Crooked: A History of Cheating in Sports

Overview

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 ...
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Overview

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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Editorial Reviews

Pacific Northwest Inlander
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.
Jim Evans
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.
Maury Allen
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
Publishers Weekly

"Cheating is a large part of life," writes veteran sportswriter Zimniuch in his preface. "It's only natural that it should extend to sports." Not only is cheating prevalent in every level of athletics (overage pitcher Danny Almonte dominating the 2001 Little League World Series; Rosie Ruiz Vivas taking the subway to win the 1980 Boston marathon)-it has a rich history, dating back at least to the ancient Olympics in 388 B.C., when the boxer Eupolus bribed three opponents to take a dive. Though bribery, dirty play and spying are part of the story, cheating has taken a dangerous turn in recent years, namely the alarming revelations of athletes using performance-enhancing drugs and steroids, a practice that has made its way to high school athletics. Given the recent barrage of attention directed at baseball star Alex Rodriguez for his confession of steroid use, Zimniuch's book is certainly relevant. However, the concept of cheating and its culture has many shades of gray, and when not editorializing or dabbling in clichés, Zimniuch offers little more than a summary of past transgressions and sneaky tricks. (Apr.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

Cheating in sports is, unfortunately, a timely topic. In this book, the author provides an anecdotal survey of various types of dishonesty that have gone on since the time of the Olympics in ancient Greece. In his review of athletic fraudulence, Zimniuch looks somewhat benevolently on types of cheating that are relatively harmless and to be expected in competitive outlets such as working the officials in hockey, sign stealing in baseball, or even the infamous New England Patriots' Spygate episode of signal taping in pro football. By contrast, he rightly stresses how gambling has led to intermittent major scandals that have threatened the integrity of Major League Baseball (1919), pro football (1946), college basketball (1951), and pro basketball (2008). The largest section of the book is devoted to the pernicious effects that doping and steroid use by athletes have had on contemporary sports. All of this material is very well researched and written. When the author strays into how cheating in sports interrelates with the ethics of society at large, the book's momentum dwindles, but, all in all, it's a recommended title on a subject certainly of current interest.
—John Maxymuk

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781589793859
  • Publisher: Taylor Trade Publishing
  • Publication date: 4/16/2009
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 1,384,892
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet 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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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2010

    Good work

    Given all the negative press in the modern era with regards to cheating, this work was informative and historial in its content. Good interviews with Victor Conte and other persons of imprtance make this an essestial work. I happen to think that the PATRIOTS Spygate was major cheating even if the author does not.

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