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Baseball: A History of America's Favorite Game

This article is more than 13 years old.

Not everybody will enjoy George Vecsey's "Baseball: A History of America's Favorite Game". People who take the game far too seriously, for example, will be outraged that Vecsey's account of baseball's past and present is only 252 pages long, including the index. "For the love of all that's round, tightly-wound, and stitched with red thread," they will cry, "Ken Burns required eighteen hours of television to tell the story. How can Vecsey — who admits he's a soccer fan, for Abner's sake — cover baseball adequately in this...this pamphlet!"

Happily for all other potential readers, Vecsey was not cowed by the task of chronicling baseball in brief. He has chosen a number of events and personalities as the touchstones for his musings — the Black Sox, Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson, and various "October Exorcisms" for four — and his account of the meanderings of the game and what it has meant to us over the centuries is delightfully personal and great fun.

Two of the assertions upon which Vecsey hangs his narratives are that the personalities and tales of baseball are more intimately connected to each other than the people and stories of other games, and that since the game has survived the greed and selfishness of the owners for well over one hundred years, it will probably continue to endure, despite the inroads made by such Johnny-come-lately diversions as basketball, football, and Grand Theft Auto. He demonstrates the first of these propositions convincingly, and his assertion of the second is happy balm in these uncertain days.

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