BASEBALL WIT by Bill Adler


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With thoroughly agreeable results, the popular series compiler (The Kennedy Wit, The Reagan Wit) here offers a jocose collection of quotes from the national pastime. While Adler provides his 450-odd entries with (surprise!) nine separate chapter headings, the position assignments seem longer on convenience than logic. Not that it matters much with such crowd pleasers as Casey Stengel (""The secret of managing is to keep the guys who hate you away from the guys who are undecided"") in the lineup. Keeping him company are malaprop artists like Dizzy Dean, who once informed a radio audience that ""The runners have returned to their respectable bases."" On hand as well are gifted explainers, including Curt Simmons, who compared getting a fastball by Hank Aaron to ""trying to sneak the sunrise past a rooster,"" and Yogi Berra, source of the unintentional mot that nobody went to Toots Shor's restaurant because ""it's so crowded."" Providing needed relief from the mainly antic citations are thoughtful observations from such as Ken Brett (George's brother), who complains: ""The worst curse in life is unlimited potential."" Nowhere in evidence, though, is Leo Durocher's harsh judgment: ""Nice guys finish last."" Missing as well is Babe Ruth's pragmatic reaction to the news he made more money than President Hoover: ""I had a better year than he did."" Quibbles of this sort apart, Adler's assemblage of baseball banter should prove a diamond-studded delight for even casual fans.

Pub Date: March 1st, 1986
Publisher: Crown