Trivia, Travel & Tried-and-True Tidbits of Gambling Wisdom . May 2012 . Vol 13 . No. 5

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Trivia, Travel and Tried-and-True Tidbits of Gambling Wisdom

By T. Dana Smith (for Howard Schwartz) - Gambler's Book Shop Las Vegas

Who was the only father-son tandem to hit back-to-back home runs? Who said, “In the beginning, everything was even money”? When was boxing first televised in Las Vegas? You’ll find the answers to these and a zillion other questions in this review’s three books.

Baseball Bits by Don Schlossberg (252 pgs, $16.95) is packed with “The Best Stories, Facts, and Trivia from the Dugout to the Outfield,” its subtitle. The intriguing, true stories and facts are organized by subject in 10 chapters with titles such as “Ball Clubs,” “Batters and Pitchers,” “Bosses, Deals and Steals,” and “Color, Clout and Controversy.”

Baseball Bits has stories I’ve never heard before—and I’ve been doing baseball since 1953,” Hall of Fame broadcaster Milo Hamilton said in his endorsement of the book. Schlossberg, a former AP sportswriter and author of 33 baseball books, knocks one out of the park with his anecdotes, all dressed up with vintage photos and clever sidebars. Here’s a fun, easy-to-read treasure trove of trivia that’ll enlighten and amuse even the most serious baseball fan. (Father-son answer: Ken Griffey and Ken Griffey, Jr.)

The Little Red Book of Gambling Wisdom, edited by Paul Lyons, (218 pgs, hardbound, $16.95) is a compendium of quotes from gamblers in all walks of life. Who could resist reading a chapter titled “The Company We Keep: A Gallery of Hustlers, Kibitzers, High Rollers, Handicappers, Suckers, and Other Citizens of the Republic of Chance.” Or how about “Two Cents’ Worth: From Mavens, Maestros, Metaphysicians, Moralists, and Others.”

Lyons has compiled the most complete roundup of gambling quotes on the market, beautifully bound, printed on slick paper and dotted with full-color illustrations. “My father once told me never to bet on anything but Notre Dame and the Yankees.” You’d think a sports fan might’ve said that, right? But no, it was New Jersey governor Brendan Byrne, when he cut the ribbon to open Resorts Casino. (Even-money answer: Mike Caro.)

Chronicles of Old Las Vegas, by James Roman (238 pgs, $18.95) is part of the Museyon Guide series of travel books. “Exposing Sin City’s High-Stakes History,” the book’s subtitle is Roman’s aim in this chronicle of Vegas from its roots as a “grassy meadow surrounded by an inhospitable desert” to its eventual place in the sun as the gambling capital of the world.

Roman’s writing style reflects well upon Sin City—colorful, fast moving, never boring. In addition to many full-page, vintage color photos of Vegas pioneers, entertainers, and movers/shakers, the book includes maps, directions and descriptions of places of interest—plus the answer to the boxing question in my lead paragraph: 1960.

These books are available at Gambler's Book Club in Las Vegas. You can order them at www.gamblersbookclub.com or phone the store at 1-800-522-1777 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Pacific time. Opened in 1964, GBC is located at 5473 S. Eastern between Tropicana and Russell, just a short drive from the Strip. View the store's complete line of books, CDs, videos and software at the web site.