Covering the Bases: The Most Unforgettable Moments in Baseball in the Words of the Writers and Broadcasters Who Were There

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Take a seat in the bleachers for the 25 most dramatic, legend-making events in baseball history. Covering the Bases is the only collection of sports writing, radio transcripts, and photographs that puts readers right in the ballpark. From Babe Ruth's most famous home run to Jackie Robinson's breaking the color barrier and Cal Ripken's 2,131st game, here are some of the greatest players in their loftiest moments — as covered by the writers, announcers, and photographers who were ...

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Overview

Take a seat in the bleachers for the 25 most dramatic, legend-making events in baseball history. Covering the Bases is the only collection of sports writing, radio transcripts, and photographs that puts readers right in the ballpark. From Babe Ruth's most famous home run to Jackie Robinson's breaking the color barrier and Cal Ripken's 2,131st game, here are some of the greatest players in their loftiest moments — as covered by the writers, announcers, and photographers who were there.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
—Bob Greene, Chicago Tribune, April 1997
If the baseball season is already beginning to feel a little dreary to you, think how baseball writers must feel.

After all, the writers who cover the teams have the job of reporting on 162 games a season. Yet — as anyone who reads the sports pages knows — the stories they turn out often have litttle to do with baseball games. In the sports world we now live in, the newspaper stories about baseball and baseball players concern criminal cases; concern management-labor disagreements; concern stadium revenue issues; concern fans' apathy; concern pension plan negotiations. What fun can it be to write about those things?

Covering the Bases...recalls some of the greatest days and nights in baseball history by seeking out and republishing the reports of the sports jounalists who wrote about (and broadcast) the games.

If Cosgrove's intention was to use the technique of finding the vintage sports page stories to make sports history seem newly immediate, he succeeded with a parallel accomplishment, too — he brought back a time when sportswriters got to write about sports. When the games were what counted — or at least what we allowed ourselves to believe were what counted.

This is a fun, easy-to-read paperback, and one wonders why it hasn't been done before. Cosgrove takes a sampling of key baseball events (e.g., Don Larsen's perfect game during the 1956 World Series) and presents the next day's newspaper write-up. Since many of these moments are part of American mythology, it's amusing to see how they were initially reported. This winner is sure to circulate well in most public libraries. Library Journal, December 1996

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Baseball has been the subject of more literature, films and visual art than any other sport-often to sentimental or romantic effect. But it's sportswriters, photographers and radio broadcaster-those who have done the scut work of documenting the games-who provide the reality checks. Cosgrove (co-editor of Gluttony: Ample Tales of Epicurean Excess) reprints journalistic reports of 25 famous baseball events written under tight deadline or delivered at the event. "With one swift swing of his mighty bat, Bobby Thomson today broke up one of the greatest baseball games ever played," is how Bob Stevens of the San Francisco Chronicle described The Miracle at Coogan's Bluff, when Thomson's homer in the bottom of the ninth gave the New York Giants the pennant, an event best recalled by Giants announcer Russ Hodges frantic "The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!" "Censurable stupidity" began the New York Times article describing poor Fred Merkle's ignominious 1908 boner, in which he failed to touch second base. While few pieces compete with the baseball prose of John Updike or Bernard Malamud, world-class journalists like Grantland Rice, Paul Gallico, Red Smith and Tom Boswell are represented, as are such announcers as Hodges and Vin Scully. However, compiling a list of the "most unforgettable moments in baseball" is an invitation to argument, no matter how many disclaimers are made. Where is the end of DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak? Where is the purple prose of 19th-century sportswriters? Where are Ty Cobb and Mickey Mantle and the Say Hey Kid? Still, having contemporaneous accounts of Ruth's called home run in the 1932 World Series and 24 other unarguably prominent baseball milestones in one volume is a good idea and it is well-executed. Twenty-nine black-and-white photographs provide visual context, but not all depict the events being chronicled. In a nice package, Cosgrove reinforces the symbiotic tie between words and the summer game. (Mar.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780811811507
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books LLC
  • Publication date: 3/1/1997
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 1.00 (w) x 1.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Benedict Cosgrove is an editor, journalist, and writer who lives in San Francisco.

Ron Rapoport is a nationally syndicated columnist for the LA Daily News, NPR correspondent for Weekend Edition, and editor of A Kind of Grace, a collection of sports writing by women.

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Table of Contents

Foreword 10
Introduction 15
The Play at Second Base: Fred Merkle's Ignominious Boner, September 23, 1908 23
Inside Stuff: The Black Sox Scandal, October 9, 1919 30
The King His Crown: Walter Johnson Finally Has His Day, October 10, 1924 37
The Nature of His Retaliation: Babe Ruth's Called Shot, October 1, 1932 44
The Young Dutchman: John Vander Meer's Consecutive No-Hitters, June 15, 1938 53
Strong Men Weep: Lou Gehrig's Famous Farewell, July 4, 1939 59
Of Ted We Sing: Ted Williams Hits 406, September 28, 1941 65
History: Jackie Robinson Breaks the Color Barrier, April 15, 1947 70
Pop-Eyed Maniacs: Bobby Thomson's Shot Heard 'Round the World, October 3, 1951 77
Lightning in a Bottle: Don Larsen's Perfect Game, October 8, 1956 86
36 Men in a Row: Harvey Haddix's Twelve-Perfect-Innings Loss, May 26, 1959 97
The Welkin Rings in Old Forbes Field: Bill Mazeroski's World Series - Winning Home Run, October 13, 1960 105
Sunny, with a Gale Blowing to Right: Stan Musial's Last Game, September 29, 1963 112
His Greatest Stuff: Sandy Koufax's Perfect Game, September 9, 1965 119
Swatting at Invisible Moths: Bob Gibson's Seventeen Strikeouts, October 2, 1968 126
Born to Laughter: The Amazing Mets With the World Series, October 16, 1969 133
His World Series: Roberto Clemente's World Series MVP, October 17, 1971 141
A Tremendous Weight: Hank Aaron's 715th Home Run, April 8, 1974 147
At 12:34 A.M.: Carlton Fisk's Game Six Home Run, October 21, 1975 154
Shakespeare, Plastered: Reggie Jackson: Three Swings, Three Home Runs, One Game, October 18, 1977 163
Work to Do: Tom Seaver's 300th Win, August 4, 1985 171
The Big Knock: Pete Rose's 4,192nd Base Hit, September 11, 1985 178
He Wanted to Bat: Kirk Gibson's Greatest World Series Home Run, October 15, 1988 184
In the Way of a Train: Nolan Ryan's Seventh No-Hitter, May 1, 1991 193
One of Baseball's Loftiest Peaks: Cal Ripken's 2,131st Consecutive Game, September 6, 1995 198
Acknowledgments 204
Index 206
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