Over Time by Frank Deford


14 Critic Reviews

...from print to radio to TV to the Internet. Celebrities of all sorts populate the pages...but only rarely does Deford strip the bark to see what lies beneath. A throwback jersey of a book.


Over Time: My Life as a Sportswriter is as unconventional and wide-ranging as Frank Deford’s remarkable career, in which he has chronicled the heroes and the characters of just about every sport in nearly every medium. Deford joined Sports Illustrated in 1962, fresh, and fresh out of Princeton. In 1990, he was Editor-in-Chief of The National Sports Daily, one of the most ambitious—and ill-fated—projects in the history of American print journalism. But then, he’s endured: writing ten novels, winning an Emmy (not to mention being a fabled Lite Beer All-Star), and last week he read something like his fourteen-hundredth commentary on NPR’s “Morning Edition.”

From the Mad Men-like days of SI in the ‘60s, and the “bush” years of the early NBA, to Deford’s visit to apartheid South Africa with Arthur Ashe, and his friend’s brave and tragic death, Over Time is packed with intriguing people and stories. Interwoven through his personal history, Deford lovingly traces the entire arc of American sportswriting from the lurid early days of the Police Gazette, through Grantland Rice and Red Smith and on up to ESPN. This is a wonderful, inspired book—equal parts funny and touching—a treasure for sports fans. Just like Frank Deford.

Praise for Over Time

“Equal doses of self-deprecating humor and anecdotal history of American sports journalism are the essence of Frank Deford's entertaining new memoir.”—Chicago Tribune

“Deford is the Holy Grail. He's simply one of the greatest sportswriters of all time. ... [Over Time] has a little bit of everything -- great stories about interviewing everyone from Richard Nixon … to Jerry Jones. … Deford played with the Harlem Globetrotters, introduced the world to Bill Bradley, really disliked Rodney Dangerfield, edited the only national sports daily in our history (The National), and has great takes on the history and characters of Sports Illustrated in its formative years. . . . Deford's the best.”—Peter King, SI.com

“He sketches insightful remembrances of stars like Wilt Chamberlain and Billie Jean King and lavishes affection and admiration on Sports Illustrated colleagues Andre Laguerre, Dan Jenkins, and the ‘tortured’ writer Mark Kram … [Deford is] sports writing's Sinatra.” —San Francisco Chronicle

“Endearing... Over Time imparts a sense of a life well lived and fully enjoyed.”—New York Times

"The mixture of homage to sportswriters who came before him, such as Grantland Rice; sometimes wistful vignettes of sports figures like Arthur Ashe; and his own personal reflections on the evolution of sports journalism combine to offer a cultural perspective that transcends a mere job." —Publishers Weekly (Top 10 in Sports)

"Deford's cred is incredible, his accolades deserved... He does not pull a punch when it comes to boxing or even to the tastes-great, less-filling Miller Lite commercials he once made... [Deford] has long been the genuine article." —Los Angeles Times

“A cool ride through Deford’s career.”— Minneapolis Star-Tribune

“Frank Deford is the best there is. His memoir Over Time is beautiful, funny, poignant and poetic.” —Buzz Bissinger, author of Friday Night Lights and Father's Day

“A wonderful book. Over Time is both a treasure and a treasury.”—Sally Jenkins, Washington Post columnist and New York Times bestselling author of It’s Not About the Bike

“Frank Deford is the best sportswriter I’ve ever read. If there’s a Mount Rushmore of sportswriting, Deford is up there, purple ties and all.”—Tony Kornheiser

About Frank Deford

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The author of fourteen books, Frank Deford has worked in virtually every medium. He is senior contributing writer at Sports Illustrated, where his byline first appeared in 1962. A weekly commentator for NPR's Morning Edition, he is also a regular correspondent on the HBO show Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel. As a journalist, Deford was most recently presented with the National Magazine Award for profiles, and has been elected to the Hall of Fame of the National Association of Sportscasters and Sportswriters. Voted by his peers as U.S. Sportswriter of the Year six times, he was also cited by The American Journalism Review as the nation's finest sportswriter and was twice voted Magazine Writer of the Year by the Washington Journalism Review. He has been presented with a Christopher Award and awards for distinguished service to journalism from the University of Missouri and Northeastern University. For his radio and TV work, Deford has won both an Emmy and a George Foster Peabody Award.
Published May 1, 2012 by Atlantic Monthly Press. 368 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Sports & Outdoors. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Over Time
All: 14 | Positive: 8 | Negative: 6


Below average
Mar 01 2012

...from print to radio to TV to the Internet. Celebrities of all sorts populate the pages...but only rarely does Deford strip the bark to see what lies beneath. A throwback jersey of a book.

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NY Times

Below average
Reviewed by BRUCE WEBER on Jun 01 2012

Toward the end of “Over Time,” Deford strikes an increasingly defensive pose, as though he isn’t actually sure the story of a sportswriter and sportswriting is worth telling.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Dwight Garner on May 08 2012

“Over Time” imparts a sense of a life well lived and fully enjoyed. It’s almost enough to make you want to break out the cheap Scotch and the Gatorade, and even the Slivovitz, the sherry and the steak sauce, and go searching for some ice.

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LA Times

Below average
Reviewed by Mike Downey on Apr 30 2012

A healthy ego is not a prerequisite for a memoir, meanwhile, but it must take a certain self-confidence to begin every chapter of one with a quotation from oneself.

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The Washington Post

Below average
Reviewed by Dave Sheinin on Jul 13 2012

He says little about the craft behind his best-known pieces, and the anecdotes he offers about such memorable figures as Bear Bryant and Bobby Knight are mostly short and tangential.

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Dallas News

Reviewed by CHRIS TUCKER on May 18 2012

At 73, Benjamin Franklin Deford III has seen it all, and boy, has he got stories

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Washington Independent Review of Books

Below average
Reviewed by Jay Price

Like a lot of people who graduated from the best schools (Princeton), started at the top...and have spent their professional lives being hailed for doing what comes naturally, Deford’s attempts at self-deprecation fall flat.

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San Francisco Chronicle

Below average
Reviewed by JAY JENNINGS on May 20 2012

Too often, Deford's language strains painfully toward the casual; he's liberal in his use of the pleading "you see" and atonally throws in an OMG or a BFF while also dropping an antique phrase like "Katie bar the door."

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St. Louis Today

Reviewed by Harry Levins on May 27 2012

...Deford makes sports both interesting and entertaining

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Reviewed by Alan Cate on May 10 2012

"No cheering in the press box" is an old saying among sportswriters, but, after finishing this delightful book, readers will want to stand and applaud

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Chicago Sun Times

Reviewed by RICK TELANDER on May 21 2012

Read this book and see if the easy, conversational tone doesn’t lure you from page to page like a soft, lovely breeze

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The Kentucky Democrat

Reviewed by Daniel S. on May 31 2012

It’s a fun read and a rather fast one. It's storytelling and sports history in one place

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Books With Balls

Reviewed by Matthew Wood on Jul 02 2012

It's a wonderful piece of writing. But from Frank Deford, would you expect anything else?

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Sherman Report

Reviewed by Ed Sherman on May 29 2012

Deford shows he still has his fastball, along with several other pitches.

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admin 28 Feb 2013

Rated the book as 4 out of 5