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April 01, 1998|LARRY STEWART

What: "Talkin' Sports," by Pat O'Brien

Publisher: Villard Books

Price: $10

This is a handy little paperback, sort of a mini-encyclopedia of sports. Need a quick reference to a major sporting event? This could be it. The whole idea behind this 236-page paperback is to provide information that makes one sound knowledgeable when "talkin' sports."

O'Brien, a workaholic, put forth the effort in writing this book. The longtime CBS sportscaster who is now a co-host of the syndicated entertainment news show "Access Hollywood" and is also heard on CBS Radio, did plenty of research.

He breaks the book down by months. The January chapter, for instance, starts with Jan. 1, 1942, when Oregon State beat Duke, 20-16, in the Rose Bowl. What made this game significant, besides Oregon State's winning, was that it was played in Durham, N.C., because the Japanese had just attacked Pearl Harbor and a West Coast site was considered too dangerous.

The book is written with a light touch.

It's not exactly hilarious, as the book jacket promises, but one funny aspect is the pictures. Since this is sort of a history of sports, you'd think there might be some classic shots of Babe Ruth, Joe DiMaggio, Johnny Unitas, Secretariat and the like. Not a one. There are exactly 40 photographs--all of O'Brien. All in the same suit, some in different poses. Now, O'Brien is nice looking, but 40 pictures of himself? Come on.

But then don't judge this book by its pictures.

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