Monday, December 22, 2008

Columbus Dispatch: The Galloping Ghost

Bob Hunter, a writer for the Columbus Dispatch, has a nice review of The Galloping Ghost in his column. About the book and Red Grange he says that the "former Illinois and NFL star is a fascinating story and Poole has obviously done a good job in telling it. I think even the casual football fan will find Poole's book intriguing." He also recommends the book as a nice gift for football fans this Christmas and Hanukkah season.

Hunter knows the early era of football. He is the author of Chic: The Extraordinary Rise of Ohio State Football and the Tragic Schoolboy Athlete Who Made It Happen.

For the whole review, click here.

Thanks also to Chicagoist, Bloomberg, and various radio hosts for recommending The Galloping Ghost this holiday season.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Chicago Sun-Times: Red Grange, "best of the best"

For the last 25 weeks, the Chicago Sun-Times has been counting down the "Top 25 Athletes in Chicago History." According to Sun Times writer Neil Hayes, who has been writing the excellent series, "we left it up to our panel of current and former Sun-Times writers and editors to define 'greatness.' The result was a Top 25 that featured nine football players, eight basketball players, four baseball greats, two swimmers, a hockey player and a track star."

Red Grange was voted the greatest athlete in Chicago history by the panel. The Grange article--No. 1: Red Grange | A 'GHOST' TOWN | Illinois legend who put pro football on map with Bears is best of the best--appears in today's paper.

(I am quoted.)

Here is an excerpt:

He's considered among the greatest football players in history, but Red Grange never was able to explain what made him great. The former Illinois and Bears superstar is perhaps the person most responsible for football as we know it today, but he never could articulate what separated him from the rest.

''I can't take much credit for what I did, running with a football, because I don't know what I did,'' Grange told sportswriter W.C. Heinz. ''Nobody ever taught me, and I can't teach anybody. You can teach a man how to block or tackle or kick or pass. The ability to run with a ball is something you have or you haven't. If you can't explain it, how can you take credit for it?''

Red Grange was perhaps the greatest single attraction football has ever known. People flocked to see him play.

Grange was perhaps the greatest single attraction the game has ever known. He was one of four athletes (Babe Ruth, Jack Dempsey and Bobby Jones being the others) who made the 1920s roar. Not long after leaving his hometown of Wheaton, the former ice man became an American obsession whom people flocked to see. Not only was he perhaps the greatest player in college history, but he almost single-handedly transformed pro football into a spectator sport.

Almost a quarter-century after he retired, the spector of the ''Galloping Ghost'' still looms large over the game. For those reasons, Grange was voted the Greatest Athlete in Chicago History by a Sun-Times panel.

''If you were to draw a line through the mud of American history and find one man who could be considered the founding father of our football culture, it would be Red Grange,'' said Gary Andrew Poole, author of The Galloping Ghost: Red Grange, an American Football Legend...

To read the rest of the article, click here.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

XM Satellite: Edge of Sports

I will be on today's the Edge of Sports Radio with Dave Zirin. The Edge of Sports is "where sports and politics collide." The show is broadcast on XM Channel 167 (Saturday) at 9 a.m. PST and is repeated Sunday at 11 a.m. PST. Zirin is the author of A People's History of Sports in the United States: From Bull-Baiting to Barry Bonds . . . 250 Years of Politics, Protest, People, and Play.

And tonight, if you live in Phoenix, you can catch me on 1010 AM at around 8 p.m. (PST).

Friday, December 19, 2008

Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer and … Kindle?

Sports Business Journal had an article--Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer and … Kindle?--on December 8 in which it asked different executives what they wanted for the holidays, and Jim Steeg, Executive Vice President & COO, San Diego Chargers, wanted a copy of The Galloping Ghost. That made my day, but I was in a bit of a dilemma. Since I am a life-long Denver Broncos fan, I would like a lineman who can tackle a running back, particularly in a couple weeks when we play SD and the great LT...I doubt I will get my wish this season, but I played Santa Claus so I know Mr. Steeg's holiday wish will come true. (I have always had a soft spot for San Diego.) And, no, Broncos fans, I am not losing the faith: I figured a good-will gesture would bring the Broncs some good karma after the ref'ing mistake earlier this season that helped give the Broncos a win over the Chargers--the teams seem to be on a collision course in the race to win the AFC West.

Sirius NFL Radio: Sammy Baugh

I will be on Sirius NFL Radio today at around 2:30 p.m. (PST). I will be on Movin' The Chains with Pat Kirwan and Tim Ryan (actually Ross Tucker will be co-hosting today because Ryan is readying himself to call the St. Louis Rams game this weekend). I am a big fan of the show and happy to be on it, but I wish the circumstances of the "appearance" were better. I am on to talk about football great Sammy Baugh, who passed away on Wednesday. We are going to discuss Baugh's place in football history. By the way, Baugh and Red Grange were inducted into the first class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame....And if you live in Las Vegas, I will be on Marty Rodick's show today on Fox Radio 920 AM at 1 p.m. (PST).

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Sammy Baugh, 1914-2008

Sammy Baugh, arguably one of the greatest players in NFL history, has died. If you ever get a chance to see any footage of “Slingin’ Sammy,” take a look because his throwing accuracy was uncanny. He really changed the game, making the forward pass into a primary offensive weapon. But in reading the obituries, I have noticed that what has been lost in time is Baugh's all-around ability: in 1943 he lead the NFL in passing, punting, and interceptions. I am sure his "Triple Crown" feat will never be matched.

Baugh was one of 17 men to make up the inaugural class inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1963. That group included Red Grange, George Halas, Bronko Nagurski and Jim Thorpe. Baugh was the last surviving member of the inaugural class.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Bloomberg: Holiday books

Nice mention of The Galloping Ghost on today's Bloomberg.com in a roundup of books to buy for the holidays. And I like what the writer, David M. Shribman--executive editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette--says about sports books:

Really good sports writing -- and no, that’s not an oxymoron, like “military music” -- is almost never about sports. It’s about bigger issues. Men and women play sports, and write about sports, as a way of understanding their broader challenges and struggles, the victories and the losses they create and suffer every day. Load up on these books over the holidays, but don’t for a minute think they’re about games.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Only A Game: The Galloping Ghost

I will be on NPR's Only A Game on Saturday (12/13/08). If you're not familiar with the show, it is well worth checking out: sports for the thinking sports fan.

The host, Bill Littlefield, interviewed me, and he also reviewed my book on the Only A Game Website.

Red Grange was a dominant college football player and the first true star of the National Football League. In his book, The Galloping Ghost: An American Football Legend, Gary Andrew Poole profiles the man who was an American icon long before the NFL was the place where players went to become stars. Bill Littlefield shares his observations on the book.

Despite the inherently goofy nature of comparing football as it is played now with football as it was played almost a century ago, a case can probably be made that Red Grange was as dominant as any football player has ever been.

Grange played his college ball at Illinois, where he enjoyed numerous glowing autumn afternoons. On one of those afternoons in 1924, he gained 402 yards and scored 5 touchdowns against Michigan. On another in 1925, he gained 363 yards and scored 3 touchdowns against Pennsylvania. He was also an exceptionally talented player on defense in the days when pro teams sometimes carried as few as sixteen players. Grange’s performances earned him national acclaim. Babe Ruth was among his admirers. The most celebrated sportswriters of the time traveled hundreds of miles to see Grange play and celebrate his achievements in florid prose and, occasionally, in verse.

When he left school, Grange embarked on an exceedingly rocky pro career. He made an insanely ambitious barnstorming tour with the Chicago Bears, sometimes playing as many as four games in a week. According to Gary Andrew Poole, the author of The Galloping Ghost, Grange may have suffered as many as ten concussions during this debacle, and some who were familiar with his talents claimed that afterward he was never the same player, although the tour certainly helped make the pro game more popular.

While he was still at Illinois, Grange fell under the influence of a notorious con artist named C.C. Pyle. Pyle manipulated Grange into the barnstorming tour and various other ill-considered adventures, among them the creation of a league that was supposed to rival the fledgling NFL, but that collapsed after one season.

Certainly The Galloping Ghost is – as the subtitle indicates – the story of “an American football legend.” It’s also the tale of a gifted and durable but somewhat dim young man who enriched promoters with his physical prowess and excited fans with his play without much concern for his own well-being. In that sense, at least, it’s a story as current as this weekend’s NFL games.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Signed Copies: The Galloping Ghost

I got this idea from Jeff Pearlman, the author of Boys Will Be Boys, and, well, a bunch of people who keep asking me to send them autographed copies of The Galloping Ghost. If you would like an autographed copy, please email me at: info@garyandrewpoole.com

We can work out the details but, basically, I will sign a book and mail it to you after you send me a $21 check to handle the book and postage. Please indicate in the email if you would like a specific inscription, or if you just want me to sign it. I am more than happy to do it.

If you want the book by the holidays, please email me soon.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Chicagoist: The Galloping Ghost

Nice review in today's Chicagoist. The Galloping Ghost was featured in the 2008 Gift Guide.

Another excellent book hitting shelves is The Galloping Ghost, Gary Andrew Poole's biography of football legend Harold "Red" Grange. With football such a part of the life of Chicagoans, there's no better way to delve into the sport's rich history - Grange was named the best college football player ever by ESPN - than by exploring Poole's excellent account of the life and career of the University of Illinois and Chicago Bears star. Poole uses a wealth of information - interviews, box scores, etc. - in recreating Grange's life and recreating specific games in exquisite detail. Perhaps one of the most interesting aspects of the book is Grange's relationship with the famed agent, Charles "Cash 'N' Carry" Pyle. This book would make a great gift for the football fan in your family.

The Galloping Ghost: Grand Central Station

I took this shot of my book at Posman Books at Grand Central Station in NYC. (The camera on my iPhone is not so great.) If you see a copy of The Galloping Ghost in a local bookstore, send me a photo: info@garyandrewpoole.com. Best one gets a signed copy of the book.

Publishing: Grim

New York Magazine article about the current state of book publishing.

Friday, December 05, 2008

The Front Row

I will be on WVXU/91.7 FM, the NPR station in Cincinnati, on Saturday (tomorrow) at 7:00 a.m. The interview is with Betsy Ross, the ex-ESPN anchor, who hosts an interview segment, called The Front Row, on Cincinnati Edition.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Denver Post: Best-seller list #6

I am happy to report that I made the Denver Post best-seller list last week. I was #6 in the nonfiction category. I appreciate the hometown support.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

New York: Gelf Magazine & Varsity Letters

I was featured in a Q & A published in Gelf Magazine. It's a lively read (I think): we talk about Red Grange, and for those of you who have heard enough about Grange this year, we also talk quite a bit about sports-writing. Click here to read the interview.

Also, Carl Bialik, a co-founder of Gelf who edits the Wall Street Journal's The Daily Fix, hosts a monthly reading series called Varsity Letters. He asked me to talk about my book so I will be speaking on Thursday at the event. Varsity Letters is held in New York at the Happy Ending Lounge.

Here are the details:

December 4: Gelf's Varsity Letters

Gelf's Varsity Letters sports reading series returns to New York on Thursday, December 4, at 8 p.m. At this free monthly event at a Lower East Side bar, hosted by Gelf, Gary Andrew Poole, Liz Robbins, Nathaniel Friedman, Jacob Weinstein, and Jesse Einhorn will read from and talk about their work, and take questions. Poole is the author of a biography of the legendary football star Red Grange. Robbins is a New York Times sportswriter and author of a book about her city's greatest day, the marathon. And Einhorn, Friedman, and Weinstein are authors of the offbeat NBA blog Free Darko, and a book spinoff that catalogs the league's biggest and most-colorful stars.

Admission is FREE. Please spread the word to sports fans and book lovers.

Event Details:

Happy Ending Lounge (official site, CitySearch, MySpace)
302 Broome St.
(between Forsyth and Eldridge)
J/M/Z/F to Delancey
B/D to Grand Street
Look for the hot-pink awning with the words "Health Club" on it.

Doors open at 7:30.
Readings start at 8 sharp.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Bloomberg: The Galloping Ghost

Excellent review of The Galloping Ghost on Bloomberg News.

Nov. 28 (Bloomberg) -- How many football figures do you find on the cover of Time magazine? Not many. There’s Dick Kazmaier of Princeton. Bobby Layne of the Detroit Lions. Tom Harmon of Michigan. Knute Rockne of Notre Dame. Here’s another: Red Grange of Illinois, in jacket and tie, his face a portrait of purpose on the front of the Oct 5, 1925, issue.

Good thing he was there, too, because without that cover most Americans would never have seen Grange, who played at a time before football players became television stars. He was a roaring success in the ‘20s, and Gary Andrew Poole speaks for almost all of us when he says, in “The Galloping Ghost” (Houghton Mifflin, $25): “Red Grange played way before my time, but his ghost always hovered above the American sporting landscape.”

Exceptional players are often described as defining an era, but Grange did more. He defined a game. “If you were to draw a line through the mud of American history and find one man who could be considered the founding father of our football culture, it would be Red Grange,” Poole says. He’s right; Grange’s mastery moved football from the periphery to the center of American life.

At Illinois and later, breaking a great taboo for a squeaky- clean collegian by signing with pro teams, Grange placed an indelible footprint on the gridiron. He built up statistics that impress even eight decades later, including a fabled 1924 showdown against Michigan in which the Ghost recorded 402 net yards in only 41 minutes of play. He was, as Poole puts it, “a quiet warrior,” but his game, and impact, were loud.

Click here for the link.

Denver Post: "Beer and goosebumps"

Nice mention in the Denver Post about my appearance at The Tattered Cover:

Colorado native Gary Andrew Poole read and signed his book "The Galloping Ghost: Red Grange, an American Football Legend" at the Tattered Cover Colfax last week — and waxed poetic.

"When I was a teenager growing up in Denver, I liked to do two things: Sneak into Coors for the tour and the resulting free beer. The second thing: To go to the Tattered Cover. . . . When I walked through the doors tonight I had goosebumps."