A Great and Glorious Game: Baseball Writings of A. Bartlett Giamatti

Overview

With a foreword by David Halberstam. He spoke out against player trading. He banned Pete Rose from baseball for gambling. He even asked sports fans to clean up their acts. Bart Giamatti was baseball's Renaissance man and its commissioner. In A GREAT AND GLORIOUS GAME, a collection of spirited, incisive essays, Giamatti reflects on the meaning of the game. Baseball, for him, was a metaphor for life. He artfully argues that baseball is much more than an American "pastime." "Baseball is about going home," he wrote, ...

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Overview

With a foreword by David Halberstam. He spoke out against player trading. He banned Pete Rose from baseball for gambling. He even asked sports fans to clean up their acts. Bart Giamatti was baseball's Renaissance man and its commissioner. In A GREAT AND GLORIOUS GAME, a collection of spirited, incisive essays, Giamatti reflects on the meaning of the game. Baseball, for him, was a metaphor for life. He artfully argues that baseball is much more than an American "pastime." "Baseball is about going home," he wrote, "and how hard it is to get there and how driven is our need." And in his powerful 1989 decision to ban Pete Rose from baseball, Giamatti states that no individual is superior to the game itself, just as no individual is superior to our democracy. A GREAT AND GLORIOUS GAME is a thoughtful meditation on baseball, character, and values by one of the most eloquent men in the world of sport.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In the baseball pantheon, Giamatti occupies an unusual place: leaving the presidency of Yale University, he became the president of the National League and then, for the five months before his death in 1989, the Commissioner of Baseball. Although his writings on the subject were few, all radiated a love for the game as well as an appreciation of it as a metaphor for American life and, indeed, life in general.

He saw baseball as quintessentially American, because the game combined individual achievement with successful teamwork and because, in a country where rootlessness appears to be a pervasive national characteristic, there is always the quest to go home. Yale professor Robson has collected nine Giamatti writings, including the often-anthologized essay "The Green Fields of the Mind" and the statement banning Pete Rose from baseball for life, in which he notes that "no individual is superior to the game."

Jeffrey Hart
In baseball. . . there [are]rules. . .Bart Giamatti rounded third base and made it home. -- National Review
Kirkus Reviews
Giamatti died just nine years ago, after having served as commissioner of baseball for only five months. Already, however, a Greek word that appears several times in this slim collection applies to the memories of Giamatti held by many fans: nostos, the yearning for home. They yearn for the faraway days of 1989, when baseball still clung to vestiges of old glories and verities, and a man like Giamatti, a literature scholar and former president of Yale University, could write seriously about the sport as the ultimate metaphor for all of America. Giamatti would share fans' grief at the continuing debasement of the sport (consider the 1997 rent-a-champs Florida Marlins), but not their pessimism. The people who run baseball today, however hapless or greedy, dare not tamper with the rules of the game, whose symmetries are a constant source of fascination for Giamatti. Nor can they change the tension at the heart of the game between freedom and order that embodies, as Giamatti puts it, "the promise America made itself to cherish the individual while recognizing the overarching claims of the group." The collector of these writings, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Connecticut, apparently dug up virtually every word Giamatti wrote on the sport, not all of which needed to be set in marble. But even the most jaded and long-cooled passions will be stirred by Giamatti's erudite and intense love of baseball. Baseball, to him, is so like America in its interplay between individual freedom and the rule of law that it will be forever the national pastime, regardless of how far it slips from national favor.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781565121928
  • Publisher: Workman Publishing Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/28/1998
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 138
  • Sales rank: 464,481
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 0.32 (d)

Meet the Author

Kenneth S. Robson, M.D., is a professor of psychiatry at the University of Connecticut, a clinical professor at Yale University, his alma mater, and a practicing child and adolescent psychiatrist.

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Table of Contents

Foreword
Introduction 1
The Green Fields of the Mind (From the Yale Alumni Magazine) 7
Tom Seaver's Farewell (From Harper's Magazine) 15
Recall as the Series Ends, the Afternoon of the Fall (From the Hartford Courant) 29
Men of Baseball, Lend an Ear (From the New York Times) 35
Baseball and the American Character (Presented to the Massachusetts Historical Society) 41
Decision in the Appeal of Kevin Gross (Presented to the National League of Professional Baseball Clubs) 67
To Sports and Fans: Clean Up Your Act (From the Boston Globe) 81
Baseball as Narrative (From Take Time for Paradise) 87
Statement Released to the Press on the Pete Rose Matter (From the New York Times) 117
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 27, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Elegant, Eclectic Mix: Almost a Bit Too Demanding

    These writings reveal a man of true character who not just loved baseball but appreciated it's beauty and subtely. Patience is required of the reader for some pieces appear technical or pedantic. Like good art, Giamatti, requires us to rise to his level. A very different baseball book; worth the read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2000

    A gentleman and a scholar

    Giamatti captured the essence of the Game in these essays and press releases. His poetic and classicist background are a refreshing blend with America's pastime.

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