Baseball's Best Ever: A Half Century of Covering Hall of Famers (Hardcover)
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“Big-league baseball is subtle; cloaked in summer languor, moving with the slow, supple grace of a ballerina practicing backstage, yet taut and technical in its skills. To view a baseball game and appreciate it takes concentration.”
So begins Baseball’s Best Ever. Encompassing a selection of some one hundred columns and featured stories written over 50-plus years, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist share stories on some of the greatest baseball players to ever grace the diamond. But rather than snippets and information known to anyone following the game, Berkow, shares insights on these men: men dealing with tragedy, struggle, highs and lows—showing that while they we at the top of the game, at the end of the day they are mere mortals.
With stories from Satchel Paige throwing his “bow tie pitch” close to a batter’s brow, the humorous side of Phil Rizzuto and Casey Stengel, a rookie Carl Yastrzemski battling through a slump, and Ted Williams talking about is favorite subject—no, not hitting: fishing.
Arranged by decade, Berkow shares his interactions with those at the top of their game. We all know their stats and accolades, but not many fans truly know the person under the uniform. Offering an inside view as to who these men truly are, readers will be able to better understand their favorite ballplayers. While they have accomplished things we only do in our dreams, you will see that these men, under the surface, are no different than any of us.
Though we may never hit like Joe DiMaggio or Babe Ruth, play the outfield like Willie Mays, or run the bases like Jackie Robinson, Berkow offers us a view of these stars that only an acclaimed journalist can. And with a half century of reporting under his belt, Baseball’s Best Ever will let readers onto the field, in the dugout and locker room, and at home with their family and friends.
About the Author
Ira Berkow is both a Pulitzer-prize winner for national reporting and a Pulitzer-prize finalist for distinguished commentary, and the author of twenty-six books, including the bestsellers Red: A Biography of Red Smith, Maxwell Street: Survival in a Bazaar, and Rockin’ Steady: A Guide to Basketball and Cool (with Walt Frazier), as well as nine anthologies of his journalism. A sports reporter and columnist for the New York Times for over two decades, his work has regularly been reprinted in literary anthologies, college rhetoric textbooks, in the prestigious annual anthology Best American Sports Writing, as well as The Best American Sports Writing of the Century. He resides in New York City.
“Nearly twenty years ago in the Tribune magazine, I wrote a story in an attempt to answer a question posed in the headline: ‘Does Baseball Still Matter?’ Berkow’s book Baseball’s Best Ever shouts, ‘Yes!’ even though most of its characters and heroes are long gone. There are plenty of them in this book’s nearly 500 pages….There is so much to enjoy here, to savor.”
—Rick Kogan, Chicago Tribune
". . . Berkow can turn a phrase like an all-star second baseman turning a double play . . . . [a] collection well worth reading."
—Steven V. Roberts, Washington Post
"Ira Berkow has had such a remarkable career, and in both the simplicity and complexities of the anthology of his work, on one 'game,' it comes alive. I find myself smiling, escaping, remembering, so happy to read, jump around--and his writing is never ending. Baseball's Best Ever is blessed with insights and his gift, but it's also kind, which is the indication of the artist he is."
—Dan Klores, award-winning filmmaker and playwright
"Baseball's Best Ever by Ira Berkow is so much fun. Wonderful writing covering a wide gamut of baseball pieces—from Babe Ruth to Sandy Koufax and Willie Mays to Derek Jeter—and with a personal touch to everything. Terrific, terrific stories."
—Marty Lurie, Talking Baseball, KNBR radio San Francisco