What is your favorite baseball memory? Why do you love the sport? What Baseball Means To Me (Warner Books 2002, 270 pages, $34.95) is the largest group of household names to ever write about America's oldest and greatest game.
This official National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum work boasts an astounding 172 essayists - U.S. presidents, actors, writers, and athletes, a businessman here, an ambassador there -- and is a book of the Month Club, Literary Guild, and History Book Club selection. It also contains more than 230 stunning color and black and white photographs.
Editor Curt Smith asked celebrities across America to reminisce about baseball. They replied as vividly as their first visit to a park - a blur of fielder crouched, batter cocked, and pitcher draped against the stand - above all, the surety that there is no place on earth that you would rather be.
Rudolph Giuliani writes of a baseball life: "Sitting next to my father at Yankee Stadium during my first game, I felt like the luckiest kid in the world." Tom Brokaw and Dan Rather are less palatial, touting long-gone Strutz Field and Buffalo Stadium, respectively. George W. Bush hails Nolan Ryan. Jimmy Carter etches Game Seven of the 1992 National League playoff: "I can still hear the noise."
What does baseball mean? To composer Marvin Hamlisch, it denotes a Yankees fantasy camp; actor David Birney, a poem to his son; writer Davis Maraniss, dad listening to Harvey Haddix's 12-inning perfect game. To Charley Steiner, baseball gives running home new connotation. To Tim Russert, it meant Cal Ripken's record 2,131st straight game. Martin Sheen befriends a boy in Cooperstown. Doris Kearns Goodwin writes: "It [baseball] is the most timeless of all sports." This marvelous book shows why.
In What Baseball Means To Me, Emeril Lagasse is eight again, reminiscing about his beloved Red Sox. Larry King recalls Jackie Robinson. Patti LuPone recounts catch between her son and Buck O'Neil. George Will notes: "I write about politics, mostly to support my baseball habit." Like baseball, the reader will find this book a habit hard to break.