Baseball: A Literary Anthology
"This collection resurrects scintillating fragments of youthful summers and ultimately convinces readers that reflecting on baseball helps us understand our complicated national identity. Of obvious appeal to baseball fans of all ages, but also a delight for general readers."
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
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Baseball: A Literary Anthology offers a lively mix of stories, memoirs, poems, news reports, and insider accounts about all aspects of the great American game, from its pastoral nineteenth-century beginnings to its apotheosis as the undisputed national pastime. Here are the major leaguers and the bush leaguers, the umpires and broadcasters, the wives and girlfriends and would-be girlfriends, fans meticulously observant and lovingly, fanatically obsessed. Here too are the teams of storied greatnessthe Yankees, the Dodgers, the Red Soxand the luminaries who made them legendary. Unforgettable portraits of icons such as Christy Matthewson, Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, and Jackie Robinson are joined by glimpses of lesser-known characters such as the erudite Moe Berg, the catcher who could speak a dozen languages "but couldn't hit in any of them."
Drawing from the work of novelists from Ring Lardner to Don DeLillo, sportswriters from Damon Runyon to Red Smith, and poets from William Carlos Williams to Yusef Komunyakaa, and gathering essays and player profiles from John Updike, Gay Talese, Roger Angell, and David Remnick, Baseball: A Literary Anthology is a varied and exuberant display of what baseball has meant to American writers. Among the highlights: Philip Roth considers the terrible thrill of the adolescent centerfielder; Richard Ford listens to minor league baseball on the radio while driving cross-country; Amiri Baraka remembers the joy of watching the Newark Eagles play Negro League ball; Stephen King follows his son's team on their riveting journey toward a Little League championship. Bringing together tales of ambition and heartbreak, childlike wonder and implacable disappointment, raw strength and even rawer emotion, Baseball: A Literary Anthology tells a rich and vital story about the sport that has always been more than just a game in the hearts of Americans.
Nicholas Dawidoff, editor, is the author of The Catcher Was a Spy: The Mysterious Life of Moe Berg (1994), In the Country of Country: A Journey to the Roots of American Music (1997), and The Fly Swatter: How My Grandfather Made His Way in the World (2002).
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