DiMaggio. Berra. Lombardi. Piazza. They’re more than just baseball heroes, they’re the real-life fulfillment of the faith their countrymen had in coming to this land of opportunity. Now, in this fascinating, talent-filled collection, superb sportswriters, essayists, and baseball scholars celebrate the meaning and magnitude of the Italian contribution to this sport that America calls her own.
From the hilarious story of Ping Bodie and the first Italians to play in the majors (written by Pulitzer Prize–winning New York Times reporter Ira Berkow), to the touching tale of how his father was an amateur shortstop on tough New York City streets by Bob Leuci (Prince of the City) . . . from George Vecsey’s memories of Maglie’s Giants and Furillo’s Dodgers to Joseph Vecchione’s retrospective on West Coast Italian baseball mania . . . from inspired assessments of unforgettable figures like Joe DiMaggio by Wilfred Sheed to Lawrence Baldassaro’s moving tribute to the unfairly maligned Ernie Lombardi, Reaching for the Stars covers all the bases.
The authoritative encyclopedia Total Baseball database provides complete stats for every Italian American major leaguer ever to play the game, and Yogi Berra selects his own Italian American All-Star Team. DiMaggio’s a definite, but is it Petrocelli or Rizzuto at short? Who starts, Raschi or Mussina? Who relieves, Antonelli or Righetti? And who’s behind the plate, Piazza, Yogi, or Lombardi? You’ll know when Yogi reveals his team.
Brilliantly written and exhaustively researched, here’s the story of how a special group of Americans inspired a nation by excelling at a game—and how by aiming for the bleachers, they were really reaching for the stars.
About Larry Freundlich
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Published September 30, 2003
by Ballantine Books.
Biographies & Memoirs, Sports & Outdoors.