The Best of Peter Finney, Legendary New Orleans Sportswriter - Cover
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The Best of Peter Finney, Legendary New Orleans Sportswriter

introduction by Peter Finney, Jr.

312 pages / 6.00 x 9.00 inches / 31 halftones

ebook available

Sports History

  Hardcover / 9780807163061 / February 2016
Five times each week over the past several decades, sports fans in New Orleans began their mornings by reading local sportswriter Peter Finney. Finney’s newspaper columns—entertaining, informative, and inspiring—connected New Orleans readers to the world of sports, for nearly 70 years. From a career total of 15,000 articles, this book offers a prime selection of the very best of Finney’s writing as well as an introduction from Peter Finney, Jr. 
 
Beginning his writing career as a college freshman at Loyola University, Finney added his distinctly poetic voice to the sports pages of the States-Item (1945–80) and the Times-Picayune (1980–2013). This impressive time span placed the reporter on the sidelines of the most iconic moments in Louisiana sports history. This collection includes Finney’s account of Billy Cannon's 89-yard punt return against Ole Miss in 1959; Tom Dempsey's 1970 NFL-record 63-yard field goal; and the Saints' 31–17 victory over the Indianapolis Colts in the 2010 Super Bowl. His interviews and profiles covered nearly every major sports figure of his time: Ted Williams, Jesse Owens, Joe DiMaggio, Muhammad Ali, Joe Namath, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods, Arnold Palmer, Billy Cannon, Pete Maravich, Lee Trevino, Rusty Staub, Archie, Peyton, and Eli Manning, Eddie Robinson, Doug Williams, Dale Brown, Billy Martin, Brett Favre, Nick Saban, Shaquille O'Neal, Mike Ditka, Sean Payton, Drew Brees, Sugar Ray Leonard, Skip Bertman, Les Miles, and Tom Benson, among many others.
 
The riveting moments and fascinating characters portrayed in this volume will delight both hardcore sports enthusiasts and casual fans, in stories told with Finney’s characteristic grace, humility, and wit.
CONTENTS
Introduction, by Peter Finney Jr.
 
1. BASEBALL
Bats in the Parlor: Rusty and Chuck Staub Created Cleaning Problem
May 23, 1961
Guidrys Raised a Yankee (Ron Guidry)
October 18, 1978
Fire-Eating Martin and Steinbrenner Meet Once Again (Billy Martin and George Steinbrenner)
October 13, 1982
This Tiger Has It All (Ben McDonald)
February 22, 1989
Gift from Team Was His Prized Possession (Joe DiMaggio)
March 9, 1999
Bertman’s Vision Led to Dynasty (Skip Bertman)
May 23, 2001
Hitting Was Ted’s Favorite Subject (Ted Williams)
July 6, 2002
Schott Thinks Inside the Box: Happy Birthday, Mr. Baseball (Arthur Schott)
July 9, 2007
 
2. BASKETBALL
The Sad-Eyed Serbians (Pete and Press Maravich)
January 10, 1968
Billy Graham in Sneakers (Dale Brown)
January 25, 1973
“You Have to Be a Little Crazy” (Butch van Breda Kolff )
November 20, 1974
The Title Match: A Sparkling Gem (Dean Smith, John Thompson, and Michael Jordan)
March 30, 1982
Pistol Lived as He Played—Relentlessly, Full-Court (Pete Maravich)
January 6, 1988
Coaching Was Labor of Love for Valvano (Jim Valvano)
April 2, 1993
Reed Laments Lost Basics (Willis Reed)
November 3, 2004
When Dale Met Shaq (Dale Brown and Shaquille O’Neal)
June 3, 2011
 
3. BOXING
Joe Beat U.S. to Germany (Joe Louis)
April 18, 1962
A Day in the Life of Muhammad Ali
August 15, 1978
Swan Song: Ali’s Symphony Not Bad for an Aging Maestro
September 16, 1978
Quitter: It Had to Be One of Sport’s Most Confounding Moments (Roberto Duran and Sugar Ray Leonard)
November 26, 1980
 
4. COLLEGE FOOTBALL
“Bounced Right into My Arms”: Cannon Planned to Let It Roll (Billy Cannon)
November 2, 1959
Archie: The Making of a Saint: From Toughest Year to Super-Manning (Archie Manning)
May 6, 1971
St. Stanislaus, Doc, and Company (Doc Blanchard)
March 14, 1972
Winning Is Not Having to Say “Wait till Next Year” (Tulane-LSU)
December 3, 1973
No. 1 Gamble: Power-I-Right, Tackle-Trap, Pass-Left (Alabama–Notre Dame Sugar Bowl)
January 1, 1974
Woody: Winnie Was a Winner (Woody Hayes)
December 15, 1977
Even in Marriage, Coach Picked Winner (Eddie Robinson)
November 29, 1992
Brandt Got the Ball Rolling (Gil Brandt and Nick Saban)
December 1, 1999
Tigers’ Win Leaves Kentucky Fans Blue (“Bluegrass Miracle”)
November 10, 2002
Total Team Effort Puts Tigers on Top (LSU BCS National Championship)
January 5, 2004
Crystal Football Says Miles a Winner (LSU BCS National Championship)
January 9, 2008
Tide Deserves to Be Unanimous No. 1 (Alabama BCS National Championship)
January 10, 2012
 
5. PRO FOOTBALL
Action in the Patio Room (New Orleans Saints Are Born)
November 2, 1966
By Water, Blood, and Desire (New Orleans Saints’ First Game)
September 18, 1967
Ben Hur as “Cat” Catlan (Charlton Heston)
November 8, 1968
Joe Kept Telling Us (Joe Namath Wins Super Bowl III)
January 13, 1969
Dempsey’s Impossible Dream (Tom Dempsey’s 63-Yard Field Goal)
November 9, 1970
Mr. Allen’s Rest Home (George Allen and Washington Redskins)
November 29, 1971
Watching the Budget in Dodgertown (Hank Stram)
August 9, 1976
It Could Have Been Worse . . . (Saints Lose to 0–26 Tampa Bay)
December 12, 1977
Requiem for Saints’ No. 8 (Archie Manning Traded)
October 17, 1983
“I’ve Seen This Game Before” (Doug Williams Is Super Bowl XXII MVP)
February 1, 1988
Voodoo Man Takes a Shot at Montana (Joe Montana)
September 10, 1990
It’s Sad to See Simpson on Such a Downhill Run (O.J. Simpson’s Bronco Chase),
June 19, 1994
Is Kicking Situation Such a Serious Problem? (History of Saints’ Kickers)
August 25, 1995
Favre Fever Running Wild in Hometown: Green Bay Star Puts Kiln in the Spotlight (Brett Favre)
January 18, 1997
Hall’s Slighting of Shaughnessy a Travesty (Clark Shaughnessy)
January 25, 1997
With Ditka, There Are No Illusions (Mike Ditka)
January 29, 1997
Hey, Coach, a Quarter for Your Thoughts (Mike Ditka)
July 17, 1998
Erxleben Shanking ’Em in the Business World, Too (Russell Erxleben)
May 19, 2000
How It All Began . . . for Peyton (Peyton Manning)
December 19, 2004
Benson, Have Faith in N.O. (Tom Benson post-Katrina)
September 5, 2005
Tagliabue Holds Fate of Saints in N.O. (Paul Tagliabue)
September 9, 2005
Benson Needs to Let City Show a Pulse (Tom Benson)
December 4, 2005
Dome Sprouts from Dixon’s Big Dreams: Bringing the Facility Back to Life in Year “Another Miracle” (Dave Dixon)
September 25, 2006
Saints’ Diehard Doing More Than Lip Service (David Thiele)
January 12, 2007
Win Was a Long Time Coming (Saints’ NFC Championship Game Victory over Vikings)
January 25, 2010
Who Dat Men Pay Tribute to Buddy D, Celebrate Saints’ Appearance in Super Bowl by Parading Their “Wears” (Buddy Diliberto)
February 1, 2010
One for the Ages: The Saints Stamp Their Place in Sports History with Huge Win on NFL’s Biggest Stage (Super Bowl XLIV)
February 8, 2010
 
6. GOLF
Big Eater Nicklaus Man with Mission (Amateur Golfer Jack Nicklaus)
March 21, 1961
Trevino: Throwback to Thirties (Lee Trevino)
April 15, 1970
Still Spry at 82: Pioneer Turpie Recalls Greats (George Turpie)
April 28, 1962
Pat’s Cheerful Darkness (Blind Golfer Pat Browne)
April 27, 1971
Nicklaus’ Masters Victory Something like a Fairy Tale (Jack Nicklaus)
April 14, 1986
Spirits High as Usual as Italian Open Turns 25
March 4, 1997
Tiger’s Will Crushes Challengers’ Psyches (Tiger Woods)
April 9, 2001
With Faithful in Tow, Palmer Says Goodbye (Arnold Palmer)
April 10, 2004
 
7. HORSE RACING
Not a Horse Race, a Horse (Secretariat Wins Triple Crown)
June 10, 1973
How High Will This Star Rise? (Risen Star Wins Belmont)
June 12, 1988
Rooney Still on the Track (Mickey Rooney)
May 25, 1990
 
8. THE OLYMPICS
Summer of ’36, 36 Years Later (Jesse Owens)
March 25, 1972
Angolan Team Just Happy to Be in Olympics (1992 Dream Team)
July 25, 1992
 
9. LAGNIAPPE
“Just Call Me Gorgeous” (Professional Wrestler Gorgeous George)
September 7, 1960
Mental Violence in Iceland (World Chess Championship, Bobby Fischer, and Boris Spassky)
July 12, 1972
L.A. Times’ Murray Was a Great Journalist, Greater Man (Jim Murray)
August 19, 1998
Peter Finney is a 17-time winner of the Louisiana Sportswriter of the Year Award from the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. He is the author of The Fighting Tigers, 1893–1993: One Hundred Years of LSU Football and Pistol Pete: The Story of College Basketball’s Greatest Star.

Peter Finney, Jr., former sportswriter for the New York Post and New York Daily News, is the recipient of the St. Francis de Sales Award from the Catholic Press Association. Since 1993, he has served as the executive editor and general manager of the Clarion Herald, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

Praise for The Best of Peter Finney, Legendary New Orleans Sportswriter

“Back in the days of the Daily New Orleans States Item and Picayune newspapers, sports fans eagerly read the colorful writings of Peter Finney. Now, we can enjoy again the best of them. . . . Sports nostalgia at its best.”—Acadiana Magazine

“A magical history tour of the most memorable events and unforgettable figures in Louisiana's long, proud sporting history. . . . Each column is delivered in Finney's snappy prose and elegant verse, trademarks of his inimitable writing style. . . . The Best of Peter Finney is a treasure, a must-read for anyone who loves sports and great story-telling, the greatest hits of Louisiana's greatest, most gifted and iconic sports writer.”—Times-Picayune

“[Finney] witnessed and, more importantly, chronicled most of the state’s illustrious sports history from the second half of the 20th century to the present. And it’s all here in the book. Every stylish word artfully crafted with just enough detachment to stay credible, as often as not with a light dose of humor.”—Lake Charles American Press

“Peter Finney’s career chronicled the greatest sports happenings in New Orleans and Louisiana for nearly seven decades. . . .Louisiana sports fans will no doubt cherish the opportunity to relive the good and the bad moments through Finney’s eyes and his incomparable writing.”—Baton Rouge Advocate

“A treasure trove of the writings of Finney, the dean and role model of Louisiana sportswriters. . . . For those purple-and-gold boosters, there’s a bonanza of stories and interviews, touching on an army of household Tiger names and events.”—Tiger Rag

“A must-read for any Louisiana sports fan. Finney's inimitable prose and keen insight are on display throughout the collection, which essentially covers every major event and personality in the history of modern Louisiana sports.”—Times-Picayune/NOLA.com

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