Here sports-buff Schwed (Test Your Tennis I.Q., 1981; etc.) regales with favorite stories drawn from his youth, his years in the bleachers, and his experiences as a Simon & Schuster editor publishing ghosted bios of many sports greats. His enthusiasm is everywhere--Schwed can't stop licking that ""thrill of victory, agony of defeat"" candy cane--but he offers few original insights into the games or players. Among the sports/celeb authors described in the many brief essays are Jack Nicklaus, Rod Laver, Leo Durocher--and Branch Rickey, who does offer an interesting tip on the often mishandled baseball rundown. Some stories are touching, if sentimental--for example, Ted Williams picking up a bat for the first time in a decade to bat out five straight major-league doubles--but others are banal. Do we really need to know that Schwed had his belongings clipped at Chris Evert's father's Florida tennis club? Schwed seems best when away from the prime, time sports and stars. One fascinating essay describes the indoor sport of competitive badminton: the true birdie made of grouse feathers can go back and forth at 150 mph. Track is a special love; Schwed offers a harrowing description of a race in which heat exhaustion transforms several runners into apparent cripples, and an intriguing case for pole vaulter Cornelius Warmer. dam's being the greatest athlete ever. A lukewarm smorgasbord, heaped mostly with corn.