The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 107, July 2003 - April, 2004 Page: 360
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
fed and thrived on Texas's mid-century urban growth. McCombs relates advertis-
ing gimmicks and financial arrangements that enabled him to capture the San
Antonio market and gain strong positions in Houston and elsewhere. He re-
counts his ventures into ranching, media, and sports, which engaged him from
the 195os, when he owned Corpus Christi's minor league baseball team. Best
known for two stints with basketball's San Antonio Spurs, McCombs defends pro-
fessional sports from the charge that it receives inordinate attention and re-
sources. In San Antonio-relatively poor, divided socially, and lacking corporate
headquarters-the Spurs offered an indispensable rallying point and marketing
McCombs avoids ponderous theorizing about his own success. Still, he reveals
talents that enabled him to flourish in the open business climate of postwar
Texas, where manifold opportunities for wealth or disaster confronted an unspe-
cialized investor. As new ventures took him afield, he seems to have kept his eye
on his base in San Antonio and his reputation there. He knew how to project his
large, optimistic persona without alienating partners and customers. His account
suggests an enviable talent for making clear decisions quickly, especially about
dumping unpromising investments-from his Edsel franchise in 1957 to Spurs
coach Jerry Tarkanian in 1992.
Written in collaboration with sports columnist Mickey Herskowitz, this book's
conversational style provides a feel for its protagonist, warts and all. Typical of
collaborative memoirs, it has perhaps too many anecdotes and could use more
narrative and description, especially of McCombs's perceptions of San Antonio
and Texas business over the decades. An engaging read for those interested in
Texas business or sports, McCombs's memoirs provide useful material for histo-
rians of the urbanizing Southwest.
Illnois State University
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 107, July 2003 - April, 2004, periodical, 2004; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101224/m1/404/: accessed March 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.