About the book
Stefan Fatsis sends his "stunningly perfect, consummately perfect, why-would-anyone-use-anything-else? perfect" glove to be restored by the Glove Designer at Rawlings; Susan Perabo considers retiring from her imaginary career and assesses the likelihood of women finding actual careers on the baseball field; Sean Wilentz imagines a Cooperstown Fans' Hall of Fame, with its cowbells, frying pans, bedsheet banners, and more. And in one of the three previously published, now-classic pieces in the collection, George Plimpton reflects on the slow demotion of aging or slumping players from pitcher to first base, to the outfield. United by the authors' fervent love of the game, these essays remind us of the unique role baseball plays in our national history and collective imagination.
Anatomy of Baseball will also be available as Issue #34 of Creative Nonfiction--please note that the book contains many special essays not found in the journal issue.
Praise for Anatomy of Baseball
"When your team is slumping, when the scandalous headlines have got you down, or when winter seems like it will never end, Anatomy of Baseball will remind you why you fell in love with the game. This is one of the finest baseball anthologies of all time"
~ Jonathan Eig, author of Opening Day: The Story of Jackie Robinson's First Season and Luckiest Man: The Life and Death of Lou Gehrig
"These charming essays ... range from topics like first gloves--mine was a Rawlings Marty Marion model--to the tragic story of the Billy Southworths, father and son, to such shared experiences as being relegated to right field or having troubles playing first base. Well-written and occasionally touching, these are tasty morsels I thoroughly enjoyed."
~ Fay Vincent, former Commissioner of Major League Baseball
"An exceptional collection--a lively, rewarding read."
~ Robert W. Creamer, former Sports Illustrated writer and editor, and author ofBabe: The Legend Comes to Life
"... a tidy anthology of 20 essays sure to spark the imaginations of hardball neophytes and aficionados alike.
In fact, "Anatomy of Baseball" doesn't do this collection justice. Too clinical, too antiseptic. "Baseball: Love Letters" might be more apt, since many of the essays belie, if not true love, at the very least an affection for or devotion to the grand game. What this collection best represents is the full spectrum of the baseball experience, from romantic to nostalgic to eclectic. ...
The beauty of the anthology approach is the variety of perspective that the 20 authors bring, with each offering something that readers can relate to. ...
Overall, this anthology is like a great stable of starting pitchers (think the 2007 BoSox, with Beckett, Matsuzaka, Schilling, Lester, Wakefield, and no-hit whiz kid Buchholz). You can expect a few bumps in the road, and the occasional stinker (baseball, after all, is the most egalitarian of pro sports, and even great teams lose two out of five games). ...
Still, with a top-shelf pitching lineup, you also know the season on the whole is going to be a success. So is "Anatomy of Baseball."
Boston Globe, June 23, 2008
"Anatomy of Baseball" has the same effect as being in a roomful of storytellers who are swapping, matching and extending each other's baseball tales long into the night. While fans of baseball writing will find plenty to enjoy and anticipate as they make their way through the selections, writing students will also find strong examples from each part of the creative nonfiction spectrum: traditional biography and autobiography, immersion essays, memoir, personal essays, meditative essays, and lyrical essays. ...
Taken together, the pieces in this anthology illustrate how baseball writing can function in American culture as a vehicle for expression, meditation, and understanding. More than half of the writers speak actively from the player's perspective; the rest of the pieces are evenly split between the perspectives of the commentator, historian, and fan. But it is a fair bet that these writers were also players once upon a time. This connection - this "connective tissue" as Gutkind describes it in his introduction - makes baseball an important part of American culture."
- Scott Peterson
Nine: A Journal of Baseball History and Culture, Spring 2009
An outstanding collection to be treasured by fans of baseball and personal essays.
Booklist, April 1, 2008
If you’re a baseball fan, you will enjoy “Anatomy Of Baseball.” The essays - from all the authors (be they well known or not) - truly find that sweet spot in your heart reserved for baseball and tickle it in a way that invokes a very positive response. Whether it’s finding yourself in one of the fan experience essays (like Stefan Fatsis’ “My Glove: A Biography”) or learning something new from the others (like Michael Shapiro’s “The Southworths”), reading this book is just a flat-out good time.
If you’re like me, in the sense that you would would drape yourself in baseball if it were socially acceptable, then I recommend reading “Anatomy Of Baseball.” It’s a good, healthy, fix for any baseball addict.
There's nothing clinical ... about Anatomy of Baseball. ... This collection of 20 essays, most of them never before published, is not a New York book, per se, but it brims with lyrical reminiscences about the love affair between the city and the sport.
The New York Times, May 11, 2008
In the intro to her contribution, Susan Perabo offers up a reason for once again delving into the subject of baseball: “As with love, the topic is inexhaustible because it feels like personal property to everyone who holds the sport dear.” The love connection shows clearly in these sweet, sometimes sentimental essays, penned by more than enough authors to field a team. ... [T]he collection offers a wide enough range to please both casual fans and the stat-obsessed. They may be circling a well-worn literary path, but most of these writers find, as Perabo suggests, “there is always something new—something original, something crucial—to add to the conversation.”
--Publisher's Weekly, May 2008
Table of Contents
Table of Contents
At the Park
Kevin Baker - read an excerpt
My Glove: a Biography
Stefan Fatsis - hear an interview about this essay on NPR
My Brilliant Career
Field of Dreams
Philip F. Deaver - read an excerpt
J. D. Scrimgeour
Nostalgia: The 1950s and My Mitts
An Ode to Baseball Caps
Pesapallo: Playing at the Edge of the World
Caitlin Horrocks - read an excerpt
Freddy the Fan
The Inherent Human Transgression That Is Umpiring: A Slovene Case Study
First Base of Last Resort
Matt Wood - read an excerpt
Ya Gotta Believe
Take Me Back to the Ball Game (Variations on a Theme)
Katherine A. Powers
Spring Training Lights
The Baseball Pastoral
On the Ball