Selected gems of baseball fiction. Includes Garrison Keillor, Zane Grey, P.G. Wodehouse, and Shirley Jackson.
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Starting with former commissioner Fay Vincent's splendid foreword--"When we read about Baseball," he writes, "we are taking Baseball home, which is where of course all Baseball yearns to be"--straight through a stellar lineup that includes Damon Runyon, Thomas Wolfe, Zane Gray, and Paul Gallico, Tales pounds out hit after solid hit. The 14 stories collected here are all Cooperstown quality: James Thurber's "You Could Look It Up," W.P. Kinsella's "The Thrill of the Grass," Runyon's "Baseball Hattie," and P.G. Woodhouse's "The Pitcher and the Plutocrat" are probably the most well known in the group, but there's not a weak bat in the order. There are also more than a few surprises, like "braves 10, giants 9" by Shirley Jackson--her nonbaseball short story, "The Lottery," may be one of the most anthologized of all time--and T. Coraghessan Boyle's wonderfully rollicking "The Hector Quesadilla Story." Each of these Selected Gems--and, for once, the encomium is not blowing smoke--is joyfully illustrated by artist Miles Hyman's lovely watercolors. Diamond is, indeed, a rare diamond in the rough. --Jeff SilvermanFrom Publishers Weekly:
Yet another addition to the seemingly never-ending shelf of baseball fiction anthologies, this is a handsomely produced volume with 66 charming illustrations, wonderfully naive works with great splashes of color that evoke the palette of '50s baseball cards. The 14 stories run from the bittersweet to the hilarious, but the emphasis is on humor more than pathos. Paul Gallico, for example, tampers with the umpires' traditional dark blue uniforms to great comic effect in "The Umpire's Revolt." Several stories have been previously anthologized, notably in Charles Einstein's Fireside Book of Baseball and its sequels, but others are largely unfamiliar. The best of these are Wilbur Schramm's "My Kingdom for Jones"; Garrison Keillor's archly satirical portrait of the first woman in the major leagues, called "What Did We Do Wrong?"; "The Pitcher and the Plutocrat," a typically giddy P. G. Wodehouse farce; T. Coraghessan Boyle's odd fable of an aging Hispanic ballplayer, "The Hector Quesadilla Story"; and "A Killing," a bizarre anecdote by Roger Angell in which baseball functions as a sort of cultural coin of the realm. With the exception of Zane Grey's predictable and mawkish "Old Well-Well," all of the contributions here are worthy of their subject. Further authority is provided in the foreword by commissioner Vincent and the introduction by Sports Illustrated writer Fimrite.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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