Books by Gene Wojciechowski

GENE WOJCIECHOWSKI is a senior writer for ESPN The Magazine. He lives in Wheaton, Illinois.

Released: Aug. 5, 2014

"Finebaum is articulate and knows his football, though this book is just more candy for his admirers and grist for the mills of his detractors."
A pedal-to-the-metal survey of SEC football. Read full book review >
Released: Jan. 5, 2012

"A fitting, illuminating tribute to a game that many believe was the best ever."
Thorough chronicle of the legendary 1992 NCAA basketball tournament clash between Duke and Kentucky. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 4, 2007

"A must-read for fans, but fails to capture the true essence of Bettis's charisma."
Self-serving career retrospective from one of the NFL's all-time leading rushers and all-around nice guys. Read full book review >
Released: April 12, 2005

"A wide-screen feast for Cubs fans and a quick-witted standard for sportswriters. "
From sportswriter Wojciechowski (ESPN: The Magazine), the story of a year spent with Wrigley Field as home base, with trips radiating out into the surrounding neighborhoods (and to away ballparks). Read full book review >
Released: Feb. 3, 1994

Hall-of-Fame cager Walton looks back at his injury-ridden college and NBA career. With the help of Los Angeles Times sportswriter Wojciechowski (Pond Scum and Vultures, 1990), Walton sticks pretty much to the game: there's only passing mention of his many battles and controversies with owners, refs, and the media; of his involvement in the Patty Hearst case; his celebrated Vietnam War protests; and his ongoing relationship with the Grateful Dead. He waxes nostalgic, though, for the good old days at UCLA (1970-74) and his two NCAA championships there, and he's unabashed in praising former coach John Wooden. He also lauds Larry Bird (the ``best player I ever played with''), Bill Russell (``the best player in the history of basketball''), Jack Ramsay, Lenny Wilkins, Jammal Wilkes, Red Auerbach and Michael Jordan, but deals glancing blows at Clyde ``The Glide'' Drexler, Kareem Abdul-Jabaar, and NBA rookie Chris Webber. During his 13 years in the NBA, Walton underwent an incredible 30 operations, many of them on his feet, and calculates that he sat out nine seasons—762 games—because of injuries. Even so, he was a force in two NBA titles—with Portland in 1977, and the Boston Celtics in 1986. It wasn't all glory, however: He ``despised the level of selfishness'' on the Portland team, a criticism he aims at many of today's players. He often failed to get along with teammates, threatened to quit, and even filed a malpractice suit against the team doctor. He laments his years with the San Diego Clippers, blaming himself for the franchise's failure and eventual move to L.A. Having overcome a stutter, Walton is now an NBC analyst and broadcaster. Walton is all over the court and regrettably side-steps some issues. But it hardly matters: he's still one of the game's most interesting personalities. (Eight pages of b&w photos—not seen) Read full book review >
Released: May 1, 1992

Major-league memoir from former minor-league umpire Postema. Unceremoniously released in 1989 after 13 seasons (seven at the Triple A level), Postema, the most successful female umpire to date, understandably has some axes to grind. And grind them she does, hilariously and virtually unquotably, but with an evenhandedness, candor, and feeling that lift this book (coauthored with Wojciechowski, Pond Scum and Vultures, 1990) far above the usual ``inside''-sports level. Entering the field at her mother's suggestion, Postema persisted in the belief that ``as long as you could do the job, then it shouldn't matter what sex you were''—a remarkable stance considering such indignities as the manager who kissed her at home plate, the player who left notes in her underwear, and the time the San Diego Chicken pulled a bra out of her shirt. Although she gives due credit to such ``good guys'' as the late A. Bartlett Giamatti, Postema has far more fun skewering the likes of ``weasel'' former manager Larry Bowa (``Mr. Despicable'') and pitcher Bob Knepper, who publicly labeled her choice of profession an affront to God. Told frequently that she would ``have to be twice as good as a man to make it to the majors'' (and never claiming to be anything but as good), Postema, who gained enormous satisfaction from her work and still misses it, was forced to conclude that the present hierarchy of baseball (``the exact opposite of what America stands for'') will never deem a woman worthy of that standard. Hence the message, addressed primarily to young women, but well worth the attention of their parents and brothers, that ``you can't break down male-built barriers by pretending they don't exist.'' Then again, as this blinding fastball of a book proves, you can give them some good strong kicks. (Eight pages of b&w photographs—not seen.) Read full book review >