The reviews are in and some of the most prominent people in the sports journalism business say Larry Stewart's just released book chronicling his life and career is a must read.

The 1964 Strathmore High graduate rose from the small community of Strathmore to become one of the nation's most respected sports journalists with the Los Angeles Times. In his book, “My Up-Close View,” Stewart chronicles his nearly 40 years as a sports journalist at the Los Angeles Herald Examiner and the Times.

His career in Los Angeles spanned five decades from the 1960s through the 21st century. Stewart is most known for his 30-plus year career at the Times in which his page 3 column on TV and radio sports that appeared in the newspaper every Friday was a must read for any sports fan.

But in his book, Stewart also covers his time covering Strathmore High sports while he was a student at the school, his summer internship at the Porterville Recorder under long-time editor Bob Moyel while he was a student at Fresno State and his time in his first full-time job at the Visalia Times-Delta.

It hasn't been easy. Stewart also covers in his book how he had to do such tasks as suckering lemons while growing up and his days at the Recorder which lasted 18 hours from waking up early in the morning to pull sprinklers to as late as 10 at night covering the news for the Recorder.

But Stewart knows where he came and put it simply and best when he said, “I've been blessed” when it comes to the career he's been able to have.

Rick Reilly, the 11-time National Sportswriter of the Year is most known for his work at ESPN and Sports Illustrated. But he also worked with Stewart at the Times and in his review referred to Stewart as the “Zelig of sports writing.”

Another one of Stewart's collegues at the Times, Bill Plaschke, one of the nation's most respected sports columnist, referred to Stewart as 'the unofficial mayor of the Los Angeles sports media scene.”

Times columnist Steve Lopez stated Stewart “swings for the fences and knocks it out of the park.” Former Los Angeles Dodgers general manager Fred Claire stated Stewart had a career “made for television” in his review.

And another one of the nation's top sportswriters, Ron Rapaport, referred to Stewart's book as a “teriffic memoir.”

The forward to the book was written by Jim Nantz, the No. 1 broadcaster for CBS Sports. The book's cover features a photo of another icon, legendary sports broadcaster Curt Gowdy with Stewart and Stewart with the three most legendary broadcasters in Los Angeles history, Bob Miller, voice of the Kings, Chick Hearn, voice of the Lakers, and Vin Scully, voice of the Dodgers.

Stewart is candid in his book, noting his mostly favorable relationship with Scully hit one bump in the road. That's just one of the major anecdotes and inside looks Stewart provides into the sports broadcasting world.

Stewart also covers his experiences with other legendary announcers Dick Enberg, Keith Jackson, Howard Cosell and Frank Gifford.

He covers how he broke the national story of Cosell announcing he would not be coming back to Monday Night Football just prior to the 1984 season.

Other legends covered in the book include Charles Barkley, Michael Jordan, Johnny Unitas, Jim Brown, Reggie Jackson and Steve Garvey.

Stewart broke another national story close to home — The renaming of Lindsay Junior High School to Steve Garvey Junior High School. Stewart writes how his mother, Greta Stewart, a respected writer and journalist herself, help him break that story. Stewart also acknowledges how he's referred to as “Greta Stewart's son.”

He also writes about another national story he broke involving Michael Jordan's comeback in 2002 while being with Barkley.

And there's plenty in the book about Stewart's local ties, including his time at the Recorder. Stewart said Moyel's critiques were invaluable as he was beginning his career.

While at the Recorder he was also able to first meet Tulare's Bob Mathias, the two-time Olympic decathlon champion in 1948 and 1952. In his book, Stewart also writes about how a photo of himself, Bill Sharman and Mathias came about, wanting to refer to it as the three Tulare County legends while facetiously also giving himself the title. But the photographer had the idea of also having legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden be in the photo.

Of course Stewart's book includes plenty of stories about Sharman, the 1944 Porterville High graduate, who went on to a legendary career as a player with the Boston Celtics and later as a coach with the Los Angeles Lakers. Under Sharman the Lakers won the 1972 NBA title and set a major sports record 33-game winning streak that still stands today.

Another story with local ties in the book is on Stewart doing a feature for Lindsay High graduate for Bill Baird for the Visalia Times-Delta when Baird was the starting safety for the New York Jets, who stunned the Baltimore Colts 16-7 to win Super Bowl III. He also writes how he had to have permission to make long distance calls at The Recorder.

Stewart said another journalist mentioned in the book, Bryant Gumbel, now the host of HBO'S Real Sports, has asked him for an autographed copy of the book.

Stewart said a lot of people helped in the writing of the book. He stated he began working on the book in 2012, writing a couple of chapters. But Stewart said he just lost interest in trying to continue with the book. “It wasn't really going anywhere,” he said.

But then the COVID pandemic hit. “You're just sitting around the house,” said Stewart, who's retired but still active as a freelancer.

So while not every day, Stewart spent at least one to two hours a day working on the book. “I decided to start just working on the book again,” he said.

It took a little over a year of writing.” Stewart added the editing of the book took another several months. While he did want the book to look good, he was obviously most concerned about the book's content. “I'd like to think the content is good,” he said.

The book is in five formats — hardcover and paperback with color photos on inside pages; hardcover and paperback with black and white photos; and E-books that don't include photos.

Books with color photos are available at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09MBLJ7BV Books with black and white photos are available at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09LGPMKYY

Stewart recommends the paperback with color photos, which cost $29.95. He said said Amazon required a high price of $46.99 for a hardcover book with color photos because of printing costs. 

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