FREE delivery: Monday, Dec 12 on orders over $25.00 shipped by Amazon.
Ships from: Amazon.com Sold by: Amazon.com
Other Sellers on Amazon
Follow the Author
The Soul of Baseball: A Road Trip Through Buck O'Neil's America Paperback – March 11, 2008
Enhance your purchase
From the author of Baseball 100
“A fascinating account of a man who outlasted the ignorance of a nation and persevered to become a beloved figure...One of the best baseball books in years, filled with depth style and clarity." —Cleveland Plain Dealer
An award-winning sports columnist and a baseball legend tour the country to recapture the joys and wonders of two of America’s greatest pastimes
When legendary Negro League player Buck O’Neil asked sports columnist Joe Posnanski how he fell in love with baseball, that simple question eventually led the pair on a cross-country quest to recapture the love that first drew them to the game. Baseball & Jazz recounts their emotional quest to find the heart of America’s beloved sport that still beats despite the scandal-ridden, steroid-shooting, money hungry athletes who currently seem to define the sport. At its heart is the story of 94-year-old Buck O’Neil—a man that truly played for the love of the game. After an impressive career in the Negro Baseball Leagues in which he earned two hitting titles and one championship, O’Neil made baseball history by becoming the first African-American coach in major league baseball. Posnanski writes about that love and the one thing that O’Neil cherishes almost as much as baseball: jazz. This heartwarming and insightful journey is an endearing step back in time to the days when the crack of a bat and the smokey notes of a midnight jam session were the sounds that brought the most joy to a man’s heart.
“Posnanski masterfully conveys O’Neil’s charisma and the rhythm of his words...A worthy paean to an American legend.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“This book is flat-out terrific...If Gandhi had played baseball, he would have been Buck O’Neill.” — Leigh Montville, author of Big Bam and Ted Williams
“[A] poignant, very funny, and ultimately inspiring book.” — Dave Barry
“Imagine, a year spent with Buck O’Neil...you don’t have to imagine it, it’s all here.” — Bob Costas
“[A] loving, lyrical effort by Joe Posnanski. One of the most original and winning baseball books in recent years.” — Harvey Frommer
From the Back Cover
When legendary Negro League player Buck O'Neil asked Joe Posnanski how he fell in love with baseball, the renowned sports columnist was inspired by the question. He decided to spend the 2005 baseball season touring the country with the ninety-four-year-old O'Neil in hopes of rediscovering the love that first drew them to the game.
The Soul of Baseball is as much the story of Buck O'Neil as it is the story of baseball. Driven by a relentless optimism and his two great passions—for America's pastime and for jazz, America's music—O'Neil played solely for love. In an era when greedy, steroid-enhanced athletes have come to characterize professional ball, Posnanski offers a salve for the damaged spirit: the uplifting life lessons of a truly extraordinary man who never missed an opportunity to enjoy and love life.
- Publisher : William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (March 11, 2008)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 304 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0060854049
- ISBN-13 : 978-0060854041
- Item Weight : 9.6 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.31 x 0.68 x 8 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #62,857 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
I should have read this much sooner but sometimes a book finds you at just the right time. After a long offseason and several seasons of baseball that is just not fun to watch, this book reminds you of the joy in the game. But more than that — in a time when we are all so polarized about EVERYTHING, you read about a man who could look past all of the crap and still see what was good.
Joe Posnanski is one of my favorite writers, and now that I’ve spent some time with Buck O’Neil, he’s one of my favorite people. I highly recommend this to any baseball fan but truly believe it would appeal to anyone.
I fell in love with O'Neil when I heard him on Ken Burns' documentary, and I've sought to read more and learn more about the Negro Leagues and its players ever since. I learned some new details about O'Neil's story in the book and remembered other ones as I read. In particular, reading about the momentum to get the Negro Leagues Museum open and his own satisfaction that Negro League players were finally inducted into the Hall of Fame was very moving-- as was his own (and others') reaction to not being included on the list of HOF inductees. Posnanski related those event well and shared his own disappointment (which I and many others share) when O'Neil was passed over for the Hall. Posnanski does the same throughout the book, which makes it an enjoyable read.
I'm sure the reader will notice that if he or she has read O'Neil's story in his own book, that reader will not learn new information here. If you have, do not expect new information. Rather, you'd enjoy it if you wish to hear O'Neil tell those stories "all over again for the first time" in the road trip narration as the two make their way across the country. That is what made this book worthwhile and entertaining for me. If, on the other hand, you are new to learning about O'Neil, you will learn them in O'Neil's fun and compelling way, and engage him and Posnanski as they travel on their road trip! If you purchase this book, I believe you'll find it as engaging as I did. Enjoy the ride! :)
Is The Soul of Baseball a biography of Buck O'Neil? No.
The Soul of Baseball is about life, the joys of living. Those little things we may do during the day that puts a smile on someone's face, that makes someone stop and - however briefly - put living back into its proper perspective.
Yes, Buck O'Neil brought joy through talking about baseball - Negro Leagues Baseball - and through his recollections from a blessed life. But, more importantly, he held a mirror up to us and made the simple request to look for our heart & soul, and then share that warmth with as many people as possible.
Author Joe Posnanski spent more than a year on the road with Buck O'Neil, chronicling the more than 200 events he attended nationwide at the ages of 93 and 94; from the largest to smallest ballparks, schools & media junkets and even to Washington, D.C. to give testimony before a Senate committee on why the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum deserved national designation.
There was poetry to many statements from Buck O'Neil, which Posnanski makes special for the reader. His recollections on a Baton Rouge, Louisiana, baseball camp run by a friend, Willie Spooner, says it best:
Than baseball. For kids.
Teach them all the lessons.
How to be a teammate.
How to be a man.
Nobody does it for you.
Gotta stand up.
I remember Willie
Used to tell those kids in Baton Rouge
It's better to steal second
Than to steal an apple.
You will laugh and cry and won't want the book to end. But books, like life, must have a final page.
Buck O'Neil passed away on October 6, 2006, at the age of 94. Share a smile with someone today and Buck O'Neil really isn't that far away. He still has that mirror in his hand, but this time he doesn't need any words; loving life needs no explanation.
Top reviews from other countries
Reviewed in Canada 🇨🇦 on May 20, 2021