THE HOME RUN GAME by Dick Wimmer


An Anthology on Baseball's Most Remarkable Home Runs from Babe Ruth to Mark McGwire
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After Duke Snider hit a 300-foot home run, he teased Frank Howard, who earlier had blasted one over 500 feet, by saying, “Yours didn’t count any more than mine did.” This anthology, partially succeeds in highlighting those home runs that do count more, whether in the history books or in the hearts of baseball fans. Compiled by Wimmer, a Hollywood screenwriter, novelist (Boyne’s Lassie, 1998), and editor of sports anthologies (The Sandlot Game, not reviewed), this collection of 19 articles features some of baseball’s most famous home runs, such as Babe Ruth’s 60th, Reggie Jackson’s three-in-a-row, and Carlton Fisk’s dramatic homer in the World Series. Many players renowned for their home-run power are covered, including Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Ted Williams, Jimmie Foxx, Ralph Kiner, and Willie Stargell, and there are articles about Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, both of whom provided the home-run drama in the 1998 season. Also included are stories dealing with lesser-known players and incidents: Josh Gibson, who played 17 seasons in the Negro Leagues; Ron Jackson of the Chicago White Sox, who hit a tape-measure shot during spring training; Joe Hauser, who, in the minor leagues, twice blasted over 61 home runs. This anthology, however, is not definitive: The omission of Hank Aaron’s historic 715th home run is glaring and would have been more significant than an excerpt from the movie The Natural, which is included. Plus, the book suffers by not providing background information about the contributors (readers may know who the legendary Red Smith and Roger Angell are, but may be unfamiliar with Peter Levine or Joe Gergen) and not informing when each article was written. While the collection’s individual pieces do capture some of baseball’s magical moments, The Home Run Game is not organized or comprehensive enough to do full justice to the writers and to the players’ achievements. (20 b&w photos)

Pub Date: May 14th, 1999
ISBN: 1-58080-034-3
Page count: 192pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1999


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