More than 40 years old, and inconceivably out of print for 30 of them, Farrell's Baseball Diary
, one of the first gems in a new series of baseball reissues from Southern Illinois University Press, is as rare as a starter who can go nine these days: an ancient text that stays fresh on the wizardry of its ebullient prose. Farrell, who died in 1979, was a hard-hitting novelist and utility man-of- letters; his Studs Lonigan trilogy, which brilliantly mined the lives of the Irish working-class of Chicago in the early part of the century, was certainly a literary grand slam, a masterpiece of American realism. His Diary
is less the formal journal of its title than a colorful collection of beautifully crafted remembrances, profiles, observations, and fictional excerpts that span the first 50 years of his seven-decade romance with the game.
He writes insightfully on Hall of Famers Ty Cobb, Eddie Collins, and Ray Schalk, and quite poignantly on Buck Weaver, the White Sox third baseman shamed in the 1919 scandal. He conjures up his first game as a boy in 1911 with loving detail, recounts going to White Sox games with his Red Sox-fan grandmother, and recalls Mrs. McCuddahy's Tavern--the ballplayers' home away from home--adjacent to Comiskey Park with a spirited fondness that's still infectious. All of that barely dents the top of the order of this all-star compendium from a writer worthy of his own niche in the Cooperstown of American letters. --Jeff Silverman, Sports editor
From Library Journal
The publisher is using this 1957 volume to launch its new "Writing Baseball" series. Farrell's Diary chronicles his lifelong affair with the game, which began at age six. The author here reminisces about his favorite games, players, and baseball's place in life. Old White Sox fans never die, they just get reprinted.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.