The Mudville Heritage: Baseball in Folklore and Fiction

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"A lovely fly ball of a book with a graceful trajectory that a good breeze might lift over the wall." - Publishers Weekly

The Mudville Heritage
, originally published in 1971 as The Old Ball Game, covers the lore and legend of baseball as no other book before or since. Folklorist Tristram P. Coffin treats baseball as an integral part of America's epic story. He discusses the legends, proverbs, speech, and superstitions that have developed out of the game, and then proceeds to a witty and wicked dissection of the "never-never land" of dime novelists and what he calls the "hunky-dory" sports writers of the early to mid-twentieth century.

Baseball lovers will find here a trove of stories and anecdotes about the national past-time, its stories, legends, and the colorful players in its history, including Wee Willie Keeler, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson, Satchel Paige, Josh Gibson and many more.

Special attention is paid to the role of Ring Lardner and the "tough talk" school of sports reporting and the popular literature of baseball.

Coffin concludes the book with a masterly account of the efforts of serious writers to realize the elusive dream of writing the "Great American Baseball Novel," including such luminaries as Bernard Malamud,
Robert Coover, Thomas Wolfe and Nelson Algren.

Baseball is woven throughout American culture and history as no other sport; as Coffin deftly demonstrates, its stories and special language have become part and parcel of the American soul.

With a new foreword by major league baseball pitcher (known as "the smartest man in baseball") Craig Breslow, The Mudville Heritage will provide baseball fans and general readers alike an appreciation of the enduring myths and stories that have given our country so much of its essential character.


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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781935073093
  • Publisher: Easton Studio Press, LLC
  • Publication date: 4/1/2009
  • Edition description: New edition
  • Pages: 188
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Tristram Potter Coffin, Emeritus Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania, is the author and editor of many acclaimed books, including the now classic Folklore in America.   A former tennis coach and professional, as well as a soccer coach and referee, he lives with his wife, Ruth Anne, in Wakefield, Rhode Island.

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