CLASSIC BASEBALL: The Photographs of Walter Iooss Jr.
The photographs of veteran baseball photographer Walter Iooss Jr. are collected in this handsome celebration of the national pastime. Iooss Jr., who started snapping baseball as a teen, went on to become a heralded photographer for Sports Illustrated before the age of 21, beginning his career with a most memorable assignment: capturing Roger Maris's record-breaking 61st home run in 1961. He was still shooting 37 years later, on hand to capture Mark McGwire's then-record 70th round-tripper in 1998. Such historical range is reflected in the book. Iooss's sharp eye for composition, on exhibit from the very beginning, shines from a shot taken in Havana in 1999 of children playing stickball. The book is divided into seven sections: faces, ballparks, pitchers, hitters, base runners, managers and celebrations—and all the game's bright lights are on brilliant display, from Mantle to Ken Griffey Jr., from Philly's old Connie Mack stadium to Seattle's pristine new Safeco field. Fans will surely treasure the terrific shots of their idols—Roberto Clemente's intense glare, Hank Aaron rounding the bases, a young, buzz-cut Pete Rose smiling for the cameras. Still, other, less glorious shots, perhaps, are equally appealing: Pittsburgh's Dave Parker having a smoke in the dugout in 1980; the old scoreboard at Wrigley field. New York Times columnist Dave Anderson adds his voice to set the stage, but the photos (70 in color, 160 in all) truly speak for themselves. "Just when you think you you're about to be lulled to sleep," Iooss writes about the game he loves, "something breathtaking happens." Luckily for fans, Iooss was there to capture many of these moments. (Mar.)