One reason I have always loved baseball so much is that it has been not merely “the great national game” but really a part of the whole weather of our lives, of the thing that is our own, of the whole fabric, the million memories of America.
The motion began in a gentle sweeping curve and culminated in a pose, held for an instant, of tense power. It was an exhibition of the perfection of masculine grace. Beautiful pitching like that is among the lost arts.
~James Weldon Johnson, from Along This Way
That was the system they had in those days. That’s what they called states’ rights. States’ rights doesn’t mean much to the Negro. You don’t get justice with states’ rights. Which is a bad thing to happen.
~James “Cool Papa” Bell
I grew up in a home where the radio was permanently set on WJR; I thought George-Kell-and-Ernie-Harwell was one word. I’d fall asleep listening to my parents discussing the merits and flaws of various Detroit players, and by the time I was twelve I wanted one of my own, a Tiger, my very own player to root for and adore. In 1962, my goals in life were to be the first woman governor of Michigan and to marry Rocky Colavito.
In our national pastime, each player is a member of a team, but when he comes to bat, he stands alone. One man. Many opportunities. For no matter how far behind, how late in the game, he, by himself, can make a difference. He can change what has been. He can make it a new ball game.
~Bette Bao Lord, from In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson
Losing is a learning experience. It teaches you humility. It teaches you to work harder. It’s also a powerful motivator.
Every night I stood in front of the television watching the game and practicing my swing. I always swung for the seats. I even practiced fouling the ball off my foot. Mom would come in the den and find me limping around the rug, walking off the pain. I never said a word and neither did she. By the time I was nine I knew you gotta play hurt.
~Jane Leavy, from Squeeze Play
Just enough breeze to lift the flags along the upper edge of the north stands and let them fall again lazily. The diamond and outfield, sharply cut, were a bright velvet carpet to Joe’s eyes. As the players ran back and forth on it he could feel with envy its turfy spring and wished for — something, nearer definition now than ever before in his life.
~William Carlos Williams, from White Mule
We grew up in Columbus, Ohio. In a neighborhood where most children grew up Lutheran or Methodist, we grew up Baseball. It is a way of life that is as whimsical and superstitious as any other religion.
~Molly O’Neill, sister of Paul O’Neill
For in this linkage between the generations rests the magic of baseball, a game that has defied the ravages of modern life, a game that is still played today by the same basic rules and at the same pace as it was played one hundred years ago. There is something deeply satisfying in the knowledge of this continuity.
~Doris Kearns Goodwin