Ron Rapoport is a sportswriter and author who lives in Santa Monica. He was a sports columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times and the Los Angeles Daily News and was sports commentator for National Public Radio's "Weekend Edition Saturday." He also wrote about sports for the Los Angeles Times and the Associated Press in New York and San Francisco. He is the recipient of the Ring Lardner Award for Excellence in Sports Journalism.
His latest book, which will be published by Hachette Books in Spring 2019, is Let's Play Two: The Legend of Mr. Cub, The Life of Ernie Banks. The definitive and revealing biography of Chicago Cubs legend Ernie Banks, one of America's most iconic, beloved, and misunderstood baseball players.
Ernie Banks, the first-ballot Hall of Famer and All-Century Team shortstop, played in fourteen All-Star Games, won two MVPs and a Gold Glove Award, and twice led the Major Leagues in home runs and runs batted in. His signature phrase, "Let's play two," has entered the American lexicon and exemplifies an enthusiasm and optimism that endeared him to fans everywhere.
But Banks's public display of good cheer was also a mask that hid a deeply conflicted and complex man. He spent his entire career with the Chicago Cubs, who fielded some of baseball's worst teams, and became one of the greatest players never to reach the World Series. He endured poverty and racism as a young man, and the scorn of Cubs manager Leo Durocher as an aging superstar. Yet Banks smiled through it all, never complaining and never saying a negative word about his circumstances or the people around him.
Based on numerous conversations with Banks, and on more than a hundred interviews with family, teammates, friends, and associates--as well as oral histories, court records, and thousands of other documents and sources--Let's Play Two tells Banks's story along with that of the woebegone Cubs teams he played for. This fascinating chronicle features Buck O'Neil, Philip K. Wrigley, the Bleacher Bums, the doomed pennant race of 1969, and much more from a long lost baseball era.
He also wrote The Lost Journalism of Ring Lardner, which contains the best of Lardner’s journalism from his earliest days at the South Bend Times through his years at the Chicago Tribune and his weekly column for the Bell Syndicate, which appeared in 150 newspapers and reached eight million readers. In these columns Lardner not only covered the great sporting events of the era—from Jack Dempsey’s fights to the World Series and even an America’s Cup—he also wrote about politics, war, and Prohibition, as well as parodies, poems, and penetrating observations on American life.
His book, Tim and Tom: An American Comedy in Black and White is currently being adapted for the screen. He has written, edited and collaborated on a number of books about sports and entertainment, including Betty Garrett and Other Songs: A Life on Stage and Screen; See How She Runs: Marion Jones and the Making of a Champion; The Immortal Bobby: Bobby Jones and the Golden Age of Golf; and, in collaboration with Chicago White Sox owner Eddie Einhorn, How March Became Madness: How the NCAA Tournament Became the Greatest Sporting Event in America. He also edited the acclaimed anthology, A Kind of Grace: A Treasury of Sportswriting by Women, and From Black Sox to Three-Peats: A Century of Chicago's Best Sports Writing from the Pages of the Tribune, Sun-Times and Other Papers.
To learn more about Let's Play Two, go to its Amazon page, Barnes&Noble page, or the publisher's page.
Contact Ron Rapoport.