Local authors give readers celebration of sports history

David La Vaque

After authoring 18 books, Ross Bernstein decided it was time.

His 19th book, “Batter-Up! Celebrating a Century of Minnesota Baseball,” gave Bernstein, a University graduate and emerging authority on sports in the state of Minnesota, his biggest challenge to date.

“I waited on baseball because I wanted to make sure I got it right,” Bernstein said. “I knew this was going to require the most research.”

And so Bernstein dug in, mixing and matching several game accounts, newspaper clippings and memories of those involved.

When Bernstein needed to call in the argument closer, he turned to his editor Joel Rippel, a member of The Society for American Baseball Research.

Bernstein’s diligence enabled him to deliver a retrospective of everything from the Minneapolis Millers in 1884 to the Minnesota Twins’ loss in game five of the 2002 American League Championship Series.

“Batter-Up!” also includes the history of high school, town team, women’s and small college baseball. Bernstein said readers enjoy seeing themselves in the same book as Harmon Killebrew (who wrote the foreword) or Rod Carew.

If the stories, anecdotes and biographies aren’t enough, more than 400 black and white photographs help readers absorb baseball in Minnesota.

Published by Nodin Press, “Batter-Up!” is available wherever books are sold for $25.95 in hardcover format.

Gopher Tales

Ray Christensen called 510 Minnesota Gophers football games and 1,309 basketball games in a radio broadcasting career that spanned 55 years.

If anyone was qualified to author a book about his experiences, it is Christensen. His book, “Ray Christensen’s Gopher Tales” chronicles the tradition of both programs, giving readers much to remember from a half-century of maroon and gold history.

“I used almost everything I had in mind,” Christensen said. “Some memories would pop up and one thing would lead to another.”

The finished product was “Gopher Tales.” Though the book includes colorful vignettes from all 11 men’s sports at the University, the best stories come from Christensen’s experiences with football and basketball.

The two sports make up 104 of the book’s 199 pages and feature stories on nearly all of the legendary and infamous names in both programs.

“Gopher Tales” is timely as well, including information right up through the men’s golf NCAA championship in June 2002.

Christensen, who was awarded the Chris Schenkel Award for excellence in broadcasting, will be at Williams Arena on Wednesday, Dec. 4 to sign copies of his book before and after the Georgia Tech basketball game.

Published by Sports Publishing L.L.C., “Gopher Tales” is available wherever books are sold for $19.95 in hardcover format.

David La Vaque welcomes comments at [email protected]