HOWEY-IN-THE-HILLS — Readers can get an inside glimpse of 20th-century sports figures who made money betting on themselves in book by Lake County author Dave Heeren.
In his 12th book, "The Sporting Stings," Heeren, who mostly has written Christian books, revisits his days in South Florida as a sportswriter. For more than 40 years he wrote for the Fort Lauderdale Times, which became the Sun Sentinel.
Heeren, 75, covered the lives of some of the greatest golfers, bowlers, baseball and football players of all time or what he describes as, "stories about famous and infamous sports hustlers."
"I had the most fun writing about these sports figures and the devices they used to gain advantages and create bigger stakes to win whatever game they played and beyond," said Heeren who retired to Howey with his wife Joan in 2007. Heeren has been churning out titles in six different genres since then.
"I love writing non-fiction and fiction in many different arenas, but this is the most entertaining book I have written, and it brought me back to my childhood, as well," said Heeren, a native of Teaneck, N.J., whose father worked in the sports department of the New York Times.
Heeren recalled his younger days and how they shaped his future career as a sportswriter: "My dad always got me tickets to the games at Yankee Stadium and Madison Square Garden, and it was incredible to be able to be there."
In his latest read, Heeren reveals "hustles" by some major sports figures and how they were able to benefit personally from betting for or against even themselves. He named professional tennis player Bobby Riggs as "the biggest hustler." Riggs played in the 1940s but gained fame again in 1973 by challenging tennis professional Billie Jean King in the "Battle of the Sexes."
"I know of more than one match where he made a lot of money based on the odds," Heeren said.
Heeren will be speaking at area public libraries this month and in January. His appearances: 7 p.m. Dec. 4 at the W.T. Bland Public Library in Mount Dora; 2 p.m. Jan. 15, Tavares Public Library; and 3 p.m. Jan. 22 at the Leesburg Public Library.
"It is so great to share with sports fans and hear their stories when we all get together," said Heeren. "This book is very entertaining and generates tons of interest."
"The Sporting Stings" may be found on amazon.com, or for those who would like a signed copy, email Heeren at firstname.lastname@example.org.