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Original Issue

In the first wave of fall come trivia, football rules, snowmobiles and fishing

The annual autumnal crunch of sports books has begun and, before it overwhelms us, here are some brief notes on four-books that, for one reason or another, readers may want to know about:

The Baseball Quiz Book, by Ted Misa (Hawthorn, paperback, $2.95). With trivia so much the vogue, the question is: Why didn't someone think of this book before? Genuine trivia experts can invent their own mind-destroying questions, but for those of us with limited memories Ted Misa's little book is the perfect companion on evenings when two or more are gathered together in discussion of baseball esoterica. There are several hundred questions in the book, and I batted about .400 for the several dozen I tried to answer, which would lead either league but is lousy for trivia games.

The Armchair Referee, by Jerry Markbreit (Doubleday Dolphin, paperback, $2.50). If you are serious to a fault about the technical side of football, Markbreit's little book should be a welcome companion as you watch the Patriots and the Oilers stumbling around on your television set. The questions you are likely to ask all seem to be raised here, and the answers by Markbreit (a Big Ten official) are concise and helpful. College and NFL rules are covered, though I could find no acknowledgment of the existence of the WFL.

The Snowmobiler's Bible, by Morten Lund and Bea Williams (Doubleday, paperback, $2.50). The Doubleday series of sporting "bibles" is superb—when I bought a sailboat some years ago, the next thing I bought was The Small-Boat Sailor's Bible. Snowmobile freaks doubtless ought to follow suit now that this volume is available. Still, though the authors claim that the "book is all about how to maximize snowmobile enjoyment while minimizing the objections," those of us who find these machines gratuitous, bothersome and dangerous intrusions upon the wintry landscape will wish that more attention had been paid to the environmental offenses they commit.

The Blue Water Bait Book: Secrets of Successful Big Game Fishing, by Samuel A. Earp and William J. Wildeman (Little, Brown, $7.95). I'm no fisherman, so I checked with my Miami Herald colleague, Jim Hardie, an outdoors columnist who says that the authors, both Florida big-game fishing-boat captains, have written the definitive book—in Hardie's words, "A real handbook on how to do it for deepwater fishermen." The book's bias, Hardie says, is toward the Gulf Stream, but it pays decent respect to Pacific Coast fishing as well. I found virtually all its contents a mystery, but Hardie says it "covers every detail" and is "really authentic."