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A Feast of Classic Plimpton Brilliant--and beautiful--reissues by a writer who couldn't just watch

Dec. 22, 2003
Dec. 22, 2003

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Dec. 22, 2003

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A Feast of Classic Plimpton Brilliant--and beautiful--reissues by a writer who couldn't just watch

GEORGE PLIMPTON ON SPORTS
The Lyons Press, 327 pages, $24.95

This is an article from the Dec. 22, 2003 issue Original Layout

PAPER LION;
THE BOGEY MAN; SHADOW BOX;
OUT OF MY LEAGUE;
MAD DUCKS AND BEARS;
OPEN NET
The Lyons Press, $12.95 per book

This year was the 40th anniversary of Paper Lion, and The Lyons
Press seized on the occasion--several months before George
Plimpton's sudden death in September at age 76--to reissue, in
elegant paperbacks, his six enduring sports books. (On Sept. 21,
just five days before he died, Plimpton and his account of
playing QB for the Detroit Lions were honored by the team.) All
of them, originally published between 1961 and '87, take readers
deep inside the world of the big leagues as Plimpton exquisitely
narrates his misadventures as quarterback, boxer, pitcher, golfer
and hockey goalie. The constants in the books are Plimpton's keen
insight and rich, often hilarious voice.

On Sports, a smattering of some of Plimpton's best stuff
excerpted primarily from magazines--including SI, Esquire and
Harper's--was edited by Plimpton himself and includes a brief
introduction by the author. The pieces cover nearly 20 different
sports (all the ones you might expect plus rowing, stickball and
grape-catching) and render vivid Plimptonian portraits of Vince
Lombardi, Muhammad Ali and John McEnroe. You'll spend a day with
poet Marianne Moore at Yankee Stadium in 1963, and you'll
rediscover the immortal Sidd Finch not once but twice in these
pages. Plimpton's work inspired a generation of journalists, and
anyone else who stood to profit from this lesson: If the front
door is closed, there is always another way inside. That's still
worth learning, and Plimpton is still a marvelous coach.

COLOR PHOTOCOLOR PHOTO: MEL LEVINE (STACK OF PLIMPTON BOOKS AND BOOKS BY SIWRITERS)