From Library Journal
Dawidoff, the author of a well-regarded biography of Moe Berg (The Catcher Was a Spy), has assembled this collection of exemplary baseball writing. While acknowledging the literature's formative years with early boosters such as Albert Spalding and other "dead ball" era writers, he concentrates on its mature period, from Ring Lardner through the two Rogers (Kahn and Angell) of the modern era, even Don Delillo and Stephen King. Dawidoff smartly doesn't rule out a great piece of baseball writing merely because it's familiar: classics like Updike's account of Ted Williams's final 1960 game, Gay Talese's Esquire profile of the unknowable Joe DiMaggio, and W.C. Heinz's salute to the recklessly brave Pistol Pete Reiser belong in any anthology worth its pitching rosin. This wonderful introduction belongs alongside past collections such as The Armchair Guide to Baseball.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
*Starred Review* Like an all-star team, an anthology often falls short of achieving perfection. There's nearly always that lack of cohesion, or the nagging thought that someone crucial was left off the roster. But this collection is so rich, so stuffed with old friends and newly remembered gems, so chock-full of beautiful and shapely writing. Beginning with Thayer's Casey at the Bat
and ending with Buster Olney, there are more than 700 pages of prose and poetry, fiction and sportswriting, writers and players. Scanning the table of contents, it almost seems like everybody
wrote about baseball: Damon Runyon, Ring Lardner, James Weldon Johnson, William Carlos Williams, James Thurber. But so did Paul Gallico, Nelson Algren, Tallulah Bankhead, and Jacques Barzun. Satchel Paige's Rules for Staying Young
is right there with Keith Hernandez's Pure Baseball
; Roger Angell's prose and Marianne Moore's poetry gleam and glisten; Giamatti's Green Fields of the
Mind, perhaps the loveliest short piece ever written on baseball, glows. The food writer Molly O'Neill writes a delicious essay about her little brother, Paul--he just retired from the Yankees--and the editor himself limns a piece in the introduction about his grandfather as perfectly as a strike-three call. Ineffable, indispensable, inimitable--just like baseball. GraceAnne DeCandidoCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved