Len Berman, who gained fame for more than two decades as WNBC weeknight sportscaster, has published his fourth children’s book.
Of course, the subject — sports — remains his passion.
Last year, in the months after being pushed out at WNBC, Berman wrote The Greatest Moments in Sports. The book was geared to children, and became so successful that it made The New York Times Best Sellers list.
“The fact that a publisher wants to publish a book, tells you that they think they are going to make some money on it,” Berman says.
So he’s back with the The 25 Greatest Baseball Players of All Time. (Sourcebooks)
However, this time around, Berman isn’t the judge and jury of the process (along with his editor).
“This one I decided to have a blue-ribbon panel make the choices, because I didn’t want to be responsible for who’s in and who’s out,” Berman tells FishbowlNY.
That “blue-ribbon panel” includes former Yankee Bernie Williams, Brooklyn Dodgers All-Star pitcher Ralph Branca, longtime baseball executive Roland Hemond, noted journalist Frank DeFord and Sirius/XM host Chris “Mad Dog” Russo.
More with Berman after the jump
Berman didn’t make the final cuts, but did start the selection process.
“I sent them a list of about 40 names …and they edited it.”
Among the names that the veteran sports anchor had on the initial list were Yogi Berra and Sandy Koufax, who didn’t make it to the Top 25.
Berman says he speaks to kids and doesn’t preach to them. It’s all about telling interesting stories.
“Hank Aaron grew up poor in Mobile, Alabama. He couldn’t afford baseball equipment so he would take bottle caps and hit them with broom handles,” Berman cites as an example.
Even the accomplished sports anchor learned some new details about America’s pastime.
“Something I didn’t realize, that when [Cy Young] first started pitching, the pitching mound was 50 feet away,” Berman says.
Something else Berman realizes is there’s no guarantee that another book will be published, or what that title would be.
“I’d rather expand on the Greatest Moments in Sports, maybe do other moments,” Berman admits. “…One possibility might be the 25 Greatest Athletes of All Time.”
But first Berman anxiously awaits reaction to his current literary project.
“You try to promote a book, you usually talk about what’s in the book,” Berman says. “One of the more fascinating things with this is — what’s not in the book.”