November 04, 1985 12:00 PM

edited by Richard Whittingham

LIFE magazine has never had quite the franchise in sports that it has in show business, but this volume constitutes an evocative album. Most of the pictures date from the weekly LIFE’S inception in 1936 through its suspension in 1972, though a few Olympics pictures from the monthly version of the magazine are added. The reproduction, often flat and undercontrasted, too often doesn’t do justice to the photographs, and there’s a mistake or two—a man who appears to be former Boston Red Sox manager Dick Williams is said to be outfielder Carl Yastrzemski. But it’s fun to take a look again at Joe Louis’ fights or Jim Brown carrying a clump of New York Giants on his back or Ralph Morse’s multiple exposure showing Mickey Mantle hitting a home run and running the bases, all in one print. (Harper & Row, $29.95)

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