In no professional sport have more men sacrificed for their country than baseball. In No Greater Love, many baseball veterans tell their stories - more than just the facts of what they did, but, more importantly, how they felt about their service and how their war experiences changed them as players and as men. Simultaneously, Anton pursues his own personal mission to honor his late father, a World War II/Korean War combat veteran.
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In the middle of the Twentieth Century, there was a phenomenon you don't see much anymore. Successful professional athletes were willing, often eager, to put aside their sports careers and devote some of their best years to their country - in the military.
Todd Anton, his own interest sparked by his relationship with his dad, a World War II veteran with whom he shared a passion for baseball, set out on a quest to interview surviving ballplayer veterans from that era.
We hear from Bob Feller, who selflessly put aside a chance at compiling perhaps the best pitching statistics in baseball history, to serve in World War II, and from Jerry Coleman who flew 57 missions in World War II and 63 in Korea and managed to have a great career for the Yankees in addition to his military career. In No Greater Love their stories, and the stories of other players (including Max West, Johnny Pesky, Dom DiMaggio and Del Crandall) are riveting in detail, and bring the reader from the diamond to the battlefield as only a first-person account can.
Todd Anton didn't just concentrate on the well-known and successful players from the era. Some of the most compelling stories come from athletes whose major league connections were brief, like Bert Shepard, who played for a while in spite of the loss of a leg, and Dutch Shultz, whose back injury from his D-Day landing ruined his Major League aspirations, but whose story became one of the main elements in the film "The Longest Day."
Tying all the threads in the book together, is the emotional story of Todd Anton's relationship with his father, who passed away as Todd was about to embark on his quest. By fulfilling his dream of helping to tell the stories of these American heroes, Todd is also able to emerge with a better understanding of his father and of their relationship.From the Back Cover:
In no professional sport have more men sacrificed for their country than baseball. In No Greater Love: Life Stories from the Men Who Saved Baseball, many of baseball's military veterans - Bert Shepard, Don Newcombe, Dom DiMaggio, Jerry Coleman, Johnny Pesky, Ernie Harwell, Vin Scully, Bob Feller, and others - tell their stories - not just the facts of what they did, but more importantly, how they felt about their service and how their war experiences changed them as players and as men.
The memories and wisdom of the men who saved baseball assist author Todd Anton as he pursues his own personal mission to honor his late father, a World War II/Korean War combat veteran. No Greater Love melds together elements reminding readers of both Field of Dreams and Saving Private Ryan.
Todd Anton, inspired and trained by historian Stephen Ambrose, serves on the Board of Trustees of the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. He is also a public school history teacher in Phelan, California.
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