Sportswriter Stanley Woodward's autobiography, while lacking the royal purple of champion prose, belts the page like a clean left hook to a glass jaw. One misses the colloquial bravura endemic with the sports-world's Hogarths, but finds some pretty fair footwork in the old tanker's tales of by gone days. Woodward's father, a 250-pound New Englander who singlehandedly could lift a 300-pound keg of nails, early filled him with his own passion for sports and accepted him as a man at nine. At fourteen, near-blindness forced the lad to give up most activities (except the violin) but, after many operations, he found he could still play line at Amherst while never seeing the ball (""I was plunged into a world of vague shapes and thunderous cracks that I never saw coming""). Later, he turned semi-pro. His mother (who by sheer force of will twice got some convicted murderers out of jail) secured him his first job as a cub and he never left the newspaper field for sixty years, eventually winding up on the Herald Tribune from which he was twice forced to leave in rage and frustration. After a tour as a war correspondent during WWII, he re-organized the Trib's sports department and his main coup was to net Red Smith from the Philadelphia Record. Today retired, Woodward takes a black view of newspaper unions, but his memory for his greatest assignments is very bright indeed.