BALLPARK by Peter Richmond


Camden Yards and the Building of an American Dream
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 The well-told story of how Baltimore came to have a jewel of a ballpark rather than a cookie-cutter stadium for its only remaining major-league franchise, the Orioles. Drawing on a wealth of first-rate reportage, Richmond assesses the many factors involved in the creation of a single-use facility whose quirky charms rival those of such fabled baseball venues as Boston's Fenway Park and Chicago's Wrigley Field. In consistently entertaining, if frequently digressive, fashion, the author recounts the pivotal roles played by the late Edward Bennett Williams (whose persistent threats to move the club he owned to his Washington, D.C., bailiwick kept local pols in the game), William Donald Schaefer (now governor of Maryland, but formerly mayor of Baltimore), and a host of lesser lights. Covered as well are the debates over funding, site selection (downtown near the historic Camden Yards railroad station), and design. Richmond pays particularly close attention to the architectural and municipal influences that somehow yielded a park that's in the diamond game's best traditions rather than in the mode of recently built anonymously symmetric shells located off interstate highways. Between the beginning and end of his box score--bracketed by a narrative account of the first game played at Camden Yards, on the opening day of 1992 (a win for the Orioles)--Richmond captures much of what makes baseball a perdurable national pastime. (Eight pages of b&w photographs--not seen)

Pub Date: June 2nd, 1993
ISBN: 0-671-74851-3
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1993


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