Cover image for The Scribner encyclopedia of American lives. Sports figures
The Scribner encyclopedia of American lives. Sports figures
Markoe, Arnie.
Publication Information:
New York : C. Scribner's Sons, [2002]

Physical Description:
2 volumes (ix, 538; 559 pages) : illustrations ; 29 cm
General Note:
"Thematic series"--Cover.
Added Author:


Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GV697.A1 S42 2002 V.1 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize Non-Circ
GV697.A1 S42 2002 V.2 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Oversize Non-Circ

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Packed with original biographies of 500 athletes, team owners, sports promoters and coaches, this new set covers both living and deceased individuals from the 19th century to the present day. Published in alphabetical sequence with appendixes listing subjects by sport and by era, it enables users to do research easily on a particular sport or decade. Also includes a comprehensive index. Among those profiled are Hank Aaron, Rod Carew, Phil Jackson, Jake LaMotta, Louise Suggs, Venus Williams and many others.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives (or SEAL, as it is known to reference librarians) is the continuation of the now-defunct retrospective standard, Dictionary of American Biography (DAB). SEAL: Sports Figures is the first of a planned multivolume series based on thematic special areas of interest. According to the publisher a projected set on personalities of the 1960s will be made available in November 2002. The sports volumes consist of 614 new biographies of athletes, coaches, team owners, sportscasters, and writers--in short, anybody famous connected with American sports. Each entry includes family background, the influences that formed the character of the athletes, and the achievements both in and outside of the context of sports. Consistent with the parent SEAL set, each entry includes a photograph. However, unlike the parent set, SEAL: Sports Figures includes living sports personalities. Amateur athletes are covered, but the weight of the entries is tilted to the professional. Some 205 contributors went about collecting the biographical information by selecting and reviewing the source material and interviewing the biographee and his or her family. Selection of only 614 subjects in the history of American sport must have been a daunting task. Statistical rankings and memberships in the respective sports halls of fame were significant indicators for inclusion. But other elements were also considered. For instance, biographies that tell a story or illuminate some less-known aspect of sports history are included. That being said, there is room for some vociferous debates among sports fans over the selection of some current sports personalities. For instance, Nomar Garciaparra, a fantastic shortstop who has played for the Boston Red Sox since 1996, was picked over Wade Boggs, a former Red Sox-Yankee-Tampa Bay shortstop who is now retired and is a sure bet to be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. While Garciaparra has done great things and is expected to be one of the top shortstops to have ever played the game, Boggs has already made his mark. Garciaparra's future may be cut short because of injuries. For libraries continuing DAB with SEAL, the thematic series will add value to the entire set, making DAB and SEAL a one-stop biography reference center.

Library Journal Review

This alphabetically arranged reference source of professional sports figures is the first in a new thematic series from Scribner. The authoritative two-volume set chronicles 614 athletes, coaches, owners, and media personalities, with signed essays by 250 academics, journalists, and archivists. Each entry contains a brief introduction and a photo, followed by a detailed family background, career highlights, and a bibliography. The encyclopedia's subjects are a who's who of American sport figures, ranging from the well recognized, e.g., Michael Jordan, Jim Thorpe, Nolan Ryan, and A.J. Foyt, to the lesser known, e.g., soccer's Alexi Lalas, volleyball's Karch Kiraly, and bowling's Steve Nagy. Hugely influential nonathletes of the past, such as the sports promoter Tex Rickard, who produced the great Dempsey spectacles of the 1920s, also get their due. The publication features subject listings by sport, a directory of contributors, and an occupational index. This easy-to-use, comprehensive, and well-written encyclopedia is recommended for public and college libraries. Larry R. Little, Penticton P.L., BC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Sports Figures, launching a planned series of thematic biographical encyclopedias, gets things off to a good start. The 614 entries, of sports figures living or dead, active or retired, are arranged alphabetically across two volumes. Entrants are primarily professional athletes, but also include amateur athletes, noted coaches, owners or managers, and reporters, newscasters, or journalists. A few non-Americans are included if they made significant contributions to American sport. Each entry begins with a brief statement of the person's accomplishments and provides dates and places of birth (and death, if applicable). The newly written essays each span a couple of pages and offer interesting, engaging, and well-written biographical details. Each entry includes a photograph and concludes with a brief, evaluative bibliographical essay, advising readers of the best biographies, additional sources of statistical, autobiographical, or other information, and reference to published obituaries. Entries are signed and the second volume notes the contributors' affiliations. The volumes are indexed by occupation (or sport) and by subject (or personal name) and supply useful cross-references for women's names and other name changes. Recommended for public and academic libraries. S. Van Sant University of Maryland College Park