Sports journalist and archivist Zander Hollander passed away on Friday of Alzheimer’s. He was 91.
Those of you who put up with my numerous articles and blog posts on baseball can blame Hollander. The very first baseball book I read was Hollander’s The Complete Handbook of Baseball — 1980 Seasonwhen I was 7 years old. My Mom bought the book for my Dad. Somehow it never made its way into his hands. Willie Stargell, who was 1979 Co-NL MVP with Keith Hernandez, was on the front cover and 1979 AL Cy Young Award winner Mike Flanagan was on the back cover. Both men sadly are no longer with us.
There are things from that book that I still remember like Detroit Tigers catcher Lance Parrish being a former bodyguard for Tina Turner, San Diego Padres pitcher John Curtis was an essayist, and future NBA great Danny Ainge was trying to make the grade as a second baseman for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Hollander didn’t confine his complete handbooks to baseball. He also wrote complete handbooks for football, basketball, hockey, and soccer and the Olympics. During my visit to Israel in 1988, I stayed at Yeshiva University for a few days. I remember being invited into the study of the Chief Rabbi. His study was full of religious works except for one book — The Complete Handbook of Pro Basketball for the 1987-88 season.
Before the Internet, Zander Hollander (with the assistance of Phyllis Rosen, his wife of 62 years) was a one-stop shop for sports information and trivia. His books also planted the seeds of a lifelong passion for baseball that will never lose its bloom.