Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Steelers History Fans Should Get Ruanaidh While They Still Can

We publish sports books at Sporting Chance Press, but today I want to recommend a book that we did not publish.  Art Rooney, Jr. wrote Ruanaidh: The Story of Art Rooney and His Clan and self published it in 2008. For football fans who are  bibliophiles, this is a book you should own and get it now while there are still copies around--it is officially out of print. 

The Amazon description:

"Ruanaidh" follows to its conclusion the extraordinary life of Art Rooney, Sr. - the Chief. The strange-looking title (pronounced Ru-ah-nee) is the Gaelic word for Rooney. Candid personality portraits of almost everybody in the Chief's wide orbit are mingled with tales from Art Rooney, Jr's own high school and college football-playing days, from his time as a failed drama student in New York, from his six months of boot camp training with the Marines, and from his subsequent career as personnel director of his father's football team, the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Born in 1935, Art Rooney, Jr., is the second of the Chief's five sons. He listened to his father's stories and observed him in action, attempting to understand how this small-time politician and big-time horse player ended up as a beloved folk hero, the creator, after many false starts, of a football dynasty, and "a great American sportsman." For obvious reasons, the picture of Art Rooney, Sr. that emerges could not be more fully drawn.
There emerges, also, in "Ruanaidh," a marvelous supporting cast of relatives, in-laws, colleagues, rivals, hangers-on, and free spirits, of saints and sinners, titans and nobodies. About each there are stories that only a Ru-ah-nee could have known. In the 1970s, it was Art Rooney, Jr. who supervised the scouting and drafting of the Steelers' first four Super Bowl championship teams. And here he relates, with no animosity, his quest for talented players that would lead the Steelers to NFL Championships.
The author, Art Rooney, Jr.,  broke all kinds of book publishing conventions with this book.  The book is oversized and the pages are dense with relatively small type.  The margins are narrow.  The book is overgenerous in that it includes many black and white photographs as well as color images of Merv Corning paintings.  The title sounds odd and is difficult to remember.  Yet, it all works and makes Ruanaidh something special. 

I picked up a copy for our Pillars of the NFL project and then picked up a second copy for one of my colleagues and eventually received a third as a gift.  Although the book is out of print, I believe it's value will increase greatly in time and besides that, it's just a great book to have for Rooney/Steelers fans.  

Sporting Chance Press is a publisher of good sports books about good people.