From Publishers Weekly
The nine innings of 1960's World Series' seventh game provide baseball historian Reisler with all the framework he needs to paint an exciting and detailed picture of a sport and its milieu. Reisler (Babe Ruth: Launching a Legend
, among others) calls a good game, deftly intertwining the dramatic backstories and subplots of the World Series showdown between each pitch. With cinematic flourish, Reisler breaks from the game's action to zoom in on all the bit players and supporting cast of the competition, including the announcers, children playing hooky, the photographers, random spectators, and the individuals who pillaged the field for souvenirs. Reisler puts together a visually nuanced account without the aid of a video record (the tapes have been lost). As the drama mounts, each pitch and swing takes on greater meaning as Reisler illuminates the events leading up to the game and follows its reverberations into the future. He delivers an account that succeeds in creating suspense when the outcome is already known, and by the time Mazeroski's home run sails over the wall at Forbes Field, each Pirate and Yankee player feels like an old friend. As evidenced by the faithful who still congregate at what used to be Forbes Field's left field wall every October to listen to the rebroadcast, this is a story worth hearing. (Oct.)
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*Starred Review* The black-and-white clip is grainy and dated. For older fans, it rekindles the excitement of seeing it live, watching on television, or listening on the radio; younger fans know it as one of history's greatest baseball moments. The "it" is Bill Mazeroski's dramatic, walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth inning of the deciding seventh game of the 1960 World Series to give the underdog Pittsburgh Pirates a world championship against the era's most dominant team, the New York Yankees. Veteran sports journalist Reisler, a Pittsburgh native, was only two at the time, but the moment resonated throughout his life as a young baseball fan. Employing the detailed, digressive style of Daniel Okrent's classic Nine Innings (1983), Reisler breaks the game down inning by inningalmost pitch by pitchand along the way profiles the key personnel for both teams, recounting how they migrated through baseball to arrive at that historic moment. Reisler has written a number of books about baseball (A Great Day at Cooperstown, 2006), but whatever good work he has done in the past, this is a true labor of loveand it shows. Relying on interviews with nearly two dozen participants or observers as well as secondary sources, he re-creates the excitement of what may well have been baseball's most exciting game. A truly memorable account of an iconic sports moment. Lukowsky, Wes