By Jean DePlacido
---- — MARBLEHEAD — Author Bob Latham was at the Spirit of ‘76 Book Store in Marblehead last night signing copies of his book “Winners and Losers”. Latham, a graduate of Stanford and the University of Virginia law school, is a very successful attorney in Texas, specializing in commercial litigation.
He is also an avid sports fan, and a columnist, who writes amusing articles for Sports Travel Magazine. Latham will be the guest speaker tonight at The Landing in Marblehead at a fund raiser for Northeastern Sports Fund and Skillz Academy which his friend Reggie Plaisir supports. Plaisir grew up in Marblehead and is now a sports agent.
“I’ve been writing a monthly column for seven years now, and some consistent themes keep showing up so I decided to put them in a book,” said Latham. “I take all the stories from my experiences, and I enjoy all sports. I have a passion for all of them, but rugby is the one in my background.
There is no athletic contest from the most famous events that take place around the world to the obscure happenings that Latham doesn’t enjoy. He wrote a book to allow the average sports fan to get a glimpse into some of those big and small events and provide a front row seat for readers. Humor is always something Latham relies heavily on when telling anecdotes about heroism or heartbreak. He includes a little bit of everything from an Inn of the 18th hole at St. Andrews to the cryogenics facility where Ted Williams is preserved.
“Ted’s is a tragic story,” said Latham. “Here is a guy, who clearly wished to have his ashes spread off the coast of Florida, but instead he is in a non-descript strip mall in Arizona. One power outage, and he’s done. I happened to be in Scottsdale on business and couldn’t resist going to see where he was because it was only a half hour away. I was with a guy from my office. We found the place, rang the bell and he said we were there to see Ted’s head. They let us in.”
Winners and Losers: Rants, Riffs, Reflections on the World of Sports, was published in 2012 and has received favorable reviews.
“The feedback has been good from readers and people in the sports world that I greatly respect,” said Latham. “Sports is a reflection of life, and I tried to make the book enjoyable to read with humor, pathos, and absurdity. I have to admit the story about spreading my mother’s ashes at Wrigley Field was bittersweet.
“When I travel I always try to take in another event while I’m there. Two big events I most enjoyed seeing were Cal Ripken break Lou Gherig’s record for consecutive games in 1994, and the Dallas Stars winning the Stanley Cup in Buffalo in triple overtime in 1999. “Dallas is my home team, and I was fortunate to get a ticket at the last minute. There must have been 12 Stars fans there, and it was a pretty special moment for me.”
Latham has held numerous positions that involve sports. He was chairman of USA rugby, a member of the board of directors of the US Olympic Committee, and a member of the International rugby board executive committee. One of the first stories in his book is about Kiwi love which tells about the popularity of rugby in New Zealand where he spent two months.
“When I have enough stories from my columns I’ll probably put them all together and write another book,” he said. “A couple of years ago archeologists uncovered a drawing from ancient Rome about somebody, and it said he died due to the treachery of the referee, so I guess bad calls go back 1600 years.”
Latham appeared on television in Texas a few nights ago arguing why there should be instant replays in baseball.
“Look at that blown call that took away Andres Galarraga’s perfect game a few years ago,” he said. “I wrote “otherwise he led a perfect life”. You have to find humor in things.”