The ideal pitch for a hitter is a fastball that hangs over the plate long enough to be knocked beyond the outfield fence. Home Run
, a literary tribute to batters with a knack for the long ball, presents accounts of some of the most famous home runs in baseball history.
In this smart collection edited by George Plimpton, some of the best writers on baseball (Robert W. Creamer, Roger Angell) and some of the best American writers, period (Don DeLillo, John Updike), provide unique portraits of famous sluggers (Ruth, Williams, Aaron, and Josh Gibson, to name a few), their myths, and the circumstances of famous home runs (with nods to the pitchers who served them up). And as a bonus, Plimpton includes a chronology describing a century's worth of milestones.
These writers do vastly more than document baseball history: they write about something they love, and write with conviction. For example, Japanese ballplayer Sadaharu Oh, who hit 868 career homers (to Aaron's 755), describes the feeling of hitting one out in "A Zen Way of Baseball": "As the ball makes its high, long arc beyond the playing field, the diamond and the stands suddenly belong to one man. In that brief, brief time you are free of all demands and complications.... In this moment [you] are free." --Michael Ferch
From Publishers Weekly
From the late poet Gregory Corso's "Dream of a Baseball Star" to pitcher Sadaharu Oh's "A Zen Way of Baseball," New York's honorary commissioner of fireworks, George Plimpton (who has also written a score of books and cofounded the Paris Review), has assembled the full-swinging Home Run, with pieces devoted to that fence-transcending moment. Don DeLillo's fictionalized "Pafko at the Wall" watches Bobby Thomson's "Shot Heard `Round the World" sail over his head; Garrison Keillor takes "The Babe" to Lake Wobegon; and Roger Angell (A Pitcher's Story; Forecasts, Apr. 16) chimes in with "Homeric Tales" of the mythically showstopping impact of home runs: "Even when one goes out in mid-game, it stops the story. Nothing ensues." These 18 essays revel in such moments as Maris's 61st, McGwire's 69th and 70th and Hank Aaron's all-time record.Plimpton (who contributes two essays) presents all with signature panache in introductory notes.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.