book now? Tired of boxing?
A) The University of Arkansas Press will continue to bring out my annual collection of boxing articles. The next one will be published this autumn. But I'd written enough articles in other areas for those articles to be published in book form. “Thomas Hauser on Sports” is everything I've written over the years on sports other than boxing. In February, the University of Arkansas Press will publish “An Eclectic Mix”, which is a collection of all the articles I've written over the years that have nothing to do with sports.
If I had to choose one single entry to read in “Remembering,” what would it be, and why?
Probably “Are Baseball Players Happy?” It deals with an intriguing issue. There's some interesting underlying data. And it offers an inside look at Marvin Miller. Also, a lot of the articles have a nostalgic theme. For that, I'd recommend “I Could Always Hit a Baseball” and “Destroying the High Temple.”
What book are you working on now, and when will it be released?
My next collection of boxing columns will be released later this year under the title “Straight Writes and Jabs.” Also, I just finished writing a novel about Charles Dickens and am in the process of looking for a publisher.
Hauser is remarkably skilled at boiling down the BS, sifting information, determining what is pertinent and forming into a cogent essence that is digestible to all. His language isn't flowery, he doesn't try to bowl you over with the majesty of his phrases. But I have long appreciated the resolve he shows in his reporting, the thoroughness and the diligence contained in his work. I found that in the piece Hauser recommended, “Are Baseball Players Happy?” The writer undertook a project for Sports Illustrated, back in 1982, to try and determine if baseball players were happy, if they were more or less or equally happy as us “regular” folks. Hauser sent out a questionnaire, and got a tremendous response from members of the Major League Baseball Players Association. Then Miller, the head of the MLBPA, reared his head. He put the kibosh on the project and the trove of info didn't get the widespread attention it deserved, or the followup which would have made it an even more compelling project. That story, and so many more in “Remembering” remind me why I've been a fan of Hauser's work since first becoming aware of it, in the early 90s. He examines human nature and dissects behavior through the filter of sport, which makes the results more palatable than if the same were done in a more clinical way. The result is substantive material, with enough “icing” to make it go down easy.
I recommend the book. Whitey, you will have to wait…