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

Benedict Cosgrove, Author, Ron Rapoport, Foreword by, Ben Cosgrove, Author
Benedict Cosgrove, Author, Ron Rapoport, Foreword by, Ben Cosgrove, Author Chronicle Books $14.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-8118-1150-7
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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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