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The Life You Imagine - Derek Jeter

Harvey Frommer's Sports Book Review

by Harvey Frommer

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Title: "The Life You Imagine"
Author: Derek Jeter, with Jack Curry Publisher
Publisher:  Crown
Price: $21.95
Pages: 279

"The Life You Imagine" is not your typical "and then I did this" sports autobiography. That would never do for New York Yankees star Derek Jeter.

What we have  instead is a work that is part biography, part regimen for living right, part story-telling about what it is like to be the starting shortstop for the Yankees. All the parts add up to a fascinating whole in this book written with Jack Curry, a baseball columnist for the New York Times.

"I was about eight years old as I walked into my parents' bedroom," Jeter begins his book. "I announced that I was going to play for the Yankees. They were already in their pajamas, but they patiently listened to what their skinny son had said. Then they told me that I could do anything I wanted in life if I worked hard enough and stayed dedicated."

Jeter has indeed worked hard and stayed dedicated. Throughout the pages of this absorbing book, he reveals how the plan that he worked out with his parents and distilled into 10 lessons is a way of life he follows to this very day. The reader gets the nuts and bolts of that drill for making it -- setting high goals, getting the right role models, thinking before you act, surrounding yourself with a strong and supportive cast.

Jeter goes into detail about what it was like growing up in an interracial family and tips his cap in his dedication of "The Life You Imagine" to his parents, "who gave me the best of both worlds." We also get stories from Derek's student-athlete days in Kalamazoo, Mich.

Various aspects of Jeter's life are given the once-over, including his relationship with Mariah Carey, his meeting with Michael Jordan and how he has "tried to emulate him on and off the field," his friendship with (and mentoring from) David Cone, how he likes to instigate harmless flare-ups between teammates, and his view of "Mr. Torre" -- Yankees manager Joe Torre, whose style of leadership he likes a lot.

In addition to Jeter's words, there are brief essays from Cone, Dave Winfield and Don Zimmer that provide a peek into what makes Jeter tick.

Jeter writes: "I always wanted this to happen, every at-bat, every inning, every amazing experience that I've had so far. I always wanted to play baseball in the major leagues, praying that the Yankees would be the team that drafted me. I wanted to win World Series championships and wake up every morning knowing that I loved my job."

All that Jeter wanted has come to be.

Filled with family photographs, shots of Jeter playing for the Yankees, inspirational commentary and carefully told anecdotes, "The Life You Imagine" -- like its subject -- is a class act.

BOOKENDS The Phillies may have fallen on tough times, but "The Whiz Kids," by Robin Roberts and C. Paul Rogers III (Temple University Press, paperback, 390 pages), is a wonderful 50th-anniversary celebration of how Philadelphia won the 1950 National League pennant.

And from Temple University Press: "Land of the Giants," by Stew Thornley, an in-depth look at the old Polo Grounds.

"Missing Links" by Daniel Wexler (Sleeping Bear Press, $35, 222 pages) is a beautiful look in words and pictures at America's greatest lost golf courses and holes. For golfers and those into exquisite sports books -- this is the one for you.

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You can reach Harvey Frommer at:   

Email:  harvey.frommer@Dartmouth.EDU 

About the Author:

Harvey Frommer is in his  38th year of writing books. A noted oral historian and sports journalist, the author of 42 sports books including the classics: "New York City Baseball,1947-1957" and "Shoeless Joe and Ragtime Baseball," his acclaimed REMEMBERING YANKEE STADIUM was published in 2008 and his REMEMBERING FENWAY PARK: AN ORAL AND NARRATIVE HISTORY OF THE HOME OF RED SOX NATION was published to acclaim in 2011.  The prolific Frommer is at work on When It Was Just a Game, An Oral History on Super Bowel One. 

His work has appeared in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, New York Daily News, Newsday, USA Today, Men's Heath, The Sporting News, among other publications.

FROMMER SPORTSNET (syndicated) reaches a readership in the millions and is housed on Internet search engines for extended periods of time.
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Dr. Frommer is the Official Book Reviewer of Travel-Watch. 
*Autographed copies of Frommer books are available .
 

Other Frommer sports related articles can be found at:   

Harvey Frommer along with his wife, Myrna Katz  Frommer are the authors of five critically acclaimed oral/cultural histories, professors at Dartmouth  College, and travel writers who specialize in cultural history, food, wine, and Jewish history and heritage in the United States, Europe, and the Caribbean. 

This Article is Copyright 1995 - 2014 by Harvey Frommer.  All rights reserved worldwide.

 

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