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Crooked: A History of Cheating in Sports [Paperback]

Fran Zimniuch

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Book Description

April 16 2009
As long as people have played games, there has been a temptation to win (or intentionally lose) by cheating. Infamous cases throughout the history of sport abound, from the "thrown" 1919 World Series to the recent doping confessions of track star Marion Jones. In this entertaining and informative book, sports historian Fran Zimniuch recalls the notorious scandals that have tainted our most popular sports, concluding that such incidents are often a reflection of the times. Benefiting from personal interviews with many figures either involved in or on the periphery of recent scandals, including BALCO's Victor Conte, Crooked presents a pageant of infamy as rich as the history of modern sports itself.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: National Book Network (April 16 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1589793854
  • ISBN-13: 978-1589793859
  • Product Dimensions: 22.4 x 14.7 x 1.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 259 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #775,868 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Whether it's the college kid trying to pick up a little extra pocket money or the multi-millionaire superstar seeking that elusive edge, cheating happens! In Crooked: A History of Cheating in Sports, Fran Zimniuch chronicles some of the most infamous cases of cheating in sports history. Zimniuch takes you onto the field and into the dressing rooms as he delves into the minds of those who choose to cheat. After reading this eye-opening and riveting account, you'll never watch sports again with the same innocence. (Jim Evans )

The soft underbelly in sports, the cheaters, the phonies, the point shavers, the money grabbers are examined thoroughly in Crooked: A History of Cheating in Sports. Fran’s book reveals that sports is not all romance and purity. It is as much cheating and fraud. It is, to put it more clearly, real life in sweat socks and uniform pants (Maury Allen )

Crooked is a nice little surprise of a book. Using psychology, history, sociology and a fan’s love of the game, Zimnuich takes a hard look at duplicity in sports, both pro and amateur. His manner is folksy and fan-friendly as he examines dozens of unsavory scandals. (Pacific Northwest Inlander )

About the Author

Fran Zimniuch is an award-winning journalist and columnist who has written for various newspapers and national magazines for more than two decades. He is the author of five books, including Going, Going, Gone: The Art of the Trade in Major League Baseball. He lives in Sicklerville, New Jersey.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cheating 101 March 25 2009
By LA - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Crooked: A History of Cheating in Sports is the end all to be all if you want to know about how players in all sports, not just baseball, cheat. Cheating is a way of life in sports and the author has compiled a history of how it happens and more importantly, why it happens. Views from officials, the players themselves and psychologists make the book come to life. If you're a sports fan or even the normal every-day reader this book explains cheating in detail in easy-to-understand chapters and is a must read.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cheating is not just in baseball March 28 2010
By Peter Coolbaugh - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
A fun and informative work that chronicles the cheating that has gone on since practically the dawn of time. Fran gets first hand accounts from experts and those involved with modern cheatin scandals and touches on historical events, i.e. Vietnam, that changed the American tolerance for cheating and deceit.

Highly recommended for sports fans (not just a baseball book) who wish to explore the phenomenon of deception that exists in our modern sporting world.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Complete and compelling June 29 2009
By Trace Shelton - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
What's really incredible about this book are the sheer amount of sources that the author was able to consult across a broad variety of sports, including football, basketball, baseball, and Olympic and amateur sports. If you ever wanted to know anything about cheating in pretty much any sport, this book is the place to find it. I was especially fascinated by the in-depth look at NBA officials, the Tim Donaghy scandal of 2007, and the methods through which officials and players alike practice "one-upmanship" in an effort to gain advantage in the game. Zimniuch also does an excellent job of pacing, as the book is an easy read and keeps you turning the page.
3.0 out of 5 stars Recommended, although somewhat guardedly. April 27 2014
By Ray Stefanski - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This book will convince us that cheating is wrong. By cheating, players deprive sports of honest competition. But perhaps more importantly, cheating, by using performance-enhancing substances, jeopardizes the health of the athletes and aspiring youth that hope to emulate them. Cheating in sports has societal consequences: leads to cynicism even in activities that are not directly related to sports; it engenders a social attitude that accepts that everyone cheats.

Society seems apathetic toward cheating—“It’s just part of the game.” The social cost of cheating is the loss of trust among peers and the degradation of the sense of community. We need to be duly alarmed by the aberrant behavior of sports celebrities. We need a societal change in attitude.

The author suggests that belief in god and religion is important in the development of individual honesty. She seems somewhat ambivalent toward non-believers, but voices her skepticism that we possess a moral compass and an appreciation for honesty as an individual and social value. Herein, as an advocate for fact-based reasoning, I must take issue with the author. To suggest that one must believe in ancient superstition (god) to value honesty is untenable. We free-thinkers submit honestly our inability to believe in that which cannot be verified, and hence do not lend our support to religion. How honest can a person be who advocates, and proselytizes, that which she cannot know to be true?

Aside from this annoying detail in the book, the author is thorough in citing all kinds of cheating in sport, even going back three millennia in the discussion of the Olympic Games. I would be happier if the book made some attempt at exploring more of the complexities associated with sports and the occurrence of cheating:

For example, it would be interesting to note the demographics associated with cheating: Where do cheaters originate—from the inner city, affluent neighborhoods, rural areas, blue collar…. Are there ethnic distinctions, or can a correlation be found with religious belief or family values? In looking at the individuals discussed in the book, they seem to consist of relatively affluent people, perhaps driven by an inordinate need to acquire wealth to satisfy expectations of friends and family. Well, I speculate, but this might be an area worth exploring.

Also, complex ethical questions can be involved: We can imagine that bio-engineers may someday develop substances that enhance individual performance with little or no adverse physiological effect. We might oppose the use of these substances in athletics on the grounds that such use defeats honest competition. But how does this differ from, for example, a young athlete’s access to the support of her modestly wealthy family, which hires a personal trainer to help her achieve a degree of proficiency otherwise unattainable? Her wealth clearly gives her an unfair advantage. Do we consider it unethical for this person to take advantage of her position to accomplish a higher level of proficiency?

Amphetamines have a contemporary use, under physicians’ care, in the treatment of ADHD and as a stimulant. There is also illegal use and abuse of this substance, sometimes leading to serious physical deterioration and even death. However, some estimate that about 10% of baseball players use ADHD medication—a somewhat higher percentage than, but not out of line with, the general population. This practice is frowned upon by MLB officials, and generally receives negative coverage in the press. But the point is that legal use of ADHD medication by the public is widespread. Since society has accepted the value of ADHD medication for general use, why should we forbid baseball players from using it? I would have appreciated further development of this issue in the book.

Bottom line: It’s an interesting book for sports fans. I recommend it, although somewhat guardedly.
1.0 out of 5 stars pedetrian Aug. 18 2010
By backupthecranefat - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
i found this book to be a rehash of well known often retold cheating scandals. Nothing new no controversial opinions. the writing unexciting. A book for the semi-literate often misinformed american sports fan portrayed in the movie "Big Fan."

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