Rivals!: The Ten Greatest American Sports Rivalries of the 20th Century
April 2010, Wiley-Blackwell
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Rivals! The Ten Greatest American Sports Rivalries of the 20th Century
The U.S. Olympics athletes swept a total of thirty-seven medals in the Vancouver Olympics, more than hosting country Canada. A new book, Rivals! The Ten Greatest American Sports Rivalries of the 20th Century (April 2010), makes it clear that the U.S. is a nation of fiercely competitive athletes, die-hard sports fans, and the home of sports as true, knock-out entertainment. Every sports fan loves a good rivalry, and Richard Davies plucks out the ten most memorable rivalries of the last century. These rivalries have compellingly withstood the capricious winds and tides of American sports history, and as baseball and golf season peek over the horizon, these rivalries take on new, historical dimensions.
Richard Davies reveals the nature of competition itself and the reasons why organized sports have emerged as such an important part of our everyday lives. From professional baseball (Red Sox vs. Yankees), college football (Harvard vs. Yale), professional basketball (Lakers vs. Celtics), college basketball (Duke and North Carolina), to legendary one-on-one rivalries (Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali), Davies gives us an inside look at the fiery personalities and intense dedication of these rivals.
Rivals! The Ten Greatest American Sports Rivalries of the 20th Century features 30 images that bring the rivalries vividly to life, including a photo of future U.S. senator Ted Kennedy playing for Harvard, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as center for the Lakers, a portrait of Babe Ruth in 1919, and a rare snapshot of the long-time Yankees owner George Steinbrenner in all his glory.
Fight Fiercely: Harvard and Yale Create the First Great Football Rivalry
As the Bulldogs and the Crimson fought to the brink of extinction in late 19th century, future President Theodore Roosevelt fought by the side of Walter Camp (the “Father of American Football”) in an effort to expose men to activities that would prepare them for leadership in “the real world.”
"We Hate Each Other's Guts": The Dodgers and the Giants
The rivalry between these two California-based teams began in New York in 1883 and remains the oldest and most enduring baseball rivalry. The social vision of Branch Rickey and the charismatic coaching of Tommy Lasorda have kept this rivalry colorful.
Battle Along Tobacco Road: Duke and North Carolina Basketball
The NCAA men's basketball tournament will soon get started and the “Final Four” may include one or both of these rival teams. Ten miles apart, the nation’s oldest public university and the elite private institution have at the heart of their rivalry a personal rift between methodical, forward-thinker NC coach Dean Smith and Duke’s self-confident, rough-talking Mike Krzyzewski.
Mayhem on the Midway: The Bears and the Packers
These Midwesterners have played every autumn since 1923. The Bears were originally led by money-minded, “Papa Bear,” George Halas, who was instrumental among owners in enabling the NFL to survive during its difficult formative years. Packers coach Vince Lombardo introduced innovations such as “option blocking” to professional football.
Shootin' Irons: The Jack Nicklaus-Arnold Palmer Golf Rivalry
The Masters golf tournament will be held in Augusta in mid-April, the same tournament that saw blue-collar hero Arnold Palmer and commonly jeered (but calm, cool, and collected) upstart Jack Nicklaus competing at the top of their game.
Cross-Country Conflict: The Celtics and the Lakers
The National Basketball Association playoffs in mid-April will no doubt bring back memories of the white hot rivalry between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics when they together claimed half of all NBA championships between 1947 and 2009.
The Bull and the Butterfly: The Never-Ending Rivalry Between Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali
As boxing strains to keep its credibility and popularity as a professional sport, Davies’ colorful re-telling of the Ali-Frazier rivalry and Ali’s public image crisis looks back at the gritty origins of the sport, and the raw animosity between the two fighters who are among boxing’s all-time greats.
Friendly Foes: Chrissie and Martina
The passionate rivalry between the All-American Chris Evert and the impulsive, ex-patriot, Czechoslovakian-born, raw talent Martina Navratilova simmered steadily over the years but remained cordial.
"Dearest Enemies": Michigan-Ohio State Football
Ohio State star Chic Harley (the first bona fide Buckeye star running back), bigger stadiums, the individual rivalry between Bo Schembechler and Woody Hayes, and Gerald Ford as All-American center, brought football frenzy to a new level.
East Coast Baseball Rivalry: The Red Sox and the Yankees
Fans can relive the infamous and bitter Red Sox vs. Yankees rivalry between the teams as well as the players (Williams vs. DiMaggio), the origins of the “Curse of the Bambino,” and the comeback of 2004.