With a foreword by David Halberstam. He spoke out against player trading. He banned Pete Rose from baseball for gambling. He even asked sports fans to clean up their acts. Bart Giamatti was baseball's Renaissance man and its commissioner. In A Great And Glorious Game, a collection of spirited, incisive essays, Giamatti reflects on the meaning of the game. Baseball, for him, was a metaphor for life. He artfully argues that baseball is much more than an American "pastime." "Baseball is about going home," he wrote, "and how hard it is to get there and how driven is our need." And in his powerful 1989 decision to ban Pete Rose from baseball, Giamatti states that no individual is superior to the game itself, just as no individual is superior to our democracy. A Great And Glorious Game is a thoughtful meditation on baseball, character, and values by one of the most eloquent men in the world of sport.
By far the most literate of baseball's commissioners, the late Bart Giamatti, former president of Yale, was the game's most unashamedly vocal fan both before and during his tenure as chief executive. The child of immigrants, he embraced baseball's very Americanness, and ascribed to its simple goal--coming home--a far-reaching, overall metaphor. His ardor was unguarded and unabashed, his approach sentimental and as expansive as a pair of foul lines diverging in the distance. Giamatti's oversized passion infuses everything in this slim volume, from his wistful elegy to Tom Seaver and his admonition to fans to clean up their act, to his pained public statement banning Pete Rose from the game for life. Best of all, his seductively lyrical essay "The Green Fields of the Mind" leads off the lineup. The latter alone--it begins by poignantly observing of baseball, "It breaks your heart. It's designed to break your heart"--is worth the price of admission.