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A Great and Glorious Game: Baseball Writings of A. Bartlett Giamatti Paperback – January 4, 1998


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 136 pages
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books; 1st edition (January 4, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565121929
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565121928
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 5.1 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #189,770 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

By far the most literate of baseball's commissioners, the late Bart Giamatti, former president of Yale, was the game's most unashamedly vocal fan both before and during his tenure as chief executive. The child of immigrants, he embraced baseball's very Americanness, and ascribed to its simple goal--coming home--a far-reaching, overall metaphor. His ardor was unguarded and unabashed, his approach sentimental and as expansive as a pair of foul lines diverging in the distance. Giamatti's oversized passion infuses everything in this slim volume, from his wistful elegy to Tom Seaver and his admonition to fans to clean up their act, to his pained public statement banning Pete Rose from the game for life. Best of all, his seductively lyrical essay "The Green Fields of the Mind" leads off the lineup. The latter alone--it begins by poignantly observing of baseball, "It breaks your heart. It's designed to break your heart"--is worth the price of admission.

From Publishers Weekly

In the baseball pantheon, Giamatti occupies an unusual place: leaving the presidency of Yale University, he became the president of the National League and then, for the five months before his death in 1989, the commissioner of baseball. Although his writings on the subject were few, all radiated a love for the game as well as an appreciation of it as a metaphor for American life and, indeed, life in general. He saw baseball as quintessentially American because it combined individual achievement with successful teamwork and because, in a country where rootlessness appears to be a pervasive national characteristic, there is always the quest to go home. Yale clinical professor Robson has collected nine Giamatti writings, including the often-anthologized essay "The Green Fields of the Mind" and the statement banning Pete Rose from baseball for life, in which he notes that "no individual is superior to the game." The collection will appeal primarily to the most diehard baseball fans.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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If you love baseball, then you will love reading this book.
Phillip Michaelson
It is a very refreshing, quick read worthy of your investment of time and a few dollars less than a movie ticket!
Ron Bierman
Most famously, banishing Pete Rose from ever being associated with baseball again.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 4, 1999
Format: Paperback
The collected writings of Bart Giamatti demonstrate the depth of appreciation he had toward our game. The first paragraph of "Green Fields of the Mind" alone should be the centerpiece for the canon of sports literature. His high esteem for all that is right in sports is further evinced in his courageous moral stand against Pete Rose.
Perhaps all the Pete Rose people would be well-served by reading this book. They would gain an exponentially greater appreciation for the wonder of baseball and afford themselves the opportunity to reflect on why Mr. Rose does not deserve a place in its shrine.
The only shame involving Giamatti is that he did not live long enough to eloquently and courageously defend his side of the sordid Rose affair, while Pete is able to hawk memorabilia, bleat self-righteously about his case, and sell his name to anyone with a fistful of cash and an agenda.
However, while it is tragic that Giamatti passed on too soon, we are lucky to have his writings to further stoke our interest in the great game, and to remind ourselves that some things are still worth fighting for.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 11, 1999
Format: Paperback
I read the essay "Green Fields of the Mind" in 1990 and have waited for a collection of Giamatti's work ever since. I know no other writer who so eloquently captures not only the magic of baseball, but how we experience it. I wish I could be half as passionate about my life as Giamatti was about the game we love. Buy the book and count how many times you tell yourself during its reading that you either need to lend it to a friend or buy a copy for someone you love. It transcends baseball without the obvious pretentions of academia. Should be read just before opening day, again on the day your favorite team is eliminated for the season and once more during the off-season.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 17, 2000
Format: Paperback
Throughout this book Giamatti is referred to as an idealist by others and at least once by himself. There is not a more accurate description of his writings contained in "A Great and Glorious Game."
What seperated Giamatti from others of like mind was his ability to act upon his impulses. Most famously, banishing Pete Rose from ever being associated with baseball again. An incredible unfortunate situation, but to all those who cannot accept Giamatti's judgment please read this book. For myself it clarified his motives and subsequent actions.
Beyond anything to do with Rose, this book is thoroughly engaging. Giamatti deftly exemplifies why many of us continually return to baseball every spring. Recommended for any baseball fan.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By W. C HALL VINE VOICE on January 2, 2004
Format: Paperback
When renaissance scholar A. Bartlett Giamatti was asked to become president of Yale University, he said the only presidency he had ever aspired to was that of the American League. Instead, a few years later, he took the helm of the National League, and shortly after that, became commissioner of baseball. Tragically, his tenure in that office ended after only five months with his sudden death at the age of 51.

But Giamatti's legacy endures. and those who seek to understand or re-embrace it need only turn to this gem of a book. It's all here, opening with his wonderful essay, "The Green Fields of The Mind," which famously begins "It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart." There's his farewell to Tom Seaver, where the departure of Seaver and his wife Nancy from the Mets calls to mind a famous painting of Adam and Eve's expulsion from Eden. The book closes with its most powerful and saddest item--a statement Giamatti released to the press after banning Pete Rose from the game for life for betting on baseball.

If you love the "great and glorious game," you must read this book. Savor the beauty of the prose and the passionate idealism that drives it. And pause for a moment to reflect on what the game--and the world--lost with Bart Giamatti's passing.--William C. Hall
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
Giamatti's short tenure restored dignity and eloquence to the game. By stopping corruption in it's tracks he brought his level-headed love of the game to it's most powerful position. A man of letters and the arts, he reinvented the position he took over, most recently held by spin-doctors and PR men. It's nothing short of tragic that the game he loved undoubtedly contributed to his untimely end. For those who worship Pete Rose: Giamatti did what any true fan of baseball would do. Punished the most heinous crime possible against the game of baseball. Had Rose never played the game, it would still be the greatest game ever. Had he gone unpunished, it would currently rank somewhere between Professional Wrestling and Arena Football in the eyes of the public today.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By gonzo@northstar.k12.ak.us on January 16, 1999
Format: Paperback
May I humbly suggest that if you love baseball as Bart Giamatti loved baseball, that you read this book. A master of language, who loved this game as I love this game, put his genius to work to create this idyllic tome.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Long Island MOM on January 3, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this book outloud with my 12-year-old son in October 2000 during the playoffs and world series. We had borrowed it from the library, and ever since then he's been asking me to buy it. We finally have and now he's reading it again on his own. I thought it was too advanced for him, but there is a passion in this book you can't miss.
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