The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives, Thematic Series: Sports Figures

  • Volume 1
  • Published By:
  • ISBN-10: 0684314487
  • ISBN-13: 9780684314488
  • DDC: 796.0922
  • Grade Level Range: 9th Grade - College Senior
  • 1097 Pages | eBook
  • Original Copyright 2002 | Published/Released October 2004
  • This publication's content originally published in print form: 2002

  • Price:  Sign in for price



The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives (SEAL) has documented the lives of thousands of deceased Americans, both world famous and lesser known. Now, a new Thematic Series focuses on people in special areas of interest, both living and deceased. For the kickoff, Sports Figures profiles everyone from Dizzy Dean to Mia Hamm.

For those who want to learn about sports figures, statistics and career highlights are easy to find, but authoritative biographical information is not always readily available. Now anyone who enjoys sports can turn to SEAL for well-written, authoritative essays on the lives and achievements of more than 600 athletes, coaches, team owners, sportscasters and writers. Their home run records, longest passes and fastest miles are all here, along with concise descriptions of each subject's childhood, family life, education and rise to fame. And true to Scribner's high editorial quality, each original, signed essay is written to be read and enjoyed by scholars, students and casual browsers alike.

What was it like for Jackie Robinson, the first black player to break the color barrier in baseball, and why was Babe Didrikson Zaharias so revolutionary for her time? What makes Tiger Woods a unique golfer? Each signed article places its subject in historical context. Photos of most subjects, bibliographies and an index by sport make this set comprehensive and easy to use.

Alternate Formats

  • Casebound Edition

    ISBN-10: 0684806657 | ISBN-13: 9780684806655


"Sports Figures, launching a planned series of thematic biographical encyclopedias, gets things off to a good start. The 614 entries, of sports figures living or dead, active or retired, are arranged alphabetically across two volumes. Entrants are primarily professional athletes, but also include amateur athletes, noted coaches, owners or managers, and reporters, newscasters, or journalists. A few non-Americans are included if they made significant contributions to American sport...The newly written essays each span a couple of pages and offer interesting, engaging, and well-written biographical details. Each entry includes a photograph and offer interesting, engaging, and well-written biographical details. Each entry includes a photograph and concludes with a brief, evaluative bibliographical essay, advising readers of the best biographies, additional sources of statistical, autobiographical, or other information, and reference to published obituaries...Recommended for public and academic libraries." -- Choice (September 2002)

— Choice

"Designed for persons interested in sports figures, statistics and career highlights, this reference has signed articles for more than 600 athletes, coaches, team owners, sportscasters and writers. Each article has a brief introduction to the person with birth and death dates and a sentence or two about his or her claim to fame. Most articles have a black-and-white photograph.... Articles end with a short paragraph about where to find additional information. The appendix has a list of persons by occupations. You might consider chaining this set down -- it will be off the shelf for those study hall students who have read all the latest magazines. The topic may also help interest students who don't like research. Recommended for all high schools and for middle schools if the budget allows." -- Reference for Students (June 2002)

— Reference Reviews on

"Gr 9—Up. The authoritative two- to three- page biographies presented here concentrate on professional athletes, coaches, and media personalities, placing each one in the context of American society of the day...In addition to personal information and career highlights, the signed articles may include descriptions of the athlete's style and how they were viewed by fans, media, coaches, opponents, or teammates. Some incorporate quotes, and there are descriptions of key competitions that make for exciting reading. Though statistics and awards accompany each profile, Sports Figures is much more than a digest of statistics. A rich assortment of personalities is included and the number of entries per sport reflects popular interest in the area...The up-to-date lists for further reading at the end of each entry, which include films, books, and news and magazine articles, will assist researchers as well as collection-development librarians...A useful purchase for libraries needing current information on a variety of individuals who may be difficult to locate elsewhere." -- School Library Journal (November 2002)

— School Library Journal

"This alphabetically arranged reference source of professional sports figures is the first in a new thematic series from Scribner. The authoritative two-volume set chronicles 614 coaches, athletes, owners, ad media personalities, with signed essays by 250 academics, journalists, and archivists...The encyclopedia's subjects are a who's who of American sport figures, ranging from the well-recognized, e.g. Michael Jordan, Jim Thorpe, Nolan Ryan, and A.J. Foyt, to the lesser known, e.g. soccer's Alexi Lalas, volleyball's Karch Kiraly, and bowling's Steve Nagy. Hugely influential non-athletes of the past, such as the sports promoter Tex Rickard, who produced the great Dempsey spectacles of the 1920s also get their due. The publication features subject listings by sport, a directory of contributors, and an occupational index...This easy-to-use, comprehensive, and well-written encyclopedia is recommended for public and college libraries." -- Library Journal (July 2002)

— Library Journal

"Written in the same style and format as Charles Scribner's Sons' biographical series of works titled Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives, this title focuses solely on American sports figures from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. There are 614 sports figures featured in this 2-volume set. They represent the wide range of sports that mark U.S. history, including those well known such as baseball, football, and swimming, and those lesser-celebrated sports such as auto racing and speed skating. Most of the entries range from two to three pages in length and many include a black-and-white photograph. All are signed by the author. Each article begins with a paragraph describing what makes that person notable in their sport and then goes on to discuss family background, influences, and achievements outside the realm of sports. Although the articles are written by a variety of contributors, the articles have a continuity about them that is a credit to the editor. At the end of volume 2 a list of contributors can be found that lists their affiliation or profession. A list of all entries by sport or category is also provided. An index rounds out the two volumes. This work, the first thematic issue in the American Lives series, is an outstanding achievement. There will be some dispute with readers as to those who were included and those excluded from the volumes but, overall, the choices of the editor represent a wide variety of athletes from the United States. This set will be a worthwhile addition to high school, academic, and public libraries needing information on sports history." -- ARBA (January 2002)


"The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives (or SEAL, as it is known to reference librarians) is the continuation of the now-defunct retrospective standard, Dictionary of American Biography (DAB)...Consistent with the parent SEAL set, each entry includes a photograph. However, unlike the parent set, SEAL: Sports Figures includes living sports personalities...For libraries continuing DAB with SEAL, the thematic series will add value to the entire set, making DAB and SEAL a one-stop biography center." -- Booklist (September 2002)

— Booklist

"This inaugural set of the Thematic Series of The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives collects the lives of 614 men and women who have shaped American sports over the past 160 years. .... From John L. Sullivan to Tiger Woods, the selection arguably includes the most important American athletes both past and present. The scope, however, is not limited to athletes alone. Promoters, commissioners, horse trainers, sportswriters, broadcasters and others are represented. The 205 contributors include academics, archivists, sports officials and professional sportswriters. Their scholarly biographies trace each individual's background, career and significant accomplishments in addition to providing sources for additional research. Their efforts constitute one of the finest guides to sports biography available. This outstanding tool is highly recommended for public and academic libraries." -- Lawrence Looks at Books (June 2001)

— Lawrence Looks at Books