Collision at Home Plate is a dual biography of Pete Rose, an uncouth but great ballplayer who suffered disgrace and imprisonment, and Bart Giamatti, the baseball commissioner so deeply shaken and bruised by the Rose scandal that he died a week after it was made public. This is the definitive book on one of the most traumatic and tragic episodes in baseball history.
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Had there been just a little less chaos abroad in the universe, the lives of Pete Rose and A. Bartlett Giamatti might have kept on parallel tracks to infinity, blissfully out of the way of each other's extremes. Rose, baseball's most primitive outlaw since Cobb, and Giamatti, the Renaissance scholar who presided over Yale before taking on the comissionership of the national pastime, could not have been more different. Rose was arrogant, profligate, libidinous, and excessive; Giamatti was courtly, erudite, philosophical, and, in his way, every bit as excessive. Baseball hurled them into each other, and when it pitted them face to face over allegations of Rose's gambling, the pyrotechnics roared like cymbals clashing in a silent night.
The story of that clash is one of baseball's blackest moments, with no winner anywhere, and Reston replays it in all of its grim, grisly detail. Rose, the accused, was, of course, banned from the game for life; Giamatti, the accuser, died of a heart attack just days after the banning. But Reston isn't satisfied to simply play out the endgame confrontation of the sinner and the standard bearer, and that's the brilliance of his book; he entwines their complex and fascinating biographies in a way that makes their collision seem tragically, almost surreally, inevitable. Each man was failed by his flaws, and it's the flaws that made each personality so compelling.
Still, it was their very failures of character that slapped each with a fate neither would have willingly chosen: Rose the unpenitent outcast, Giamatti the eternal martyr. The Rose case, writes Reston, "elevated (Giamatti) to heroic stature in America. By banishing a sport hero, he became a moral hero to the nation." The final irony is that the gregarious Giamatti, who indeed relished the role of moral hero, didn't live to experience his own apotheosis. --Jeff SilvermanAbout the Author:
James Reston Jr. is the author of The Lone Star: The Life of John Connally and Sherman’s March and Vietnam.
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Book Description Book Condition: Brand New. Book Condition: Brand New. Bookseller Inventory # 97800601637921.0
Book Description Harpercollins, 1991. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0060163798
Book Description Harpercollins, 1991. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110060163798