Reaching for the Stars by Larry Freundlich
A Celebration of Italian Americans in Major League Baseball

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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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Romance author Jayne Ann Krentz was born in Borrego Springs, California on March 28, 1948. She received a B.A. in history from the University of California at Santa Cruz and a Masters degree in library science from San Jose State University. Before becoming a full-time author, she worked as a librarian. Her novels include: Truth or Dare, All Night Long, and Copper Beach. She has written under seven different names: Jayne Bentley, Amanda Glass, Stephanie James, Jayne Taylor, Jayne Castle, Amanda Quick and Jayne Ann Krentz. Her first book, Gentle Pirate, was published in 1980 under the name Jayne Castle. She currently uses only three personas to represent her three specialties. She uses the name Jayne Ann Krentz for her contemporary pieces, Amanda Quick for her historical fiction pieces, and Jayne Castle for her futuristic pieces. She has received numerous awards for her work including the 1995 Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award for Trust Me, the 2004 Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award for Falling Awake, the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award, the Romantic Times Jane Austen Award, and the Susan Koppelman Award for Feminist Studies for Dangerous Men and Adventurous Women: Romance Writers on the Appeal of the Romance.
Published September 30, 2003 by Ballantine Books. 336 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Sports & Outdoors. Non-fiction

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Honig lists the Italian-American Hall of Famers: Joe DiMaggio, Yogi Berra, Ernie Lombardi, Phil Rizzuto, Tommy Lasorda and Tony Lazzeri, "with Mike Piazza and Joe Torre on the fast track."

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