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Red Smith on Baseball: The Game's Greatest Writer on the Game's Greatest Years Paperback – December 17, 2001
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The 167 columns that make up Red Smith on Baseball are uncannily fresh with the drops of Smith's vitality, elegance, heart, intelligence, perspective, and wit. Spanning four decades from 1941-1981, it's a dazzling collection of literature written on deadline, and an important step toward righting the injustice of Smith's work being out of print for so long. Rolled through his typewriter, the history he witnessed on and off the field--Jackie Robinson breaking the color line, the '69 Mets, Curt Flood's challenge of the reserve clause, Enos Slaughter's mad dash from first, Don Larsen's perfecto, the departure of the Dodgers and Giants, the introduction of the D.H.--seems less like dispatches from the past than postcards wishing you were here in a forever present.
Like all those who are best at what they do, Smith knew how to get himself up for the game. He came equipped with an added gear to shift into when the stakes were raised. And while that talent is on display throughout Red Smith on Baseball, nowhere is it more awe-inspiring than in his epic recounting of Bobby Thompson's 1951 "shot heard 'round the world." An abrupt and improbable end to an unbearably improbable pennant race, Thompson's home run brought histrionic screams of "The Giants win the pennant!" pounding through the radio; in the pages of the Herald-Tribune the next morning, readers were chilled by the proportion and scope in Smith's poetry: "Now it is done. Now the story ends. And there is no way to tell it. The art of fiction is dead. Reality has strangled invention. Only the utterly impossible, the inexpressibly fantastic, can ever be plausible again." Smith could see more than the event, he could see the big picture and the small, often overlooked moment that lived within it; his ending to the Thompson story wasn't about the Giant triumph but its flip-side--the despair of the hurler who'd served up the pitch. "Ralph Branca turned and started for the clubhouse," Smith wrote. "The number on his uniform looked huge. Thirteen."
Red Smith on Baseball is as essential to a good sports library as any single book can be. But to compartmentalize it as just a sports book would be to somehow miss the larger accomplishments of a modern master of the English language. --Jeff Silverman --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
This is great for Yankee fans as brings back memories of the teams of the 50s and the way they were managed.
I've been a huge fan of Red Smith's ever since I heard his classic line about the horrible Packers team that finished a season with one win, ten losses and a tie. He wrote that they overwhelmed one team, underwhelmed 10 and whelmed one. If you got a kick out of that line, you'll enjoy this collection of baseball columns.
It also gives you a good glimpse of New York baseball in the 40's and 50's.
Best described as shorties: selected daily writings by the dean of baseball writers. Get to know the players as they really existed, not as today's fables want you to believe.
You can't go wrong here.
impossible, the inexpressibly fantastic, can ever be plausible again.
-Last Chapter (October 4, 1951)
That is perhaps the most famous opening of any column in the history of journalism, and deservedly so. In fact, as you read this extraordinarily fine
collection of Red Smith's baseball writings, it is remarkable to realize just how many of his lines and phrases you recognize. Of course, when Smith
was a sportswriter, the sports page often contained the best writing in the paper. Today our image of journalists is absurdly inflated by Watergate and
the generation it inspired, but watch a movie from the '30s or 40s (say The Front Page) and you'll see just how low was the esteem they were held in.
But the sports guys had plum jobs so the position attracted truly talented men, from Damon Runyan to Ring Lardner to Paul Gallico to Smith himself.
Through some happy confluence of the stars Smith wrote for The New York Herald Tribune during the period when New York City not only had
three baseball teams but three very good baseball Writing on deadline teams : the 1940s and 50s versions of the Yankees; Dodgers; and Giants. This
book, though it covers other decades too, draws heavily from this period, which has not suffered from inattention over the years, but it is Smith's
descriptions of what happened (as with the opening line above) that remain in our minds.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Brilliant, moving writing. I've given copies to many friends in the past few years.Published 1 month ago by Richard Shelton
very good...a little dry, but still great pieces from the forties in date order up to the 70's....great pieces of history. book arrived in great conditionPublished 10 months ago by Martin G Mc Grath
You can't go wrong picking up a baseball book by one of the game's greatest writers. Smith made you smile, laugh out loud and think.Published 12 months ago by Yankee4Life
Red Smith is of an era when sportswriting was literature, when these writers took real pride in their language and tone-and Smith is the top of the heap. A must for baseball fans. Read morePublished 23 months ago by NYC Lap Swimmer
Walter "Red" Smith was an extremely erudite sportswriter. If you're a baseball fan, you'll truly love this look at the game that covers some 40 years of Smith's best columns fgrom... Read morePublished on January 10, 2012 by voracious reader
Many still call Red Smith (1905-1982) the best baseball columnist that ever lived. This collection of his top baseball writing from 1941-1981 shows Smith in his usual from;... Read morePublished on February 21, 2010 by K.A.Goldberg
If you are a fan of baseball and of good writing, then you already have this book. If for some reason it's escaped your attention, it's the perfect antidote for post-World Series... Read morePublished on December 4, 2000 by Henry Sturcke